Friday, September 30, 2011

Crockpot Cheese and Meatball Soup

I know! 3 recipes in a row- I'm on some kind of roll, right? Not really, just with starting up work again, I'm trying not to get into my regular cooking-while-I'm-working rut. That rut consists of laying on the couch and hoping that something delicious to eat will appear out of my kitchen. I have vowed to make something in my Crock Pot at least once a week and it's been working so far. It's all about have a plan.

This is a recipe I've had for a long time. It's full of cheesy goodness thanks to an entire jar of Cheez Whiz that you add at the end. Lots of sodium, lots of fat, more a chowder than a soup- perfect for a cold Fall evening...which we haven't had yet. You could make your own meatballs to throw in or you could be like me (you know you want to be like me!) and use frozen meatballs. The best part- it cooks all day while you're out, say, taking pictures of kids with runny noses. Or kids who just picked their nose. Kids and noses are just a part of my life right now.

Crockpot Cheese and Meatball Soup- 8 servings
2 c. water
1 c. chopped potato
1 c. corn
1 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. sliced carrot
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/2 bag frozen meatballs
1 (16 oz) jar Cheez Whiz
Place all ingredients except Cheez Whiz in a crock pot and stir gently. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Before serving, add Cheez Whiz, stirring gently until well blended.

Sorry, there's no Photo Tutorial this time- I have faith that you can figure this one out on your own. :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Will It Blend? Fresh Garden Salsa

We are in the midst of a tomato explosion at our house, and that's a great thing! Is there anything worse than finally running out of your sweet, juicy home-grown garden tomatoes and having to buy those tomato impostors at the store? I made fresh salsa with some of my beautiful tomatoes this week.

Chubb's Chunky Salsa- makes almost 3 c.
3 Roma tomatoes- quartered
1/2 c. onion- quartered
1 jalapeno pepper
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. taco seasoning
2 tsp. salt
Add all ingredients to blender and pulse until you've achieved desired consistency.

Photo Tutorial!

Oh, my sweet, sweet garden tomatoes! How I love you!
I was nervous about adding a whole jalapeno, but it was needed. I didn't add the seeds, though. I didn't add too much cilantro either, because I'm not a huge fan.
Will it blend?
Yup. Yummy and fresh!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crispy Chicken Strips with Sweet & Sour Dipping Sauce

Note to my DIL: Lindsey, you've gotta try this recipe- I think you'd like it!! :)

Admit it, we all love chicken strips! These have a super crispy coating of Panko bread crumbs and a yummy Asian-ish dipping sauce. I cut one really big chicken breats into strips and it was plenty for the 2 of us.

Crispy Chicken Strips with Sweet & Sour Dipping Sauce- 4 servings
For sauce:
1/2 c. apricot preserves
3 Tbs. soy sauce
3 Tbs. ketchup
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
For Chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt & pepper
1/4 c. flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 c. Panko bread crumbs- find these in the oriental section.
1/4 c. oil
Mix together sauce ingredients and set aside. Cut chicken breasts into strips and season with salt and pepper. Coat chicken in flour; shake off excess. Dip chicken pieces in beaten egg, then coat with Panko crumbs. Heat oil till hot. Add chicken, reduce heat to medium and cook, turning once till chicken is golden brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Watch carefully, because the Panko will burn easily. Serve with dipping sauce.

Photo Tutorial!

Shannon, avert your eyes. This chicken is raw and probably has juices.
When you mix the sauce ingredients together...
they end up looking like this:
Flour, beaten egg and Panko crumbs.
This is the kind of Panko I used. Super crispy!
Into the pan you go, little chicken pieces-
Then I flip you and cook you until you are golden brown.
Really. Try this.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunflower Time

Sunflowers are so happy, don't you think?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Greenhalgh Family- Individuals

Here are a few more shots from my shoot with my SIL's family last week. Here youngest is leaving for basic training in a few weeks. We love him and wish him the best. I got a nice shot of him being serious, which doesn't happen very often- he's a pretty good-natured kid.
It's nice to take pictures of such a photogenic family!
Even the baby cooperated!
Love this one...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Greenhalgh Family- Groups

I took some pictures of Bruce's sister and her family last week- lots of fun! My niece knew of a place in Huntsville that had the most fun buildings and rocks and trees- a perfect place for pictures. Here are my favorite group shots- tomorrow I'll show you some individual pictures that we took. Such a cute family!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Will It Blend? -Cucumber Dill Dip

My goal: To make one new recipe a week from the cookbook that came with my Blendtec blender. Like many goals that I make, this one may fall to the wayside soon, but at least I did it once with this Cucumber Dill Dip. I'm not a huge fan of cucumbers- they are green, after all- but the blender pretty much liquefies anything you put into it, so I gave this dip a try. It was good! I'm sure you could make this is any blender or food processor.

Cucumber Dill Dip - makes 3 cups
1 c. lowfat mayonnaise
6 oz. cream cheese
1 medium cucumber, chopped
2 tsp. fresh dill or 1/2 tsp. dried dill
3 green onions, cut in pieces
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
Process in blender or food processor until smooth.

Photo Tutorial:

Will it blend?
Yes, indeed-y!
This makes 3 cups, so there's plenty for a shower or party. Serve with vegetables, crackers or tortilla chips.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Why Do You Ask?

Yes, that is Bruce with his head in the ceiling. Why do you ask?

What? Your husband doesn't stick his head in the ceiling? Hmmm...

We're gearing up to a big remodel here at my house. A painter man came by the other day and suggested that we install a fan over the shower in our master bath.

Bruce was all over it.

This is what my bathroom looks like now- for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Helper Kitty

Sometimes, Xena needs to be right in the middle of the action. Or, you could call her needy. She has to be in your face, involved in whatever you happen to be doing at the time. Today, it was editing pictures on the computer.
As you can see, she's pretty much sitting on the computer mouse. Totally in the way. But helping.
And taking a bath. It's good to have a Helper Kitty.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Need Some New Wheels?

Our riding trainer's husband restores cars as a hobby. He leans towards the pricier older car to restore, such as this 1979 Rolls Royce.
What were you doing in 1979??
He's had this car for a few years, painstakingly coaxing the luxury out of the shell it once was. He's taken it to the point of being ready to put it on the market in it's new, refurbished state. I took a few pictures for him to help entice that discriminating buyer.

It's got the original Rolls Royce details, including hubcaps that are painted to match the car's body.
 Can you say classy?
 If you're interested, I could probably get you a pretty sweet deal on this car. Just let me know.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tortellini Carbonara

What could be better than cheese filled pasta? Not much, except maybe cheese filled pasta with bacon and heavy cream! It doesn't come much easier than this recipe that I made last Sunday when it was just Bruce and I at dinner. You could double this easily.

Tortellini Carbonara- 4 servings
8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. minced parsley
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 (9oz.) pkg. refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini
In a large saucepan, combine the bacon, cream, parsley and cheese; cook till heated through. Meanwhile, prepare tortellini according to package instructions. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle cheese sauce over tortellini and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Cream and parsley in a pan.
Adding the Parmesan cheese.
 Now here's a tip for you: You can cook your bacon in the oven! No messy pan, and clean-up is easy. here's how: Line a baking sheet with crumple-y foil. Spray with Pam. Lay bacon pieces on foil and bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes. Nice, crispy, flat bacon!
This is the kind of tortellini I used. It was frozen.