Monday, February 27, 2012

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

When I co-hosted last year's cookie exchange, my friend Kolette brought this soup for lunch.  I couldn't believe how good it was when I took my first bite.  OH, IT WAS AMAZING!!  Everyone else that was there thought the same thing.  I'm pretty sure everyone had seconds and some even had thirds.  It was so good.

Now, this soup takes a little time to make, but it's worth it in the end.  When my 8 year old tried this, he said, "This is the best soup that's ever gone in my mouth!"  It's that good!

Here's what you'll need:

2 (14.5 oz.) cans chicken broth
2 C. water (use the liquid from the veggies for some of this)
1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. flour (heaping)
2 C. half and half
1-3 tsp. salt
1/2 - 1 tsp. pepper
1 box Uncle Ben's Wild Rice (fast cook 5 minute recipe)
2-4 chicken breasts
1-2 C. diced carrots
1-2 C. diced celery
diced onion (optional)

Cook rice according to package directions.

Steam vegetables in about 1-2 cups of water.  To steam, I put my chopped veggies and water in a microwavable bowl and cover it.  Then microwave it for about 8 minutes, or until tender.  

Make sure to reserve the water that's left.

Cook chicken in the bottom of a kettle or pot.  Remove and cut up.  Melt butter in the pot, add flour and seasonings.

Make a white sauce using the broth and reserved vegetable juice (adding enough water to equal 2 cups).

Bring to a boil.  Stirring constantly.  Boil for 1 minute.  Add half and half, veggies, rice, and chicken.  Heat until well heated through.  Do not boil or scorch the bottom.  Stir often until ready to serve.

Serve with a slice of homemade bread, or rolls, or breadsticks, or crusty french bread.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Crockpot Roast Beef

One of those staples for winter-time cooking is my crockpot roast beef with it's fall-off-the-bone meat, tender potatoes and carrots, and it's own saucy gravy.  Mmmm...perfect for a cold winter day.


I put this recipe together after trying MANY different versions of this classic dish.  And what can be better than putting everything together in the crockpot in the morning and not even think about it until it's dinner time?  Nothing, I say.  However, it's pretty hard to ignore the delicious aroma that will spread throughout your house.

So, make this soon, before winter leaves us, and enjoy this hearty, warm-your-whole-body dinner.

Here's what you'll need:

3-4 lbs. beef roast OR round steaks 
(I used round steaks since we have a lot of them and this is one of the best ways to make this cut of meat so tender to eat.)
Your favorite dry rub 
(I just used a generic roast beef rub I had in my pantry; if you don't have one, you can use a combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, and anything else that sounds good to you.)
Mini carrots
(I like using my older carrots that are drying out in this dish because they'll moisten right up while cooking.)
Diced potatoes
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
2 cans cream of mushroom soup

Cover meat generously with the dry rub and place in crockpot.  Top with carrots and potatoes (however many you'd like).  

Shake dry soup mix over veggies.  

Spoon cream of mushroom soup over everything.  

Cook on Low for 6-8 hours or on High for 3-4 hours.

 Later that evening, you'll have this to eat...

So tender and delicious!  Enjoy!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

It's almost Valentine's Day!!  My preschooler needs to take a treat for her class and you know me now-a-days, I'm always looking for something quick and easy.  

Now, a couple of weeks ago, I was at the grocery store and I saw heart-shaped marshmallows.  My brain started churning and I was coming up with ways to use them for Valentine's day.  I didn't get them at the time.  I decided to wait until I came back.

Bad idea.

When I went back last week to pick up a couple of bags, I was so upset that I couldn't find them.  Anywhere!  So I had to settle for pink, strawberry flavored marshmallows.  I was bummed.

But we moved forward with my plan anyway.  Let me just tell you how much I LOVE them!!!!!  Since we had a few extra marshmallows and chocolate, I decided to try one.



Why didn't I think that chocolate and strawberries would be the perfect combination for Valentine's Day?!?!  I really don't know where my brain was, but once I tasted it, I knew I was on to something.

Something good.

And something easy.

And something SO. STINKIN'. CUTE.

I'm so pleased with how they turned out and I can't wait for my daughter to take them to her class.  And seriously, what preschool-aged child doesn't like marshmallows?  They're sure to be a hit.


Here's what you'll need:

Lollipop sticks
Strawberry-flavored marshmallows
Milk Chocolate

Poke lollipop sticks into marshmallows.

Dip into melted milk chocolate.

Sprinkle with some cute sprinkles.  I placed mine into a square of styrofoam that I had pre-poked with holes about two inches apart.

I'll be able to use these squares for future projects.  Yay!

Let them cool and set.  You can even put them in the fridge for a little bit.


Cover these with some seran wrap, cut into squares, and tie with ribbon.

I made several in packages of two for teachers.

Are these not just the cutest little treats?!


I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bacon Pancakes

Are you a bacon lover?  We sure like it around here, so when I saw this idea online, I knew we had to give it a whirl.  It's SO simple and a fun change up to plain ol' pancakes!  

I was also thinking that this might be our Valentine's breakfast using two slices of bacon in a V-shape and making the pancakes into a heart shape over the bacon.  SO FUN!!!

Here's what you'll need:

Your favorite pancake batter (a pancake mix from a bag or your own from scratch - I used THIS one)
A package of bacon

Cook your bacon until almost done.  It will cook more with the pancakes.  Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up the grease.

We have monster bacon I tell you!  Yours can be any size.

Mix up your pancake batter.  Place however many slices of bacon you can fit on your griddle, leaving plenty of room for the pancake batter.

Pour some pancake batter around and over each slice of bacon.

When cooked on one side, carefully flip each pancake over.  Mine were so big I had to use two spatulas.

I didn't think my kids could eat one of these whole pancakes above since they were so big.  So I cut the rest of my bacon in half and made more normal sized bacon pancakes for them.

They were just the right size for the little ones. 

Drizzle with syrup and enjoy!

We thought they were pretty fun!  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Winner, Winner

And the winner of My Very First Giveaway is...

 Michele E said...
I make some kind of cookie every year. Some for my hubby and some for my co-workers.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!  Michele E., email me at the variety of sparkling cider you'd like from Sheffield Cider and also which chocolates from Florence's you'd prefer as well.  As soon I get your preferences and a mailing address, I'll get them sent out!

A HUGE thank you to all of those that entered!  I loved hearing all of your wonderful traditions and fantastic ideas of things you make and do for Valentine's Day.  You've provided me MUCH inspiration!
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