Category Archives: Crock-Pot

Applesauce from Freezer to Oven & Shortbread Brownie Bars

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Fall is fun. (Perhaps I have said that before?) Smells of pumpkin, apple and fresh fallen leaves fill the air! NOW is the time to take advantage of the season, apple season that is!

I have enjoyed making this applesauce for years, one year I even dragged, tricked, begged my friend to help me……that was fun! It is nice to have a buddy when doing something like this.

  I use this for apple crisp AND apple pie filling, sometimes I add more sugar tho (add the sugar after it is thawed) ~ depending on how sweet or tart the apples are. You can also add some nutmeg, more cinnamon, or any other flavors you like in your pies/crisps. It can also be used to replace the pie filling you find in the cans, you know, for coffee cakes, bars or cooking with pork chops!!

~A 3/4 bushel of apples yielded me 10 gallon bags of applesauce. (Tho I realize I am a little behind in sharing this recipe……there may not be farmstands open or apple trees full of fruit yet, BUT the stores do have bags of apples on sale at times and a few of those will stock your freezer with a number of bags at least!)

First this…..

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Applesauce from Freezer to Oven  

about 7 apples
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 TB. flour

Peel core and slice your apples. Fill a gallon freezer bag about 2/3 rds full. Top with sugar, cinnamon and flour. Shake around to mix, lay flat and freeze. When ready to cook ~ thaw, pour into a greased casserole dish and bake @ 350° for about 45 minutes till apples are tender, stir one time. OR pour into a greased crock pot and cook on low till apples are tender, maybe 4-5 hours. Serve. (SOME of my family members enjoy this applesauce over ice cream.)

ENJOY!

Time for a bar.  Take a bar and lock the rest away, as you will want more….and more……AND more. They are rich, so eating that many would be a mistake BUT you will want to….I want too.

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The best part of this bar ~ the melt in your mouth shortbread. Oh wait, the fudgy brownie layer. Kidding, the peanut butter frosting. Hold on, the chocolate topping.  I am sorry. I cannot decide. Really. You might just want to try it.

Buckeye Brownies, Fudge Brownies, Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, this bar is a combo of all my favorites. An “all in one bar” you could say perhaps.

This recipe came from Jasey’s Crazy Daisy ~ tho I did make some changes to the Peanut Butter Frosting and the Chocolate Topping.

Shortbread Brownie Bars  

Shortbread Layer:
1 1/2 c. flour
2 sticks of butter, cold
1/2 c. powdered sugar

Mix, till fine crumbs, and press into a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan. Bake @ 350° for 25 minutes ~ till lightly browned around the edges.

Brownie Layer:
Prepare your favorite brownie mix, as directed on the box. Pour over crust and bake for about 24-26 minutes till brownies are cooked through. (Don’t over cook.)

Peanut Butter Layer:
1 stick soft butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. milk

Beat till smooth. Spread over COOLED brownie layer. Chill to set.

Chocolate Layer:
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. peanut butter

Melt together and spread over peanut butter frosting. Chill to set. Cut. Eat. ENJOY!

Recipe adapted from Jasey’s Crazy Daisy.

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Little Bit of This…..Little Bit of That……

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Just a few recipes,  a few food related a few NON ~ food related.

First…. the ones we can eat.

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Crock Pot Cheese Tortellini 

I saw this recipe on Cooking Up a Sale a little while ago. It looked real good, real easy. Well, it is, we enjoyed it! I hope you will too! To read Lisa’s tips, go here….. you will find the recipe here.

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Homemade “Velveeta” Cheese

My family’s favorite casserole has a good amount of Velveeta cheese in it. I really haven’t cheese in a long time. BUT it is nice to serve their favorite dish, right?!?!? So I wanted to have the “right” cheese for it. I had seen homemade Velveeta recipes before, but was nervous to try. Not sure why, it seemed simple enough. A friend of mine DID try it and her family enjoyed. That gave me the courage to give it a go as well. Happy I did, it worked out GREAT for the casserole as well as in scrambled eggs and grilled cheese! A keeper for sure!!!!!   Does this seem interesting to you??? Will you give it a try?!?!?   PLEASE let me know what you think!!!! (I do SO enjoy hearing from you 😉 !!!!

My notes for this recipe are ~
*Use less salt (maybe 1/2 tsp. – 3/4 tsp. only).
*ALSO, I used a Pizza Blend cheese ~ while it was good, next time I will use either Colby, as it calls for, OR a Sharp Cheddar.
* Oh, ALSO, you know those rectangular food storage containers from Rubbermaid??? They  hold about 20 oz. or 2 1/2 c-ish??? Anyways, I lined one of those with plastic wrap and chilled the cheese in it overnight. Worked well.
* One more thing. I had to mix mine in my food processor a bit longer then 1 minute. You are just looking for a nice smooth cheese.

Oh, yes, here is the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Feed. My adapted version is below, Enjoy!!

Homemade “Velveeta” Cheese
1 TB. water
1 1/2 tsp.  powdered gelatin
12 oz. Colby cheese, shredded (3 c. about)
1 TB. dry milk powder
1/2 – 3/4 tsp.  salt
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 c. plus 2 TB. skim milk

Line a rectangular plastic container with plastic wrap.

Put water in small bowl, add gelatin, stir, let set 5 minutes. Pulse cheese, milk powder, salt, and cream of tartar in food processor until combined, just a few pulses.

Meanwhile, bring milk to boil in small pan. Take off heat, add softened gelatin and stir til dissolved. With processor running, slowly add hot milk mixture to cheese mixture until smooth, about 1 – 2 minutes. Taste, add more salt if needed.

Pour cheese mixture to prepared container, smooth the top nicely. Wrap tightly and chill at least 3 hours, or overnight.

On to the recipe you CANNOT eat…….

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Homemade Ant Trap

So. We have ants. Do you??!?! Those little buggers just appear as the weather warms. We needed to get rid of them BEFORE they got rid of us……… I ran out of the ant gel we usually use. So, lickity split, a friend told me to check out Pinterest for an ant killer “recipe”. Found it here. Made it. Watched the ants drink and get all drunk and stuff and then, BOOM!!!! They were gone. Now, some of their friends (who apparently did not get the memo about the honey concoction that kills) came a-calling a day or so later. But, they are gone now too.  Sorry guys. You don’t  belong in my house.

Try out this homemade version (IF you have ants and let me know what you think!!) I used honey as the sweetener.

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Homemade Stain Remover

Stains!!!! DO you have stains!?!?!? Do your kids or loved ones have stains?!?!?!? Silly question, right?!?!?!

Here is my favorite stain remover. Now, it makes more than you need for 1 stain, but wait a day or two…….your pile of stained clothes will use the whole batch RIGHT up!!!!!

Here is the recipe.

Here is the “proof” it works.  (You know those strange “grease like” stains that. just. appear?? Well, it got rid of that! It also does really well with the white long sleeve shirts that have dirty cuffs…..) Please don’t scrutinize the picture too much, it looks like part of the stain is still there……I must have missed a spot, in real life, the stain DID come out…….

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Put the leftover in a bottle, at YOUR OWN RISK ~ as this will happen.

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I still keep the leftovers, overflowing bottle and all. I just keep the leftovers in my utility sink (to contain any overflow…..cause there WILL BE overflow……), shake it up when I need it. Good to go.

I would enjoy knowing if ANY of this caught YOUR attention, as it did mine!! Thanks as always for reading!!!!

Asian Chicken ~ IN the Slow Cooker!

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If your family enjoys stir-fry for dinner, then maybe you should give this recipe a whirl. It is easy, as it cooks in the slow cooker, and it is delicious.

Asian Chicken ~ IN the Slow Cooker! 

1 TB. olive oil
2-3 chicken breasts, boneless skinless
1 1/2 – 2 c. carrots, peeled and cut up
1/2 of a large onion, cut up
1 TB. small pearl tapioca
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. pepper
salt to taste, really you just need a dash or so
2 TB. lemon juice
1/2 c. Hoisin sauce
1/3 c. water
1 red pepper, cut into strips
8 oz. sugar snap peas (probably about 1 1/2-2 c.), trim the ends just a bit

Cut chicken into pieces. Heat the oil in a skillet and add chicken, cook till browned. No need to cook through as they will be cooking in the slow cooker.

Whisk together the tapioca, ginger, pepper, salt, lemon juice, Hoisin sauce and water. Set aside.

Place the chopped carrots and onions in your slow cooker, top with the chicken and pour the Hoisin sauce mixture over everything. Cover and cook on low for 4 1/2-5 hours. Add the bell pepper strips and sugar snap peas, stir into chicken mixture, cover and cook 30 more minutes.

Serve over hot cooked rice.

Enjoy!!

(HA! That lone carrot in the bottom right hand corner of the picture is making me chuckle….)

Crock Pot Beef Enchiladas

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I really enjoy using my crock pot, do you? I find it very helpful, usually there is more time in the daytime hours to throw dinner together then in the afternoon hours. So I really enjoy recipes that can be thrown together in the morning and either start cooking in the crock pot or chill in the fridge till I am ready to put it in the oven. I will say nothing more about this recipe EXCEPT to quote 2 of my kiddos and they preciousness-es that they said while eating this dinner.

Quote # 1.   ~  “Mom, if you were a baker in a contest and you  made this  and I was the  judge,  you would be the winner.” *Tears from mother. Sweetness that melts my heart.*

Quote # 2.   ~  “I pick this as my birthday dinner.” Well……..honey, that is now ABOUT 7 dinners you have picked  for your birthday dinner, looks like we may need to narrow some things down……

I saw this recipe idea in a Taste of Home Magazine, I thought “Really, will this work? Will you see the tortilla layers? Will I be able to lift it out of the crock pot? Will the kids like it as much as they like oven cooked enchiladas? Will. it. work? Will. it. be. good????”

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

I hope your family enjoys as well!

*My family is not keen on black beans or pinto beans, but if your family IS then feel free to add a can (rinsed and drained) in with the meat layer (plus it will stretch the meat layer a bit further as well!).

* This serves 4. It was just the right amount to feed my family (2 adults, 4 kids). Though in a few years I KNOW it will not be enough! I think you should be able to make more of the meat sauce (a batch and a half) and add a few more tortillas without a problem IF you need to stretch it a bit further!

* IF you do not have a round crock pot that will fit tortillas, that is fine, just tear your tortillas to fit in your crock pot. Try to use 1 torn up tortilla per layer.

* I lined my crock pot with heavy-duty foil, I wanted to see if I could lift it out and to see what it would look like. IF you do not want to do this, then just be sure to grease your crock pot WELL and serve straight out of the crock pot with a serving spoon. That will work just fine as well!

* Rotel Tomatoes have heat to them, as well as some chili powders. We are a family who enjoys heat but IF your family does not, then maybe skip the hot sauce or just try a drop or two.

* The meat layer IS not very thick (hardly covering the tortilla under it), this is so the enchiladas STAY is a stack. I generally left the edges of the tortillas without any meat sauce, so as it would not ooze over.

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Crock Pot Beef Enchiladas 

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 a large onion, chopped
1/2 a green or red pepper, chopped
1 can (10 oz.) Rotel Tomatoes (tomatoes with green chilies in them)
1/2 c. salsa
1/2 c. black olives, sliced
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 drops of hot pepper sauce
6 medium flour tortillas
2 c.  shredded cheddar cheese
toppings for tacos (like sour cream, lettuce, tomato…etc.)

Brown the ground beef with the onion and pepper. Drain. Add the undrained tomatoes, salsa, black olives, chili powder, salt, pepper and hot sauce to the ground beef mixture. Simmer about 5 minutes. Just to meld flavors a bit.

Line your crock pot heavy-duty foil and grease the foil well. Time to layer! Start with 2 scoops of meat sauce in the bottom of the crock pot, then tortilla, then more meat sauce (I generally did about 2 scoops per layer, try to judge how much meat sauce you have to tortillas left ~ you will END with a tortilla.) Then a sprinkle of cheese, tortilla, sauce, cheese, repeat. End with tortilla on top sprinkled with some cheese.

Cover your crock pot and cook on low for about 6 hours. Lift out by the foil and set on your serving platter, I cut off the foil that I could get at. Serve with the taco toppings your family enjoy, and ENJOY!!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home Magazine.

Ranch Chicken with Bacon ~ Crock Pot Cooking

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Aldi Special Items for February 27 ~ March 5.

(I have listed only a few items that caught my eye, for a complete list go here.)
 

I really was happy with the ad this week! Lots of things, good things. I hope you find some great finds as well!!!

* Avocados ~ 49¢ each.

* Roma Tomatoes ~ 99¢ each.

* Asparagus ~ $1.99 per 16 oz. pkg.

* Gala Apples ~ 3 lb. bag for $2.49.

* Lemons ~ 1 lb. bag for 99¢.

* Strawberries ~ 99¢ for 1 lb. pkg.

* Tilapia ~ 32 oz. bag for $5.49 OR 16 oz. bag for $3.49.

* Tartar Sauce or Cocktail Sauce ~ 12 oz. for 99¢ each.

* Fresh Chicken Breasts ~ $1.69 per lb.

* Jalapeno Slices or Pepper Rings ~ $1.19 for a 12 oz. jar.

* Mexican Style Corn (Mexicorn) ~ 79¢ for 11 oz. can.

* Chopped Green Chilies ~ 69¢ for 4 oz. can.

* Medium or Mild Salsa ~ $1.69 for a 24 oz. jar.

* Corn Chips (Big Dippers or Chili Cheese) ~ $1.19 for 9.25 oz. bag.

For today’s recipe I am excited to share with you Ranch Chicken with Bacon. BONUS, it cooks in the crock-pot.

This recipe freezes well, if you want to add it to your “Crock Pot Cooking” plan for next time! * Some notes on that.* ~ Just cook the bacon and put in a small Ziplock baggie and attach to the larger Ziplock bag. Add it near the end of the cooking time, so it stays crispy. DO NOT add the sour cream (it does not freeze well), just make a note on your Ziplock bag that you need to have 1 c. of sour cream when you plan on cooking this meal.

My oldest son said “Mom this is actually really good.” 🙂  Let me just say that we had this for dinner one night after 3 ( yes 3) nights of near fail dinners. So, I did not blame him for being nervous about what his mother was going to serve him…….

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Ranch Chicken with Bacon ~ Crock Pot Cooking

3 strips of bacon, cooked crispy and drained
1 can cream of chicken soup (I used this)
1 pkg. Ranch Dressing Mix
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 c. sour cream
pasta

Set the cooked bacon aside (if you do this early in the day, just pop in the fridge till ready to be added to slow cooker).

Place the chicken in your slow cooker. Mix together the cream soup, dry dressing mix and garlic. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

(If freezing ~ combine the chicken and cream soup mixture in Ziplock bag, attach the bag of bacon. Be sure the write the cooking time and “add 1 c. sour cream after shredding chicken” on the bag.

Shred chicken, put back in your slow cooker and add the sour cream and bacon. Stir, cover and cook on low for 30 minutes or so, till heated through.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta.

Serve chicken mixture over pasta and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from Six Sister’s Stuff. I changed the directions so that you can freeze it for a “make ahead meal”.

Quick BBQ Pork Sandwiches & Crunchy Ice Cream Balls (Ice Cream Series Part 2)

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The Aldi paper makes me giddy…..
Sale prices are good from June 6 ~ June 12.

* Millville Corn Flakes Cereal is $1.49 for an 18 oz. box. This was a treat I made for Cinco de Mayo…just took me a few to many weeks to post, doesn’t mean you cannot STILL enjoy it.
* Hormel Fresh Boneless Pork Roast is $1.59 per lb. I have included a recipe for Quick BBQ Pork Sandwiches.
* Strawberries $0.99 each. Enjoy Strawberry Lettuce Salad!
* Happy Farms Pepper Jack Cheese Block, they are $1.79 each. I like to have this on hand and give a kick to things like…..Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip and any other time you want a kick of heat!

Here is the much anticipated 😉 second installment of a sensational ice cream series!! (Try to resist the urge to jump, leap and squeal with joy..you may hurt your computer or wake up your kids!!) Cinco de Mayo, was a few weeks ago and we wanted to have a little fun with it and make some Mexican treats. Pico de Gallo, guacamole, a couple of salads with cilantro AND last but not least…..”fried” ice cream balls. Didn’t want to literally fry them….though that sounded GREAT ~ I went with good ol’ fashioned corn flakes. We had enough left over to eat with the kids the next day too and they still had a crunch to them!  I served these with caramel sauce and peanut butter sauce, chocolate sauce would be good too.

Crunchy Ice Cream Balls   
2 c. finely crushed corn flakes
3 TB. melted butter
2 TB. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
vanilla ice cream
Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out the ice cream and place on wax paper lined cookie sheet. (I used the box of vanilla ice cream from Aldi, not sure what the ounce is…sorry….it yeilded about 16 scoopsish.) Pop in freezer for about 20-30 minutes. Mix the crumble topping all together, set aside. Take out ice cream and form into nice balls. Roll in the topping, it helps if the balls are slightly melty….by slightly, I mean slightly ~ if they are too hard, the coating will not stick. Cover with a nice coating and put back on wax paper. Freeze till ready to serve.  Enjoy.

Love sandwich meals in the summer, they are usually quick to put together and easy to clean up…. This one I make a lot.

*I usually make this with leftover pork from a pork roast. This time though I cooked a roast overnight and in the morning shredded and THEN put it back in the crock pot with the BBQ sauce and let it cook in the crock pot on low for about 6-7 hours. (No need to simmer the sauce 1st to thicken.) It worked well and BONUS, had enough to freeze for another meal! Love it!

* I really am not good at measuring the ingredients for this, I usually just eye-ball, makes for a little bit of a different turn out every time. Add more sugar if you like it sweeter, more mustard for a kick, etc. Whatever your family likes!

Quick BBQ Pork Sandwiches  
1/4 c. sugar
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. dry minced onion
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
 1 1/2 c. ketchup
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. butter
3 TB. Worcestershire sauce
2 TB. lemon juice
1 TB. mustard
1 1/2 lb. (about 3 c. or so) cooked shredded pork
Combine all but the pork in a large pan. Simmer till thickened. Add the roast and serve on buns.

Recipe from Taste of Home.

 

Chinese Salad & Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

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How about some recipes that use Aldi sale ingredients?!!?!
Sale runs from May 23 – May 29.

* Fresh Express Tri-Color Cole Slaw. $1.29 a bag. If you buy that then you can make Chinese Salad.
* Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Wing Marinade & Sauce. $1.99 a bottle. Kirkwood Frozen Chicken Breast, a 48 oz. bag  is $5.49. (Or Pilgrim’s Fresh Chicken breasts for $1.69 per lb.) I use both these in Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken.
* Want guacamole? Avocados are $0.49 each!
* Strawberries are $1. 19…..way not try Strawberry Lettuce Salad?

This in one of my very very very favorite salads. My kids sorta eat it, but I make up for it and it ALL the rest!!! Not minding one bit! I serve the dressing on the side so that the leftovers do not get soggy. A great summer salad….well, I like it all year round! (I just talked to my cousin who gave me this recipe and she said that there is supposed to be 1/2 c. of oil in it!! To think I have been making it without the oil and LOVIN’ it! I really liked the stronger flavor of this dressing (I have made salads like this WITH oil and liked, but made this one without oil and it was/is my fav!) and never knew about or missed the oil ~ SO go ahead and make it the “right” way with oil or “my” way without!)

* If putting together early in the day do not add the ramen noodles, almonds or sunflower seeds till just before serving.

* I use a 1/2 head of cabbage when the slaw mix is not on sale and that is what is shown in my picture….good both ways, just cut the cabbage small. (Ha, looks like I added some shredded carrot as well….I should learn to follow my recipes better OR have fun and add what you want!) (Oh yeah, I also used toasted peanuts cause I did not have almonds or sunflower seeds…what a versatile salad!!)

Chinese Salad  
1 pkg. ramen noodles
1 lb. cabbage or broccoli slaw
3 green onions, sliced thinly
1 c. slivered almonds
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/2 bunch of cilantro
Dressing: 
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. vinegar
ramen noodle seasoning pkg.
1/2 c. oil……. 🙂
Toast the almonds @ 350* for 10 minutes. Combing the crushed ramen noodles, slaw, green onions, almonds, sunflower seeds and cilantro. Toss in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the dressing ingredients in another container ~ I like to use a cleaned peanut butter jar and shake shake shake. Add the dressing just before serving so your salad does not get soggy! (PS. I never add the dressing to the whole salad when serving at home….I actually just like to pour it over like you would a bottled dressing for each individual serving. IF you are going to pour it over the WHOLE salad and then toss, like if you are going to a cookout or something… add at least some of the oil, it helps to coat everything a little better!) Enjoy! 🙂

Recipe from my cousin Amy.

Here is another versatile dinner! Make this batch of meat and you can use it for countless meals. Put in on buns, tortillas, salad, pizza or mix it with some cheese, melt it  and make a chip dip out of it!

Slower Cooker Buffalo Chicken  
2.5 – 3 lb. boneless skinless chicken
1 c. buffalo wing sauce
1 c. ranch dressing
Place the chicken in your crock pot and pour the wing sauce and dressing over top. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Remember the crock pots cook at different rate as well. Shred chicken and heat another 30 minutes. We like as “wraps” with cheddar cheese, additional ranch dressing and shredded lettuce. Enjoy!