Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's Taco Soup night for sure

I am not ready to say goodbye to summer yet...but I can't deny that I love these cozy cool days where you just hunker down and watch videos and get some housework done. Maybe I don't love the housework part, but I sure enjoy it more than on hot days when I'd rather be outside with the kids. The other thing I love about these kind of days - is cooking. I love making soups and other hearty meals that make me feel like we are in a cabin in the woods with nothing but our family. I think of days spent on the ski hill (I'm a self proclaimed lodge bunny who would rather be in the lodge cooking than going down the hill on one or two *sticks* lol), hunting (again, I'd be in the cabin), or just a day spent at the hill with a bunch of families taking the kids tobagganing (I'd definitely be joining in for would be a crockpot day for sure!). And while we are doing none of the above 3 things, today is definitely one of those days. The only thing that would make it better is if Brent had the day off. Oh least we get to spend the evening together.

I got this taco soup recipe from a cookbook my aunt gave me. Her Relief Society group put it together - it is one of my favorite cookbooks. Real people cooking Real recipes with Real food. Stuff I typically have on hand already and food our family will love. This recipe is awesome...I love the flavour, the consistency...and I LOVE anything topped with sour cream.

2 lbs hamburger
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 taco seasoning packages
3 tsp chili powder
1 (10oz) can beef broth
1 (15 oz) can tomato paste
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can green chilis
1 can mixed vegetables (I just used a can of corn)
Grated cheese

Brown hamburger with onion and garlic; add taco seasoning. chili powder, and green chilis. Put in a big pot and add the rest of the ingredients and a can or more of water to desired consistency. Let head on stove and serve with sour cream, grated cheese, and tortilla chips.

SERIOUSLY SCRUMPTIOUS RECIPE: 5 STARS - this is a must try recipe!

Sour Cream and Chicken Enchiladas

I have always loved - LOVED - chicken enchiladas. The way they look fresh out of the oven - makes my mouth water. Unfortunately for me, my husband isn't a huge fan. He much prefers his sister's enchiladas, which I can't blame him for. They are DIVINE! But I don't really think they can be compared - chicken vs hamburger. I love both...equally I'd say....for different reasons.

When I saw my cousin Kym's recipe for her Chicken Enchiladas I knew I wanted to try them. They really are pretty similar to the other recipes I've tried over the years, except for the southwest or cajun seasoning for the chicken. I knew I should have doubled the sauce recipe like I normally do, but even still - these were delicious. Brent chose to eat the leftover soup from the night before which was fine by me. More for my tummy :D I also had a friend over (and her husband stopped by after work later that night and also enjoyed a couple) and another friend for lunch the next day - this meal was definitely enjoyed! Here's how you do it:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 3 and cubed them pretty small)
2 Tbsp oil
1 package southwest or Cajun seasoning (I just bought cajun seasoning and sprinkled the chicken while I cooked it - not sure how much...maybe 1-2 Tbsp?)
1 small can green chilis or 1/2 cup salsa (I used green chilis)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2-1 cup milk
2 cups cheddar cheese
10 large flour tortillas (the 3 chicken breasts gave me enough to fill 8)

Heat oil in large skillet. Add chicken and seasoning and cook until no longer pink inside. Just use garlic and salt if you can't find seasoning - I used my garlic salt with parsley in addition to the cajun seasoning.

Mix remaining ingredients together in large bowl. Dip each tortilla into sauce to coat both sides (I did not do this, figured it would be too messy). Place about 1/4 cup chicken down center of tortilla and roll up, laying seam down in pan. I always put a bit of the sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish so they don't stick. I also put a bit of sauce inside each tortilla along with a small topping of grated cheese :). Pour remainder of sauce on enchiladas and bake for 35 minutes at 350. Then I throw a bit more grated cheese on the top (remember, I'm a cheese addict. lol) and it's ready to serve. DELICIOUS!!! I served this with orange almond salad - nothing else is really needed. It was perfect.


Crockpot Corn

Corn is not one of those things I tend to think there are a lot of different ways to prepare it. It's just...corn. I have been known to add it to my fried rice, or even to a salad (with ranch dressing usually)...but as far as preparing it on its own, it's usually just a pot of corn. My auntie Glenda (also fabulous) submitted this recipe to our family cookbook and it sounded kind of fun I had to try it. Plus, I love using the crockpot...minimum input, maximum output!

5 cups frozen corn
1 small can of green chilis (4oz)
5 hot diced jalapenos - fresh or canned....seeded and diced
1 cup sour cream with chives (if you can't find sour cream with chives, just add a little green onions - that's what I did)

Put in crockpot and stir. Heat on low for about 3 hours or on high for 1 1/2 hours. You can also put it in the oven at 250 for 3 hours or 350 for 1 1/2 hours if you don't have a crockpot. It was good...something different....and I love the kick to it. And really I love anything with sour cream in it (There have been times I've made tacos JUST for the sour cream). This is probably one of those recipes I'll make a couple of times a year - it's not one we are DYING for...but it was definitely worth trying and certainly yummy.


7-Up BBQ chicken

This sounded interesting to me....while not a lot of ingredients, the idea of marinating in pop was something I haven't thought to do. So I had to try this recipe. This comes from my other fabulous cousin, Trina.

2 cups 7-Up (I actually used Sprite....but think they are pretty much the same...who knows, maybe it would make a difference??)
1 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup oil
1/2 tsp horse radish (I would probably put in 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 or more chicken breasts, cut up into strips (I did not cut into strips and instead left them whole - I slice them though so the marinade can soak into it better)

Marinate overnight and cook on the BBQ!

Okay so we only had a few hours so that's all they marinated for. I don't know if it makes it more flavourful or not, but I'd definitely try it again and do it longer. The chicken was good, not great...and didn't have much other flavour than the soy sauce. I'm really interested to play around with this recipe. I think it could be awesome - I probably just rushed it.

I served this with sweet potatoes, orange almond salad, and corn I had made the night before (oo that's the next recipe)

SERIOUSLY SCRUMPTIOUS RATING: 3 STARS (I'll update you if this changes....I'm sure it will)

Spicey Cheeseburger and Fries Soup

I have sooo much to update...I've tried about 5 new recipes in the past week - so lots to report ;)

I can't remember when I made what, so however I remember them - here it goes

Spicy Cheeseburger and Fries Soup
*this comes from my fabulous cousin, Tasha*

1 1/2 cups water (I ended up doubling this)
2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
2 small carrots, grated (I just chopped mine)
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green pepper, optional (I used red pepper)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (remember to seed it...otherwise it will be smokin' hot!)
1 garlic clove, minced (I think I used 2-3)
1 Tbsp beef bouillon granules (I used 2-3)
1/2 tsp salt (I actually added it, although wouldn't next time...couldn't taste it so it wasn't a bad addition, but with bouillon you really don't need anymore salt)
1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
2 1/2 cups milk, divided
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
8 ounces process american cheese, cubed
1/4 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
1/2 lb slived bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large saucepan, combine the first nine ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in beef and 2 cups of milk; head through. Combine flour and remaining milk until smooth and gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat and stir in cheese until melted. Add cayenne if you want. Top with bacon just before serving.

This was a big hit with the dh (dear husband). We added a scoop of sour cream which was awesome. It had kind of a stroganoff flavour to it. I'm excited to make it again and possibly doctor it a bit more. It was really good....and a perfect hearty meal on a cold day. I'm thinking a day of hunting...on the slopes...out toboganning...etc. What a great meal to come home to. This would have been perfect with a nice piece of cheese or garlic bread!

SERIOUSLY SCRUMPTIOUS RATING: 4.5 STARS (just because I'm curious what else can be done with it)

Friday, August 7, 2009


I've always been a fan of donairs. Not only are they delicious but they also hold special meaning as I recall going to the Flea Market on saturdays with my dad and having donairs for lunch. I loved them then and I love them now - but rarely take the opportunity to get one. When I saw this at our local Wal-mart I had to try them. I was a little leary having tried a ginger beef kit recently that was HORRIBLE (not the same company), but I decided to do it anyways. It was only $5 (they are now $6) so I figured it wouldn't be too big a loss. Boy was I ever shocked - these donairs are AWESOME!!! The sauce, the meat - it's fabulous. I mean, there's nothing quite like a fresh hot donair - but this is definitely the next best thing. and for $6 you get enough for 4! You just can't beat that!

I try not to purchase frozen food but this is quickly become a staple in this house. I had a friend over for lunch one day and we made these up - she went out a couple of days later to buy a couple boxes! Super quick and easy - and totally delicious! And (as my friend and I thought) what a perfect idea when you are having a group together for appetizers or sporting events. Make a few of these boxes up, typical nachos and cheese, chips and dip, etc. And you've got yourself a lovely filling meal. They even give the suggestion on the box for making them into donair pizzas, which would probably work best for large groups. I add diced cucumbers, shredded cheese, lettuce, and sliced white onions to mine. Perfect!

Try them!!!


Cottage Cheese Waffles??

Yep you read right...Cottage Cheese Waffles. This recipe comes from my fabulous cousin, Tasha! I had to try them simply because they sound so strange. She claims they are *to die for* so I had even more reason to give them a shot. We often make waffles for the kids with whipped cream on them - just something fun when Brent has the day off or Sunday mornings before church. So here's what you do:

Mix in a blender:
1/2 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt (I actually used it this time just to make the recipe as written)
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cottage cheese

These are low carb and high protein (gotta love that!). Don't be alarmed, the *batter* is pretty runny but they cook up like normal. The cottage cheese gives the illusion that they aren't quite cooked through but rest assured they are! They were good - not a whole lot different than regular waffles but if they have a bit more *health factor* I'm willing to eat them. And seriously - they smell AWESOME while they are cooking! Amazing....I'd make them again just for that! LOL All in all, I think they aren't something I'd make all the time simply because I don't have cottage cheese in our fridge at all times. But it is something different, a little healthier, and they taste pretty similar to regular waffles.

SERIOUSLY SCRUMPTIOUS RATING: 4 STARS - definitely worth trying

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mmmm...I love Jell-o

I've always been a jell-o fan, although never really got a hang of the jell-jigglers sadly....when I tried these at a recent function I knew I HAD to have the recipe. The best part is - they turn out perfectly every time. And if you want to know if they are yummy - we went through 5 pans in 4 days *ack* (okay we did have company that helped, but still!). So easy and so yummy...oh and it sets in just over an hour. How much better can it get?!

3 packages of jell-o (or 1 large package)
3 packages of knox gelatin
2 1/2 cups boiling water
3/4-1 cup whipping cream (not whipped) - I usually measure to between the 3/4 and 1 cup

Mix jell-o and gelatin and add boiling water. Mix well. Add whipping cream (not whipped) and mix thoroughly. Pour into casserole dish and refrigerate. ENJOY!!! I just cut the whole pan into squares and leave it in the fridge like that....we all just help ourselves throughout the day!

Raspberry is a favorite, as is lime. Grape is awesome too....really, they are all sooo tasty. If you feel like getting creative try layering after each one is set. Wait for the new mixture to cool a bit though before pouring it over the set one. DELISH! Add a dollup of whipping cream on the side if you want to make it more dessert-y.


Coming Up...

Well I just spent a week with the kids at my family reunion - not only was it beautiful (drayton valley) but sooo awesome to see all of my cousins. Seriously - all of them (I think there was a count of about 86 people total). My cousin, Tasha (who I hadn't seen since her wedding 12 years ago!) organized a family cookbook which I was really excited about. Now that I've seen it, I'm even more excited - there are soooo many awesome recipes I can't wait to try. Right now, my list includes 17 of these recipes. So soon to come are the following:

Oriental Chicken Salad
Cottage Cheese Waffles
Luscious Berries with hot white chocolate
Cinnamon bread
Cucumber Citrus water
Spicy Cheeseburger and Fries Soup
Maple Salad Dressing
Supreme Pizza Pasta Salad
Thai noodle salad
Kung Pao Chicken
7up BBQ chicken
Thai mango chicken
Sour cream and chicken enchiladas
Crockpot Corn
Spanish Chicken and Rice, and
Party Punch

I am SO excited to go grocery shopping tomorrow to pick up all the ingredients I need. Thankfully most of them are already basic staples so it's nothing out of the ordinary!

*See* you all soon!