Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese

This mac & cheese looks truly delicious... & the slow cooker option allows it to cook while you're busy doing other things!


The Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (8 oz) elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 4 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 can cheddar cheese condensed soup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

The Directions:

Boil macaroni until tender. Drain. In medium saucepan, mix butter & cheese. Stir until cheese melts.

In slow cooker, combine cheese mixture, eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard & pepper. Stir well. Add drained macaroni & stir again. 

Turn slow cooker on "low" setting & cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

the courage to rest

Just realized that I still haven't posted the December meeting recap... & it was a GREAT one! So timely for the craziness of the Christmas holidays, but also applies to every week of our insane mama lives.

So please grab a cup of coffee & read for a few minutes... I think you'll be glad you did.

Dr Johnny McKinney spoke in December on the importance of having the courage to rest. So often -- every month, every week, every day -- our lives are driven our calendars. From the time we get up until we crawl back into bed, we are jerked around by our clocks.

{click here for free printable}
When you greet someone & they ask how you're doing, or what you've been up to, what do you say? The common reply in our culture, regardless of your role in life, is "Oh, I am SO busy." I say it. You say it. Who doesn't say this?

Dr McKinney asked us to consider that perhaps there's a subtle bragging in this response, an implied self-importance. Our society glorifies being busy... if you're not busy, there's something wrong. Busyness is something to be aspired to, to strive for. However, Dr McKinney pointed out that perhaps the glorification of busyness has an aspect of underlying idolatry. That by subtly implying that the world can't get along without us, we are actually promoting ourselves to a much higher importance than we are.

So how do we stop? How do we take a moment & pause? Are we, as this song says, traveling faster than our souls can go?

Psalms 46:10 instructs us to "BE STILL & KNOW." God is asking us to step out of the traffic & take a long, loving look at Him. Our bodies need rest... this is how He created us. In order to maintain physical, emotional & spiritual health, rest is absolutely necessary.

So what about during the day, when things are zooming along at a million miles a minute? How do you rest when there's just so much to do? Dr McKinney recommends that you give yourself a "pause point"... a moment of "time-out" to ask yourself the following questions:

Pause Point:
What is driving my actions? Is it obligation or necessity? Am I trying to be super-mom? Am I too uptight about something? Do I need to catch my breath?

You also have to draw a line with your kids' busyness. Between dance & soccer & baseball & gymnastics & club meetings, it's easy to never have a moment to breath as a family. Each family is different, so only you know how much is too much. Find the balance between supporting your kids' extracurricular activities without teaching them the glorification of busyness.

Try to do these 3 R's once a day:

REFRAIN. Just stop. After the kiddos are in bed, or before they wake up, take a moment to just stop & be still.

RECHARGE. Take time to rejuvenate. God created us with limitations & that's ok... you have to be kind to yourself.

REFOCUS. Use these quiet times to remind yourself of what's important. Remember who you really are. Stop long enough to let God hug you.

Give yourself permission to stop. You are NOT lazy because you take a break. Be intentional & set time aside for rest. Let go of the guilt. Unplug from your laptop & phone & ipad to allow your brain to rest as well as your body.

SIMPLIFY your life. SIMPLIFY your kids' lives. Just stop & be. 




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Easy Enchiladas

Mexican food is always a hit in our house... & quick & easy meals are even better!


The Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning mix
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 can refried beans (optional)
  • Soft tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheese -- cheddar &/or pepper jack (if you like spicy)
  • Other toppings (optional) -- Frito corn chips, lettuce, tomato, salsa, guacamole, jalapenos

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, brown beef & season with taco seasoning mix, following the directions on the mix envelope. Combine cream of chicken soup & sour cream in small bowl to make "white sauce." Heat up refried beans.

Spread beef, beans & a spoonful of white sauce in the middle of a tortilla. Roll up tortilla & place in 9x13 baking dish. Repeat until meat & beans run out (you should still have some white sauce left).

Once all tortillas are rolled & in the baking dish, pour the remaining white sauce over them & spread evenly. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.

*Tip: You can top with crushed Frito corn chips or a Mexican salad (lettuce, tomato, guacamole). The great thing about Mexican is that you can add whatever your family likes to suit your needs!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Pico de Gallo

Salsa in the jar is good, but sometimes you just need some delicious homemade pico de gallo with your chips!


The Ingredients:

  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp jalapenos, diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar

The Directions:

Combine all ingredients & allow to sit for at least 6 hours before serving.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Annual MOPS Recipe Swap!!

Here it is... the fabulous Great Recipe Post of 2014! Thanks so much for sharing your tastiness with us!


Saltine Toffee Bark (from Margaret B)


Ingredients:

  • 50 saltine crackers (approximately)
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter
  • 1 cup soft brown sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup topping - M&M's, sliced almonds, sea salt, or anything you like

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 9x13 jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Spray foil with cooking spray & line pan completely with saltine crackers. You may have to break some in half to fit, but try to fill the pan.

Place butter & sugar in a medium pot over low-medium/low heat. Stir until butter is melted. Once melted, bring to boil for exactly 3 minutes. Stir constantly. Once it's nice & bubbly, remove pan from heat & pour evenly over saltine crackers. Spread mixture with a knife... however, it doesn't have to be perfect. Try to move fast during this part so the toffee doesn't harden.

Place pan in oven & bake for 7-8 minutes. The toffee mixture will spread evenly over the crackers as it bakes. Remove pan from oven & then sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the toffee while it's still hot. Let the chocolate chips melt for a few minutes & then spread all over the toffee with a spatula.

Sprinkle topping on top & then place in fridge for 30 minutes. Once chocolate has hardened, break pieces off the foil & store for up to 2 weeks

                                               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Potato Salad (from Jenine A)


Ingredients:

  • 10 lbs russet potatoes
  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup dill relish or large dill pickles, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1 can black olives, chopped
  • 3/4 jar real mayonnaise (more if necessary)
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tbsp salt 

Instructions:

Boil potatoes about 45 minutes, then cool completely. Peel & chop potatoes into large chunks. Chop & pour all ingredients onto potatoes; mix well. 


                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lemon Icebox Pie or Dip (from Emily W)


Ingredients:

  • 16 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup lemon juice (adjust depending on how strong you want lemon flavor to be)
  • graham cracker crust, if making a pie
    or
  • graham cracker quarters, if making a dip

Instructions:

Whip cream until stiff. Stir in condensed milk & lemon juice. Pour into crust or bowl & chill. If prepared as a dip, serve with graham cracker quarters.


                                               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fudge (from Jayla V)


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa

Instructions:

Mix milk, brown sugar, granulated sugar & salt in heavy pan. Cook at medium heat until boiling. Boil exactly 6 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat & add vanilla extract. Pour into mixing bowl; add cocoa & confectioners sugar. Beat with mixer until smooth & thick. Pour into buttered pan & freeze 20 minutes. Cut into pieces. Makes 1 pound of fudge.


                                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Easy Egg Casserole (from Becca H)


Ingredients:

  • 6-10 eggs, beaten
  • 6-8 slices of bread, leftover hotdog buns, etc, torn into pieces
    **if you use more eggs, use more bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 2 - 9oz Jimmy Dean precooked sausage
  • salt to taste (approximately 1 tsp)

Instructions:

Night before: Pour eggs, milk & salt in 9x13 casserole dish. Add torn pieces of bread. Stir. Add cheese & sausage. Stir. Cover & refrigerate overnight.

Next morning: Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. When knife comes out clean in center, eggs are done. 


                                                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Vegan Banana Bread (from Jamie L)


Ingredients:


  • 4 medium ripe or over-ripe bananas
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cup coconut oil or sunflower oil (more oil results in softer texture)
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar or cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds (optional)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt (optional) 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pan with coconut oil. Mash bananas well or puree them with hand blender. Add oil, sugar & vanilla to banana & blend well. Sieve flour with baking soda & baking powder. Fold sieved flour very well (this folding step is important because you want the bread to be evenly mixed). Add sunflower seeds (optional).

Pour bread mixture into pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm. Leftovers can be stored at room temperature or chilled. If stored in fridge, warm before serving.

                                           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Buffalo Dip (from Kassi A)


Ingredients:


  • 8 oz cream cheese, farmer's or neufchatel cheese 
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (or low-fat sour cream)
  • 1.5 tbsp spicy ranch dry salad dressing & seasoning mix (or regular ranch dry mix)
  • 1/2 cup wing sauce (more or less depending on desired heat)
  • 1.5 cup chicken, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or blue cheese)

Instructions:

Place chicken in slow cooker with buffalo sauce. Cook until chicken can be shredded. Once shredded, add all other ingredients except mozzarella cheese. 

Cook in slow cooker until creamy & then spoon into baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese (or blue cheese), then bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with veggies or chips.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Ham & Cheese Sliders

These little ham & cheese sliders go really well with the potato soup from last week's "Tasty Tuesday"! If you need to get a head start on dinner, the sandwiches can be assembled ahead of time & refrigerated... then just add the sauce & pop in the oven about 20 minutes before you're ready to eat!


The Ingredients:

  • 12-pack sweet hawaiian rolls 
  • 1 lb thinly sliced cooked deli ham
  • 1 lb thinly sliced swiss cheese
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried minced onion

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Without separating the rolls, slice through the middle horizontally to separate the roll tops from the bottoms. Place the bottom half of the rolls in the prepared baking dish. Layer half the ham, the cheese, & then the other half of the ham. Top with the upper half of the rolls.

In a bowl, mix together butter, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds & dried onion. Pour the mixture evenly over the rolls.

Cover with foil & bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil & bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown & slightly crispy.

Slice between individual rolls & serve while hot.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Slow-Cooker Potato Soup

This potato soup is actually a combination of several recipes. It's easy & one that my family has requested be on the menu again!


The Ingredients:

  • 5-lb bag of russet potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 2-3 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 (14-oz) cans chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1 tsp white pepper 
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 cups heavy cream or half-&-half
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 can evaporated milk (optional)
Topping options:
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Sour cream
  • Green onions or scallions, sliced
  • Pickled jalapenos, sliced (these are my favorites!... you can find them at publix) 
  • salt & pepper

The Directions:

In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter & add chopped onions & celery. Stir until they are slightly browned & softened. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker.

Add diced potatoes to slow cooker. Pour in chicken broth, salt, dill weed, & white pepper. Cover & cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Check potatoes with a potato masher... cook until they're soft enough to be easily mashed. Mash potatoes until they reach the desired consistency (some people prefer chunkier potato soup, or use an immersion blender if you prefer completely smooth soup).

30 minutes before you plan to eat, whisk flour into heavy cream or half-&-half in a medium bowl until completely dissolved. Pour into soup, cover & cook on low for 30 more minutes. If too thick, add evaporated milk until you reach desired consistency. Before serving, add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese & stir until melted.

Serve with toppings. YUM!