CHICKEN CHILI in eager anticipation of FALL

A few years ago I made up this recipe when I was home without a car and the pantry was all but bare.

QUICK & EASY CHICKEN CHILI
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, frozen
2 cups homemade chicken broth, frozen
1 can cream of potato soup
1 jar dried beef, chopped
1 Williams chili mix package
1 can chopped green chilies
  • Place frozen chicken breasts on the bottom.
  • Pour green chilies over chicken pieces.
  • Top with cream of potato soup.
  • Top with frozen broth.
  • Sprinkle chili seasoning mix on top of chicken broth.
  • Top with beef pieces.
  • Slow cook on high for 2 hours. Reduce to low for 6 hours. Or cook on low 10 hours.

TUNA TARRAGON

TUNA TARRAGON

1 tablespoon salt
5 cups small shell pasta*
1 1/4 cups penne pasta*
1 cup egg noodles*
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 small cans tuna in water, drained WELL
1 cups sweet pickle juice**
1 3/4 cups mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups sweet pickles
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons dried tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

  • Bring a LARGE pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  • Add all of your pastas and cook for about 8-10 minutes until al dente.
  • Drain pasta and cool by running cold water over pasta in strainer.
  • Drain pasta completely and immediately coat with canola oil to prevent sticking.
  • Drain pickles, reserving juice and chop pickles.
  • Drain tuna completely and use a fork to break apart into flakes.
  • Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, pickle juice, vinegar, salt and pepper until well blended.
  • Fold in tuna and pickles into dressing.
  • Combine the dressing and cooked pasta, mixing thoroughly.
  • ALLOW SALAD TO MARINATE FOR 8 HOURS!

NOTE 1*: or 2 pounds of your desired pasta mix
NOTE 2**: One small jar of sweet pickles contains about 1 cup of juice

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DECONSTRUCTED PORK EGG ROLL SALAD

DECONSTRUCTED PORK EGG ROLL SALAD serves 2
1 + 1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin angularly – separate whites from greens
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and sliced thin angularly
2 ounces sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons Ponzu sauce (store bought or make your own – recipe below)
1 small package slaw mix (cabbage with shredded carrots and red cabbage)
Fresh Gourmet crispy wonton strips
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Heat oil in skillet.
  • Add pork and white portions of green onions. Add a pinch of salt and cooking until pork is broken up and pink is gone.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Ponzu sauce and stir to mix well.
  • Remove pork mixture and set aside.
  • Add 1 tablespoon avocado oil to hot pan.
  • Add celery, slaw mix and a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring for a couple minutes until celery is crisp tender.
  • Add pork mixture bak to pan along with remaining Ponzu sauce and stir to mix well.
  • Divide the mixture between bowls and top with crispy wontons and green onion tops.
  • Drizzle sauce over top.
  • Enjoy.

PONZU SAUCE

1/2 cup Bragg’s amino acids
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Cover and chill.

APRICOT PINEAPPLE MONKEY BREAD

APRICOT PINEAPPLE MONKEY BREAD

BREAD*
1 cup scalded milk
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1teaspoon salt
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup rum
1/2 cup minced walnuts
2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 Jumbo eggs, beaten
4 1/2 – 5 cups flour

TOPPING
20 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained well
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, super firmly packed
1/2 cup apricot pineapple preserves**
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2+ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/4 cup rum (optional)

  • Soften the yeast in the warm water.
  • Stir together the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  • Soak the raisins in the rum until needed. Drain WELL before adding to the bread.
  • Combine the milk, shortening, sugar and salt. Cool to lukewarm.
  • Add yeast to milk mixture and then the eggs, the raisins and nuts.
  • Add the flour. Mix to a soft dough.
  • Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl. Turn over once, cover with a cheesecloth and let rise until double in size.
  • Punch down and let stand ten minutes.
  • Prepare the topping while the dough is standing.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  • Add the preserves, brown sugar, cinnamon and almond extract. Cook until smooth and fairly thin.
  • Add the pineapple (and raisins if you’re using refrigerator rolls) and heat through.
  • Roll into many small balls about the size of golf balls.
  • Grease a Bundt cake pan. (I like to use my pineapple upside down cake pan.
  • Arrange a layer of the balls haphazardly in the cake pan.
  • Dribble about half the topping loosely over them.
  • Arrange the other half of the dough balls.
  • Pour remaining sauce over top.
  • Allow to rise until double in size (about 1 1/4-1 1/2 hours)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.
  • Enjoy

NOTE 1*: You can cheat and use 3 cans of refrigerator biscuits instead if you’re in a hurry.

NOTE 2**: You can use pretty much any flavor you want – I also use raspberry, peach and blackberry depending on my mood. A lot of times I combine the peach and blackberry half and half.

PIMIENTO CHEESE SPREAD

As a kid I hated Pimiento Cheese.  What I didn’t realize is what my family put out with crackers for holidays was NOT real food LOL, you know the jelly jar cheese spread you find at the grocery store.  Jack Allen’s Kitchen serves a small dab of their Pimiento Cheese with a cracker as a nibble before you order and it is fantastic!  I even bought a jar to bring home and it was the first recipe I tried from their cook book when it arrived. At home we tried it with all sorts of crackers before deciding a simple Ritz cracker was the best.


PIMIENTO CHEESE
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 pound Medium Cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
1 large Red Bell Pepper, washed, seeded, roasted and chopped fine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Sherry Vinegar*
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, Vinegar and salt until smooth.
  • Blend in the grated Monterey Jack cheese and grated Cheddar cheese.
  • Fold in bell pepper until well distributed.
  • Chill well.
  • Serve with crackers.

NOTE:*  I didn’t have any so I used Golden Balsamic Vinegar

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HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 37 of 2017

Oh my I can’t believe it’s Monday again already! I hope you had a great week/weekend.  We are personally back to normal after Hurricane Harvey, but so many aren’t including our house/dog sitter who unfortunately lost her car, her job and house was flooded during the hurricane.  She’ll be here this week to “regroup” while waiting on materials for new walls and floors at her house. She’s on a waiting list to get a rental car – there just aren’t enough to go around!

My tests and surgery have been pushed out 6 weeks after being canceled during the hurricane.  While I’m not happy about this because of the way it is affecting my life, I do understand what a scheduling nightmare it would be to push everyone out 2 weeks to accommodate everyone that was canceled.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

We’re enjoying some milder weather finally.  Unfortunately it is because of the Florida situation so I would take the heat and humidity back to save all those people from what they are going through.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

We made coffee to go, but will grab something on the road after we get out of the morning traffic.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE & WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRY… washer is having an issue so will have lots of loads to do next week
  • ALL LIVING AREAS… perfect! I did a deep clean before the house sitter got here.
  • YARD… NOTHING! New seeds have begun to come up and is looking good.
  • BLOG… still doing some recipe updating and planning for future posts.

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

  • READING – I seem to fall asleep after just a paragraph or 2 – Ava Miles #5 Dare Valley – The TOWN SQUARE

The new season is finally about to start.  I do have some cooking shows to clean up on the DVR, but there are plenty of things still going on:

  • ZOO
  • THE STRAIN
  • SALVATION
  • NIGHT SHIFT
  • MIDNIGHT TEXAS
  • CHESAPEAKE SHORES
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT
  • GUY’S GROCERY GAMES
  • Guy’s Family Road Trip
  • Great FOOD TRUCK race
  • MASTER CHEF – there are some interesting characters left this season and some I can’t wait to see go – hint hint JEFF still HAS TO GO!

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
on the road
FARMHOUSE RESTAURANT
hotel
hotel
hotel
hotel
hotel
LUNCH
on the road
??
??
??
??
??
on the road
DINNER
??
??
welcome reception
?? out for my birthday
banquet
on the road
DESSERT
cake of course

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

There are so many things going on EVERYWHERE right now that I am just praying for the world and our country to level out and be still for awhile! This kind of comically sums it up though.

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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6 years 7 months 10 days and counting – OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and my birthday month.  Is there a correlation?  Probably just for me, but the irony is NOT wasted on me.  At this age many people just say, it’s another day, oh well.  For me, I look forward to it like a small child.  Not because of cake and presents, but because I’m alive to celebrate it. In a few months I will have my 7 year check up, an event fairly rare with this type of cancer, so I’m ecstatic to be having another birthday that puts me that much closer to being labeled cancer free AGAIN! I have vowed to tell my story every year in hopes of raising awareness.  My story was not just pure luck.  In today’s world it’s hard work to stay on top of awareness, healthy eating and a positive lifestyle, but it is also SOOOOO worth it!  BE AWARE. BE VIGILANT. BE HEALTHY. BE POSITIVE.

SEPTEMBER IS OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!

I’ve always been a good girl and gotten my yearly well woman exams. I know my own body.  I started getting my mammograms at a very early age because of a serious family history of breast cancer.  I have a degree in the health field.  I am aware, yet imagine my surprise at my well woman appointment when they said they thought I might have a serious problem – Merry Christmas (December 2010) to me!  Imagine my shock a few weeks later when it was confirmed.

Are you aware of your body?
Do you get regular check ups?
Do you get timely cancer screenings.   
Don’t neglect any little pain or irregularity.

Take control of your health and reduce your cancer risk.Despite getting my yearly well woman exams I had been having a few pains  here and there for several months before my scheduled appointment, but ignored them because they “mimicked” my chronic appendix of many, many years.  I ignored them and it almost killed me.  Are YOU ignoring something that you should be having a doctor check?  Think twice and make an appointment 1st thing tomorrow.

Ovarian cancer has an ugly step sister too, breast cancer.  If you have any family history please get tested for BRCA also.  You have probably heard about it with a few celebrities having chosen to remove their breasts after testing positive.  It’s a simple blood test and can give you a world of relief to know the answer and if by chance it’s not relief, then your are armed to save your life with positive choices.  You can learn more about it here. Because of my family history I not only got BRCA done, but I was ready to act on it f necessary.  Being prepared mentally is one of the best things to do fo yourself.

I cannot say it enough:

Are you aware of your body?
Do you get regular check ups?
Do you get timely cancer screenings.   
Don’t neglect any little pain or irregularity.
Everyday Steps to Help Lower Your Cancer Risk can be found here.
Go check these out NOW!
Here are a few other tips to get you started.
  • Stay away from tobacco.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Get moving with regular physical activity.
  • Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all).
  • Protect your skin.
  • Know yourself, your family history, and your risks.
  • Have regular check-ups and cancer screening tests.
  • For information on how to reduce your cancer risk and other questions about cancer, please call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit THEM online at www.cancer.org.

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TEXAS CAVIAR

While researching black eyed peas (not an easy thing to do with a band by the same name) I ran across a reference to Texas Caviar. I read and read all those recipes and found the 2 consistent ingredients are black eyed peas and Italian dressing. So I started with those ingredients and from there added the ingredients I like most. We loved the results. We ate it for New Year’s day with fresh tortilla chips, prime rib and twice baked potatoes. Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is thought to bring prosperity. See what you think. I also found it ironic, at least in my case that since my family is from and for the majority in Texas that I had never heard of this before.

TEXAS CAVIAR
1 pound black eyed peas
2 cups Italian salad dressing
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 large shallot, chopped
1 bunch finely chopped green onions (tops too)
finely chopped jalapeno peppers to taste
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
Salt & hot pepper sauce to taste (I used Frank’s red pepper sauce)
Tortilla chips
  • Soak peas in enough water to cover overnight.
  • Drain well. Pick out bad beans.
  • Transfer peas to saucepan. Add enough fresh water to cover.
  • Over high heat bring to boil.
  • Let slow boil until tender, about an hour or so, but do not overcook.
  • While peas are cooking chop remaining ingredients and mix well with dressing.
  • Drain peas well.
  • Blend into dressing mixture and let cool.
  • Chill several hours.
  • Serve with tortilla chips.

Originally black eyed peas were native to India, but widely grown in many countries in Asia, the black-eyed pea was introduced into the West Indies and from there to the Southern United States as early as the 1600s in Virginia. Most of the black-eye pea cultivation in the region, however, took firmer hold in Florida and the Carolinas during the 1700s, reaching Virginia in full force following the American Revolution. The crop would also eventually prove popular in Texas. Throughout the South, the black-eyed pea is still a widely used ingredient in soul food and various types of Southern U.S. cuisine. The planting of crops of black-eyed peas was promoted by George Washington Carver because, as a legume, it adds nitrogen to the soil and has high nutritional value. Black-eyed peas are an excellent source of calcium. Isn’t Wikipedia wonderful? I learn something every day!

BANANA CREAM CHEESECAKE

BANANA CREAM CHEESECAKE

CRUST
20 vanilla cream-filled sandwich style cookies
1/4 cup butter, melted

FILLING
3-8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 eggs
3/4 cup finely mashed banana (2 medium bananas)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract

 

TOPPINGS (recipes below)
Caramel Sauce (optional)
Mocha Hot Fudge Sauce (optional)

  • Use a blender to finely chop the cookies.
  • Add butter and blend until they are well blended.
  • Press mixture into the bottom of a 10″ springform pan and smooth it out.
  • Refrigerate the crust while you make the filling.
  • Beat cream cheese until creamy.
  • Add in sugar and cornstarch followed by the eggs one at a time.
  • Beat in the bananas, whipping cream, and vanilla.
  • Pour mixture into crust.
  • Place pan on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees and bake an additional 75 minutes, or until center is almost set.
  • Allow to cool completely before removing sides. Before removing the pan, run warm water over a knife and slide a knife around the edge of the cake to separate the cake from the pan cleanly.
  • Refrigerate cheesecake, uncovered, at least 6 hours.
  • Serve with sliced fresh bananas, Caramel Sauce, Mocha Hot Fudge Sauce and fresh whipped cream.
CARAMEL SAUCE

1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
2+ tablespoons water

  • Combine the cream and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Remove from the heat.
  • In a medium saucepan cook the corn syrup over a medium heat until bubbly. Fold in 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue to cook until the edges begin to turn a light amber color. Add in 1/4 cup sugar more and repeat until all the sugar is blended in. Continue cooking until amber color darkens stirring constantly.
  • Remove from the heat and carefully fold in the cream mixture.
  • Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until caramel is bubbling.
  • Serve warm.
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
  • Microwave20-30 seconds to soften refrigerated caramel before serving.

MOCHA HOT FUDGE SAUCE

1/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
scant 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted & cooled
3 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
2 tablespoons golden rum

  • In a medium saucepan blend together the water, corn syrup dissolving the sugar and cocoa into it until smooth.
  • Bring to a low boil.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until smooth.
  • Gradually add the coffee and rum until desired flavor and consistency is reached.
  • Serve warm.
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
  • Microwave20-30 seconds to soften refrigerated caramel before serving.

GARLIC DILL PICKLES

Hubby loves pickles!  I mean he reallllllllllllllllllllllly loooooooooooooooves pickles.  Unfortunately I am deathly allergic to mustard and just don’t make them enough for him because of my allergy.  But, the other day we ran across some awesome pickling cucumbers at the local farmers market produce and he begged (really, he did) so I gave in and made my super secret Garlic Dill Pickles for him.  Now I’m going to share them with you.


GARLIC DILL PICKLES
2 pounds cucumber pickles, washed
2 cups white vinegar
4 cups water
1/4 cup pickling salt
2 tablespoons fresh dill*
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large Vidalia onion, whole

  • Chill the cucumbers in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes or more.
  • In a medium non-reactive pan heat the water, vinegar and salt over a medium high heat until the salt is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  • Cut cucumbers to desired size.
  • Place cucumbers in large jar.
  • Stir garlic, dill and mustard seed into vinegar mix.
  • Pour cooled mixture over pickles.
  • Place whole onion on top to weight pickles to keep them submerged.
  • Set in a cool place for 3-4 days at room temperature and then move to refrigerator for crisp pickles.

*you can use dehydrated, but I prefer not to when at all possible – fresh gives such a better flavor!

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BROWN BOX CRACKER MINI MEATLOAVES with BROWN BEER GRAVY aka MEATLOAF with A SERIOUS KICK

I found these awesome crackers a while back and then was pleasantly surprised to find that they were a local mom & pop operation.  Imagine my even bigger surprise when I’m eating these same crackers at my uncle’s house on Christmas Day later that year and find out that Brown Box Crackers was my own cousin’s company! I asked her if we could share this recipe with you and introduce you to her awesome products. I shared this quite a few years ago and unfortunately the crackers are no more as she passed away in 2014 and no one was able to find her recipes.  They probably existed on her hard drive, but alas my uncle never bothered to search and the hard drive is rotting away in storage, probably under water or too wet to be salvaged.  I have made some substitutions to make it similar to her original recipe.

Beth described this recipe perfectly: ” love comfort food, especially when it makes leftovers that taste better the day after. Meatloaf is one of those comfort foods and I like mine with rich, brown gravy…not with that tomato-y, ketchup-y topping some folks use. I want mine with rice and some kind of fresh vegatable to make it a healthy thing. Thank you, Mom, for putting me on the right path to meatloaf.”

MEAT LOAVES
1 pound Lean Hamburger
1 LARGE egg
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Salt (or more to taste)
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 cups Brown Box Cracker Crumbs (I now use a combo of wheat thins, ritz and Keebler garlic butter)
2 medium Onions, chopped
1 Jalapeno, chopped
4-5 Cloves Garlic, chopped

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Process onions, jalapeno and garlic in food processor.
  • Adding just enough water to form a paste.
  • Combine all ingredients except for the cracker crumbs by squeezing though fingers JUST until blended.
  • Once the ingredients are mixed well add the crackers and mix them through.
  • Divide burger mixture into four (4) equal portions and form into mini loaves or form one large loaf.
  • Place in a casserole or large, heavy oven-proofing frying pan.
  • The heavy frying pan is excellent for getting all the “good stuff” for the gravy.
  • Bake approximately 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.

BROWN BEER GRAVY
3 tablespoons Drippings or avocado oil
1/2 cup Wondra Flour
1 cup Dark Beer (Shiner Bock is excellent)
1 cup Beef Broth
Salt and Pepper, to taste

  • Heat drippings/oil to bubbling.
  • Add flour and stir constantly to a bubbling caramel roux.
  • Add beer and broth continuing to stir constantly. The roux will smooth and thicken.
  • Add more broth if necessary.

Serving Suggestion:  Slice meat loaf and top onto a mound of rice, cover in gravy and serve with a side of fresh sliced tomato.

NOTE: Use beef broth INSTEAD of water when preparing rice. You will be pleased!

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CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRIES

I wanted to make something special to take to my nieces house for Superbowl Sunday a few years ago so thought I’d try Chocolate Covered Cherries. I found the recipe in an old Taste of Home magazine. This recipe is sooooooooooooooooo simple, but messy! Have fun making them. They are quite rich though – be forewarned!

CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRIES
1 cup butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 pounds confectioners sugar (about 8 cups)
3-10 ounce jars maraschino cherries (about 120 cherries), really well drained
1-2 pounds milk chocolate candy coating, chopped (I used almond bark)

  • Combine butter and milk until smooth.
  • Gradually add in confectioner’s sugar until a soft dough forms.
  • Roll into 1 inch balls and flatten into 2 inch circles.
  • Place a cherry in the center of each one.
  • Wrap sides around cherry until cherry is completely covered and roll into a smooth ball.
  • Melt chocolate until smooth and dip each ball into the chocolate.
  • Place on wax paper until cool and sprinkle with sprinkles.
  • Cool well.
  • The centers will liquefy over the 24-48 hours.
I made these for superbowl but aren’t they just perfect for Valentines?  Join me Saturday afternoon 2/12 for our annual Valentine’s Day “Weekend of Romance” Foods.