Thursday, June 27, 2013

Apple Butter Spice Cookies ****

These are my very favorite road trip cookies.  I've been making them every summer for years, but I only let us indulge on trips. That always makes them a little more extra-special.  :-)  They're kind of fluffy and cakey, so they're perfect for our early morning drives.  I let the kids snack on them in place of muffins sometimes.  I always use the Stevia sugar substitute, and they still come out great.  I meant to try them with whole wheat flour this time, but I was completely out.  Oh well.  Next time, I guess.  Anyway, they're extra yummy and make the house smell divine.  I get about 40 or so cookies out of a batch.  Sorry for the not-so-great picture.  I had to take it on my phone, since I seem to have misplaced the camera, lol.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

2-1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup apple butter
1/2 cup Craisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Cream sugar and oil until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir in apple butter. Add flour and cinnamon. Mix well. Stir in Craisins and pecans.
Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets. They won't spread much, so make them the size you want them to be in the end.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool on racks.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Crockpot Ham and Lentil Soup ***

I concocted this recipe with the help of several other recipes I found online.  I tried to take the best of each recipe and combine them together.  We all loved it.  It's not listed in the ingredients, but I served the boys' soup with just a little sprinkle of shredded cheddar on top.  It made for great leftovers the next day too!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy)

40 oz box chicken broth
2 cups water
8 oz tomato sauce
1 lb dried lentils
1-1/2 cups chopped celery
1-1/2 cups chopped carrots
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups diced cooked ham
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves

In 5-6 quart crockpot, combine water, chicken broth, and tomato sauce.  Stir in remaining ingredients.
Cook for 10-11 hours on low.  Remove bay leaves before serving.
Yield: 8 servings

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ham Asparagus Gratin ****

This was our second time to have this one.  It's so quick and easy that it's hard to pass up.  I used canned asparagus, since I was pressed for time, and I used the diced cooked ham.  I normally don't like how salty that ham is, so I rinsed it really well in a colander.  I also doubled the recipe so that we would have leftovers for lunches.  It would be much better with steamed asparagus, obviously, but it was still wonderful. 

Photo courtesy of Campbell's

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ via Campbells)

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Asparagus Soup
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked cut asparagus
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked ham
2 1/4 cups rotini pasta, cooked and drained (about 4 cups)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheeseor Swiss cheese (about 4 ounces)

Heat the oven to 400°F.
Stir the soup, milk, onion powder, black pepper, asparagus, ham, pasta and 1/2 cup cheese in an 2-quart baking dish.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the ham mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the ham mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Serves: 4
Amy's notes: I double everything except the pasta. I use 5-6 cups of that.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cheese-Topped Beef Bake **

I found this recipe on the BBC Recipe Swap board quite a while ago, and I've had it in my to-try file ever since.  Hubby actually ended up making it tonight, since I was running late getting home from work.  He said it was pretty easy to throw together.  The flavor is good, but it's just a tad bit rich for me.  I did use egg noodles instead of shells, since I had some I needed to use up. Plus, I'm kind of weird about not wanting shell noodles in anything but mac and cheese, lol.  We all liked it, but I don't know that I'll make it again.  The cream cheese layer is just a little too thick for me.  Even after mixing it together with the noodles and spaghetti sauce, the chive and onion flavor was a bit overwhelming.  The kids liked it, though.  They said it reminded them of Spaghetti Tacos.  :-)

(Erin-HopeAndRebekah via Simple & Delicious)

1 package (16 ounces) medium pasta shells
1 pound ground beef
1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 carton (8 ounces) spreadable chive and onion cream cheese
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. stir in the spaghetti sauce and taco seasoning. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and sour cream; set aside. Drain the pasta; stir in beef mixture. Transfer to a greased 13in x 9in x 2in baking dish. Spread with cream cheese mixture, sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"Skinny" Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice ***

I didn't totally stick to the recipe with this one (surprise, surprise), but I didn't stray all that far.  I kind of sort of doubled it, but not by measuring anything.  Just added a little more of everything, so that I'd have leftovers to send with dh and me for lunch tomorrow.  I didn't have an extra box of wild rice, so I just added some brown.  It doesn't say to add the wild rice spice packet, but I did anyway.  I'm glad I did too, since it would have been really bland otherwise.  I didn't bother doing the sauté with the onion and bell pepper.  Just poured it all in the crock together, minus the EVOO.  Also, instead of dicing peppers and onions, I just used a frozen bag of three pepper and onion blend and dumped it in still frozen.  It was done perfectly by 4 hours, so even a minute over would have been too much.  It probably could have done even better at 3-3.5 hours in my crockpot, but it always cooks pretty fast.

Verdict was a good one.  We all enjoyed it.  I made it less "skinny" by putting just a little bit of shredded fiesta blend cheese on it at the end, but I liked the addition.  Next time, I want to do what it says about using the fire-roasted tomatoes.  I normally do that, but I completely forgot to grab some at the store.  That will kick the flavor up just a bit too. 


1 tablespoon Extra Virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup wild rice blend, uncooked (wild rice, long and short grain brown rice)
2 (thawed) chicken breasts fillets, skinless, cut into 2” pieces
1 cup chicken broth, fat free, low sodium
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet, add onions and bell pepper and sauté on medium low heat until tender, about 3 minutes.
Add rice and continue to sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove skillet from heat and add the remaining ingredients, except chicken, stir to combine.
Place chicken in the slow cooker and pour ingredients from the skillet over chicken. Cover and cook on low 4 hours.
NOTE: If you like extra spice in your dish, use “Fire Roasted Tomatoes” as a substitute for diced tomatoes.
*Amy's notes: I skipped the sautéing stage, omitted the oil, and dumped everything directly in the crockpot.  I also subbed a frozen three pepper and onion blend for the chopped veggies.