Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Penne in Chicken-Bacon Blush Sauce

This combo is fantastic! My entire family raved about it and just about everyone had seconds. It was delicious as is, but next time I might bake it with extra cheese on top. Yum!

1 lb penne, cooked according to pkg directions
1 lb bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1.5 lbs chicken breast, cut into small pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
15-oz can diced tomatoes, some liquid drained out
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp Frank's hot sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup mozzarella cheese

In a large pot, cook the bacon until it starts rendering some fat. Drain off some of the grease, Add the onion, chicken, garlic, and season with salt & pepper. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. Add tomatoes, basil, and hot sauce. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in sour cream. Add the sauce to the pasta, then add mozzarella cheese.

To freeze: Put in foil pan and cover with press-n-seal/foil. After thawing, or mostly thawing, bake in 350 oven until warmed through (35-45 min).

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Orange Cranberry Pork Roast My whole family scarfed down almost the entire 4 lbs of pork loin! Not to mention it smelled absolutely wonderful as it cooked - my house smelled like autumn!

3-4 lbs pork roast (loin, butt, shoulder)
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
zest and juice of one orange
salt & pepper, to taste

Put the pork in the crockpot and season with salt & pepper. Cover with cranberries and diced onion. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, mustard, and orange zest/juice; pour over top of pork. Cook on high for 6-8 hours.

To freeze: Put everything in a gallon freezer bag. Thaw in refrigerator before cooking.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Creamy Hot Cocoa

When the weather turns cold, my family and I love hot cocoa. Nothing is better than some homemade, and this was super easy to make. I tripled the original recipe I found (as well as cut back on the sugar). The amount was perfect for a small crowd (supposed to serve 12).

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 pinches of salt
1 cup boiling water
10-1/2 cups milk
2-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine the cocoa, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Heat the cup of water in the microwave until it starts to boil, then blend in with the cocoa mixture. Bring this to an easy boil while you stir; simmer and stir for two minutes (don't let it scorch!). Stir in the milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Add some cream or milk to cool down, or see my recipe for homemade flavored whipped cream!

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Whipped Cream

I had a similar whipped cream when I bought a gourmet hot chocolate, and I figured I could make it myself at home. I googled a few recipes, combined them to get what I thought would work best for flavor, and it was perfect and DELICIOUS! Super yum on the homemade hot cocoa. :) It'd also be delicious topping homemade apple or pecan pie.

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whip the cream until soft peaks start to appear. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Continue whipping to stiff peaks.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Turkey, Kale, & White Bean Soup

I love to eat soups and stews when the weather turns cold. This one was delicious and so easy to throw together! You could also substitute leftover (shredded) Thanksgiving turkey, or even shredded turkey breast any time of the year.

1 lb ground turkey
1 small onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and halved/quartered
2 cans cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 Italian dressing pouch
salt & pepper, to taste
~3 cups kale, chopped
8 cups chicken broth

Combine all the ingredients in the crockpot, crumbling the ground turkey a bit, and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

To Freeze: Combine all but the chicken broth in a gallon freezer bag, adding the turkey last so it is first to go into the crock pot. Thaw, or mostly thaw, before cooking.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Beef, Mushroom, & Barley Stew

The weather turns cold, I make stew. This one is super hearty, warm, and delicious. The beef was super tender after slow cooking all day in the crock pot. You can also make it vegetarian by leaving out the beef - it would still be super delicious. Easy to throw together, and would be great to freeze as well!

1-1/2 lbs stew beef, cubed
1 onion, diced
1 celery rib, diced
2 carrots, peeled & diced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup uncooked barley
8 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper, to taste

Put everything into the crock pot and season with salt & pepper. Cook for 8 hours on LOW.

To freeze: Put everything but the stock in a gallon freezer bag. Thaw, or mostly thaw, before cooking.