Thursday, March 31, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

After an exciting weekend of Prom, Annie had her wisdom teeth out Wednesday. I knew she couldn't eat much so I stocked up on ice cream, yogurt, etc. I decided to make this soup knowing she could at least enjoy the broth. It was great. My hubby loved it and so did the girls. It made a large amount, and I love that it was so easy. My girls don't love mushrooms so I kept them in large slices so they could pick them out. I think you will totally enjoy this nice, hearty soup! I served this with Cheese Biscuits - promise to share that recipe soon.

Crock Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 - 8 oz pkg sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
2 - 4.3 boxes long grain and wild rice mix
3 can chicken broth
4 - 5 cups water
pepper to taste

Spray Crock Pot with cooking spray. Combine everything in Crock Pot. Cover and Cook 6-7 hours on low or about 3 hours on high.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Prom 2011

Annie is a junior and she attended her Prom Saturday night. Yes, I do think this is a little early for Prom - especially in Nebraska since it was snowing off and on all day Saturday. She still had a wonderful time.

Annie and good friend - Travis

Another great friend - Ben

Yes - it is snowing

Lauren, Kiley, Annie, Allison and Reagan

Alyssa and Annie

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Baked Ziti

I have been a little HO-HUM lately. With all that is going on with my dad, then Prom and After Prom til 6:00 am and the fact that it is still snowing off/on in Omaha - just a little pouty/pititful!

I need to start cooking for my family again. I did make an easy recipe last night that I have had for quite some time. We all enjoyed it.. and I think you will too. It is a good, easy teenager approved recipe.

Baked Ziti

1 16 oz package ziti
1 lb. Italian sausage
1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 cups spaghetti sauce (homemade or jarred)
1 15 oz container ricotta
dried parsley
2-3 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan

Cook pasta according to directions, drain and set aside. Cook sausage and ground beef with onion in large skillet over medium heat. Drain and return to skillet- add sauce. After ziti is cooked, add ricotta, a couple of shakes of dried parsley and half of the mozzarella cheese. Spoon half of the sauce into bottom of a greased 9 x 13. Top with all of the ziti mixture and the rest of the sauce. Cover and bake at 350 for 15 min. Remove foil, top with rest of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese and bake 10 more minutes. Serve with green salad and garlic bread.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Lemon "Icebox" Pie

My mom makes this pie often as it is a very favorite of my brother. My dad loves it too. It truly takes like 5 minutes to make. If you like lemon - you will love this pie - very refreshing.

This is a pie my mom learned to make from her grandmother - Mooney is what we called my great grandmother. This pie has been in my family for years. Basic but yummy!

Lemon Icebox Pie

1 small graham cracker crust
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 can condensed milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 cup bottled lemon juice
small container whipped topping

Brush the graham cracker crust with melted butter and bake according to directions on container. This will give your crust that extra crunch. Allow crust to cool. Mix the condensed milk with your beaten yolks until thoroughly mixed. Slowly add the lemon juice stirring as you add. The lemon juice actually "cooks" the egg yolks so you have to stir constantly to avoid getting pieces of egg. Pour mixture into baked pie shell. Top with small container of cool whip.

*I also mix some extra graham cracker crumbs with a little melted butter. I toasted this on the same cookie sheet next to the pie crust when I heated it. Sprinkle this on the whipped topping for a more finished look.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Update on Dad

Thank you so much for the prayers and thoughts for my dad. His surgery went well today. It was about 4 hours but the doctor thought they got all of the tumor. He has an incision over the top of his head from sideburn to sideburn. I did get to see him a couple of times in ICU when it was over and he looked better than I expected. They said his vitals were good and he would probably be out of ICU tomorrow. We are not sure of the treatment route just yet - waiting to hear what the oncologist has to say.

Thanks so much for continued prayers. I will be back in Omaha Thursday and hope to blogging some very soon.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Prayers for my Dad

My parents were here a week ago to see our Jenna in her high school musical. Dad wasn't doing great - moving slow, not focused, etc. Mom took dad to the doctor when they got back to East Texas and they found dad to have stage 4 lung cancer and a mass in his brain. I need prayers for the brain surgery Tuesday morning as they remove the 3 inch tumor from his brain. The tumor is in the best place possible for a tumor -we are just praying for a very successful surgery with no complications. My 2nd prayer is that dad is a genetic match for a drug they want to give him. This drug attacks only the bad cells in his body unlike chemo that attacks both the bad and the good.

His his still witty and giving the nurses a bad time. Everyone always loves "Potter". Potter is my maiden name but dad has gone by Potter for as long as I can remember. He is eating well and doing okay - we just need a successful surgery and for dad to be a genetic match with this drug.

I am flying to Texas tomorrow to be with everyone. I probably won't be blogging for a while or I may can sneak in a few while I am at my moms.

Thank you for your prayers and support! I Love my Dad!

Dad and Annie

Dad and Jenna

Dad and Tucker

Summer 2010- Dad and Mom with grand children
Meg, Jenna and Annie with cousins Reid and Sam

Friday, March 18, 2011

Homemade Rolls - you just have to try!

I know when it comes to yeast, many of us shy away from trying anything. I remember back in my early days of cooking, I would try rolls similar to these and they would be hard as rocks. Since then, I have just found that yeast is a little temper-mental and the temperature of the water has to be just right. These truly take like 5 minutes to mix and then a few steps of letting them rise and forming them into your desired shape. I am telling you - these are so worth the effort. I promise your family will thank you!

Shared this recipe with Mommy's Kitchen - Potluck Sundays. You should visit her blog - lots of great recipes shared during today's potluck!

Basic Yeast Dough ( adapted from Southern Living)

*This dough can be used for various breads - cloverleaf rolls, parker house rolls, crescents and even cinnamon rolls

1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup warm water ( 105 to 115 degrees)
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp shortening
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
3 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Combine yeast and water in a 1 cup measuring cup - let stand for 5 minutes. Use a thermometer to test the water to make sure it is warm (too hot will kill yeast and too cold will keep from rising). Combine yeast mixture with sugar, shortening, egg, salt and half of flour in a large mixing bowl. Mix at low speed until smooth. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Place dough in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (*85 degrees) for one hour or until doubled in bulk (can cover and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days at this point - return to room temp before cooking) Punch dough down, turn out onto slightly flour surface and knead 8 - 10 times. **Shape and cover - let rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes. Serve with softened butter.

*my house wasn't 85 degrees. Southern Living suggests putting the dough in your oven with a pan of HOT water on the rack underneath. This worked great. I did this before I shaped them and after.

**Parker house rolls (pictured) - roll or pat dough to 1/4 inch thick, cut with a glass or biscuit cutter, dip in melted butter and fold in half. Allow to rise in warm place (oven like suggested above )Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes. Yields - 2 dozen

Cloverleaf rolls - rolls dough into inch balls - place 3 in a each muffin cup-lightly greased. Allow to rise in oven like others - bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes. Brush with melted butter. Yields - 2 dozen

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cheesy Potatoes

I know everyone has a recipe for Cheesy Potatoes. I have tasted many and think this is the best one - tastes great, sets up nicely and looks so yummy. This recipe came from my friend Lori years ago. I made these this past weekend when my parents were here. I made these ... and the brisket before they arrived so meal time would be a snap!

Cheesy Potatoes

2 lbs frozen shredded potatoes (or diced), thawed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp onion flakes
1 can cream of chicken soup ( I like cream of celery too)
1 pint sour cream
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup crushed cornflakes
1/8 cup butter,melted

Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Mix thawed potatoes and the next 7 ingredients stirring to mix. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Mix crushed cornflakes and melted butter - sprinkle on top of potato mixture. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes or until bubbly and golden. *can be prepared a day ahead - just refrigerate until ready to bake)

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Smokey Brisket

My parents were here from TEXAS to see Jenna in Hairspray. I didn't have time to cook a lot but I did make an amazing brisket. This brisket is a must-have recipe. I love having it in the fridge to snack on or to eat on a sandwich with a good horseradish sauce. This recipe came from my sweet Baylor friend, Darby. My Baylor group has been getting together for years and this is a staple that Darb always brings for the group.

I am a "plan ahead" type of girl. That is another thing I LOVE about this recipe. You can make it a couple of days in advance and then heat it just before when needed. You will love this brisket!

Once again, I apologize for the quality of this picture. My hubby is the better photographer and he wasn't home. I was in a hurry ( as usual). You will love it just the same! :)

Smokey Brisket

4 – 6 trimmed brisket

3 Tbsp. liquid smoke

3 tsp. garlic salt

2 tsp. onion salt

2 tsp. celery salt


3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Make a paste with the liquid smoke and the 3 salts and paint the brisket with the paste then wrap tightly in heavy duty foil; place in a pan to catch any marinade that may escape and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Before cooking, pepper and baste the brisket with Worcestershire sauce. Rewrap in new foil. Place in a shallow pan and bake at 225 for 6 hours. Remove brisket from juice and save the juice. Chill the brisket before slicing to make it easier to slice. Use an electric knife and slice thin slices-slice against the grain. Place the meat in a pan and top with the reserved juice. Heat in oven until warm.

*I know this recipe has several steps but don’t let that stop you. It is so yummy and worth the effort.

**This is one of my very favorite recipes. It is a classic that everyone loves. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and a yummy salad. The meat is great leftover either just eaten cold or on a sandwich with a horseradish spread.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

School Musical - HAIRSPRAY

God gave our middle daughter the gift of singing. Currently, she in her high school musical - HAIRSPRAY. Jenna is playing Penny and loving it. Today is their last performance. If you are local and haven't seen it - tickets are for sale at 1:00 for the 2:00 performance. It is amazing. Not that I am biased - but it so fun!

Megan (Motor Mouth Mabelle), Jenna (Penny) and Sarah (Tracy)

Grammy, Jenna (as Penny) and Potter

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Apricot Roasted Chicken

I have been enjoying my Toast to Omaha cookbook. I have had it for a couple of years but I always seem to have good luck when I am looking for a specific recipe. The Junior League of Omaha did a nice job with this cookbook.

Apricot Roasted Chicken was delightful. We all enjoyed it. I found it interesting that Apricot chicken called for prunes so I threw in some prunes AND some dried apricots. I thought my girls might turn up their noses but no one did - all enjoyed! I served it with rice and steamed broccoli.

Apricot Roasted Chicken (adapted from Toast to Omaha - Omaha Jr. League)

6 oz. apricot preserves (I used low sugar)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground sage
16 prunes ( I used half dried apricots, half prunes)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, mix preserves, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, sage and prunes. Add chicken and toss to until chicken is evenly coated with sauce. Pour into a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Roast until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the juices run clear, 30-40 minutes.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

French Bread with Garlic Aioli

We weren't starved Sunday night so I just decided to try something to snack on. I found this yummy bread recipe in my Toast to Omaha Cookbook. We loved it. This bread would be great served with a salad or a side to dinner or even an appetizer.

If curious exactly what "aioli" is... It is a sauce typically made of eggs, garlic and olive oil and resembles mayonnaise.

I truly thought this was a great bread. We reheated the leftovers the next night for dinner. I worried about the pickled jalapenos being too hot but it wasn't. This was a great combination!

French Bread with Garlic Aioli (adapted from Toast to Omaha, Omaha Jr. League)

1 egg
1 Tbsp garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
juice of one lemon
salt and white pepper
1 cup canola oil
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, sliced
1 cup artichoke hearts, thinly sliced
5 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 loaf French bread, sliced open-faced

Mix egg, garlic, mustard and lemon juice in blender. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly add the canola oil to the mixture in a thin stream. Blend until the mixture thickens. Refrigerate for one hour. Once the mixture has been chilled, add the jalapenos, artichoke hearts and cheese. Preheat oven to 400. Spread garlic mixture onto French bread and bake until golden and bubbly - 15-20 minutes.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chipotle Chicken Dip

We had cards again last night and I wanted to take a new and different appetizer. After some digging, I found a recipe that I cut out of Southern Living back in November of 2008 .....Chipotle Chicken Dip (Colby-Pepper Jack Cheese Dip). I love Southern Living and often collect recipes from years past. This recipe was a huge hit. My husband said it was a "keeper".

I also made Sweet/Spicy Bacon. This is a recipe that everyone should try. My mom has a similar recipe and it is called "Pig Candy"...... and who wouldn't like PIG CANDY!

(not the best picture -taken from my cell phone just before serving )

Chipotle Chicken Dip (Adapted from Southern Living)

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. finely chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tsp chili powder
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups colby-jack cheese, grated
1 4 oz can green chiles
4 green onions, chopped
2 jalepeno peppers, seeded and minced (I used only one)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 350. Mix 1st five ingredients. Stir in chicken and next 5 ingredients. Spoon mixture into a greased 8 inch square baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips.

*Serve in a small crockpot, chafing dish or on a warming tray to keep warm throughout your party

** per Southern Living, this recipe can be prepared up to a day ahead - cover and chill. Bake just before serving

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

If you have ripe bananas......

.....make a Crater Cake. I always have ripe bananas. I posted this recipe back in August when I first started the blog. I thought I would do a "repost" in case you missed this recipe. We love it. It reminds me of a coffee cake but my girls love it anytime of the day. You have to try it - I know you will love it too. : ) I especially love the crunchy top with cinnamon, brown sugar and chocolate! :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quick Lasagna

I know most of my readers want a quick and easy meal for their families. This Quick Lasagna is just that. I have a great recipe for lasagna that is to die for - that takes several hours. This isn't fancy or gourmet but still very tasty. It sets up so nicely - not runny at all.

I taught high school right out of Baylor. This recipe came from my dear friend Diane who still teaches Honors English.

Quick Lasagna

1 1/2 lbs ground beef ( I used a 1 lb ground beef/1/2 lb Italian sausage)
1/4 tsp salt
1 26-30 oz jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 14 1/2 oz can diced Italian tomatoes-do not drain
extra Italian seasonings to taste
1 15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 beaten egg
10 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Brown meat and drain; Add salt, sauce ,diced tomatoes and any extra Italian seasonings. Simmer on low while preparing lasagna. In small bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan, egg and spinach. Spray a 9 x 13 with cooking spray. Spoon 2 cups of sauce into bottom of pan. Put 5 raw noodles down in sauce. Top with ricotta mixture and then 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Layer 2 more cups of sauce, then 5 more noodles then rest of sauce. Bake for 45 minutes at 375. Top with rest of mozzarella/parmsean - cover and bake 15 more minutes. Allow to rest/set up for about 10 minutes before serving with a side salad and garlic bread.

*I used raw noodles - not the "no boil"

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