Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Marinated Cucumber Salad

left: with skin and no onion
right: no skins with onion
While I'm making my salads in a jar, I also buy a few extra cucumbers and throw together this salad.  So easy to do and makes a great side dish! Usually makes enough for two jars.

  • 4 thinly sliced cucumbers (with skin or no skin)
  • 1 large sliced red onions
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2-cups sugar
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

  • Slice cucumbers and red onions.
  • Layer them, packing them tightly in the jar
  • Mix salt, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, sugar and red pepper flakes in a bowl. 
  • Pour mixture over cucumbers and onion stacked into jars, evenly (I usually have enough for two)
  • Shake and refrigerate. Over night is best.

>>>Will keep up to 2 months!<<

Monday, December 10, 2012

Quick Prep Beef Stroganoff

  • 1-1/2 lbs. beef stew meat
  • 1 envelope of onion soup mix
  • 1- 4 oz. can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • *not pictured
     can of mushrooms
  • 1 package egg noodles
  1. In slow cooker, mix stew meat, dry soup mix, mushrooms and soup.
  2. Add water
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours 
  4. Just before serving, stir sour cream and cream cheese into beef mixture until smooth and warm.
  5. Prepare egg noodles according to package instructions
  6. Serve over hot, cooked noodles
Makes 5 servings

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I got this recipe from C&C Marriage Factory.  I've tried a few of her recipes and all have been top-rated good!  I took her recommendation and served with fresh, homemade coleslaw. It was an instant hit at my house.  I did use Ray's BBQ sauce, but I've included a link to her recipe below.  I'm going to try that next time.  I also love her suggestions for leftovers (if there are any), to make BBQ pork pizza. What an amazing topping this will make!

*I added 1/4 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon hickory flavored liquid smoke
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce

  1. Rub with salt, pepper and garlic poweder. 
  2. Place in a crock pot. 
  3. Add water and liquid smoke. 
  4. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours until pork is tender. 
  5. Remove pork from crock pot and discard liquid. 
  6. Place the meat back into the crock pot and shred with two forks. 
  7. Add barbecue sauce and mix to combine. 
  8. Cook for 20-30 minutes until warmed through or leave crock pot on warm until ready to serve.
Serve on buns with coleslaw and extra barbecue sauce.

Adapted from C&C Marriage Factory.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

A potato soup recipe made with NO heavy cream or cups of butter! I cut potatoes, added garlic, onion and chicken broth and poured into a freezer bag. I then measured out the cream cheese and put in a smaller freezer bag and bundled them together. I put meal, uncooked in freezer. When ready, I thawed and followed cooking instructions. Worked perfectly. The recipe is very good, but is even better as left-overs! Yum.


  • 5 lbs russet potatoes, diced, NOT peeled
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 64 ounces chicken broth or stock
  • Salt to taste, if needed
  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • bacon, chives, green onions or shredded cheese for garnish toppings

  • Directions

    1. Combine first 5 ingredients in your crock pot. 
    2. Cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 5. 
    3. Purée soup in food processor or blender with cream cheese.  
    4. Serve warm topped with bacon, green onions, shredded cheese or chives. 

    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    Cranberry Cream Cheese Salsa Dip

    Okay, I know this is not a slow cooker recipe, but it is one that SCREAMS to be shared. I made it this Thanksgiving, serving it as an appetizer and also, reserving a portion of the cranberry mixture (minus cream cheese) to accompany the turkey if desired. It simply is to die for, and I will be making it again and again!

    • 1 - 12 oz package fresh cranberries
    • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1-1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 tsp. cumin
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • dash salt
    • 2 - 8 oz packages cream cheese
    Yield: 15 servings or more

    1. Mince cranberries in food processor, mini chopper or blender.  I used a Cuisinart mini chopper.
    2. Finely chop green onion and cilantro 
    3. Add chopped cranberries, green onion, cilantro, sugar, cumin, lemon juice and salt into a mixing bowl. Combine. Cover and store in the fridge for a few hours. This allows the sugar to soak in and set.  NOTE: I used canning jars because I knew I'd have more than I'd use for the day. 
    4. When ready to serve, spread cream cheese evenly in a serving dish or plate
    5. Pour or spoon cranberry mixture over the cream cheese
    6. Spread it evenly
    Serve with favorite crackers.  SOOO YUMMY! 

    NOTE PICTURE:  This makes a large batch. I decided to split mine in half. I used only one package of cream cheese and half the cranberry mix. I had five guests and it was plenty.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    Beef Crock Pot Roast

    • Small to medium size rump roast
    • 1 envelope onion soup mix
    • 1 envelope brown gravy mix
    • 1 individual size serving apple sauce OR 4 ounces
    • 2 cups water
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1 small bag sliced carrots
    • 2 medium to large size potatoes, cut up
    • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
    • 1 stalk celery, sliced

    1. Put roast and vegetables in crock pot. 
    2. Mix envelope mixes with water and applesauce, then pour over all.
    3. Set crock pot on LOW  and cook for at least 8-10 hours. 

    Monday, October 15, 2012

    Cheddar Veggie Sausage Soup

    I made this two nights ago and let me tell you, "AWESOME!"  It is rich, but oh so very good.  Hearty and creamy -- absolutely perfect for the rainy season. You can add sides to it, but it truly is an entire dinner in a bowl!

    • 1 (10 oz) pkg. of frozen mixed vegetables
    • 3 large white potatoes, diced
    • 2 pkg. of beef-smoked sausage (Hillshire Farm), sliced
    • 1 (10 oz) can of cheddar cheese soup
    • 1 (10 oz) can of cream of celery soup
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

    1. Slice beef-smoked sausage and dice white potatoes
    2. Mix all ingredients together and place in slow cooker
    3. Cook on LOW for 6 hours

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

    Mason Jar Salads

    I wish I could claim credit for this fabulous idea, but I saw it on Pinterest and decided to try it.  It's amazing and it really works.  You'll spend less on produce and won't throw away as much.  

    Here is the original link where I found the information:

    Here are a few tips:
    • Dressing on the bottom, lettuce on the top. If the two are touching the lettuce will turn to slime.
    • So, dressing goes in first. On top of your dressing, use a rather "hearty" vegetable, such as shredded cabbage, pea pods, or julienne carrot matchsticks. They can withstand the acidity of the dressing, and actually get better!
    • Pack it in. Use a nice variety of colorful vegetables! 

    I did change it up a bit.  I did not follow the recipes from the original site, but simply used what I already had in my fridge to make my own salads. I also did NOT include dressing since our family all has different tastes.  However, I did follow the plan to pack 'hearty' vegetables on the bottom.  It worked perfectly.

    Salads will easily stay good for 7-10 days depending on ingredients.  Some of mine lasted longer!  How awesome is that???
    They fit perfectly in my crisper drawer.
    Of course, you're probably not going to use a case of mason jars just for salads, so I've also included the link to my Pinterest Board JAM IT IN A JAR where you can find a variety of easy uses from pasta meals, room scents, holiday decorations, candles, homemade salad dressing and desserts for the extra jars.  

    You can make your own original or favorite salads using all the goodies that you like, or if you want to try something new, creative or just want ideas, below are successful mason jar salad recipes. Ingredients are listed from what goes in first (bottom) to last (on top).

    -light asian ginger dressing
    -carrot shreds
    -cabbage shreds
    -water chestnuts
    -green peas
    -bean sprouts
    -toasted sesame seeds

    -cabbage shreds
    -cherry tomatoes (halved)
    -black olives
    -drained canned crab / drained canned salad shrimp

    -light Caesar dressing
    -carrot shreds
    -diced grilled chicken
    (add croutons later) ...they get mushy in the jar.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Stuffed Sweet Peppers

    This is a family favorite and over the years I've tweaked the recipe. I like using red, orange and yellow peppers better than green, because they have a milder taste (less 'bite') and the outer skin becomes equally tender when slow cooked. However, you can use any of the peppers. I mix it up for color, but my favorite are the yellow. 
    6 peppers (red, yellow and/or orange)
    1 jar/can (14 oz.) traditional spaghetti sauce, divided
    3/4 lb. (16 oz.) uncooked bulk Italian turkey or chicken sausage
    3/4 cup uncooked instant rice
    1/2 cup crumbled feta or blue cheese
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1 (14.5 oz) canned stewed Italian tomatoes 
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
    1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    Step 2

    ~  Cut tops off peppers; discard. Clean and gut peppers i.e. seeds and extra pulp.

    2. Reserve 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce; pour remaining sauce into slow cooker.

    3. Combine the sausage, rice, cheese, onion, stewed tomatoes, garlic powder, salt, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and reserved spaghetti sauce.
    Step 3

    4. Spoon mixture into pepper cups; place in slow cooker

    ~  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until peppers are tender.

    Step 4

    Friday, September 14, 2012

    Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin

    This is to-die-for delicious!  I made it last night and it is now one of my favorite slow-cooker recipes.  I highly recommend giving this one a go!

    1 (2 lb.) boneless pork tenderloin (or regular pork loin)
    1 teaspoon ground sage
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1 clove garlic, crushed, OR 1 tsp. minced garlic
    1/2 cup water

    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    1/2 cup water
    2 tablespoons soy sauce

    • Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast. 
    • Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. 
    • Cook on low for 4-6 hours. 
    • About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. 
    • Heat to boil and stir until mixture thickens. 
    • Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. 
    • Serve with remaining glaze on the side.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Chicken Cordon Bleu

    6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
    1 cup milk (I used Soy)
    4 ounces sliced ham
    4 ounces sliced Swiss cheese
    1 (8 oz) pkg. herbed dry bread stuffing mix
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    * Salt to taste if desired

    ~ Mix together the cream of chicken soup and milk in a small bowl. 
    ~ Pour enough of the soup into a slow cooker to cover the bottom. 
    ~ Layer chicken breasts over the sauce. 
    ~ Cover with slices of ham and then Swiss cheese. 
    ~ Pour the remaining soup over the layers.
    ~ Sprinkle the stuffing on top, and drizzle butter over stuffing. 
    ~ Cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, or 2 to 3 hours on High.

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Cream Cheese Chicken Chile

    Chicken with a Kick!
    This dish can be served several ways.  
    • As a chili
    • Over rice
    • Wrapped in a tortilla

    2-3 chicken breasts, still frozen
    1 can Rotel tomatoes
    1 can corn kernels, do not drain
    1 can black beans OR pinto beans, drained 
    1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
    1 tbsp cumin
    1 tsp chili powder
    1 tsp onion powder OR 1 cup chopped onion
    1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese

    ~ Put the chicken in the crock pot.
    ~ Top with the tomatoes, corn, drained and rinsed beans,
    ~ Add ranch dressing, cumin, onion and chili powders,
    ~ Stir to combine then top with the cream cheese.
    ~ Cook on low for 4-6 hours, stirring one or twice
     to blend in the cheese.
    ~ Shred the chicken into large pieces
    Serves 4

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup

    2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
    1 cup finely diced celery
    1 cup finely diced carrots
    1 cup finely diced onions
    1 tsp. dried oregano or 1 tbsp. fresh oregano
    1 tbsp. dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
    4 cups of chicken broth
    1/2 bay leaf
    1/2 cup of flour1 cup Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup butter
    2 cups half and half, warmed or skim, 1% milk to make healthier
    1 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper

    Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil and bay leaf to slow cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are tender.

    About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux.  Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 2-3 minutes.  Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup.  Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth.  Add all back into the slow cooker.  Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed milk, salt and pepper.

    Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

    *What's a roux?  A cooking mixture of flour and butter. It is the thickening agent of three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking.  It is used as a thickener for gravy, sauces, soups and stews.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    Ranch-Style Crock Pot Pork Chops

    This is a tasty recipe for anyone on a budget.  Pork chops are generally inexpensive.  Instead of the same old barbecued pork chop recipes, why not mix it up with a creamy ranch sauce?

    6 pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick pieces
    1 packet of dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning
    10 oz. can Cream of Chicken Soup

    Place pork chops, Ranch seasoning and soup in crock pot.  Cook on high for about 4 hours or low for 6 hours. 

    That's it!  Inexpensive, easy and oh so very yummy.  I pair mine with mashed red garlic potatoes and sweet corn.  

    Tuesday, August 14, 2012

    Crockpot Mac-N-Cheese

    Cooking in the crockpot isn't just for the cool months! Summer time meal and paper plate clean up! 

    Cooking Spray
    2 cups of 1% or skim milk
    1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
    1 egg
    1 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp. pepper
    1 1/2 cups preshredded sharp cheddar cheese
    2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

    Spray the pot of the slow cooker.  In a mixing bowl whisk together milk, evaporated milk, egg, salt and pepper. Pour milk mixture into the crockpot. Add cheese and uncooked macaroni. Stir gently to mix.  

    Depending on how your slow cooker heats, this recipe on low could be done in 1.5 to 3 hours. Mine was done in 1.5 hours. The first time you make it, you'll want to keep an eye on it to determine the correct cooking time for your crockpot. Cook until the cheesy-custard is set and the macaroni is tender. Serve at once.    

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Sweet and Sour Meatballs

    1 pkg. meatballs, frozen
    1 cup salsa
    1/2 cup grape jelly
    1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
    1/4 cup hickory smoked barbecue sauce
    1/4 cup cider vinegar
    2 tablespoons of flour

    (optional suggestion)
    * white rice or mashed potatoes

    ~ Combine salsa, grape jelly, brown sugar, barbecue sauce, vinegar and flour.  Whisk well.
    ~ Place meatballs in slow cooker
    ~ Pour mixture over top
    ~ Cook on low for 2-3 hours - keep on warm

    * Cook white rice or mashed potatoes according to their instructions.
    ~ Serve meatballs over rice or mashed potatoes

    6 servings