Saturday, February 12, 2011

Secret Ingredients

I found myself with canned tomato soup piling up and wanted to utilize them in a way that was more interesting than another kind of soup, chili or meatloaf. So, I searched and found a lot of references to a cake or cupcakes that got a lot of rave reviews. So, I was about to embark on an experiment that I was hoping would please my family. I tweaked the recipe a bit, and was pleased with the result. Sounds weird, but once you smell it baking and take your first bite, you will be amazed. If you top this with a rich cream cheese frosting, and serve it up with a smile, just wait for the compliments and then reveal the secret ingredient. No one will believe you. Fantastic fun!

Tomato Soup Spice Cupcakes
  • 2 C. flour
  • 1 1/3 C. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 (10.5 oz) can condensed tomato soup
  • 1/2 C softened butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 C. water
Preheat oven to 350° F.  Sift together all dry ingredients. In separate bowl, combine wet ingredients and blend well. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix. Do NOT over mix, as this will make the final product tough. Divide batter between 20-24 lined muffin tins and bake for 20-25 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frost with a rich cream cheese frosting after cupcakes have cooled for 15-20 min.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Trapped... So We Cook!

Clover among the clover.
So, I have this moose that has been a frequent visitor, since this summer. Her mother was hit and she showed up in our yard and stayed for almost a month. She ate a lot of clover (which is what my son Connor named her) and slept right out by our porch. We worried, when we left for a month, if she would survive, because she was so little. When we got back, we didn't see her for a while, but then here she came, ADOPTED! Another female was allowing her to tag along, which we were told was a regular occurrence.
A visit last summer.
Clover and her adoptive mother.

Fast forward to this morning. It's been snowing a lot! Here comes Clover looking for a pumpkin (which she ate during her last visit). Finding no pumpkin, she did something I never would have thought a moose would do. She got into one of my garbage cans and spread it just like a darn dog would do! Arg! Okay, so I like having her around, but not like this. I opened my door, took a step out onto the porch (where my trash cans are) and said, "Naughty moose! You go away!" and you know what she did? She bellowed at me! Yikes! I quickly got back inside and had to rethink how to get her away from the mess so I could clean up and secure the trash better. After a bit of trial and error, the neighbor helped lure her away, and I popped an umbrella at her a few times to keep her at bay while I took care of the mess. I also found out that at least this moose, doesn't appreciate the smell of Listerine sprayed on the snow around the trash cans. Whew!
Naughty Clover!
She is still out there. I threw some prunes out another door, hoping to lure her away long enough to finish cleaning, and she is now sleeping in front of the back yard porch. I sure hope those prunes don't give her the poops! Oh well.
Connor saying hello to Clover
So, we are trapped! The kids are home from school for parent/teacher conferences and going stir crazy because the moose makes it unsafe to go outside and play. She comes up to the windows and nuzzles the window. Sure seems like she could be a big sweetie, but moose are very territorial, especially around food this time of year. So, with the kids doing crafts, I brainstormed dinner. I figured one out from various items I had on hand and hope you find this one as yummy as I know it will be! Enjoy!

Creamy Crockpot Italian Chicken
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • bacon drippings (what I had) or 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion chive diced
  • 1 (0.7-ounce) package Italian dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup pork broth (or chicken, but I had pork left over)
  • 1 (10-ounce) container refrigerated four cheese Alfredo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


Brown chicken thighs in bacon drippings (or olive oil if no drippings handy) until browned. Place in crock pot. 
In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, cream cheese, garlic, chives, Italian dressing mix, broth, Alfredo sauce, Italian seasoning, and pepper and stir until blended. Pour over chicken in crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Stir well, then serve over hot cooked pasta or rice.
You could easily add vegetables to this recipe to make it a one-dish meal. A package of slightly cooked baby carrots, or a cup of chopped sauteed onion should be placed under the chicken and cooked for the full time. Add sliced mushrooms to the crock pot in the last 2 hours. And add sliced bell peppers or zucchini during the last hour of cooking. Serves 4-6

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Better 2nd Time Around

So, the white chili I made (In A Pinch, Make This Dish!) is absolutely wonderful on baked potato, topped with melted cheese! I needed a side, to round things out and make a starving hubby happy. So, garlic bread was in order, but it had to be hardy. Here is my spin on garlic bread, and let me assure you, it is simply fantastic!

Good Gracious! Garlic Bread
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 C grated Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp dried minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp garlic aioli (squeeze tube garlic)
  • 1 (1 pound) loaf Italian bread
1. Preheat the broiler.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cheeses and garlic until thick.
3. Slice the Italian bread in half lengthwise and spread each half with mayonnaise mixture. Place halves on a medium baking sheet.
4. Broil 2 to 5 minutes, checking frequently, until mixture is bubbling and golden brown.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

In A Pinch, Make This Dish!

I had it all planned out. I was going to make chili dogs for dinner. It was easy, the kids would be happy, and because it's quick, the hubby would be happy. So, imagine my annoyance, when I realized I didn't have the chili. I was so sure I had it... oh well. Now what? Well, I had a lot of canned beans, why not make my own?

I searched the internet for a meatless chili that wouldn't take too long to make. Most of the recipes, I was missing an ingredient or two. So, I just had to wing it and this is what I came up with...

Quick Meatless White Chili
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 (15-oz) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-oz)can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 C beef broth (I used Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 C chopped cilantro
  • 1 (4-oz) can diced green chilies, drained
  • 1 (14-oz) can white sweet corn, drained
Coat a large pot with nonstick cooking spray, then saute the onion and garlic over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until tender. Stir frequently so vegetables don’t stick. Add everything to the pot: the beans, beef broth, chili powder, cumin, oregano, green chilies, and corn. Stir to combine. Remove 1 1/2 C. and blend in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pot and add cilantro. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream.

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