• Nana’s Beef Stew

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    Our oldest has been asking for beef stew of late (he loves the beef stew at school), so I finally got around to asking Nana for her recipe.  It tasted just like I remember…tasty warm comfort food.  I used the crock pot because I didn’t have 5 hours to babysit my oven.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 to 2 lb. beef stew meat
    • 2 TBSP minute Tapioca
    • 6 carrots, cut
    • 1 c. celery, chopped
    • 1 8 oz. can stewed tomatoes
    • 1 TBSP sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs
    • 2-3 potatoes, chopped in 1 inch cubes
    • 1/2 c. peas

    Directions:

    1. Oven directions: Preheat oven to 250F.  Mix everything except for the peas in a dutch oven.  Cover and cook for 5 hours.  In the last 20 minutes add the peas.
    2. Crock Pot directions: Mix everything except for the peas in a crock pot.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours, or until meat is fork tender.  In the last 20 minutes add the peas.

    Nana’s Beef Stew:

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  • Crispy ‘n Sweet Chocolate-Hazelnut Dumplings

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    This recipe comes from the October 2008 issue of Southern Living.  They are absolutely delicious, but I think they need to be eaten pretty soon after they are made.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
    • 1 c. Nutella
    • 3 TBSP flour
    • 1/2 (16oz) package of won ton wrappers
    • Vegetable oil
    • Powdered sugar

    Directions:

    1. Combine cream cheese, Nutella, and flour in a bowl.
    2. Working with one won ton wrapper at a time, moisten the edges with water.  Place 2 tsp. of the filling in the center; fold over to creat a triangle; seal the edges.  Repeat.
    3. Heat a good amount of oil to 375.  Fry dumplings until golden brown.  Remove and place on paper towels.
    4. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

    Note: to make sweet pumpkin dumplings, omit cream cheese, Nutella, and flour; combine 1 15 oz. can of pumpkin, 1/4 sugar, 2 TBSP brown sugar, 2 TBSP honey, and 3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice; then follow above.
    Crispy ‘n Sweet Chocolate-Hazelnut Dumplings:

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  • Cranberry Relish with Grapefruit and Mint

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    This cranberry sauce was delicious!  Recipe comes from the November 2008 issue of Bon Appetit.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 large pink grapefruits
    • 1 c. sugar
    • 1 c. water
    • 2 1/2 c. cranberries
    • 2 TBSP mint (I didn’t add this because the store didn’t have any)

    Directions:

    1. Remove the zest from one grapefruit in 2 inch strips; then cut the strips so they are 2 inches by 1/8 inch.
    2. Juice both grapefruits.
    3. In a medium saucepan, stir sugar and water over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Add grapefruit peel; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer until peel is soft, about 15 minutes.
    4. Add grapefruit juice and cranberries; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until berries start to burst, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in mint.

    Cranberry Relish with Grapefruit and Mint:

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  • Cornbread Stuffing

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    This cornbread stuffing can be made in the oven or in the crockpot, and it tastes really yummy.  This recipe is adapted from the crockpot lady.  It reminds me a lot of my family’s stuffing recipe.
    Ingredients:

    • 1 recipe of cornbread
    • 4 slices of bread
    • 1/4 c. butter
    • 2 c. celery, chopped
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 TBSP poultry seasoning
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 3 eggs
    • 3 – 4 c. chicken broth (add more if like wetter stuffing, and can add an additional 1/4 after it finishes cooking if you like wetter stuffing)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 300.  Cut cornbread and bread into 1 inch cubes.  Place cubes on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the cornbread and bread are toasty and dry.
    2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, add the butter.  After butter is melted add celery and onion and cook until veggies are soft, about 10 minutes.  Then add the poultry seasoning, salt and pepper; toss to combine.
    3. Place toasted cornbread and bread into a large bowl, add veggie mixture, eggs, and broth; toss to combine.
    4. Spray a large baking dish (9 x 13) with cooking spray and add stuffing.
    5. Cover and bake for 45 minutes (take foil off toward the end to brown), or until top is browned and cooked through.

    Cornbread Stuffing:

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  • Shredded Chicken

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    We love Mexican food, and there are many many recipes that use shredded chicken.  Here’s an excellent shredded chicken recipe I found at Fashionably Foodie.  Admittedly some of the ingredients are surprising, namely Worcestershire sauce, but don’t let that scare you, because the end result is d’lish.  Use the shredded chicken in tacos, enchiladas, burritos, nachos etc.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 frozen chicken breasts
    • 1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 c. water
    • 1/2 onion, diced
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. paprika
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper

    Directions:

    1. Combine all ingredients in your crock pot, cover, and cook on LOW for 4 hours.
    2. Remove chicken from crock and shred by using two forks, taste and adjust seasoning.  May add more paprika for a richer color.

    Shredded Chicken:

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  • Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

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    If you like chocolate and mint together like I do, you’ll enjoy these cupcakes.  My frosting didn’t turn out fluffy…more like marshmallow fluff, which I suspect is due to me being too impatient and not letting it beat long enough in the mixer.  It still tasted delicious though.

    I got this recipe from Taste and Tell, who got it from How to Eat a Cupcake, who got it from Crazy about Cupcakes…got that? ;)

    Chocolate Mint Cupcakes Ingredients:

    • 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
    • 1/3 c. (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped, melted
    • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 tsp. peppermint extract (I used mint)
    • 1/2 c. chocolate milk
    • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 c. (6 ounces) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.
    2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat the melted chocolate into the butter mixture. Add the eggs, peppermint extract, and chocolate milk. Beat until creamy.
    3. In a separate medium-sized bowl combine the flour and baking soda.
    4. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and beat until well blended (DO NOT OVER BEAT). With a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
    5. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3-3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan.

    Mint Frosting Ingredients:

    • 3 egg whites
    • 1 c. granulated sugar
    • 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract (I used mint)
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

    Directions:

    1. Put egg whites and sugar in a double boiler over simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees).
    2. Pour heated egg mixture into a clean bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes (It’s very important to beat it for the whole 6 minutes).
    3. Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears soupy or separated after all butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.)
    4. Beat in extracts. Reduce speed to low; beat 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.

    Chocolate Mint Cupcakes:

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  • Quick Turkey Chili

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    This chili recipe comes from the October 2008 issue of Southern Living, and is one darn good chili! The chili went really well with the extra cheesy grilled cheese too and a tossed green salad!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 TBSP   vegetable oil
    • 2  garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1  lb.  ground turkey
    • 2  TBSP chili powder (I used 1 TBSP chili powder and 1 TBSP ancho chili powder
    • 2  tsp. ground cumin
    • 3  TBSP  tomato paste
    • 1  (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
    • 1  (16-oz.) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    • 2  c.  chicken broth
    • 1  tsp.  salt
    • 1/2  tsp. pepper
    • 1/4  c.  chopped fresh cilantro
    • Garnish: sour cream

    Directions:

    1. Sauté chopped onion in hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender; add garlic, and sauté 1 minute.
    2. Add turkey, chili powder, and cumin, and cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Stir in tomato paste, and cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and next 5 ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Garnish, if desired.

    Quick Turkey Chili:

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  • Extra Cheesy Grilled Cheese

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    Grilled cheese is delicious, and this recipe adds another dimension.  By adding parmesan/pecorino romano to the butter the sandwich develops a really nice crunch.  This recipe is adapted from a recipe in the October 2008 issue of Southern Living.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/4 c. butter
    • 1 TBSP parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
    • bread
    • cheese slices of your choice
    • Butter for pan

    Directions:

    1. Combine butter and parmesan/pecorino in a small bowl.
    2. Heat some butter in your skillet over medium high heat.
      Place cheese slices on your bread.  Butter one side of the bread; when skillet is hot add sandwich cheesy butter side down; then butter the top of the sandwich with the cheesy butter.  When bottom is golden brown, flip.

    Extra Cheesy Grilled Cheese:

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  • Chicken-and-Corn Pie with Cornbread Crust

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    Here’s another casserole that uses leftover chicken or Turkey from Thanksgiving.  It was good, but I liked the chicken tamale casserole better…-s said he really likes both and will definitely eat both.  It’s quick and easy to prepare, which is always nice.  This recipe comes from the October 2008 issue of Southern Living.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 (10-oz.) can enchilada sauce
    • 1 (10-oz.) can Mexican diced tomatoes with lime juice and cilantro, drained (I forgot to drain)
    • 2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
    • 1 tsp. chili powder (I used ancho chili powder
    • 3 c. chopped cooked chicken
    • 1 (6-oz.) package Mexican-style cornbread mix
    • 2/3 c. milk
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
    • 1 c. (4 oz.) shredded Mexican four-cheese blend, divided
    • Toppings: sliced pickled jalapeño peppers, sour cream

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375°. Stir together enchilada sauce and next 3 ingredients in a 3 1/2-qt. saucepan over medium heat until combined; cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Stir in chicken.
    2. Whisk together cornbread mix, next 3 ingredients, and 3/4 cup cheese in a small bowl just until blended.
    3. Pour chicken mixture into a lightly greased 11 x 7 pan. Spoon cornbread mixture over hot chicken mixture. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
    4. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve with desired toppings.

    Chicken-and-Corn Pie with Cornbread Crust:

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  • Creamed Spinach

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    I had a bunch of spinach to use up, so I adapted a recipe I found at spinachrecipes.org.  It’s not something I could eat every day, or even eat a lot of, but it was pretty good.  The cream sauce is more like a cream gravy, so if you’re looking for an easy cream gravy give this one a try.  This would also make a tasty side dish for Thanksgiving.
    Ingredients:

    • 16 oz fresh spinach leaves
    • 5 TBSP butter, divided
    • 3 TBSP flour
    • 1 c. hot milk
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper

    Directions:

    1. Melt 2 TBSP of butter in a large pan over medium high heat; add the spinach and cover until spinach is just wilted.
    2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the reamining 3 TBSP butter over medium high heat; add the flour and whisk until flour is incorporated, about 2 minutes, and this is your roux.  Whisk the hot milk into the roux, and continue whisking until all lumps are removed.  Season with salt and pepper.
    3. Add the cream sauce to the spinach, and toss to coat.

    Creamed Spinach:

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