Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chunky Taco Soup

1 1/2 lbs boneless beef sirloin or round steak, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T. olive oil
2 cans (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (14 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz.) cream-style corn
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 c. water
1/4 c. minced fresh cilantro

In a large kettle or Dutch oven, brown beef and onion in oil. Add the pinto beans, tomatoes, black beans, corn, water, salad dressing mix and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until meat is tender. Sprinkle with cilantro. Makes about 12 servings.

From whence it came: Here's another goodie from my great friend, Kerinda VanWagoner. Last time, when I posted her Creamy Crock Pot Chicken recipe, she was offended that I didn't call her my BFF. She is so high maintenance, but we will forgive her because she is letting us all enjoy this wonderful recipe. She really is one of my BFFs, and so is this soup!

Why it's blogable: It is simmering on my stove right this very minute and my house smells divine! I think if you told me I could only make one soup recipe for the rest of my life I would pick this one...that's how much I love it! It's almost like chili, but better! It's very hearty and it has a mixture of great flavors. Plus, it's low in fat and high in fiber. That's a good combo, especially if you are a Weight Watcher, which I used to be, which I should be again, but which I'm not right now! So get off my back about the weight thing! I don't want to hear about it! Enough already! Oh, sorry, I obviously have some pent up frustration with my current "off the wagon" Weight Watchers status. Don't worry, I'll drag my chubby self back up on the wagon one of these days, and when I do I will still make this soup because it is a healthy choice!

Just so ya know: I usually cook it longer than 20 minutes. I think it's good if it simmers a while. You can make it with regular corn and not the creamed stuff. It's good both ways. Also, and I've said this before, I don't like cilantro, so I never add it. It's yucky and it gets between your teeth and causes awkward moments when talking to others. And it's yucky! Tonight I'm serving this soup with Amish Bread. Have you tried that recipe yet? If not, you really should!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Banana Pancakes


3/4 C. Oats
3/4 C. Whole Wheat Flour - I have used regular too
1/2 t. Salt
1 t. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Baking Soda
3/4 C. Mashed Banana - about 1 1/2
1 Egg
1/2 C. Buttermilk
2 T. Olive Oil
Add nuts or chocolate chips if desired

Cook on preheated grill that has been sprayed with Pam. (Don't you think I should be getting some sort of kickback for letting them use my name? I think so, too. I'll have to look into that soon!)

From whence it came: This is a very proud mommy moment for me folks. My married, cooking daughter gave me this recipe and it is really really good! She made these scrumptious pancakes for me and The Spy Who Loves Me this past weekend when we visited her and the sonny-in-law in their cute little apartment in Provo, UT. I'm so proud that this girl is cooking, I don't even have the words to tell you how proud I am. You just don't understand, this same girl could not make jello when she lived at home. One night, many moons ago, she decided to make Fettuccine and she nearly killed us all...just with the smell! We couldn't eat it, it was just so ugly and greasy and sad. I know what you're thinking, "Pam is not a very good mom if she wouldn't even just try to pretend to like the ugliest Fettuccine in the world." Well, maybe you're right, but I didn't have the number for poison control handy so we didn't dare risk it! Well, this wonderful daughter of mine has completely redeemed herself by becoming a really good cook! Like I said, it's a proud mommy moment for me!

Why it's blogable: I've had other banana pancakes that were OK, but these babies are well beyond OK. The banana flavor is mild and the oatmeal makes them chubby and fluffy, which is great if you're a pancake, not so great if you're a person. I would imagine if you eat too many of these you might be chubby and fluffy like the pancakes, but you won't eat too many, because they are very filling and satisfying! And they have oatmeal and bananas in them so I deem them healthy! (Don't write me a strongly worded letter telling me that they aren't very healthy once you drown them in butter and syrup. You will ruin my fun when I eat them and that would be mean!) Speaking of syrup, did I mention that my wonderful cooking daughter makes homemade syrup? Well, she does, and I am tickled pink over it. I love you, my darling cooking daughter, and I love your banana pancakes, too!

One more thing: I've told you before that The Spy Who Loves Me isn't really into fruity stuff. Well, he bent his no fruity stuff rule for these and he was happy that he did, so now you know they must be good! And they are!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 c. chopped onion
1 egg
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 c. milk

Mix together, form into meatballs and brown in a small amount of olive oil.


2 8oz. cans tomato sauce
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 T. vinegar
1 t. seasoning salt

Mix together and pour over meatballs. Simmer 25-30 minutes. Serve over rice.

From whence it came: This is another great recipe from my sister-in-law, Geralene. I told you I had a bunch of great recipes from her and here's another one to prove it!

Why it's blogable: These meatballs have a great flavor and the sauce on top of the rice is oh so yum-e! Also, they are very easy to make and not very time consuming. My family really likes this recipe and I think yours will, too!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Favorite Dish Soap

This is my very favorite dish soap! It smells amazing! Like limes. I love the smell of limes. It's one of my favorite smells in the world. You can buy it at Costco and a huge bottle of it is less than nine bucks and it will last you a long long time. It makes nice bubbles and it gets your dishes sparkly clean. I use it for washing my hands, too, and The Spy Who Love Me says I have very soft hands! You should try it...I highly recommend it!

Rachel Ray's Tangy Chicken Sandwiches

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 1/3 c. barbecue sauce
½ c. apple cider vinegar
Hot pepper sauce (optional)
6 French rolls
6 ozs Jack cheese

Place chicken in heavy pot with onion, garlic and just enough water to cover (about 1 ½ cups). Add barbecue sauce, vinegar and a few drops of hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer until chicken is cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove chicken from sauce and shred with two forks. Boil the sauce, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half (about 15 minutes). Add the shredded chicken to the sauce and heat through. Spoon onto rolls and top with grated cheese.

(I do not add the hot pepper sauce and I cook the chicken longer than 15 minutes.)

From whence it came: Duh! Read the title! I found this recipe in a magazine and I thought it looked good so I gave it a try and I was right. (I usually am. Right, that is. When it comes to recipes. Not so much about other stuff, just mostly recipes.) I'm debating on whether or not to tell you how I feel about Rachel Ray. They thing is, she is a bit too perky for my taste. I admire her for what she's accomplished, don't misunderstand, it's just sometimes she bugs me a little bit. Well, sometimes a lot! I really hate to say these things on my blog because I fear that someday she and I will have an awkward moment in the hall at the Food Network building. You know, when Paula Deen invites me on her show, and then surprises me with Tim McGraw. I worry about running into Rachel Ray, who I'm sure is a very nice person, and having that awkward "I said Rachel bugs me" moment right there in the hall. Oh well, I'll live dangerously and take that chance.

Why it's blogable: These sandwiches make a great summertime, or really anytime, dinner. They go together really fast and my whole family likes them. They are a nice change from barbecue beef and maybe a little bit healthier, especially if you use whole grain rolls. I really like whole grain rolls, they have so much more flavor than white.

Now I feel guilty: Rachel, I'm sorry I said you sometimes bug me. I'm probably just jealous of your success. But you should watch your back, because someday my blog is going to take you down!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Butterscotch Cookies

1 c. butter
1 ½ c. packed brown sugar
1 large egg
3 T. heavy whipping cream
1 t. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
½ t. salt

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg, cream and vanilla and blend. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture.

Spoon onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake until cookies are golden and firm to the touch, about 12-14 minutes. (If you want to make them really big use a 1/4 cup measuring cup and then bake them a few minutes longer.)

From whence it came: Sue Burns, the friend who gave me the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie recipe, also gave me this one, and it's another winner! Thanks for giving me so many great recipes, Sue! You're a cooking and baking hero!

Why it's blogable: These cookies have a great flavor. If you feed one of these to The Spy Who Loves Me he will take one bite and his eyes will roll back into his balding head. Do you think it's mean that I said he's balding? Well, if it is then too bad! When I married the man twenty-eight years ago he had a full head of the thickest red curly hair you ever did see. Now don't get me wrong, I knew there was a chance that someday those red locks would turn white...and they have...but never in a million years did I dream that he would shave each and every one of them down to a fraction of an inch. I know this is a cooking blog, and not a tell the world what you just don't get about your husband blog, but I just don't get why he wants to look balder than he really is. It's not natural. Most men are clambering for more hair. They make infomercials about it. Heck, they even have a hair club for men. I know it's true, I've seen it on TV. Well, I've just gone way off topic, but I feel better now that I've vented a bit. It won't make a lick of difference, he's determined to go out of this world balder than when came into it. Anywho, these cookies are good! You should make them. I'm making a batch right this very minute for my sonny-in-law who I'm planning to visit this weekend. I love to cook for that boy. He's very appreciative and a whole lot of fun! You should make them for someone you love. Maybe even someone who's balding!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Eclair Cake

1 (1-pound) box graham crackers
2 (3 1/4-ounce) boxes instant French vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Butter the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan. Line with whole graham crackers. In bowl of an electric mixer, mix pudding with milk; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Pour half the pudding mixture over graham crackers. Place another layer of whole graham crackers on top of pudding layer. Pour over remaining half of pudding mixture and cover with another layer of graham crackers.

For frosting, blend together sugar and cocoa. Add butter and milk, mixing well. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Stir until creamy. Cover cake with frosting and refrigerate for 24 hours.

From whence it came: This is one of Paula Deen's recipes, so you know it's good! The Spy Who Loves Me had this dessert somewhere and came home and raved about it so I Googled it and found a recipe for it on my friend Paula's web site. I love you, Paula Deen. Please invite me on your show. We'd have so much fun stirring it up together! And if you want to surprise me and have Tim McGraw come out while we're cooking, you'll make me the happiest girl in the whole wide world. Just give me a tiny bit of notice so I can lose about 40 pounds and get a face lift!

Why it's blogable: It's kind of different and out of the ordinary. I'd never heard of it before, and it's really good. It's easy to make and the teen son is a lover of it! One year he asked to have it as his birthday the the sand. We managed to keep the sand out of it and it was super good!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Corn Chowder

Make roux by melting ½ c. butter in a small saucepan then adding ½ c. flour. Stir until well combined and bubbly. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the following and place in large pot:

5 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped

Cover vegetables with water and cook until potatoes are tender, but not mushy. Without draining water, add the following:

Two cans corn, drained (Or you can use frozen corn. Just put in about as much frozen corn as would be in two cans, probably about two cups. I prefer the flavor of frozen corn, but it's really good with canned corn, too!)

Stir in roux until mixture is thickened and then add milk to your desired consistency.

Stir in:

1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook over low flame until hot and well combined, about 20 minutes. (Be careful, it will burn easily!)

When serving, top with grated cheese if desired.

From whence it came: This recipe came from Lynn, the younger sister of The Spy Who Loves Me. You might remember me telling you about her in the Chicken Crescent Roll Ups recipe. I remember one time, about 20 years ago, she made this soup when the whole family was camping up in the Redwood National Forest. It was such a fun trip, and this soup was perfect for a chilly night under the stars. A little disclaimer about me and camping, I'm not the biggest lover of the experience. I had a great time on the Redwood trip, but given the chance, I'll take a cabin over a tent any day of the week. The Spy Who Loves Me comes from a family of brave and studly campers. I come from a family of brave and studly hotelers. The thought that was going through my head as that man signed the marriage license was, "I'm must convert him to cabin camping." And I did. And he prefers it! We have a tent, at least I think we do, maybe we don't, I'm not sure. Who cares...we are a cabin lovin' family! Someday I'll tell you the story about when we were staying in a cabin in the woods and while on a family quad ride The Spy Who Loves Me took to flirting with a very large cow. He was trying to look menacing by standing up really tall on the quad so the beast would move out of the middle of the road. The roast beast took it as flirting and we hit the gas on our quads and high tailed it out of there. Flirting with a cow wasn't his best decision ever, but in the end, we lived to tell about it. Remember how I said that someday I'd tell you the story about when The Spy Who Loves Me flirted with a cow? I just did!

Why it's blogable: It's good ol' comfort food! You just feel so warm and cozy when you serve this soup for dinner. It isn't exactly figure friendly, but it's worth letting your belt out a notch...or two!

Roux: If you've never used a roux to thicken soup, don't be scared. It is so easy, and it adds amazing flavor and creaminess. You just use equal amounts of butter and flour. Melt the butter, then stir in the flour and let it cook until it bubbles, stirring constantly. Each little tiny bit of flour will be coated with butter and that way you won't get any lumps. You can do it! I believe in roux...I mean you!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mormon Stew (And a really funny story!)

2 lbs. London Broil, cubed into large bite size pieces
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 envelope dry onion soup
1 c. water

Put all ingredients in casserole dish. Cover with foil and then the lid. Cook 3 hours at 350 degrees. Do not stir or uncover while cooking.

Serve over mashed potatoes, noodles or rice.

From whence it came: This really tasty recipe came from the grandma of The Spy Who Loves Me. Do you remember me talking about Grandma Annie, his sweet sweet grandma who lived to be 101? Well, this is his other grandma. She was a great lady too, but a bit saucy. I could tell you the funniest story ever about her, but I'd have to use a cuss word to do it, so I'll refrain. I'll tell you another super funny story about her below. She was hilarious without ever meaning to be. Her name was Leigh and she was married to Gordon, or as everyone called him, Pop. They were such a funny funny couple. They would constantly correct each other under their breath. I would try so hard not to laugh when I was around them, but sometimes I just couldn't control myself. Ya know how people sometimes store food for emergencies? Well, Grandma and Grandpa Anderson stored prunes. Yep, prunes! I don't even want to know why. When Grandpa passed away and we cleaned out the house we found enough prunes to feed an army...for a year! Grandma Anderson was very talented and a great seamstress. She pretty much said what was on her mind, and sometimes what was on her mind was feisty. She was a wonderful lady, and this recipe is proof that she was also a really good cook!

Why it's blogable: Five ingredients and one is water...need I say more! This will make your home smell like you're cooking something fabulous...because you are! When your family comes home and smells this they will hug you and dance with joy. Really, have the video camera ready, it's sure to be a Kodak moment.

Why it's called Mormon Stew: I have no idea! The really funny thing is that Grandma Anderson wasn't a Mormon, but I have the recipe card with her handwriting on it and it says Mormon Stew. Call it what you wish, I call it delicious!

The really funny story: One day quite a few years back, when Grandma Anderson and Pop were still alive, The Spy Who Loves Me stopped by their little old house that they'd lived in for a million or so years just to see how they were doing. Grandma said she was doing fine, except for the annoying beep she kept hearing in her ear. She was so frustrated, said she'd been to the doctor to complain about it, but there was just nothing anyone could do to stop it.

Grandpa said that sometimes the beep in her ear was so loud that even he could hear it. The Spy Who Loves Me, being a spy and all, was determined to get to the bottom of the ear beeping business. He sat on the couch and asked question after question about her beeping ear, basically interrogating the poor little old lady. He told her that he just couldn't believe her ear could beep, but Grandpa jumped right in and defended her, saying that he'd heard it and he knew it to be true.

As The Spy Who Loves Me sat there trying to get to the bottom of it, the most amazing thing happened. A beep. There was a beep. Grandma jumped to her feet and said, "There, did you hear that? Did you hear that beep in my ear?" "I heard it," said Grandpa, looking at The Spy Who Loves Me with a "take that you little whipper snapper" look on his face.

The Spy Who Loves Me looked at both of them and then asked his final question of the day. "Do you two have a smoke detector?" No, we're not kidding. Those two little old cuties needed a new battery in their smoke alarm. They'd convinced themselves that Grandma's ear had developed a terminal beep, even been to the doctor to try and remedy the situation, when all they needed were a couple of double A's. We laughed about that story until we cried, and peed our pants. We still crack up every time we retell it. It's quite possibly the funniest story of all time. The Spy Who Loves Me told it during his eulogy of Grandma Anderson. Everyone cracked up, except Pop. He didn't think it was funny! We love you, Grandma Anderson...beep and all!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

½ c. butter
½ c. chunky peanut butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. flour
¼ c. cocoa powder
½ t. baking soda
½ c. semisweet chocolate chips
½ c. chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, peanut butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 12-14 minutes.

From whence it came: A really super duper amazingly great cook gave this recipe to me. The credit for this one goes to my friend Sue Burns. Sue and I were neighbors for many years before our family moved away. We shared a love of cooking, but I must admit, Sue is a much fancier cook than I am. No recipe is too difficult or too complicated for Sue, and the food she makes always looks as good as it tastes. Sue and I have shared many yum-e recipes, and this one is at the top of the list! Sue, thanks for all the great recipes, and for all the great memories, too!

Why it's blogable: These cookies are soft and really really good! You can make them big by using a quarter cup measuring cup, but if you do you will need to cook them a bit longer. Or you can just make them regular size and cook them as directed. It's kind of hard to tell when they're done because they are already brown so you can't wait until they've browned. I just touch them lightly on the side and if they seem set then they're done. They don't go flat like some cookie recipes and they are a hit whenever I make them. Oh, and like I've said before with many of my other recipes, I ALWAYS double the recipe!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Real Deal

I certainly don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but over the years people have come to think of me as a good baker. It's been fun for me to bake things that people like! People sometimes ask me why my stuff turns out so yum-e (and trust me, it doesn't always.)

Here's one thing that I think makes the difference between good baking and great baking...real ingredients! I almost always use real ingredients. At the risk of sounding like a snob, I need to tell you that I NEVER use margarine. I never even buy margarine. I only use real butter. It is a bit more expensive, but I buy it at Costco and it's so much cheaper than at the grocery store. Trust me on this, it's worth the extra money, and remember that you're getting that advice from a cheapskate! Real butter makes a difference in cooking and baking, true and simple.

I also always use pure vanilla extract, and again, I buy it at Costco. A bottle will last you a long time and you can't compare the flavor of imitation vs real. I honestly believe it makes a difference.

If you've ever made a recipe that called for lemon juice and used the bottled juice you may have been disappointed in the final result. Real lemons are the only way to go.

I'm not over the top crazy when it comes to real ingredients. I'm a reasonable girl. I use ground nutmeg instead of grating it. I also have never ever used a real vanilla bean, the stuff in the bottle works just fine for me.

Here's my thinking, if you're going to go to the time and expense to make something, use the best ingredients available and make it as yum-e as possible. People will notice a difference, and you will become more popular than you ever knew possible! And isn't that what life's all about? Being popular? No? Well, either way, you'll make friends, and friends are worth having, that's for sure!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Norwegian Pancakes

4 eggs
½ c. warm water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. melted butter
1 ¼ c. flour
1 c. milk

Toppings: powdered sugar, butter, jam, syrup, or fruit topping

Butter a sauté pan or griddle. Beat eggs, water, and vanilla. Beat in sugar; then butter, flour, and milk, beating after each addition. Heat pan to medium; then pour batter by scoopfuls onto griddle (or single scoop for sauté or crepe pan). Turn quickly and do not overcook. Stack the crepe-like pancakes and keep in warm place until serving. Serve, buttered and rolled with toppings like a crepe--or serve flat and sprinkled with powdered sugar, allowing individual choice of toppings.

From whence it came: You know how sometimes you get those "junk" emails and they are just so annoying? Well, this terrific recipe came in one of those so called "junk" emails, but let me tell ya, this recipe is NOT JUNK!

Why it's blogable: These pancakes are really more like crepes, very flat, and VERY delicious! The married daughter is not the biggest fan of pancakes, but she really likes these flat pannies! That's what we call them, flat pannies. The Spy Who Loves Me and the teen son are also crazy about these, but I'm sad to admit that the teen daughter doesn't love them as much as the rest of us. What does she know anyway? There is not a single healthy thing about these pancakes, unless you count emotional health, because you will feel so happy after you make these.

What to do with 'em: We just like to put powdered sugar on them, roll them up and then drizzle maple syrup over them. Sometimes we put homemade strawberry freezer jam on them and that's yum-e, too! They are also great with fresh berries and whipping cream. I know some people like to put Nutella on them, but I just don't get Nutella. I am crazy about chocolate, but I draw the line at Nutella. If you like it, give it a try.

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Crock Pot Fajitas

5-6 chicken breasts
1 jar medium salsa
1 large bell pepper, chopped in large pieces
1 large onion, chopped in large pieces

Put all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low or high until chicken can be shredded. Serve in tortillas with lettuce, cheese, sour cream, avocados and anything else you like.

From whence it came: It's a two part answer. My married daughter gave me this recipe (yes, this is the girl who couldn't make ice cubes before she got married and now is quite a good little cook) and she got it from her Aunt Geralene. Remember me telling you that my sister-in-law, Geralene has good recipes? I didn't lie!

Why it's blogable: Anything that comes out of a crock pot tasting this good is blogable. I'm a fan of crock pot cooking, and this recipe is one of the reasons why. It truly couldn't be easier to make and it's really healthy. I bought whole wheat tortillas at Costco recently and they are delicious. If you put this chicken on those tortillas and lettuce and other yummy stuff, you'll have yourself a healthy and super yum-e dinner. Also, the leftovers freeze really well, but I can't guarantee you'll have any leftovers at all!
Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fudgie Pudgies


2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
3 cups quick cooking oats


1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cocoa, sugar, milk and butter. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute.

2. Remove from heat and stir in the salt, vanilla, oats and peanut butter.

3. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow cookies to cool for at least 1 hour.

From whence it came: We took this recipe off of the Internet somewhere, but I have no idea where we grabbed it. This is a really common cookie recipe, but this particular one turns out great every time. Every time! We used to use another one that was similar called Fudgie Pudgies but half the time they turned out really dry and crumbly. (We still call them Fudgie Pudgies for old times sake!) That recipe didn't have milk, this one does. I think the milk makes all the difference. And you'll need more milk after you make 'em because they are GOOD with a TALL, COLD glass of MILK! They look a bit like something that came out of the business end of a cow, but they taste heavenly. If you're nuts about nuts, you can add some chopped peanuts and they'll be even yum-e-r, but they're great either way! Oh, and I've made them with regular oats and they're still super good.

Why it's blogable: One great oven required. Another great thing...your kids will tell everyone they know that you are the best mother in the whole wide world if you make these for them. My kids go nuts over these babies. And The Spy Who Loves Me asked for these instead of a birthday cake last year on his birthday. Do I need to say more? I think not!

We have issues: Yes, it's true, us Andersons have cookie issues. We love them, we crave them, we dream about them, and we love to make them. That's why we almost always double this recipe. Go ahead and double it, because if you don't, you're gonna be sad.

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Amish Bread

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2 1/2 cups warm water
4 T. sugar
1 T. Salt
2 T. super soft or melted butter

Combine in a bowl. Set aside.

In your 5 quart kitchen aide mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of “better for bread” flour and 2 packets of rapid rise yeast or 4 1/2 tsp. yeast. (I used regular yeast and it worked just fine.) Add the warm water mixture. (Make sure the water isn't too hot when you pour it in. Yeast and hot water are not friends!)

Put the dough hook on your kitchen aide mixer and start mixing, gradually adding more and more flour until the dough on the hook starts to clean the edges of the bowl (about 4 more cups). Let the machine knead the dough for a few minutes (no more than 5).

Leave the dough in the bowl without removing from the mixer and let rise 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn on mixer for a few seconds to punch down the dough. Let rise for another 45 minutes, punching two more times. Then punch down once more before removing bowl from mixer.

Divide dough in half (this makes two loaves). Roll out into rectangle and then roll up to form a crescent shape on a cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper). Slash the top four times. Repeat with second loaf. (Or just put into two loaf pans which have been sprayed with Pam.)

(This is what it looks like before it rises.)

With a pastry brush, paint the two loaves with this mixture: 1 egg yolk and 1 T milk.

(Give it a nice brush with the egg wash. You don't have to, but it will make it look purdy if you do!)
Let rise another 30 minutes.


(I know what you're wondering...what's that weird looking bubble on the loaf on the left? You know what that is? It's a weird looking bubble. Who cares, it still tastes amazing, and if it looks too perfect people will think you bought it at the store. If someone in your family complains about the weird looking bubble, bop them on the head with your rolling pin, but not so hard that they can't do the dishes after dinner.)

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove and enjoy!

From whence it came:
Quite a few years ago a sweet girl named Margaret Lilinquist gave me this recipe. She was a young mom and she was a great bread maker. She moved away, but I think of her every time I make this yum-e bread!

Why it's blogable:
It's a really easy bread recipe, it has very basic ingredients, it will save you a fortune if you make it instead of buying bread, and it's so very tasty! How simple can a bread recipe be? You don't have to dissolve the yeast and the mixer does all the work. Your family will think you slaved all day, and you should let them! Don't tell them it was easy. Milk it for all it's worth!

If you want to:
You can add half whole wheat flour and half bread flour to up the fiber and nutritional value. It's really good with the whole wheat flour, and it's great with just white bread flour, too. You can't go wrong either way. The teen daughter who doesn't normally like wheat flour loves this bread! I only use 5 1/2 cups of flour total instead of the six it calls for, but you can do whatever floats your boat. I always bake it in bread pans, it's just easier than rolling it out.

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Quick Italian Soup

1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package Lasagna Hamburger Helper
5 cups hot water
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 8 oz. can whole kernel corn, undrained, or 1 cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 small zucchini, chopped

Cook beef and onion in large pot until beef is browned, drain.

Stir in hot water, sauce mix, tomatoes, corn and cheese. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in uncooked pasta and zucchini. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle each serving with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

From whence it came: This recipe was given to me by another really great friend, Shannon Hall. Not only did Shannon give this soup to me, she has made this soup for me! The day after my dad died, after a very long day of making burial arrangements, I came home to a delicious, hot dinner made by my amazing friends, Shannon and Kerinda. Now, every time I make this soup, I think of them, and how they were there for me during a very difficult time. Shannon is what I call a true cook. She cooks almost every single night of the week. But more importantly, she shares my love for Tim McGraw (although I love him more and I am his biggest fan, she is his second). We attended his concert together a couple of summers ago and much to our surprise and delight, he filmed a video that night and we ended up being the stars. I'm not kidding! You go ahead and watch his video Suspicion and you will see Shannon's wrist and half of my forehead. Stars I tell you, stars! Shannon is a giving person, and I'm so happy she gave me this recipe!

Why it's blogable: This soup is really yum-e! Now you might stick your nose up at Hamburger Helper, and to tell you the truth, I only buy it for this recipe, but trust me on this one. It makes a great base for this soup. And when the soup is done, just hide the box in the bottom of the trashcan and I promise you that no one will ever know you used the mix. Don't be a snob, give it a try!

If you want to: You can add more veggies if you'd like. Yellow squash looks really pretty in this, too, and tastes great! You can also top it with a little bit of mozzarella cheese if you're in the mood for stringy goodness! Serve it with a salad and warm French bread and your family will smile!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Creamy Crockpot Chicken

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. cream cheese
1 packet dry Italian salad dressing mix
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Put chicken in crock pot and cover with remaining ingredients. Don't worry if they're not mixed together, they will mix well when you shred the chicken in the end. Cook on low setting for six hours or on high setting for four hours. In the last half hour of cook time, shred the chicken into bite size pieces. Serve over rice or noodles. For a low-fat version, use low fat soups and low fat cream cheese. (Don't use non fat cream cheese, it's yucky!)

From whence it came: A really really good friend of mine, Kerinda VanWagoner, gave me this recipe. Kerinda has lots of good recipes, and you will see her name on my blog again, you can be sure of that! Here's a funny story. One afternoon I stopped by her house and something smelled really good. I asked her what it was and she gave me a bite of the chicken. It was so good. Her kids were there at the time and from that day forward they have called this recipe Sister Anderson's Chicken. (In our church, we call each other Brother and Sister because we believe we are all children of God, which makes us brothers and sisters.) So, I now have a really yum-e chicken recipe named after me. Thanks, VW kids! Kerinda is a true friend and has brought a lot of comfort to my life, and her recipe will bring comfort to your tummy!

Why it's blogable: These two reasons are getting really boring...easy and yum-e! Oh, and here's a third...kid friendly. I really think your kids will like this recipe. Mine love it! Crock pot cooking is the best, and this recipe proves it! It's good leftover, too!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!

Million Dollar Pie


* 1 refrigerated Pillsbury® pie crust (from 15-ounce box), softened as directed on box


* 1/2 cup butter or margarine
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 3/4 cup corn syrup
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 3 eggs , lightly beaten
* 4 Nature Valley® Oats 'n Honey crunchy granola bars (2 pouches) crushed. To easily crush granola bars, do not unwrap. Use rolling pin to crush bars.
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
* 1/4 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
* 1/4 cup chocolate chips
* Whipped cream or ice cream , if desired


Heat oven to 350°F.

Place piecrust in 9-inch glass pie pan as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie.

In large microwavable bowl, microwave butter on high 50 to 60 seconds or until melted.

Stir in brown sugar and corn syrup until blended. Beat in salt, vanilla and eggs.

Stir crushed granola bars, walnuts, oats and chocolate chips into brown sugar mixture. Pour into crust-lined pan.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until filling is set and crust is golden brown. During last 15 to 20 minutes of baking, cover crust edge with strips of foil or pie shield to prevent excessive browning.

Cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled with whipped cream or ice cream.

Store in refrigerator.

From whence it came: This recipe won the million dollar prize in the 2004 Pilsbury Bakeoff and I saw it made on Oprah's show way back then and just had to try it.

Why it's blogable: Any pie that wins a million dollars, and this one really did, is blogable! This pie is really really good, and very easy to make. Here's a little secret that it pains me to admit, I'm not a good pie crust maker. Nope, I'm just not. It's something I need to work on. Lucky for me my friend Marie Calendars makes really good frozen pie crusts. That's what I always use when making this recipe. This is a huge favorite of the teen son. He can make this one all by himself, and he has. Sometimes he begs me to make it, and like the great mom I am, I use it as leverage to get him to do just what I want. And it works!

Hope you enjoy stirring it up!