Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cranberry Raspberry Salad

I LOVE congealed salads.  My grandmother used to make the best ones and I guess she started me out early loving them.

Not many of my family members eat cranberry sauce with their turkey so this year I made this salad and thought I might be able to "sneak" a little cranberry into their meal!  I think I just may have succeeded with a couple of them!

This one is perfect for the holidays because of its pretty bright red color!

1 can ( 20 oz.) crushed pineapple, in juice
2 pkgs. (3 oz. each) Raspberry flavored gelatin
1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
2/3 cup chopped walnut pieces
1 apple, chopped 

Drain pineapple, reserving the juice.  Add enough water to the reserved juice to measure 2 1/2 cups of liquid; pour into saucepan. Bring to boil.

Pour boiling mixture over gelatin mixes in large bowl.

Stir 2 approximately 2 minutes or until gelatin is completely dissolved.

Stir in pineapple and whole berry cranberry sauce.

Add chopped walnuts and diced apple.

Stir until well-combined.

Pour into 13" x 9" glass dish or can also make in 24 paper-lined muffin cups.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holiday Cheese Balls

I had a co-worker that passed away a few years ago that made the absolute BEST cheese balls.  She really didn't follow a recipe for them, but before she passed away she told me what was in them.  After experimenting with the ingredients a little, I was able to come pretty close to her yummy cheese balls.  Every time I make them I think of my sweet friend.  I miss you Wendy.

3 (8 oz.) blocks of cream cheese, softened (or neufchatel)
4 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 large red pepper, chopped fine
1 large green pepper, chopped fine
6 green onions, chopped fine (green and white parts)
8-10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped fine
1 - 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Grate cheddar cheese and place in large mixing bowl.

Add softened cream cheese  to cheddar cheese.

Add chopped red and green peppers.

Chop green onions finely, using green and white parts of onions.

Add to cheese and pepper mixture already in bowl.

Cook bacon slowly,  just until done - not extra crispy.  Chop fine.

Add chopped bacon to all other ingredients already in mixing bowl.

Mix all ingredients well.  I find the best way to do this is to just get your hands in mixture and mix well.  (I enlist the help of my sweet husband for this duty.)

After mixing well, shape into desired size balls.

Chop pecans in food processor.

Place chopped pecans in shallow dish.

Take formed cheese balls and roll in chopped pecans until coated well on all sides.

This recipe will make 2 very large cheese balls or you can make 4-5 small size cheese balls.

These cheese balls also freeze well. *Note:   If I freeze them, I place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and place in freezer just until frozen.  Then I remove from freezer and place in plastic freezer bags. The texture will be slightly different after frozen (not quite as creamy), but still tastes fine.

Serve with your favorite cracker.  DELICIOUS!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I LOVE Sweet Potato Fries and they are such a healthier alternative to french fries. These are especially healthy as they are BAKED using Olive Oil.  Even if you don't like Sweet Potatoes I believe you will like these!

2 Tablespoons Olive oil
Sweet Potato(s)
Seasonings of your choice

Peel sweet potato with vegetable peeler.

Cut the sweet potato in half and then cut into slices.

Cut each slice into "fries".

Place "fries" in a medium bowl with olive oil and seasonings of your choice.  (I sprinkled mine with Paprika and Garlic Salt.  They are also good with Paprika and Rosemary, or just plain salt and pepper.)

Place on cooking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 375-400 degrees for approximately 20 - 30 minutes -- turning half way through cooking time.

Remove to serving platter. Serve immediately.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Stuffed Pepper Soup

I love Stuffed Green Peppers, but when I used to make them when my kids were younger, they never wanted to eat the peppers.  They only wanted the "stuff" INSIDE the peppers!

At today's prices, it is costly to purchase green bell peppers for each person to have their own and you certainly don't want them to only eat the "stuff" out of them!

This soup is the perfect answer to that dilemma.  My husband says it "tastes just like Stuffed Peppers and is much easier to eat".

1 lb. ground beef

3 cups water

1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with Basil and Oregano added (undrained)

1 cup chopped green peppers (about 1 large pepper)

3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½  teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons beef bouillon 

1 cup white Minute rice

***Note: Can also subsitute beef broth for water and beef bouillion, if preferred.

In a large saucepan, brown ground beef.

While ground beef is browning, chop green pepper.

After ground beef is browned, drain well. Add tomato sauce and tomatoes.


Add chopped green pepper and  brown sugar.

Add salt, black pepper and beef bouillon.

Bring soup to a boil. Lower heat and simmer covered for 25-30 minutes until green peppers are tender.

Add rice and stir well.  

Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Stir well before serving.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Crock-Pot Lasagna

Have I told you lately how much I LOVE my crock-pot!  It's a love affair that started almost 31 years ago. (I got a crock-pot as a wedding gift in 1978!) It's so nice to "set it and forget it" and it really makes about anything good.

This recipe is one that I got from a friend and I "tweaked" it a little, but it is super easy and really good! Very little preparation goes into this one so you can put it together in no time.

I got up this morning and stuck this in the crock-pot before leaving for church. I love Sunday dinner already being ready when we get home! With some Tex@s To@st and a salad, you've got a complete meal, literally 10 minutes after you walk in the door.

I don't know about you, but that's my kind of cookin'!

1 pound ground beef
1 (48 ounce) spaghetti sauce
1-2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (optional)
1 (24 ounce) cottage cheese
1 egg
12-14 lasagna noodles, uncooked
3 cups mozzarella cheese

In medium skillet, brown ground beef. Drain well.

While ground beef is browning, combine egg and cottage cheese. Mix thoroughly.

Pour spaghetti sauce in a large mixing bowl.

Add drained ground beef to sauce. Add Italian Seasoning, if desired.

Pour half of meat mixture on bottom of crock-pot.

Layer uncooked lasagna noodles on top of meat sauce.  Overlap to cover as completely as possible. (Cut noodles however necessary to fit into your shape crock-pot. Depending on the size and shape crock-pot, it may take less noodles.)

Next, spread 1/2 of cottage cheese mixture over uncooked noodles.

Top with half of mozzarella cheese.

Repeat all 4 of these layers, ending with mozzarella cheese on top.

Cook on High for approximately 4 - 5 hours or on Low for 6 hours.

** Note: I cook mine on Low for 5-6 hours.