Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus Christ

2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cinnamon Ornaments

When I taught first grade, we would make these every year for Christmas. They are fun for kids and make the room/house smell great!

Makes 12 to 15 ornaments.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours, or 1 to 2 days drying time

3/4 cup applesauce
1 bottle (4.12 ounces) McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground
Supplies needed:
cookie cutters
drinking straw
colorful ribbon

1. Preheat oven to 200°F.

2. Mix applesauce and cinnamon with hands in small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed. Using about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll dough to 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off top sheet of plastic wrap. Cut dough into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Make a hole in top of ornament with drinking straw. Place ornaments on baking sheet.

3. Bake 2 1/2 hours. Cool ornaments on wire rack. (Or, to dry ornaments at room temperature, carefully place them on wire rack. Let stand 1 to 2 days or until thoroughly dry, turning occasionally.)

4. Insert ribbon through holes and tie to hang. May be decorated with opaque paint markers found in arts and crafts stores, if desired.

Test Kitchen Tip: If a different size bottle of cinnamon is used, measure 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cinnamon.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Tortilla Chicken Chili

I am not a fan of chili, but I thought I would try this recipe to give my family a form of chili and we loved it! It was great! 

Tortilla Chicken Chili

Makes 6 (1-cup) servings.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 package McCormick® Chili Seasoning Mix, Original
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) kidney, white or pinto beans, undrained (I used kidney)
1 can (11 ounces) Mexican-style corn or whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups broken tortilla chips (bite-size pieces)
Shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream and chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Heat lightly oiled large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

2. Stir in Seasoning Mix, tomatoes, beans, corn, water and tortilla chips; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and chopped cilantro, if desired.

Tip: If a thinner chili consistency is desired, stir in an additional 1/2 cup water.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I leave these out.)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F ( 165 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8x4 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and frothy. Mix in oil and sugar. Stir in zucchini and vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon, soda, baking powder, salt and nuts; stir into the egg mixture. Divide batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until done.

Serving Size : 2

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Delicious Ham and Potato Soup

This was a very easy recipe to make. I found it here.

Delicious Ham and Potato Soup


3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup diced cooked ham
3 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk

Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Western Potato Rounds

Western Potato Rounds
Pampered Chef Recipe

2 large unpeeled baking potatoes (about 1 ¼ pounds)
Vegetable oil
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded co-jack cheese
6 bacon slices, crispy cooked, drained, and crumbled
1/3 cup green onion slices (optional)
¼ cup barbecue sauce

Pre-heat your oven to 450. Cut potatoes into ¼ inch slices. Spray both sides of the potato slices with oil. Place on a 15 inch Round baking stone. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned, remove from oven.

Combine in a bowl cheese, bacon, onions. Generously brush potato slices with barbecue sauce, sprinkle with cheese mixture. Return potato slices to oven. Bake 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Yields 24 rounds.

Tips: Leaving the peel on the potatoes will help keep the shape of the baked potato slices. The potato slices will cook more evenly when sliced to the same thickness.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chicken and Broccoli Braid

Chicken and Broccoli Braid- Pampered Chef Recipe

2 cups cooked and diced chicken
1 cup chopped broccoli
½ cup chopped red pepper
4 oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese (or more if you like)
1 pressed garlic clove
½ cup mayonnaise (my friend uses Ranch dressing)
2 teaspoons All Purpose Dill Mix
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons slivered almonds (optional)
2 packages (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375*. Combine chopped chicken, red pepper, broccoli, and pressed garlic. Combine dill mix, salt, and mayo. Place mayonnaise mixture and cheese in the chicken combination. Mix gently and thoroughly.
Place crescent rolls covering 12x15 stone. Cut 8 strips on each side of dough leaving a middle base for the filling. Place filling in the middle of dough and lift each strip and twist and place over the filling mixture. Brush with egg white and bake for 25-28 minutes (it should be golden brown).

[Those directions sound complicated, but all you are doing is laying the crescent rolls out- make sure that they are still together and roll them to get rid of the lines. Then cut strips along the sides, put the mixture down the middle and fold the sides over the top. You can be as fancy or plain as you like. It is best not to overlap the braid too much on the top or you will have to cook it longer so that the dough is fully cooked. I always make mine on my baking stone. I am sure it could work on most baking surfaces.]

Friday, December 12, 2008

Baked Manicotti

This is a very easy, yet oh so good recipe! I usually add extra cheese on top. I found the recipe here.

Baked Manicotti

Ready in: 30-60 minutes
Serves/Makes: 6

Ingredients: 8 ounces Manicotti -- uncooked
1 (15-ounce) container part-skim Ricotta cheese -- whipped until smooth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg -- beaten
1/4 cup sliced scallions
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (26-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
Grated Parmesan cheese -- for topping

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain. In medium bowl, blend Ricotta, Parmesan, egg and scallions. Stir in parsley, salt and pepper. Stuff pasta with cheese mixture. Arrange in a 13 × 9-inch baking dish. Pour spaghetti sauce evenly over pasta. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Cover. Bake in a 350ºF oven until hot, about 35 minutes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Confetti Peanut Butter Cookies

Confetti Peanut Butter Cookies

½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
¼ cup vegetable shortening
1 egg
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup miniature candy-coated semisweet chocolate chips

Makes: 4 dozen

Heat oven to 375. In large bowl combine peanut butter, sugars, butter, shortening, and egg. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms. Stir in chips.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten balls with fork in crisscross pattern. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool completely before storing.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Chocolate Swirls

Each year my friend Emily has a "Sweet Swap" during the holiday season. It gives you a chance to have a variety of goodies around for people who might come and visit your home. This is the "cookie" that I am going to make this year. I always try a new recipe- which is not always a good idea. I let my husband pick the cookie... so we shall see how these turn out!

Chocolate Swirls

½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter or margarine, softened
1 pkg (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled

Makes: 4 dozen cookies

Heat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugars, butter, cream cheese, egg, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms. Fold melted chips into dough until lightly marbled. (Do not over mix.)

Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are light golden brown. Cool completely before storing.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fun Treats for Thanksgiving

I found this site and it has cute treats for the kids for Thanksgiving. Here are a few:

Sweet T.O.M. Turkeys

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Feta-Topped Chicken

Feta-Topped Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp seasoned pepper
1 large Roma tomato, cut into slices
1/4 cup feta cheese

What to do:
1. Set oven control to broil. Brush both sides of chicken breast with dressing. Sprinkle both sides with Italian seasoning and seasoned pepper. Place on rack in broiler pan.
2. Broil with tops 4 inches from heat about 10 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170*). Top with tomato and cheese. Broil 2 to 3 minutes longer or until cheese is lightly browned.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ranch Chicken Tacos

   Ranch Chicken Tacos

taco shells (soft or hard)
3 cups cooked chicken
1 package of taco seasoning
1/2 cup ranch dressing
shredded lettuce
chopped tomato
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Additional ranch dressing, if desired

What to do:
1. Heat taco shells.
2. Cook chicken and cut into pieces. Mix chicken and taco seasoning. Stir in ranch dressing.
3. Spoon warm chicken into shells and top with other ingredients. 

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Monday: Spaghetti, bread, salad

Tuesday: Left over spaghetti- baked in oven with lots of cheese

Wednesday: Skillet Beef & Hash-browns, veggies

Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie

Friday: Fajita Pizza

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chicken Casserole

This is a new recipe that I found and thought I would try it out. I usually have made all of the recipes I put on here, but I have not tried this yet. Any recipes out there you want to share?

Chicken Casserole
2 lbs cooked chicken, diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 small carton sour cream
1/2 stick butter
1/2 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
poppy seeds

What to do:
Mix chicken, soup, and sour cream. Melt butter; mix with crackers crumbs. Place cracker mixture on top of chicken mixture. Top with poppy seeds. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fajita Pizza

1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 medium onion
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 packages (10 ounces each) refrigerated pizza crust
                                    1 tsp vegetable oil, divided
                                    1-2 tsp southwestern seasoning mix
                                    1 garlic
                                    1/4 cup thick and chunky salsa (I use more)
                                    2 cups shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese blend, divided
                                    2 tbsp cilantro

                          What to do:
1. Preheat oven 425. Cut up peppers into 1/2 inch thick strips. Cut onion into 1/2 inch wedges. Cut chicken into strips.
2. Unroll both packages of pizza dough and arrange side by side on a baking stone and shape it into a circle.
3. Heat skillet over high heat. Add 1/2 tsp of oil and chicken; stir-fry 2-3 minutes or until chicken is not longer pink. Remove from skillet. Add remaining oil, bell pepper, onion, and seasoning  to skillet. Press garlic and stir-fry 1-2 minutes or until veggies are crisp-tender. Remove skillet from heat; stir in chicken and salsa.
4. Sprinkle half of the cheese evenly over the crust. Arrange chicken mixture over cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the chicken mixture. I always add extra cheese on top!
5. Bake 18-22 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove and sprinkle cilantro over pizza.

Serves: 8 

Monday, October 20, 2008


The fall is a great time to make yummy soups! So here are two of my favorites!

Chicken Vegetable Alfredo Soup

1 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped onions (I leave this out-allergies)
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 can (14-14.5 ounces) chicken broth
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 tbsp snipped basil
1 jar (16 ounces) Alfredo sauce
Grated fresh Parmesan cheese

What to do:
1. Chop broccoli, carrots, and onion. Dice the bell pepper. Place broccoli, carrots, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a saucepan. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat and simmer uncovered, 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

2. Meanwhile, dice chicken and snip the basil; set aside. Add chicken and Alfredo sauce to broth; simmer 5 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat; stir basil into soup.

3. If desired, ladle soup into bread bowls; sprinkle with cheese.

Yield: 4 servings(about 5 1/2 cups)

I will give a bread bowl recipe later. 

Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Southern Living Slow-Cooker Cookbook

2 tbsp butter
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (8 oz) package sliced fresh baby portobello mushrooms
2 tsp minced garlic
2 (14 ounce) cans roasted garlic-flavored chicken broth (I could not find this last time I made the soup- so I used regular chicken broth and added some garlic)
3 (6 ounce) packages roasted chicken breast chunks (I just cooked some chicken breast and cut it up)
1 1/2 cups frozen whole kernel corn, thawed and drained
1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground pepper
2 cups whipping cream

What to do:
1. Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add celery and onion; cook 4 minutes or until almost tender. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook 2 minutes.
2. Combine mushroom mixture, broth, and next 6 ingredients in a 5-quart slow cooker.
3. Cover and cook on low 5 to 6 hours or until rice is tender. Stir in whipping cream.

Makes 12 1/2 cups.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Teriyaki Pork Kebabs

Marinade and Kebabs
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger-root
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp dark sesame oil
2 pork tenderloins (about 1 lb each)
1 medium green pepper
1 medium red pepper
3 fresh pineapple slices, cut 1 inch thick

What to do:
1. For marinade, combine soy sauce and brown sugar in a bowl. Finely chop ginger-root, garlic pressed and oil in the bowl and mix well. Reserve 1/2 cup and set aside.  For kebabs, cut pork into 24 1 1/4 inch pieces. Add pork to marinade and toss to coat. Cover; refrigerate 30 minutes.

2. Cut bell peppers into 24 , 1 inch pieces. Cut pineapple into quarters to make 12 pieces. Prepare grill cooking over medium coals.

3. Remove pork from marinade; discard marinade in bowl. Thread skewers with pork, peppers, and pineapple. (on six 12- inch skewers) Place kebabs on grill; brush with reserved marinade. Grill covered 14-16 minutes or until pork is no longer pink, turning occasionally and brushing with marinade.

Tex-Mex Chicken & Rice Skillet

This recipe comes from The Pampered Chef 29 Minutes to Dinner cookbook.
I LOVE this!!!

1 tsp plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1 can (11oz) Mexican style corn
1 tbsp Southwestern Seasoning Mix
1 cups uncooked instant rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups salsa verde
2 tbsp snipped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

What to do:
1. Add 1 tsp of oil to skillet; heat over medium heat 1-3 minutes or until simmering. Meanwhile, drain corn; pat dry with paper towel. Add corn to skillet in a single layer. Cook without stirring 5 minutes or until caramelized on one side. Remove corn from skillet and set aside.

2. As corn cooks, cut chicken into 1 inch pieces. Combine chicken and seasoning mix in a bowl. Add chicken to skillet. Cook over medium-high heat 5-7 minutes or until center of chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

3. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to skillet. Add rice; stir until well coated with oil. Add broth and salsa; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover skillet; reduce heat to low. Simmer 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, snip cilantro.

4. To serve, spoon chicken over rice mixture in skillet. Sprinkle with cheese and corn. Cover; let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Yield: 6 servings

Thursday, October 2, 2008

what's cooking

This is for the first two weeks in October. I am so glad that it is Fall. I love the cool weather. The crisp cool air gives me extra energy! I will post some of these recipes later.

Wednesday: Tex-mex chicken and rice skillet

Thursday: Left over Tex-Mex

Friday: Eat out to celebrate our anniversary. (It was on Wednesday! Three years together.)

Sunday: Lord's Supper Fellowship at Church

Monday: Chinese

Tuesday: Teriyaki Pork Kebabs with rice

Wednesday: Manicotti, salad, bread

Thursday: Left over manicotti

Friday: Crunchy whole-grain chicken bites, peas, potatoes

Friday, September 19, 2008

another funny conversation

While driving home tonight I had a funny dialogue with my son.

me: We are going to stop for gas on the way home, ok.

E: poo-poo

me: Do you have to go poo-poo?

E: no... mama... van... poo-poo

me: hahaha No baby the van does not have that kind of gas!

Deluxe Cheeseburger Salad

I am always up for trying new recipes so here is one I came across in the Spring/Summer 2008 Season's Best- The Pampered Chef cookbook: Deluxe Cheeseburger Salad 

4 sesame seed hamburger bun tops
1 small red onion divided (I will not be using this-allergic to onions)
2 plum tomatoes
3/4 lb 95% lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely diced dill pickles
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp yellow mustard
8 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

What to do:
1. preheat oven 425- slice bun tops into 1/4 inch strips and bake 8-10 minutes
2. slice onions and cut tomatoes into quarters lengthwise and slice crosswise
3. cook ground beef until no longer pink, breaking it into crumbs
4. in a bowl combine onion, pickles, ketchup, and mustard- add the cooked beef to the bowl and mix well
5. To serve- arrange the lettuce on a large platter. Spoon the beef mixture over lettuce. Top with cheese, tomatoes, and sliced onion. Arrange the hamburger buns around the edge of the platter. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

something funny

We have been praying with and teaching our son (who is now two) to pray since birth.  So, the other night he wanted to pray for our food. Here is how it went:

me: Dear God

E: God

me: thank you

E: thanks

me: for

E: five

Can you tell that he has been learning to count too? It was so cute.

Monday, September 15, 2008

what's cooking

I usually make enough to have leftovers the night after. This may not work for you, but I find that it saves money and time (not to mention we eat smaller portions). This week the menu is easy and basically whatever I have the ingredients for already.

Monday:  Chicken strips,  mixed veggies, mashed potatoes

Tuesday:  Spaghetti, bread, and salad

Wednesday: Bake left over spaghetti with lots of Mozzarella cheese on top

Friday: Deluxe Cheeseburger Salad 

Monday, September 8, 2008

Catalina Chicken

6 to 8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or less if you have a small family)
1 can cranberry sauce
1 small Catalina dressing

Spray a 9x13 inch baker (or I use my baking stone) then place the chicken in the bottom. Crumble cranberry sauce on top of the chicken. Pour dressing over all of the chicken. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

This is very easy and so good. I am not a huge fan of cranberries or Catalina, but I LOVE this dish. The flavors combine and make it delicious. You can add any side you like to make this a great meal.

what's new

We are back from our little vacation and I am ready to write. I will be sharing some recipes that I will be making this week in another post. 

Meal Plan Idea
I do enjoy cooking. I find it easiest to make a calendar for the month. I know that seems like a long time, but I would rather get it out of the way! I make the calendar, then I write on it what we will eat each night. I have my list ready and write down ingredients that I will need for each recipe and then shop every two weeks ( I actually make up two lists one for the first two weeks and the other for the rest). With two little ones it is hard to fit them and everything in the cart!

It is the easiest way I have found to stay organized, know what we are eating head of time, and look forward to cooking instead of staring at the refrigerator hoping something will jump out at me!

Click HERE for my September Menu. It is just the calendar. I write on it in pencil in case I have to erase or make changes for any reason.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

starting off

I am excited to have a blog with the goal of finding joy in all things, from the big to the small.