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.

May 8, 2015

Italian Sausage Soup

Our local grocery store has bulk deals on meat that sometimes have lower prices with a certain size grocery order.  Recently, it was Italian sausage.  I like pasta, but I didn't want pasta all week.  Enter this soup.  There is no need to thaw or drain the spinach.


1 Lb Ground Italian Sausage - I like hot
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tsp Basil
1 Tsp Oregano
10 Ounces Frozen Chopped Spinach 
15 Ounces Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
15 Ounces Black Beans, drained and rinsed
15 Ounces Petite Diced Tomatoes 
4 Cups Beef Broth

Cook sausage until brown, chop well.   Drain, return to pan and add garlic and basil.  Cook until fragrant.  Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer until hot.

Top with Parmesan cheese and enjoy with Texas Toast.

May 7, 2015

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

How about fresh bread for Mother's Day brunch or breakfast in bed?


2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/3 Cup Chopped Nuts - you choose
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
2 Large Eggs
1/2 Cup Applesauce
1/3 Cup Water

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray, set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (including cranberries and walnuts).

In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients, mix well.  Stir in dry ingredients until well combined, pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.

Cool completely and slice.

May 6, 2015

Marshmallow Banana Cupcakes

Overripe Bananas and marshmallows that are a bit dry...what to do?  Make cupcakes.



3/4 Cup Butter
1 1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 Cup Mashed Bananas
1 Tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Sour Milk
Miniature Marshmallows - at least 72
Whipped Cream

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 18 muffin cups with liners.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in bananas and vanilla.

Whisk together flour, soda and salt.  Add half to the banana mixture, mix well.  Add Milk, mix well.  Add remaining flour mixture and mix well.

Divide the mixture evenly between the 18 cups.  Push at least 4 marshmallows into each cupcake - NOT ALL ON TOP OF EACH OTHER.

Bake about 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely - removing from pan at about 5 minutes.  When cool, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.  Top with a dollop of whipped cream when ready to serve.

May 5, 2015

Slow Cooker Ragu

Here is a VERY chunky topping for your favorite thick pasta - Rigatoni is my favorite to use.  I have also been known to enjoy this with rice.


1/2 Cup Celery, Sliced
1/2 Cup Carrot, Sliced
1/4 Cup Onion, Sliced
5 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
1 Tbl Olive Oil
2 to 3 Lb Chuck Roast
2/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
6 Ounces Tomato Paste
14 Ounces Petit Diced Tomatoes
1 Cup Dry Red Wine
1/2 Tbl Italian Seasoning

Line a 6 quart slow cooker with a liner, set aside.

Pulse celery, carrot, onion and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until hot.  While heating, trim beef, sprinkle all sides with 1/2 Tsp each salt and pepper.    Add beef to hot skillet and cook until browned on all sides.  Transfer beef to slow cooker.

In the same skillet, add vegetable mixture and remaining salt.  Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add Tomato paste and stir for a minute before adding diced tomatoes, wine and seasoning.  Cook for two to three minutes, scraping up browned bits of beef while cooking.

Pour over beef.  Cover and cook on low for 10 hours or high for 5 hours.

When very tender, shred beef and return to the cooking liquid.  Top cooked pasta and enjoy.

May 4, 2015

EASY Corn Soup

Time to use up the last of the frozen sweet corn in time for this year's batch of fresh corn...


4 Cups Sweet Corn, thawed
1 1/2 Cup Half and Half
3/4 Cup Pepper Jack Cheese
Pinch of Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Combine all ingredients and heat through, being careful not to boil.  Pulse with a stick blender - the longer you pulse, the smoother your soup.

Apr 30, 2015

Brown Sugar Cookies


Like molasses cookies but have no molasses?  Try these....you'll never know the difference.

1 1/2 Stick Salted Butter, Softened
1 1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 Large Egg
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add egg and beat well.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  Mix well.  Add to the butter mixture until well incorporated, scraping bowl well.

Use a 1 Tbl scoop to drop onto a cookie sheet lined with silicone mats OR non stick foil.  Place about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  If you like crispy cookies, cool on the cookie sheet.

Apr 29, 2015

Macaroon Bars

You don't get any easier than this bar recipe.  Make it as is or added chocolate and caramel drizzle after baking to make a Samoa like cookie bar.



3 1/2 Cups Sweetened Flake Coconut
1/2 Cup Finely Diced Almonds
14 Ounces Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Tsp Almond Extract
8 Ounces Refrigerated Crescent Rolls

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking oil.  Line with parchment paper and spray again.

Sprinkle 1 cup coconut and diced almonds in the bottom of the pan.  Mix together condensed milk and almond extract, pour half over bottom of pan.

Unroll crescent roll and press into the pan, gently pinching the seams.  Top with remaining condensed milk then sprinkle with remaining coconut.

Bake until golden, about 35 minutes.  Cool completely, cut into bars and store in the refrigerator.