Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

I guess I should get with the program and post all my crock pot recipes while its still cold outside! You never know in Austin, folks, it could be 95 degrees tomorrow!

This little recipe is so yummy. I really like it a lot. Other people have tried it besides me, don't worry! Just in case you're wondering, why yes, someone did tell me it wast the BEST beef stroganoff they've ever had. I don't know if they tried it anywhere else except Marie Callendar's, but hey! That's something, right?

It's another super easy, magic recipe where you throw everything in the crock pot & don't even stir. Fast forward a few hours and your dinner is waiting for you. I don't know about you, but I can't make a crock pot meal while I'm home all day, like on the weekends, the smell is just too good!! I get really impatient and want to check on it, but apparently every time you lift the lid & peek in your crock pot, you need to add 20 minutes to the cooking time! So don't let out any steam that way! :)

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

  • 1 lb. cubed beef stew meat
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can  golden mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Large dollop sour cream
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 bag egg noodles
Line your crock pot with a crock liner! Place all ingredients except sour cream ,cream cheese & noodles in pot. Cook on high for 5 hours (or low for 8 hours). Add sour cream & cream cheese and stir until melted. Keep on low while you cook your noodles. Serve on top of noodles with some veggies on the side.


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Monday, December 26, 2011

AMAZING Salted Caramel Sauce

I've been afraid of caramel. Very afraid. since my little incident over a year ago. My wound has healed, but I still have a faint scar to prove my battle wounds! ha My friend Nicole came over & wanted to make some delicious pumpkin blondies that required this salted caramel sauce, so I made her make it while I watched. Success! It seemed like I could attempt without an injury, so when I NEEDED to make this again a couple weeks later when my supply ran out, I did it! OK, I had a few mishaps with the sugar crystallizing and getting really hard in the bottom of the pan. I tried 3 times and finally the last time when I turned the heat up higher, it worked! I made this again at my mom's house for Thanksgiving & the same problem happened. Apparently no one really knows what that happens, or at least I couldn't get a good reason on the web. The foolproof way to make it though is to add a tablespoon of light corn syrup to the water sugar mixture, which prevents it from hardening. Just do that, it's easier... :) Also, DO NOT stir the mixture except when you first put it in the pan, or you will mess it up. Bad. It's really yummy though & very worth it!

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 TBSP light corn syrup (optional, but makes it easier to make for the first time)
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced & seeded
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Mix cream, sea salt, vanilla & vanilla bean scrapings in a large cup. Set aside. 

In a medium saucepan, mix water, sugar & corn syrup- stir one last time to combine & do not stir again! Heat over medium-high heat until starts to bubble. DO NOT STIR or you will disrupt the caramel-making process (Very scientific, I know), but you can gently swirl the pan to make sure everything is heating evenly. 

Watch it carefully until it turns a deep amber color (this is where my hands were full and I couldn't take any more photos!). Turn off heat and carefully add cream mixture, whisking constantly until comes together and any hardened caramel bits on the whisk melt away. When you first pour it in, it will go crazy & steam & bubble, but just keep whisking. 

Pour into a jar and store in the fridge. You should probably only keep it for a week or so, but I have kept mine a lot longer. Its really amazing on apple pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, brownies.... etc. you get the idea. :)


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Monday, December 12, 2011

My Little Green Salad

This post is not so much a recipe, as just a guide. Everyone has their favorite salad toppings & go-to sides. This is one of mine. I love it! With the right dressing (right now I like Caesar Vinaigrette), it's the perfect compliment to a heavier meal & might even make you feel like you're eating healthy stuff- you know like lettuce & carrots. :)

My Little Green Salad
Makes enough for 2 salads
  • 2 handfuls bagged romaine lettuce
  • one bunch green onions
  • small handful mini carrots, sliced
  • small handful of cucumber pieces
  • garlic salt
  • pepper
  • feta cheese
  • your favorite Vinaigrette
Toss veggies together & sprinkle with asesonings & cheese. Toss with dressing & enjoy!

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken & Homemade Tortillas

Have I told ya'll how obsessed I am with my crockpot these days? It's just SO easy, its unbelievable! I have made this awesome chicken at least 3 times recently & its delicious. So moist & flavorful with just enough spice. It calls for 4 ingredients I usually have on hand & its been perfect in tacos. You could also serve it over a salad or rice also. I usually throw this in the crockpot with a crockpot liner the night before & place the whole thing in the fridge overnight. Then I can turn it on before work or you could come home and turn it on during lunch. This would be great for a party or get-together too! I am loving this so much I may try it with pork next!

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken
Makes enough for 3-4 adults, easily doubles!
  • 2 chicken breasts- fresh or frozen is fine
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/2 can condensed chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa- I like it hot!
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
Line your crockpot with a crockpot liner to prevent sticking- these are amazing! Place all ingredeints except sour cream in pot (no need to stir) and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 5 hours. Shred chicken with a fork (I didn't have to remove it from the pot to do this) & add sour cream. Mix until combined and continue heating on low while you prepare the rest of your meal (tortillas, cheese, lettuce, beans, etc.).

The first time I made this I didn't have any tortillas so I used Freida Loves Bread's quick recipe to make my own- delicious. I didn't take photos of the process, but she does a great job of showing the step-by-step instructions on her blog.

Yum! Enjoy!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

Don't you love it when you take a chance to alter one of your favorite go-to recipes and it turns out AWESOME? :) I've been making this pumpkin muffin/bread recipe for quite some time. I had the brilliant idea to swap some of the flour for cocoa powder + add chocolate chips. These muffins are SO moist & heavenly. Best of all, no oil or butter makes them like super healthy, right? :) No seriously, pumpkin is so good for you. :) I used some whole wheat white flour too because that's what I had- no one knew the difference! :)

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins
yield: 2 dozen muffins- halving the recipe works great too!

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 can (16 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 & line your muffin cups. Whisk dry ingredients together & set aside. Mix together applesauce & sugar in large mixing bowl with electric mixer. Add pumpkin until combined. Slowly add dry ingredients Add eggs one at a time until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Scoop batter evenly into muffin cups - do not fill more than 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes, or until top springs back lightly when touched. Cool slightly & enjoy. These are best when warm and the chocolate is melty! :) Yum.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies- the BEST Cookies in the World!

I rarely ever try new chocolate chip cookie recipes because I don't feel like chocolate chip cookies are that exciting- also I already have a couple "go-to" recipes. I'm not sure what made me try this recipe from Pennies on a Platter, but I am SO glad I did! These will probably be one of the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I made from now on (except the Perfect Chocolate Chip one from America's Test Kitchen since its so different). G immediately became obsessed with these cookies and called them "The BEST cookies in the world!" He was so excited and asked me to make them again soon. I have since made these 2 more times with other pudding flavors & mix-ins (recipes to come!), but I think our favorite is the classic with vanilla pudding. The possibilities are endless!

    I am on the lookout for Oreo pudding mix, because I think that would be AWESOME!! I can't find it anywhere except a pack of like 50 from Amazon. haha I haven't resorted to that yet...

    You seriously need to stop reading this and make these now! Go! :)

    I actually had to start freezing half of the dough balls before baking them so that we could stop ourselves from eating the entire jar of cookies in a few days. They're THAT good! You can place cookie dough balls on parchment paper in a plastic storage container in the freezer. Bake in preheated oven for about 12-14 minutes.

    Note- I could never get mine to puff up very much like the original version, but they still taste great!

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

    I LOVE Cracker Barrel's Chicken & Dumplings. I have never tried to make something similar before because all the recipes seemed too complicated. Since I'm now obsessed with my crock pot, when I came across the recipe on my friend Erika's blog, I knew I had to make it ASAP!

    It was delicious! And easy! How perfect is that? I served with some tasty Skillet Pepper Corn & fresh green beans. So filling & yummy on a chilly day. We had chilly days for about 2 weeks & now its back to 80 degrees. At least I have this recipe in my back pocket for when it does get cold again!

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Easy Skillet Pepper Corn

    My Mimi taught me how to make this corn a while ago, and I love it! It's such an easy way to spice up a bag of frozen corn. Feel free to add other seasonings too, but I like to keep mine simple with salt & pepper.

    I found it especially tasty with my Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings recently. Yum yum yum!

    Skillet Pepper Corn
    Serves 2-3
    • 1/2 bag frozen corn
    • 2 TBSP butter
    • salt & pepper to taste (I used at least 1/2 tsp of each)
    Heat skillet over medium heat. Partially melt butter & add corn to pan. Season with salt & pepper & stir to coat evenly. 

    Let corn cook for about 6-8 minutes until it is cooked all the way through & starts to sizzle- I like mine a little brown. 

    Serve with your favorite meal and enjoy!

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    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Caramel Apple Pie

    I have a great update to your classic apple pie recipe. This recipe has two wonderful crusts on the top & bottom & is dotted with delicious toffee pieces that add the perfect flavor when slightly melted. I made this pie in a hurry (sorry, no photos of the process), but I didn't think it was too difficult at all! The most annoying part is chilling your ingredients before you start, but it helps the crust come together. It was SO delicious with some light caramel swirl ice cream!

    I think I'm going to make it again this weekend for a BBQ, and it would be the perfect addition at a Thanksgiving table! I really hope you give it a shot soon. I have to say, I normally make my mother's classic pie crust, but I went ahead and gave this crust a shot since it went along with the recipe. I can't complain - pretty tasty!

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Pumpkin Melt-in-your-Mouth Cookies!

    Oh wow. Apparently I've been busy. I really don't have much to show for it. A few shopping bags, a lot of new kitchen stuff, a few amazing meals in Las Vegas, and like a billion cookies. I really wish I'd gotten around to posting this recipe before Halloween, but I'm not beating myself up about it too much because people still love pumpkin stuff way into the fall months. I'm having a hard time believing its fall when its 85 degrees in Austin. At least my office keeps the AC going enough to give the little space heater under my desk a workout. :)

    Anyway, these cookies are simply fabulous. They really do melt in your mouth- I honestly cannot tell you how many I ate. They are a little cakey & a little fall spicey & not too sweet. I was desperately looking for a home for all of these cookies since G is not a huge fan of pumpkin things (I know!!). This recipe makes  A LOT of cookies, and it is only half of the original recipe! Craziness! But seriously, please make these before you get tired of pumpkin stuff! They will make you about 837 new friends.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Ghiradelli Classic Brownies & Hot Fudge Brownie Sundaes

    I just posted this delicious & easy hot fudge sauce recipe. These brownies I made to enjoy with the sauce in a delicious brownie sundae. They are classic, fudgy & delicious.

    A friend passed along another recipe for Truffle Brownies in which she recommended using this as the base, but G is not a fan of PB in baked goods, so I went with the simple version instead. These did not disappoint- they were perfect and I was very sad when the last brownie was taken from pan after I was looking forward to enjoying it in my sundae ALL day at work. That's OK- it was probably a sign...

    P.S. Brownie sundaes are not complete without hot fudge, a dollop of marshmallow fluff & sprinkles. Fresh strawberries will take it over the top!

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Easy Fluff Hot Fudge Sauce

    OH boy. This is delicious. Homemade stuff is way better for you than the store-bought stuff, right, regardless of amount of sugar? OK, phew. That was a close one. I've been treating this little jar of joy like its my medicine lately! If that doesn't tell you how much you need to go to your pantry, get the ingredients & make this right now, then I don't know what does. It is fabulous. It is easy. It is HOT FUDGE!

    The key ingredient, the marshmallow Fluff, makes it so fluffy & gives it the perfect texture without any fancy tricks. PLUS, there will be a decent amount of the jar leftover, which I think is perfect on top of ice cream. :)

    I first enjoyed this on a brownie sundae. Heaven.

    Its also to die for over fresh strawberries.

    If you sneak a spoonful here or there, no one will notice. I promise...

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