Family, Food

Crock Pot Potato Soup

Crock Pot Potato Soup

Tis the season for making soup.  We love soup at this house. I’m a huge fan.  I could eat it every day.  For the most part, soup is good for you unless of course you are indulging in a thicker cream style soup.  On this particular day, we had that craving for a yummy, good old-fashioned potato soup.  Not necessarily good for you, but better than eating out any day of the week.

My older kids didn’t remember having this soup before so I described it like eating a baked potato.  You can add all the extra fixings like cheese and bacon too.  There you have it…baked potato soup. They loved it and it’s so easy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 3 Ribs of Celery, chopped
  • 4 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz.) can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz. ) can of Cream of Celery Soup
  • 1 Tablespoon dried Parsley flakes
  • 4 cups of Water
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of Margarine or Butter
  • 1 12 oz. can of Evaporated Milk
  • Chopped Chives for garnish
  • Shredded Cheese and Bacon Bits for toppings (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients except evaporated milk and chives in a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours or on Potato Souphigh for 5 hours.
  2. Stir in evaporated milk during the last hour, and cook until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Garnish each serving with chives.  Add toppings of cheese and bacon bits if you prefer.

I highly recommend doubling this recipe if you enjoy left overs.

Enjoy!

Family, Food

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Wow!  The trees are amazing colors of red, yellow, and orange.  It’s sweater and boot weather.  We had another red October and its football season. Yes, that’s right its Fall here in St. Louis and it’s beautiful.  One of the best things about living in the Midwest is the change of seasons.

Nothing goes better with the Fall season than pumpkin although I’m not a fan of pumpkin…at all! However, I must tell you that this was delicious.  It doesn’t taste anything like pumpkin pie. The pumpkin in this cake makes it very moist. It’s a must try during the fall season or better yet, a great desert for Thanksgiving. Pumpkin lover or not, this one is a keeper.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Tablespoons of Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Cup of Butter, softened
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup of Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 5 Large Eggs
  • 1 Can (15 oz.) Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 Cup Whipping Cream

Icing

  • 5 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1/4 Cup of Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup of Whipping Cream
  • 2 Cups of Powdered Sugar

**Optional – Candied Pecans to Top

Directions:

For the Cake –

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; Set Pumpkin before icingaside.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars at medium speed, scraping the bowl often.
  4. Add eggs one at a time beating well in between.
  5. Beat in flour mixture alternating with cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  6. Pour batter into a 12 cup bundt pan that has been lightly coated with Pam.  Bake in the oven for approximately 50 minutes or until a wooden tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes.  Invert cake onto a wire rack to fully cool.

For the Icing –

  1. In a small saucepan, combine butter, maple syrup, and cream over medium-high heat; bring to a boil.
  2. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Slowly whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Let cool until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Drizzle over cooled cake. Optional – Sprinkle with candied pecans.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Cake 5

Family, Food, Kids

Potato Bacon Casserole

 

Potato Bacon Casserole

Breakfast is not my favorite meal. I know it’s the most important meal of the day but it’s still not my favorite. However, my husband has definitely changed my thinking about breakfast. He has turned me on to the “big breakfast concept” (especially on the weekends)…eat a big breakfast, skip lunch, and then go straight to dinner.

On this particular day, it was Father’s Day so we decided to treat Dad to his favorite meal – breakfast. A sausage egg casserole was a must, but we needed something else. Yes, potatoes it is! That’s when the potato and bacon casserole came together.

It’s simple and easy to make. A great dish to get the kids involved too. Not to mention, this casserole could be eaten as a side dish at any meal, not just breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of Southern/ Country Style Potatoes (cubes) – completely thawed
  • 1 12 oz. Package of Bacon
  • 1 Bunch of Green Onions chopped
  • 3 Cups of Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Jack Cheese, and/or any variety of Cheese – mixed together
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. of Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook the bacon in a skillet.  While the bacon is cooking, add the potatoes to a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Sprinkle all the shredded cheese evenly over the potatoes. After the bacon is cooked, drain it on paper towels reserving 2-3 tablespoons of bacon drippings. Cook the green onions in the bacon drippings for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Spread the onion mixture over the cheese. Then, crumble the bacon on top.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture evenly on top of the casserole.  Refrigerate overnight or for 8 hours.
  3. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

DSCF4796

Family, Food

Stuffed Pork Chops

Stuffed Pork Chops

On this particular evening, I didn’t cook.  My husband and my 11-year-old daughter took care of everything.  They decided to use our Costco thick cut pork chops and stuff them. We’ve never stuffed pork chops at this house.  We usually buy them already stuffed from our local meat market, Kenricks, however this time they decided to make some Sievers stuffed chops home-made.

These pork chops are my favorite recipe of 2014 thus far! If you like gouda cheese, bacon, and spinach, then this recipe is a must. Wow, it was absolutely delicious.

Stuffed Pork Chops

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: average
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 6 thick cut Pork chops (Costco pork chops are ideal)
  • 1/2 Pound of Smoked Gouda (shredded)
  • 8 slices of cooked Bacon (chopped)
  • 1 Cup of fresh Spinach (chopped)
  • Salt and Pepper for Taste (prefer Sea Salt)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Begin by preparing the stuffing.  Add the shredded gouda cheese, chopped bacon, and fresh chopped spinach to a medium Mel stuffing chopsbowl and mix together. Add salt and pepper for taste. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Coat a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray.
  3. Lay each chop flat on a cutting board. With a sharp knife held parallel to the cutting board, cut a pocket into the pork leaving three sides in tact. Stuff each chop with the mixture.  Sticks or small skewers can be used to keep stuffing together. Lightly salt and pepper each chop.
  4. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium to high heat. Brown pork chops on each side.  Then add them to the 9×13 baking dish.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes or until meat reaches correct internal temperature.

Stuffed chops before

Enjoy!

Family, Food, Kids, Snacks

Stovetop Popcorn

Popcorn

I can’t remember the last time I had real homemade popcorn made on the stove. We have been eating microwave popcorn for so many years.  I guess because of the convenience, but I will never go back.  Plus, it’s not that healthy for you. In our house we limit the food we put into the microwave so this is yet another food item that will no longer be zapped.

Making popcorn on the stove may sound very easy, however there is a special trick to it.  If you don’t follow the directions below, there’s a good chance you will end up with burnt popcorn. The cooking method below also ensures that almost every kernel will pop too.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Vegetable or Canola Oil
  • 1/3 Cup of Popcorn Kernels
  • 1 3-Quart Saucepan
  • 3 Tablespoons of Butter or More
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium to high heat.
  2. Put 3-4 kernels in the oil and cover the saucepan.
  3. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the kernels to the pan in an even layer.  Cover and remove the pan from the heat for about 30-40 seconds. This method brings all the kernels to the same temperature so they will all pop at the same time.
  4. Return the pan to the heat. Keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam release.  Popping should begin very soon and at the same time.  Listen carefully to the popping.  When there is a few seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove lid, and add the popcorn to a large bowl. Using this method ensures almost every kernel will pop and keeps it from burning.
  5. If you like buttered popcorn, add 3 Tablespoons of butter, more or less, depending on your preference to the empty saucepan.  The butter will melt very quickly.  Evenly pour the butter on your popcorn. Add sea salt to the popcorn.

Suggestions:

  • You can also get creative with some additional seasonings such as: pepper, cayenne, grated parmesan cheese (my favorite to add), melted chocolate, and so on.
  • Popcorn can also be used to make an awesome trail mix.

Enjoy!