Friday, March 27, 2015

Crock Pot Chili


  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 3 (15 oz) cans dark red kidney beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • a dash of ground cayenne pepper

  1. In a large skillet brown meat; drain
  2. Stir everything together in crock pot, cover and cook on Low setting for 4 to 8 hours

My Thoughts:
Nothing warms you up on a chilly night more than a bowl full of ...well, chili.  This is a recipe that I have adapted from my mothers recipe (hers was a little more tame for us children).  Its very simple and way better than anything that comes in a can.  This makes a lot; it yields about six nice size bowls.  Serve chili with cheese, rice, crackers, bread, sour cream, or just by itself.


Source: adapted from my Mama's recipe

Cinnamon Oat Baked Apples


  • 4 braeburn apples
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp apple juice
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • a pinch of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix together oats and pecans and spread on an even layer on cookie sheet; sprinkle lightly with a little cinnamon and bake for about 6 minutes until toasted, remove and set aside
  3. Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees
  4. Rinse and core apples, making sure not to cut through the bottom, using a spoon works well for this
  5. In a small bowl, combine oat mixture, brown sugar, yogurt, butter, and cinnamon; spoon into apple cavities
  6. Place apples on 8x8 baking dish and pour apple juice in the bottom of the dish
  7. Bake for 40 minutes until tender, but not mushy
  8. While apples are baking, prepare the whipped cream; on high speed, beat together heavy cream, powdered sugar, and salt until stiff peaks develop.  Serve apples with whipped cream on top

My Thoughts:
Oh crap, is this ever good!  It tastes a lot like apple pie without being as terrible for you.  Definitely worth making sometime when you have extra apples lying around and you could easily substitute other nuts if you don't have pecans.


Source: adapted from I Heart Nap Time

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Crock Pot Corned Beef Dinner


  • corned beef brisket, any size
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2-3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1 lb baby carrots
  • 1 cup reduced sodium beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp caraway seed

  1. Place celery, potatoes, and carrots in the bottom of crock pot
  2. Discard seasoning packet included with brisket and trim some fat from meat, if desired
  3. Put brisket over vegetables, fat side facing up
  4. In a small bowl, mix together broth, bay leaf, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard until well combined; pour mixture over all
  5. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 8-10 hours
  6. An hour before serving, sprinkle caraway seeds over vegetables

My Thoughts:
I have been making this recipe for years and it is really the only way I have ever prepared corned beef brisket.  It smells amazing when it is cooking and the saltiness from the meat penetrates into the vegetables so it is very flavorful.


Source: unknown

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix


  • 1/2 cup dried buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp dry parsley flakes
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried chopped onions
  • 2 tsp dry chives
  • 2 tsp dry dill weed
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper

  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well
  2. Store in refrigerator in air tight container
     ** 3 tbsp equals one packet of store bought ranch envelope (use within 9 months)
     ** for dressing, mix:  (use within 8-10 days)
            -2 tbsp ranch mix
            -1/2 cup mayo
            -1/2 cup Greek yogurt
            -1/3 to 1/2 cup milk, to thin out dressing



My Thoughts:
I love that I found this recipe!  I had stopped using recipes that require ranch mix because of the MSG, and now that is not a problem!  I have only used this recipe a handful of times so far, but I would say that it is a bit more tame than store-bought, but still a great substitution.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Creamy Cauliflower Gratin


  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk, heated in microwave for 60 seconds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup cheddar jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup Italian panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Grease 3 quart backing dish with butter
  3. Place cauliflower in large pot and fill with water so vegetables are submerged
  4. Bring pot to a boil; boil for 10 minutes; drain and return to pot (mash cauliflower if desired)
  5. While cauliflower is boiling, melt butter in a medium saucepan, whisk in flour until combined
  6. Continue to whisk for 2 minutes
  7. Slowly whisk in milk and continue whisking until thickened
  8. Add in salt, pepper, and nutmeg
  9. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted
  10. Pour cheese sauce in pot with cauliflower and stir until mixed
  11. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish
  12. In a small bowl, combine panko and Parmesan; sprinkle this mixture evenly over the cauliflower
  13. Bake 25 minutes until golden brown and bubbly

My Thoughts:
I am always looking for recipes that can incorporate more vegetables into our diet, and what better way than preparing ones smothered in cheese sauce?  Was this the best cauliflower dish I have made? No, but it was good enough to make again.  


Monday, March 2, 2015

Hamburger Steaks with Brown Gravy


        Hamburger Steaks:
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
        Brown Gravy:
  • 2 tbsp pan drippings
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 3/4 cup beef stock
  • salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Combine the hamburger steak ingredients together with hands until seasoning is evenly mixed, but keep in mind to not over work the meat
  2. Shape meat into 4 patties, about 1/2 inch thick
  3. Heat large pan over medium-high heat
  4. Once hot, cook beef patties on each side for about 4-5 minutes for a nice sear; set aside on plate
  5. Reduce heat to medium
  6. Pour out drippings in a cup, place 2 tbsp of drippings back into pan and discard remaining (if not enough grease is available, use bacon grease or butter to make up for what are you missing)
  7. Whisk flour into the pan until combined; continuing whisking 3-4 minutes or until roux is medium brown in color
  8. Add in beef stock and continue whisking 2-3 minutes or until gravy starts to thicken slightly; add salt and pepper
  9. Add beef to gravy and reduce heat to med-low for 10-15 minutes or until the meat is fully cooked and gravy is thickened
  10. Serve over mashed potatoes

My Thoughts:
Wow!  I thought this recipe was fantastic, even with its simplicity.  This is just an all around great home comfort food dinner.  Easy, cheap, and filling...sounds like dinner to me!


North Dakota Dinner


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • seasoning salt, to taste
  • 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 (15 oz) can creamed corn
  • 5 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Brown beef with seasoning salt; drain
  3. In a greased 3 quart casserole dish, evenly layer half the meat, followed by half the potatoes; repeat layers
  4. In a medium bowl, combine corn and milk
  5. Pour mixture over casserole
  6. Scatter chunks of butter over top
  7. Cover, and bake for 1 1/2 hours

My Thoughts:
This is a meal that has been served within my family for well, a long time.  Not sure where the original recipe came from, but pretty sure Grandma brought it into the family.  This really is a fantastic recipe and a great way to use up leftover potatoes.


Source:  I suppose North Dakota? lol