Monday, December 5, 2016

Pretzel Buttons

These cute mini treats are easy to make, taste scrumptious, and are cute and festive.  You can swap out the colors of M&M's to make them more appropriate for any holiday; pink and red for Valentines day, pastels for Easter, red and blue for the 4th of July, or use chocolate kisses with orange candies for Halloween.

Pretzel Buttons
Recipe from g*rated

Square Pretzels
Hershey's Hugs (or Kisses)

Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat and line the sheet with pretzels.
Place a Hershey's on top of each pretzel.
Bake for 4-5 minutes at 200 degrees to soften the chocolate - they should look shiny and soft, but still hold their shape.  You do not want them to melt, so watch closely.
Press one M&M in the center of each hug, pressing down to spread out the chocolate.
Allow to cool completely before serving.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Garlic Cheese Breadsticks

Paired with your favorite soup, or in addition to a great pizza night, these garlic cheese breadsticks are sure to please.

Garlic Cheese Breadsticks
Recipe from Baked by Rachel

1 c. water
2 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
2-3 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Stir the yeast and sugar into the warm water and allow yeast to proof.
To your mixing bowl, add flour, salt and garlic powder.
Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the yeast mixture.
Mix or knead for 6 minutes.
Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Knead dough to remove air bubbles, and roll out to desired shape.
Place on a greased cookie or pizza sheet.
Melt butter and add in the minced garlic.
Use a pastry brush to brush garlic mixture over entire surface of dough.
Sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until cheese is golden brown.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Minestrone Soup

This is one of those tried and true recipes passed down from my wonderful mother in law.  It is full of veggies and has a great flavor from the sausage.
I also like that you can control how "soupy" you want this to be.  My kids don't prefer all of the extra broth/liquid, so we use a slotted spoon to scoop this over their noodles, leaving more in the pot for me.
The leftovers conveniently freeze beautifully for a hot lunch or dinner any time (just freeze the soup - not the noodles).  I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.

Minestrone Soup
Recipe from Lyn Denna

½ lb. browned pork sausage
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 quart water
2 c. beef broth
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 large celery ribs, chopped
1 can garbonzo beans
1 can green beans
2 8oz. cans tomato sauce
2 tsp. oregano
½ tsp. basil
1 Tbsp. parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Optional additions: zucchini and green peppers
1 lb. noodles

Prepare noodles according to package directions.
Combine all ingredients and simmer for 1 hour, or put in a crockpot on low for 4-6 hours.
Place prepared noodles in bowls and top with hot soup.

Monday, November 14, 2016

White Chocolate Popcorn

This delightful popcorn treat is absolutely easy and always tastes amazing.  The only thing of import here is the ratio of chocolate to popcorn; everything else that deems this a recipe can be thrown out the window. 
You can flavor the chocolate or add whatever color sprinkles you would like - I made this particular batch for a baby shower so I sprinkled some pink on there for fun.

Mini M&M's and colored sprinkles have also been a hit at our house:

White Chocolate Popcorn
Recipe from Eat Good 4 Life

1 c. pop corn kernels
20 oz white chocolate (baking bars, chips, etc.)
food coloring or sprinkles of choice

Pop corn into a large bowl.
Sift through to remove all un-popped kernels and discard.

In a double broiler, place chocolate pieces under boiling water and stir occasionally until completely melted and smooth.
Add food coloring to chocolate (if adding), and stir to combine.
Pour warm chocolate over popped corn and stir immediately to evenly coat.
Lay popcorn out to dry on cookie sheets or waxed paper.
Sprinkle with sprinkles (if adding) while chocolate is still wet.
Allow to dry completely.
Break up and store in an airtight container.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Dry Chili Mix {Meal in a Jar}

This hearty mix comes together in minutes to create a delicious chili.  If you aren't into the whole "meal in a jar" thing, by all means just throw this together for a quick dinner any night of the week.
  If you are looking for convenient gift giving this Christmas, this ticket fits the bill.  I like to pair this meal with home made corn bread (also available as a dry mix).

Aside from the convenience of having ready made meals like this lining your shelves, these make excellent options for camping, hunting or 72 hour kits.  These can just as easily be put into mylar bags, or if you aren't worried about shelf life, a ziplock would work just fine.
The shelf life of this chili mix is 1 year.  If you have a food saver with the ability to seal a mason jar or vacuum seal a mylar bag, you can extend the shelf life up to 15 years if kept in a cool, dry place.
You can use any brand of freeze dried or dehydrated foods here, but I've included links to the products that I personally use.  The most important thing is to use instant beans; this allows for long term storability with minimal cooking time and water.  You can click here to find out more about how you can earn these products for free or half off.

Dry Chili Mix {Meal in a Jar}

1 c. freeze dried beef (I used 1/2 hamburger, 1/2 roast beef)
1/2 c. freeze dried tomato dices (i omitted these)
1 Tbsp. beef bouillon
2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper 
salt and pepper, to taste

To make the chili:
Add 8 cups of water to a pot over high heat.
Add entire contents of jar and bring to a boil.
Simmer over medium heat until beans are cooked through, 20-30 minutes.
This chili will thicken up quiet a bit during the final minutes of cooking time, so don't panic if it looks too watered down, just keep boiling.

Serve with shredded cheese, optional.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Baked Caprese Spaghetti Squash

This cheesy side makes the perfect accompaniment to whatever main dish you've got planned for this week.  Full of flavor and vegetables!

Baked Caprese Spaghetti Squash
Recipe from Pink Troll Kitchen

1 large spaghetti squash
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 small roma tomatoes
1 small handful fresh basil leaves
1 large handful spinach
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste

Cut squash in half and remove seeds and pulp.
Cook squash in microwave for 12-15 minutes, until easily shredded with fork, OR
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until easily shredded with fork.

Scrape cooked squash flesh from skins and place in a bowl.
Add garlic.
Dice tomatoes and add to bowl.
Rough chop basil and spinach and add to bowl.
Mix well, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Fold in 3/4 c. of the cheese.

Pour into a greased pie dish and smooth out evenly.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned.
Top with additional fresh basil, if desired.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Oatmeal Smoothie

**The 2016 Discounted Group Food Storage Order can be found here.

This is hands down one of my favorite go to recipes for a filling breakfast, lunch or even a mid day snack.  I practically lived on this and refrigerator oatmeal when I worked early in the mornings and needed something to grab and go.  The oats keep you feeling full all morning long, and it has great texture and flavor.  
I've also loved this as a recovery drink after a particularly long or hard workout.  It works great to make ahead and have in the fridge if you are in a rush - just don't let it sit for longer than 1 day as the oats will continue to absorb the liquid.
You can play around with the flavors here.  My husband hates peanut butter, so we omit this for him.  And you can really use any fruit combination you have on hand as well, if you aren't particularly fond of strawberry banana.  This really is fool proof!

Oatmeal Smoothie

1 c. milk of choice (even chocolate... just sayin')
1/2 c. oats
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 banana
1 c. strawberries
handful ice cubes

Blend and serve.
Makes 1 serving.