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Monday, December 28, 2015

Perfect Day for Lasagna

A big storm is supposed to be heading this way, at least bad through the Twin Cities, they are saying we will have wind and anywhere from 2-6 inches up by me, but a lot more the more south you go, up to 12 inches, so since this is my last day off for the holidays, I decided it was a perfect day to make some lasagna so the kids who want takeout after their drive can pick up some takeout and we can have some for supper tonight and use it up.  It's so hard sometimes to think of what to make that can either be frozen or gotten rid of when it's just the two of us.  I definitely am not used to cooking for two, especially when one is a tiny eater (not me!).  Anyway, I baked it early today so it will cut up nicely for takeout later on as they come by.  I don't make complicated lasagna, but everyone seems to like it in this family.  I have tried other recipes that take a lot of work, and they were great, but this one works, so why change something that works huh?  Here's all I do.

Cook enough lasagna noodles for 3 layers..if making it in a 9 x 13 deep sided pan, that would be about 12 noodles, according to directions on box.  (I don't use the "no bake" noodles.  I have in the past and they totally dissolved in the dish, so I use the old fashioned cook kind).  drain and rinse with cold water so you can handle them.

fry 1 lb of hamburger-I use extra lean because there is already a lot of fat in the cheese- that is salt and peppered and crumbled finely, in a medium sized kettle-then add one large size jar of  your favorite pasta sauce-I like Prego Traditional- and add a tsp or sugar to cut the bitterness of the sauce.  simmer on low heat until noodles are ready.  You can add a small can of drained diced tomatoes to this to add a nice freshness to the sauce too.

Put a little sauce in the bottom of your baking pan..

Layer about 4 noodles on the bottom of the pan.  put a layer of the sauce/meat mixture even over the noodles.  put a layer of small curd cottage cheese (I get a large container of this), then a layer of mozzarella cheese and a small amount of mild cheddar cheese and start the process again.  be generous with all your toppings.  after you do the second layer, put on one more layer of noodles, the sauce and meat, NO cottage cheese, just mozzarella and cheddar and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.  cover with aluminum foil, doming it so it isn't touching the cheese and sealing the sides.  put on a sheet pan to protect from oven spills, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Then remove foil and bake another 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown on the edges.  Let sit at least 30-45 minutes so it "sticks" together when cutting into it.  This can be frozen well. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Cheesy Baked Potato Soup with Ham or Bacon

I thought I posted this at one point, but can't find it myself, so guess it's not on here..I make this soup usually only once or twice a year, but it's really good and easy to put together from contents you have extras of in the fridge and want to use them up.  Yesterday I made a pot with some buns made from rhoades frozen dinner rolls I let raise at the same time as baking my potatoes for the soup.  It was a great supper for me and Dave after all the loads of foods from Christmas eve.  We both wanted something simple for supper after that feed. 

(I'd advise prepping everything before starting soup)

2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
7 cups milk
4 large baking potatoes, baked and cooled, peeled and cubed
4 green onions, sliced
12 bacon strips cooked and crumbled or 1 cup cooked ham diced
1-1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
salt/pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chicken base or 2 chicken bouillon cubes (I use the liquid base in the jar)

In a soup kettle, or dutch oven, melt the butter being careful not to scorch it.   Stir in the flour; heat and stir until smooth.  Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until thickened.  Add potatoes and onions,  Stirring constantly bring it to a simmer and then reduce heat.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until cheese and sour cream are melted.  serve.  (I add very little salt, especially if using ham and taste as I add it so it's not too salty).

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Prepping for our Big Christmas Eve Event-marinating Whiskey Wings

Our family tradition is to celebrate on Christmas Eve and eat lots of little bites of food..of course we start out strong and then find out little bites add up really fast into a big plate of food and very full belly.  I made the eggrolls (always my contribution) about 10 days ago and froze them, so one major thing was off my list and now it's easy street.  Since everyone makes things we don't have to do a ton of cooking each, which I love.  I will try to post a picture of the big spread once it's ready at my daughter's house tomorrow night, but you never know if that will be possible because everyone dives in once they get the word it's set up..tonight I started marinating chicken wings.  This recipe is an oldy, but goody from back in about the 70's.  I was working at a factory at the time and we had a potluck at which a lady brought these and generously gave me the recipe.  They are so good.  I call them whiskey wings because they have a portion of whiskey in them.  They actually taste somewhat similar to teriyaki wings, but maybe a little sweeter and richer to me.  I always make at least a double batch and used to 4 x it...but just a word of warning, make all separate batches so the flavors stay true to the amount of meat.  I just make them in stronger zip lock gallon bags to help keep down the dirty dishes. 

Here is the recipe and I will post a picture once they are cooked tomorrow also. 

 2 lbs wings split into separate parts
4 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Accent seasoning
5 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp drinkable whiskey

Mix well and marinate at least 24 hours.  Use tightly sealed container or gallon zip lock bag with air squeezed out before sealing and make sure contained is mixed around at least a few times.  Heat oven to broil.  lay wings on a broiler pan, and brown on both sides under broiler.  I take them off the top broiler unit and place them in the bottom pan with the juices and then turn heat down to 350 and bake until done..30-45 minutes.  (they can be put in a crockpot also to slow cook or keep warm during a party.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Every year we exchange little gifts at work.  Last year I made my mini loaves of cherry almond bread (recipe posted previously) that went over great..most people didn't even share theirs, just ate it themselves because they loved it so much!, so this year  decided to make something again that I am hoping they wil enjoy over the holidays or just on a cold winter night at home relaxing.  It's a recipe I found for homemade peppermint cocoa mix.  It makes a huge batch and since I have about 12 people to give to, I bought little holiday tins that I will put a packet of cocoa mix in zip locks in with a few candy canes to stir it with.  You don't have to add peppermint candy to the mix and you can add different flavored coffee creamers to vary the taste also or just leave it plain for a great hot chocolate. I added a whole box of candy canes crushed because it didn't seem like enough to me on her recipe.  One lady suggested as a gift to include some mini marshmallows and mini chocolate chips on top of each package..I made some peppermint hot cocoa last year around this time when the grandkids were over and Kyle loved it. He was asking if I had any when he was over last time, so guess I'd better save enough for a cup for him the next time he stops over! 

The link is


Monday, December 14, 2015

Kim's Apple Coleslaw

My daughter, Kim, made this coleslaw for Thanksgiving this year and we loved it, so I got the recipe.  Today, after making a pile of eggrolls the last two days, I had about half a bag of cabbage mix for coleslaw and thought I'd reduce it down and make up some for supper's so easy and nice you have to make it at least an hour before serving so you can just pop it in the fridge while you are busy making the rest of the meal.  (although I scooped some into a small bowl and ate it just now)..I couldn't resist.  (I made 1/4 of the recipe)

Here's how she makes it:

Poppy Seed Honey Dressing:
1/4 cup vinegar
1 cup real mayonnaise
up to 1/3 cup poppy seeds (she uses about half of the 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix altogether and set aside.

Take two bags of coleslaw mix with carrots, add 1 bunch scallions thinly sliced and 4 honey crisp apples that have been finely cubed and add the dressing..toss until well blended.  refrigerate at least 1 hour, then mix lightly and serve. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Owl Hat for Leah

I was asked to make my Great-great niece an owl hat in October..she loves owls part of her Halloween costume, had no time then, and finally got it done now to match her winter coat this winter.  Once I sat down and started it, it only took one evening and part of this morning to finish up.  Little hats for little heads are fast!  I can't wait to see it on her..

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Easy GOOD cookies

Kyle and his cookies he helped make this morning, now he's going home to decorate their tree and house and he plans on sharing them with hot cocoa, so I sent a box of candy canes with them to stir the cocoa with. He said the cookies are THE BEST! They are peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips in them and then a rolo mini in the middle..He put the Rolos in and made them into the balls..did a good job! (and they are yummy cookies!)
Good Cookies:
One pouch of Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mix prepared as directed. Add 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
12 unwrapped Rolo mini candies
Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out 24 balls of cookie dough onto 2 cookie sheets.  Take one of the scoops,  top it off with a Rolo candy, top with another cookie ball and roll in hands to make one big ball..Put 6 big ball on each cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for about 14-15 minutes until golden brown.  Let sit on the cookie sheet once removing from the oven for 3-5 minutes to set, remove onto cooling rack to completely cool.  Makes 12 big cookies.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Caramel Apple Fudge. quick and easy

If you want something a little different and absolutely creamy and delicious at this holiday season..try this fudge! I saw it on one of my blogs I follow and had to try it. It calls for dulce de leche and "Walmart" didn't have it, so I made that part last night. You just boil sweetened condensed milk in it's can with the label off covered in water for 2-3 hours and you have it! I did 2 cans so if it turned out good I could make more for the holidays or gift giving. It's called caramel apple fudge and it has a little sea salt in it so it's like salted's good! I was trying not to taste test but the spoon had way too much stuck to it so I couldn't resist! LOL. think the majority of it will be going to work tomorrow or I'd eat the whole pan..not a good plan.  I think it would be good with peanuts in it time I might try that..

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

I am sick of boring pork chops, so today I searched for a recipe to make for tonight because I had a pack of pork chops I had defrosted.  Plus I needed a recipe I had all the ingredients for because I was absolutely not in the mood to go to the grocery store.  We only have one somewhat nearby my house these days as two of them closed their doors and the one that is open is still about 7 miles away and a little more pricey than the Walmart I usually go to on my way home from work.  Anyway...I found this recipe and Dave and I both really liked it.  The pork chops were moist and super tasty.  I just threw in some squash, baked potato and steamed some broccoli to go with it.  I definitely will be making these again.  The only thing I did differently was browned them and then tossed them in the oven to finish cooking at 350 degrees with my squash and potatoes so I didn't have to watch them so close..I think they were in there about 35-40 minutes.  Here is the link to the recipe. It's one of Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Networks..

Another "in progress" Project Done! Enchanted Garden Pillow

Wow, I am feeling productive!  That hasn't happened for a while!  I finally finished the back of my Enchanted Garden pillow I started about 3 months ago and put it together!  I used a cotton yarn from Hobby Lobby and am loving the texture and detail it shows on this.  It's pretty heavy though, but still fluffy and comfy.  Now on to an owl hat I've been behind on too for my GG niece!