Thoughts

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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Feb 3, 2017

Slow Cooker Tuscan Soup

Spinach, Garlic Potatoes, a little spice...all whipped up in a slow cooker.



32 Ounce Chicken Stock
24 Ounces Hot Italian Sausage, cooked and crumbled3 Cups Water
4 Cups russed potatoes cut in 1/4 inch cubes
2 Tbl Onion, minced
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbl Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
2 C Spinach, chopped
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
8 Slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Pepper to taste

Place Stock, 1/2 the sausage, water, potatoes, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes in a slow cooker.  Cook on high for 3.5 or low for 7 hours - potatoes should be tender.  Stir in remaining sausage and kale - let cook for another 30 minutes.  Stir in heavy cream and cook for 10 minutes.  Stir in bacon, add pepper to taste and serve.

Feb 2, 2017

Butter Pecan Cheesecake

With a sugar cookie crust and topped with fresh whipped cream, this was a wonderful Christmas dessert.



Crust:
1 1/4 Cup Cake Flour
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter cut into pieces

2 Cups Pecan Pieces
2 Tbl Butter
3 Tbl Sugar
16 Ounces Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Heavy Cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the crust ingredients and mix with a pastry blender OR pulse in a small food processor until thoroughly combined.  Will be crumbly, but should hold together when pressed in pan.  Press into the bottom and part way up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan.

Bake about 25 minutes - should be lightly browned.  Set aside to cool completely.

Melt the 2 Tbl butter in a large pan over medium heat, stir in sugar.  Stir pecans in the mixture and continue cooking (stir often) over medium heat until the pecans are toasted and the sugar sticks.  Set aside to cool.  When cool, lightly chop about half the pecans.

Put the cream cheese, remaining sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a large bowl.  Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.  In a separate bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture 1/3 at a time.  Stir in the pecans.  Spread the mixture in the cooled crust.  Refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving.

Feb 1, 2017

Chocolate Cherry Cake

Hubby is a champ - this is the cake I asked him to make for my birthday.  It was WONDERFUL - and not too sweet.  However, make sure you have room to store any leftovers in your refrigerator.  If you will not have room - layer the cake and cherries only.  Put whipped cream on each individual piece as cut.



1 Cup Whole Milk
3 Large Room Temperature Eggs
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
3 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Cake Flour
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Dutch Cocoa
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
3/4 Tsp Baking Soda
3/4 Tsp Salt

29 Ounces Pitted Tart Cherries
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Cornstarch
3 Tbl Grenadine

3 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1/3 Cup Confectioner's Sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 9 x 3 cake pans, set aside.

In a large bowl, beat milk, eggs, oil and vanilla until well blended.  Blend in sugar.  In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder baking soda and salt.  Gradually beat into milk mixture.

Transfer to prepared pans.  Bake about 35 minutes - a toothpick inserted in center should come out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove to a rack.  Cool Completely.

Drain cherries, reserving 1/2 cup juice.  In a small saucepan, whisk sugar, son starch and reserved juice.  Add cherries.  Cook and stir until thick and bubbly (about 15 minutes).  Cool Completely.

In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken.  Add confectioner's sugar;  beat until stiff peaks form.

Use a long serrated knife to cut both cakes in half.  Place one cake layer on a serving plate.  Top with 1 1/2 cups whipped cream and 1/3 cherries - stop within 1 inch of edge.  Repeat twice.  Top with remaining cake layer.  Frost sides and top of cake with remaining whipped cream.  

Jan 31, 2017

Southwest Chicken and Rice

This is a great meal for two - and it is easy, to boot.  You pick whatever color(s) of pepper you like.  I like to use the 90 second rice - either brown or a wild and brown mix.



1 Chicken Breast - big enough for two people
2 Bell Peppers cut in strips
1 Packet Taco OR Fajita Seasoning
1 Pouch Microwave Rice
Oil

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Pull off a large piece of parchment paper and fold in half.  Spray both halves with oil.  Place peppers on half the parchment, sprinkle with a little seasoning.  Place chicken on top of peppers, sprinkle with a little more seasoning (you should have about half remaining).  Fold parchment over and seal all sides.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until chicken is 165 degrees.

Remove from oven.  Let stand while you microwave the rice.  Put the rice in a large bowl and stir in remaining seasoning.   Cut up the chicken.  Stir the chicken, peppers and any liquid from the parchment into the rice.  Serve and Enjoy.

Jan 28, 2017

Slow Cooker Barbecue Baked Beans

If I want to have baked beans but don't want to wait for dried beans, I make this.



1/2 Pound Ground Chuck
2 Tbl Minced Onion
1 1/2 Cup Barbecue Sauce
1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Water
15 Ounces Kidney Beans, Drained
15.5 Ounce Butter Beans, Drained
16 Ounces Pork and Beans, Not Drained
1/2 Cup Crumbled Cooked Bacon.

Combine all ingredients except bacon in slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or hight for three hours.  Stir in bacon and serve immediately.


Jan 27, 2017

Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup

Sweet Potatoes or Yams can be used for this soup - just get whatever is at your local market.



1 Tbl Olive oil
2 Tbl White Onion, Minced
8 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 Cup Carrots, Chopped
2 Cups Sweet Potatoes, Peeled and Cubed
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Thyme
1 Tsp Hot Hungarian Paprika
1/2 Tsp Tumeric
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Hot Sauce
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
15 Ounces Petit Diced Tomatoes
48 Ounces Vegetable Broth
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter

Place a large pot over medium heat.  Add the oil, onion, garlic and spices.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add the carrots and sweet potatoes, stir throgoulth.  Add a little broth - just enough to prevent sticking, cook for 5 minutes.  Increase heat to medium high and stir in tomatoes and remaining broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to break up potatoes and make it smooth.  Increase heat to medium and stir in peanut butter.  Cook for 5 more minutes and serve.

Jan 26, 2017

Tortellini Soup

A wonderful, warm soup for those cold winter days.



1 Tsp Canola Oil
3 Garlic Cloves
2 Tsp Oregano
1/2 Tsp Thyme
1/2 Tsp Rosemary
14 1/2 Ounce Petite Diced Tomatoes, undrained
32 Ounces Vegetable Broth
9 Ounces Refrigerated Tortellini - your choice of flavor
4 Cups Fresh Baby Spinacy
Parmesan

In a large saucepan, heat oil and add garlic, oregano, thyme and rosemary.  Cook and stir 1 minute.  Stir in tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil and add tortellini.  Cook tortellini to package directions.  Stir in spinach.  Serve and sprinkle with cheese.