Friday, December 16, 2011


A few of you (very few....) have left comments asking questions about various recipes.  I don't want you all to think I am rude.  First of all blogger will not let me comment on my blog...strange.  Second, there is a way to add some type of HTML that will allow me to reply to comments, but I am afraid of the HTML.  I will get my oldest to figure this out for me soon, I promise.

As for the Easiest Cinnamon Rolls Ever, the filling does ooze out.  This happens to be one thing my kids like best about this recipe.  The gooey butter and sugar sticky stuff that has oozed out.  This first time I made these I lined my pan with foil and there were some sticking issues.  I suggest parchment paper sprayed with no stick spray.  There will still be stuff oozing out, but they will scoop up easily off the parchment paper and the yummy sticky parts will just come right up and into your mouth!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Snowballs...a cookie with many names...I call it my favorite!

This is my favorite Christmas cookie.  I love the Snowball.  I do believe that these cookies have many other names...Mexican Wedding Cakes is one of the more popular ones.  Ever since I can remember these have been my favorite at Christmas and they were always called Snowballs.  There is no way to eat just one. Crunchy, sweet, salty, buttery!

3/4 c. shortening (I use butter flavored Crisco)
1/4 c. butter
1 t. salt
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 T. vanilla
2 c. flour, sifted
1 c. pecans, chopped
Powdered sugar for rolling cookies

Cream shortening, butter and sugar. Add vanilla, flour, salt and nuts. Shape into balls. Cook 20 to 25 minutes at 325 degrees.  Cookies should look very pale tan, with the bottom being a little darker. Cool on wire rack and then roll in powdered sugar.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Slow Cooker Burgundy Beef....Boeuf Bourguignon

Who loves America's Test Kitchen? Who loves Cooks Country? What's not to love?

This recipe is great for company or special occasions. It is a little time consuming in the beginning, but that's okay since all this time takes place in the morning, not right before you are going to eat. This recipe comes from The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2010. This is one great cookbook. Check it out from the library and try a few recipes. You will soon be hooked.

As usual I have to make a recipe my own. Not really with this one. The stew is just as it is in the cookbook. Then there is the garnish....I leave this out entirely. It is not necessary and it includes MUSHROOMS! We like to eat this on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes.

Fry bacon until crisp and remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Try not to snack on the bacon throughout the day or you won't have any to go in your delicious beef Burgundy.

This here is my 4 pound chuck roast.  I remove the large marbling and leave the skinny stuff that looks like human veins.  This is not my favorite process. You could use stew meat if you just can't handle the thought of cutting this hunk of meat up.  I use the chuck roast because it is so much more economical than stew meat.

Brown half the meat in half the bacon grease until golden brown.

This is what you get when you are done with sauteing.

Deglaze the pan with wine, chicken broth and soy sauce. Pour over meat in slow cooker.

8 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 (4 lb) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 lg. onion, minced
2 carrots, peeled and minced
8 med. garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
2 t. fresh thyme, chopped
4 T. tomato paste
1-1/2 c. pinot noir
1-1/2 c. low sodium chicken broth
1/3 c. soy sauce
3 bay leaves
3 T. minute tapioca

Cut bacon and fry over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove from pan with slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Place in refrigerator. Pour half the bacon grease into a small bowl; set the skillet with the remaining bacon fat aside. Cut beef into 1-1/2 inch cubes, trimming off thick pieces of fat and discarding. Pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Place half the beef in your slow cooker. Heat the skillet with bacon fat on medium-high heat until smoking. Brown beef on all sides until a dark golden brown. Transfer browned beef to slow cooker.
Add reserved bacon fat to the now empty skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add minced onion and carrot and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until vegetables begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and thyme, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and cook about 45 seconds, until beginning to brown. Transfer mixture to slow cooker.
Return now empty skillet to high heat and add chicken broth, wine and soy sauce. Simmer, scraping up brown bits, about 1 minute. Pour into slow cooker. Stir in bay leaves and tapioca. Set slow cooker on low, cover and cook until the meat is fork tender, about 9 hours.
When ready to serve, fish out the bay leaves. Serve on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes or by itself with some crusty bread.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lapbooks...We are just beginning.

In an effort to shake things up around here I decided to have the kids make Christmas Lapbooks. This was our first time making Lapbooks and the kids are hooked already. I think they want to do this all day everyday!  Here is the template for the preschool book. The big kids have not finished theirs yet.  Theirs are a little more detailed and they don't have mom helping quite as much as my little did. This is the link to the big kids printables. They did not use all the pages, but picked the ones they wanted and that would fit into their own layouts. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cornbread Chicken

It's cooling off in this hot part of the world.  We only got to 79 degrees on Sunday and this type of weather gets my taste buds going for some comfort food. This is the most tasty comfort food.  My friend Anna gave me this recipe.  This recipe has been handed down through the generations, or at least from her mom to her.

The Roux or "Row-x" if you are from this neck of the woods.

Pat cornbread into biscuits and place on top of creamy chicken filling.

Hot and bubbly, just out of the oven. 

Cornbread Chicken

White Sauce:
  • 1 stick of butter (8 T.)
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/8 t. pepper
  • 3 c. chicken broth
  • 1 c. milk
  • 4 c. chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1 small bag of frozen peas

Cornbread Topping:
  • 1 c. cornmeal
  • 1 c. flour
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 4 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3 T. shortening
  • 1 c. sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. White Sauce: Melt butter over medium heat in large saucepan. Once butter is melted stir in flour and pepper, making a roux. Continue to stir for 1 minute. Combine broth and milk and pour into the roux while stirring vigorously to prevent lumps. Keep stirring until sauce starts to thicken, about 3 minutes. Add chicken pieces and peas. (Anna would never add the peas.....) Pour mixture into a 13x9 inch Pyrex pan. 

Cornbread Topping: In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients for the cornbread topping. Cut in the shortening. Mix in sour cream.  This usually has to be done with clean hands. This dough will be slightly sticky. Form dough into 12 or so biscuits and place on top of chicken mixture.

Bake a 400 degrees for 25 minutes uncovered. Test a cornbread biscuit with a knife to see if they are done. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

This recipe is doubled.  You could easily cut it in half and make it in an 8x8 inch pan.



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