Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I'm in charge of the combined mutual tonight.  We're doing "Winter Fun in the Snow" with lots of 'adapted for snow' games.  I saw this recipe on Pinterest and thought it would be a great snack for the kids after they come in from the snow, with hot chocolate of course.  It came out really good, as you can see from the picture below...I'd definitely make this again.

  • 8 quarts air popped corn (about 2 cups of kernels)
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 30 “Fun Size” Snickers bars coarsely chopped
  • 3 oz melted semi sweet chocolate (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 200°
  2. Over medium heat boil butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in your baking soda.
  4. Pour over your popcorn and stir to coat evenly.
  5. Transfer to waxed paper lined counter and sprinkle peanuts on top. Stir until all is coated evenly.
  6. Transfer popcorn into a large roasting pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and stir in your coarsely chopped Snickers. Return to oven for 3 more minutes so the Snickers begin to melt slightly into the popcorn.
  8. Remove from pan and transfer popcorn back to wax paper to cool.
  9. Drizzle melted chocolate on top of popcorn if desired. 
  10. Let set and store in an airtight container.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Shredded Beef Tacos

This was dinner last night, perfect for a busy Sunday.
The whole family loved these!
(only request was try to spice the meat up a little more next time = more heat)

Shredded Beef Tacos

(photo and recipe from cookingclassy.blogspot.com)


1 (2.5 lb) chuck roast
1 (14 oz) can beef broth
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 Tbsp cumin
1/2 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Juice of 1 lime

Serve with:
Warmed corn tortillas or warmed fresh flour tortillas*
Green or Iceburg lettuce, chopped
Monterrey Jack or Cheddar cheese, shredded
Guacamole or diced avocados
Sour cream
Fresh Salsa
Freshly squeezed lime juice
Hot sauce

In a small bowl whisk together chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Place roast in a slow cooker, pour beef broth over roast then squeeze with fresh lime juice.  Sprinkle roast with spice mixture.  Cover slow cooker with lid and cook on low heat 8-10 hours.  Remove roast from slow cooker, shred beef (remove fat) and return shredded beef to slow cooker.  Cover with lid and cook additional 30 minutes.  Remove beef from slow cooker with tongs to remove juices when plating or drain in a colander.  Serve with desired toppings.  

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls

I made these last night--no one in the Lewis home is brave enough to try them, so here they sit on my counter. I tried them, and must say...for as EASY as they were, they're not bad.
Obviously not a TRUE cinnamon roll, but they're an option.
I guess

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls

2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls
1 stick butter, softened
½ cup white or brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk

Heat oven to 350°F. In small bowl, combine butter, sugar and cinnamon; beat until smooth.
Separate dough into triangles. Spread each triangle with about 2 tablespoons cinnamon
butter mixture. Roll up each, starting at the widest side, as you would normally do for crescent rolls.
Firmly press ends to seal.

Place each cinnamon filled crescent roll onto an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 350°F. for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. In small bowl, blend all glaze ingredients,
adding enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm rolls.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My weekly cooking experiment was a ........*salty* SUCCESS!!!
My family voted it "OK" --We all liked the potatoes the best.
THIS was dinner.
Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
6 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick ( had pork loin in the freezer, so I used that and shredded it)
2 packet dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning 
(i would only add one packet. The flavor was awesome but it really was salty)
2 10 oz can Cream of Chicken Soup
4 lbs peeled, cubed potatoes
5 Tablespoons real butter
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
6 cloves roasted garlic (directions are below)
1- 1 1/2 Cups warm skim milk (any milk will do, I used skim)
1 Tablespoon salt, or to taste (i would probably add only 1/2 Tablespoon next time)
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, or to taste
Place pork chops, Ranch seasoning and soup into a medium sized crock pot over high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 6 hours.
Place potatoes into a large pot of cold water. Place onto stove top over high heat and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, cook for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and transfer to the work bowl of a stand or electric mixer. Mix on low until potatoes are mashed then add butter, Parmesan, garlic, milk, salt and pepper. Season to taste if needed. For thinner mashed potatoes add more milk, slowly until your desired consistency.
Scoop mashed potatoes onto serving plates and top with pork chops and soup gravy from crock pot. I put a little parsley on top to serve.
Roasted Garlic
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place bulb of garlic with skins on, wrap lightly in tin foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove from foil and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove garlic from skins, place in a bowl and mash with a fork until completely mashed. Set aside. One garlic bulb will have around 12 cloves.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tropical Mango Smoothie

It's a staple at my house.  We live on them...sort of. :)
These are really easy to make, if you have the ingredients on hand.
All that's needed is:

A blender
2 small bananas
1/2 can of coconut milk
2 cups of mango chunks
2 cups of pineapple juice

(okay, I never measure...I just totally made those measurements up.  Use your best judgement, you really can't go wrong.)

Blend together and serve in pretty glasses.  You can serve with a dollop of whipped cream if it strikes your fancy.

Bon Bon

Monday, January 9, 2012

Perfect Chocolate Cake

I'm going Visiting Teaching this morning...and my visiting teach-ee is having a birthday.  I quickly whipped these up to take to her in celebration of her birthday.  I love this recipe.  It's EASY and SO GOOD and MOIST!  Don't be afraid.  Let go of the box mixes and try this.  I used a homemade vanilla frosting as well. It's a good combination.

2 c sugar
1 3/4 c flour
3/4 c cocoa powder
1 1/2 t bp
1 1/2 t bs
1 t salt
2 eggs
1 c milk
1/2 c oil
2 t vanilla extract
1 c boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 2 9inch pans or line cupcake pans with paper.  Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, bp, bs and salt in large bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes.  Stir in boiling water.  (batter will be thin)  Pour batter into pans.  Bake 30-35 minutes for cake, 15 or so for cupcakes.

Bon Bon

Sunday, January 8, 2012

For dessert, we had this...
Cake batter cooked in the waffle iron, 
served with ice cream.

BBQ Ribs

This was the winner as far as the other "experiments" of the week go. The meat fell off the bone and the flavor was yummy.

(photo and recipe from http://www.mmmisformommy.com)

1.5 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
S&P to taste (about 1 tsp each)
2 lbs pork baby back ribs 
1 cup barbecue sauce
Vegetable oil spray.  

In a small bowl, mix together paprika, brown sugar, cayenne and S&P.  Rub this mixture all over both sides of your ribs well.  Arrange ribs in the slow cooker by standing them up against the wall of the stoneware pot, thicker side down and meaty side against the pot.  Pour barbecue sauce over the ribs, cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low (I did 7, they were perfect). 

Now comes the only stove/oven work.
Once the initial slow cooking is done, very carefully remove the ribs to a baking pan which you have lined with foil and put a rack on, bone side up.  Set to the side.  
Skim any fat that has risen to the top and strain all of the remaining juices from the slow cooker through a mesh strainer into a small saucepan.  Bring to boil and allow to simmer and reduce by about a third, approximately 15 minutes.  
Put your oven's broiler on to heat up and make sure that there is an oven rack about 10 inches below the broiler element.  When the broiler is preheated, brush the ribs with sauce and broil for 3 or 4 minutes.  Take them out and very carefully flip them over, brush with sauce and broil again, meat side up, for approximately 9 minutes, taking them out once or twice to baste with more sauce.  
Serve any remaining sauce on the side with the ribs. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Granola Bites/Bars

I was looking for an alternative to buying granola bars for school lunches, and found a recipe that was pretty authentic in recreating the Quaker oat granola bars we tend to purchase. 

Instead of spreading in a pan and cutting into bars, I scooped into mini liners and made bites. Whichever you make, they need to "CURE" overnight to harden, and unstick.

2 1/2 c. QUICK oats
1/2 c. crisp cereal (Rice Krispy style)
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. oil
1/4 c. honey
1/2 t. vanilla
(I added 3 T. flax as well)
Mix dry together, EXCEPT chocolate, and pour wet ingredients on top. When mixed together, add chips and mix in again. Bake 350 degrees, bites 12-15 and bars 17-22.

I was pleased to see the boys grab the container and help themselves without being asked! They are great for lunches with a couple in a baggie, and work well for snacks on the run.

I think I will be trying raisin/coconut/nut, and cranberries/white chocolate next.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

This was our dinner tonight--I think it's a keeper!
I like trying a new recipe at least once a week AND I'm testing a lot of slow cooker recipes because we're doing a RS meeting this month on easy dinner ideas.
SO, if you have any crock pot recipes you LOVE, would you please share them?!
I'll return the favor and share my crock pot success with you.
We can be each others sous-chef
Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff
·       1 pound cubed beef stew meat
·       2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed golden mushroom soup
·       1/2 cup chopped onion
·       1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
·       1/3 cup water
.       salt and pepper
.       a bullion cube
.       half packet of onion soup mix

(add to pot just before serving)
.       sauteed mushrooms (or you could probably do canned?!)
·       4 ounces cream cheese (add a "dollup" of sour cream when you add the cream cheese)
1.     In a slow cooker, combine the meat, soup, onion, Worcestershire sauce, water, boullion cube, and onion soup mix.
2.     Cook on Low setting for about 5 hours.
Serve over egg noodles.

Chicken Curry Salad

Have I done this recipe before? :)  I can't remember and with a baby sitting on my lap, I'm too lazy to check.  This is my lunch today.  It's YUM! (and so easy)

Take some leftover cooked chicken (or cook some up special just for this recipe, whatever floats your root beer), toasted chopped pecans, chopped celery, raisins and red apple chunks and mix together.  Add mayo, curry and cayenne pepper to your liking.  Then salt and pepper it til you think it's perfect.  Eat it on bread or lettuce - I'm a rabbit, so I prefer greens.   And then enjoy.

(and don't ask me for exactness here...I make it up as I go)

What's my name again?  Oh ya....Bon Bon.

Macaroni and Cheese

I didn't take a picture of this dish last night...sorry, use your imagination.


Servings: 4-6

  • 3 cups dry macaroni (they suggested elbow, I used the spiral pasta)
  • tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (i used the fiesta blend, because that's what I had)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cup whole milk (i used 1%)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard or spicy mustard (i went with the spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • A dash of garlic powder


  1. 1
    Boil the macaroni in water for six minutes. Drain.
  2. 2
    In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. (i actually threw the butter and cheese in the crock pot, let it melt then added the rest)
  3. 3
    In slow cooker, combine cheese mixture, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper. Add the drained macaroni and stir again.
  4. 4
    Cook on low for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

    This really was yummy and had a nice flavor! 
    Mac and Cheese is a little heavy in my opinion, so I mixed streamed broccoli in with it just to make it feel a little better and more filling. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Chicken Piccata

                               This was my recipe experiment for the week--it was yummy!
Love, Truly 
Chicken Piccata
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (or use cutlets)
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup flour
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup chicken stock or dry white wine
6 Tbsp lemon juice
dash red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup brined capers
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

Cut the chicken breast halves horizontally, butterflying them open. If the breast pieces you are working with are large, you may want to cut them each into two pieces. If the pieces are still thick after butterflying, put them between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with a meat hammer to 1/4-inch thickness.

Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Rinse the chicken pieces in water. Dredge them thoroughly in the flour mixture, until well coated.

Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add half of the chicken pieces, do not crowd the pan. Brown well on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve to a plate. Cook the other breasts in the same manner, remove from pan. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in the oven while you prepare the sauce.

Add the chicken stock (or white wine), lemon juice, and capers to the pan. Use a spatula to scrape up the browned bits. Reduce the sauce by half. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Plate the chicken and serve with the sauce poured over the chicken. Sprinkle with parsley. (i didn't do parsley--and I forgot the garlic) 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Mozzarella Cheese Ball

I know cheese ball season is over....but this is about as easy as it gets...and SO good!

Mozzarella Cheese Ball

8 oz package cream cheese, softened

1/2 package (4 1/2 tsp) dry ranch dressing mix
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
finely chopped pecans

Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl.  Mix well.  
Form mixture into a ball and roll in chopped pecans.  
Refrigerate before serving with crackers.

(this made enough for two baseball size balls)