Getting Started

Happy Sunday!

Last night I was looking over some of the posts on my blog from a couple of years ago.  What a great experience to see how life has truly changed so much.  My life is so different than it was 2 years ago!  Last year around this time I was meeting my great niece Jaidyn for the first time, and now she’s two!  And she looks like this:

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and let me just say this girl…she is full of life and energy and personality!!!!  I love her soo much!

Anyway, today I didn’t get to sorting my fabric, but I did spend some time cooking and baking.  Last year for Christmas, my parents gave me a chest freezer, and so for the last year, I have been obsessing about freezing things.  It’s changed how I grocery shop and cook!  A couple of weeks ago, I was cleaning out the freezer and was amazed at how much stuff was in there.  So…I have been trying to cook and eat out of the freezer.  Today, I made this winter stew that my Mom used to make when I was a kid.

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How I made it: I browned 1 pound of ground beef and added about 3/4 cup of beef broth, a diced onion, minced garlic, salt and pepper.  I had some whole frozen tomatoes from my Dad’s garden that I froze this summer, and I dipped them in simmering water to remove the skin.  I rough chopped the tomatoes and added them to the skillet.  Then I added 4 peeled, roughly chopped potatoes (also from my Dad’s garden), and about 2 cups of chopped green beans (I bought those at the end of the harvest season at a farmers market on sale…another added bonus of a freezer!).  I added a little bit more salt and pepper, stirred it up, and covered it.  I kept it at a low simmer and it was done in about 30 minutes.  It is a great one pot meal and is hearty and warm for a cold winter day!

Then, I thought I would make some blueberry muffins.  I had some blueberries that I bought (also on sale at the end of the season at the farmers market and froze).  This was not a complete success…in fact, it was kinda a flop.

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I didn’t use a real muffin tin, I wanted to be adventurous and try a couple different pans my Mom gave me.  As you can see, they kinda turned out, but not really.  They don’t look very pretty, but they taste incredible!!!  Here’s the recipe:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick butter, melted

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons milk

1  teaspoon lemon extract

2 cups blueberries, frozen or fresh

Mix the butter, sugar, sour cream, eggs, milk, lemon extract until well blended.  Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until just blended.  Try not to overmix.  Fold in the blueberries (lightly dust them with flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the muffins).  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Keep Simply Delighting!

 

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Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

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I can’t even believe that I am blogging this, but I made scalloped potatoes and ham for dinner.  The reason I say this is because I do not like scalloped potatoes and ham.  I am not a fan at ALL of white creamy sauces.  I don’t like cream of anything soups, white gravy, or (and yes, I’ll pause for the collective gasp after I say this) alfredo sauce.  But…this recipe and dinner tonight was AMAZING.  And easy.  And only roughly 500 calories a serving.

Here’s the recipe:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups nonfat milk

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

8 cups chopped and peeled potatoes

4 cups chopped ham (I used leftover Honeybaked spiral ham from Christmas that I had in my freezer)

1 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded cheese

Brown butter in large nonstick skillet, add flour and mix into a rue and let get brown, but make sure it doesn’t burn.  Add milk, stirring and bring to a rolling boil.  Add onion and garlic powder and pepper.  Stir.  Add potatoes and bring back to a boil.  Add ham and 1/2 of the shredded cheese, mix well.  Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Dump everything from skillet into baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to bake another 30 minutes or until bubbly, thickened and looking incredibly yummy.

I served mine with just a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  Oooh so yummy.

Keep Simply Delighting!

Apple Butter Pork Chops and Twice Baked Potatoes

Apples and pork are a great combination.  Growing up we always had my Mom’s homemade applesauce when we had pork chops.  I had a jar of her homemade apple butter and thought it would be the perfect thing to add to the crock pot with some boneless pork chops.  Twice baked potatoes is also a favorite of mine, and the two go together great!

Put two 8 ounce boneless pork chops in the crock pot (mine were still frozen, right out of the freezer…that’s the joy of crock pot cooking), and add a pint of homemade apple butter.  Turn the crock pot on high and let it cook for 4 hours.  Occasionally turn the chops and stir them, but for the most part leave them alone. 

About an hour before the pork chops are ready, put 4 washed potatoes in the microwave for 10 minutes. 

When the potatoes were done, mash them with a fork. 

To the potatoes, add 1/2 cup of ranch salad dressing, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and about 1/4 cup of butter and mixed well.  Add a handful of mozzarella cheese and mixed well again. 

Put the mashed potato mix in a small baking dish and topped with mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese on top is melted.

Ready to eat!

My pork chops were so tender they were falling apart.  Serve with some apple butter on the side. 

Creamy Parmesan Potatoes

This dish is a perfect and easy addition to any family party or church potluck.  It also makes a delicious side dish for any supper. 

Start by either slicing or cubing 6 good-sized potatoes.

Spray 9 x 13 inch dish with cooking spray.  Place potatoes in dish.

Melt 1/2 cup of butter over medium heat.  Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Whisk together.

Add 1/3 cup of flour.  Whisk continually.  Mixture will get thick. 

Add 2 cups milk.  Bring to boil while stirring continually.  Mixture will begin to thicken.

Stir in 3/4 cup parmesan cheese.  Cook and whisk until smooth.

Pour parmesan cheese mixture over potatoes, stir to coat.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

After baking for 30 minutes, stir the potatoes and continue to bake for another 30 minutes.

 

After baking an additional 30 minutes, stir potatoes again, and sprinkle 1/4 cup parmesan cheese on the top.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Perfect!