Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chicken Drippings

So, a while ago I made a roast chicken and instead of throwing the drippings away I decided to save them.  I called up my grandma (who is waste-not-want-not kind of gal) and asked her how to do it.  Yes, I could have Googled it but I'd rather 'Grandma' it! :D  I cherish her tips and way of doing things.

Anyway, this was so easy to do.  I poured my the drippings from my crock pot into a measuring cup.  I let the fat rise to the top and then skimmed it off.  Next, I poured the stock into a mini muffin pan and placed it in the freezer.  Once frozen I removed the broth from the pan and put the 'cubes' in a freezer bag and tossed it back in the freezer.

I used to use an ice cube tray to freeze left over canned chicken broth but the tray was hard to clean and I wasn't sure how much each cube measured.  Two 'cubes' from a mini muffin pan equals a 1/4 cup.

Separated drippings (the fat is on top and is the lighter color).

Skim the fat off.

Remaining drippings.

Fill the muffin pan.

Remove from pan when frozen.

Place in freezer bag and return to freezer.

Crock Pot Mexican Chicken

I love this recipe!  It's one of my favorite meals to make because it is so simple, only takes five ingredients, is inexpensive, and most importantly, my kids like it.  I like to call recipes like this dump-and-forget because that is literally what you do until it's time to eat!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can Rotel*
1 package taco seasoning*
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream

Directions:  Add chicken to crock pot.  Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken.  Pour Rotel and soup over seasoned chicken.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.  Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.

*You can cook the chicken straight from the freezer or thawed.  You can substitute 1 cup of your favorite salsa for the Rotel.  I only use about a 1/3 to 1/2 a package of taco seasoning.  I think using a whole package is a little too much and can get salty.  I also use fat free cream of mushroom soup and reduced fat sour cream.

I serve the finished chicken over rice but you could also wrap it in tortillas.  It would also be good for nachos.


Add taco seasoning over chicken.

Add Rotel.

Add soup.

Remove from heat and add sour cream.

Served over rice.

So, so simple!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Whole Chicken in your crockpot RECIPE

Here is another Simple recipe for busy Gals! This recipe is also Easy on the wallet too.

Here is what you need: Salt, Pepper, Chopped Onions, Celery, Carrots, Minced Garlic, Smoked Paprika, Beer.

1. First unwrap the chicken, remove the bag of innards from the cavity and give the chicken a quick rinse & pat dry with a paper towel.
2. Second, place some of your veggies of choice and about 1tsp. of minced garlic inside the chicken for flavor. (we did not eat those each their own)

3. Season the chicken with smoked paprika and salt & pepper.

4. Almost there.... Place whatever veggies you want around the chicken and pour the can of beer around the chicken.

5. Finally,  Put the lid on your crockpot. heat on low for 6 hours and easy peasy! A meal for your family! Oh and your house will smell wonderful all day long!!!

Stay tuned to see how YOU can use the left over chicken broth....


Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Cake mix cookies RECIPE

Anyone who truly knows me knows that I LOVE to bake. I have a true passion for baking. But being a mom of four kids, I also love SIMPLE! This recipe is exactly that....SIMPLE! Kids love these and so do adults.

Here is what you need: Pillsbury Confetti Cake mix, 1/3 cup veg. oil, 2 eggs, Brachs Chocolate Stars (or Hersheys Kisses)
You can also follow directions on side of box for confetti cookies. It just calls for frosting instead of the chocolate stars on top. (Chocolate Stars is what makes it MINE & better)
What to do:
1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, combine cake mix, oil and eggs; stir with spoon until thoroughly moistened. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
 2. Bake at 375°F. for *6 to 8 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Press chocolate star in the middle of the cookie, bake for 1 more minute; remove from cookie sheets.

Note: *If you using a stonewear cookie sheet like pictured, you need to add an additional 2-3 min.

These cookies are AMAZING for ALL seasons. I make them for the Christmas Season as well!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Savvy Deal

I have this crockpot and absolutely LOVE it. My hubby bought this for me, right after my old crockpot spilled soup in his car. No more spills with this crock. This is a GREAT buy! I am sharing this deal from Just click on link below.(Crock-Pot $5 Rebate, $19.88+)


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Crunchy Mixed Vegetable Bake

Hi All!
I have a Tastefully Simple recipe book that I love.  The recipes are great and simple because of the convenience of using the Tastefully Simple products.  One of my favorite recipes from the book is their Crunchy Mixed Vegetable Bake.  It's savory and creamy and, even though it has veggies, it's great comfort food.  I normally make this at Thanksgiving but I was looking for a veggie casserole (yes, casserole, not hot dish -- I'm an Iowa girl!) to use some leftover roast chicken in and thought of this.  For the sake of saving time I'm posting a link to the recipe instead of typing it out here, but I've posted some pics for you to see the product.

The modifications I made were to use fat free soup and light sour cream and then add the cooked chopped chicken to the veggies (approximately 2 cups).  I also skipped the french fried onions simply because I didn't have any on hand.  I divided my ingredients in half and froze one and cooked the other.  This was my first time serving the casserole to my kids (they don't normally eat this at Thanksgiving, the little turkeys!) and they didn't hate it!  Although, they each picked out their favorite veggies - cauliflower for Miss Em and broccoli for Mister.  I now consider this a new go to for a healthy simple meal.

Chicken & Veggies Mixed
Soup Added to Chicken & Veggie Mix

Finished Dish                            


Monday, October 17, 2011

Homemade McGriddles Recipe

My kids LOVE the McGriddles at McDonalds. My daughter recently spent the night at a friend’s house and her friend's parents made homemade McGriddles! So I was getting tired of hearing how good they were, (or just plain jealous) and decided to take tackle this myself. I googled a few recipes and some are just crazy. So as usual, I did things my way and made it as simple as I possibly could and created a winning dinner or breakfast recipe. It is probably a lot healthier and for sure, a LOT CHEAPER than McDonalds!

What you will need: Pancake mix. (I use Krusteaz Buttermilk) as pictured below.

Cooked sausage patties, sliced American cheese, & scrambled eggs (optional).

Step 1. make pancake mix according to package instructions.
Step 2. Use a 1/4 measuring cup and pour onto hot griddle.
Step 3. When pancake starts to bubble, drizzle your favorite maple syrup onto pancake & flip.

Step 4. Flip one more time to make it a tad less fluffy.
Step 5. Add your sausage, cheese and egg....Wallah...McGriddle's MY way!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Goulash Recipe (my way)

This recipe is great for BUSY MOMS!

Goulash is no doubt a Midwest comfort food. My Grandmother made it a lot, and then so did my mom. I now make goulash for my family. It is not only yummy, but it fits the bill too! The best part~ it is SIMPLE & QUICK!

What you need: 1lb ground beef, cooked pasta (we prefer elbow macaroni or shell pasta), your canned tomatoes, (or stewed tomatoes in a can), 1 or 2 cans of tomato soup, cheese of your choice. (I use cheddar or parmesan).

Step 1. Brown your ground beef, I always add chopped onion, salt & pepper, sometimes choppped green peppers too.

Step 2. Boil pasta according to package instructions.
Step 3. Add drained ground beef to your drained cooked pasta, & your stewed tomatoes,(or your canned tomatoes) tomato soup.
Step 4. Place your goulash in a casserole pan and top with about 1/2 cup of cheese. (I added fresh basil for more of an Italian taste).
Step. 5 Bake covered for 20-25 min.

Step 6. ENJOY

There are many ways of modifying this recipe. You can add crushed tomatoes instead of stewed tomatoes, or your homemade canned tomatoes (with juice). You can also add store bought tomato juice. You really cannot mess this easy HOTDISH up! Goulash freezes well and taste even better the next day. Tip: When re-heating goulash, if it seems dry, just add some tomato juice.

My Recipe for homemade vegetable tomato Juice is under Recipes tab. I recommend using it in this goulash recipe.


School Lunch idea

 Preparing school lunches can be mind-boggling at times. Preparing a cold sandwich is one idea, but I try and mix it up a bit. On cold winter days, my kids love to have something warm to eat.
I absolutely LOVE thermos meals. When purchasing a thermos, make sure you buy a good one. Not the plastic cheap ones. The food will not stay warm in the cheap ones. I like the brand Thermos.

Here is one idea that my kids really enjoy:

What you will need:

1 package of Bob Evans Mac & Cheese & 1 small ham steak (pre- cooked)

1st. Heat water in a tea pot until boiling. Pour boiling water into thermos and replace lid. Let stand.
 In the meantime, heat up ham & prepare Mac & cheese according to pkg instructions. allowing boiling water sit in thermos will assure you that your food will stay warm until lunch time. (about 4-5 hours)

2nd. Dice heated ham. Mix together. Wallah! You have created a lunch your kids are sure to love!
Another great point, is the cost of this lunch. Bob Evan's Mac & Cheese is 2.49. I only buy it when it is on sale for that price. It is even cheaper if you have a coupon!
Ham Steak 2.89
I am  able to make 3 lunches from this. I also send cold milk into a thermos and a piece of fruit. This is roughly under $2 per lunch. Want it even cheaper? Use Kraft Mac & Cheese prepared the night before.
I have also added cooked chicken breast or sliced all beef cooked hot dogs.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tater Tot HOTDISH Recipe

Well, here is another famous Midwest recipe. In fact, I think about every Midwest mama probably has some idea how to make this. I have learned that everyone makes this a little bit different. So I am going to share my way, and who knows you might just like it!

Coming from Iowa to Minnesota, I have learned that in Minnesota, it is improper to call any casserole a casserole. Nope, it is a HOTDISH in Minnesota. So here is my Tater Tot HOTDISH recipe.

This is a great recipe to double up or even triple it and freeze it. It heats up nicely.

What you will need:
1 lb ground beef or lean ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 12oz bag of frozen veggies of your choice (thawed)
I can of cream style corn (this is what makes it mine) ha ha
1-2 cans of cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup
3/4 cup shredded cheese (I use colby jack)
1 16oz bag of frozen tater tots
salt & pepper

1. Brown ground beef with salt & pepper and chopped onion. Drain.
2. Mix the soups and veggies with ground beef & add to cake pan and top with cheese.

3. Top with the frozen tater tots and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 min. (I use the broil option for about the last 3 min, because we like it extra crispy)
This recipe is easy on the wallet too and everyone is sure to love it! Remember you can adjust the ingredients to your liking. I added a can of cream-style corn one time, only because I did not have enough soup, and it seemed too dry & Wallah....I created a family favorite!