Friday, November 15, 2013

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

I'm all about crockpot meals lately and this one of our favorites. It's versatile, too. Make is as spicy or mild as you want.

Here's all you need:
Chicken - I use boneless, skinless breast meat
10 oz can of Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chiles)
1 1/2 cups black beans
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 small yellow onion (diced)
6-8 jarred jalapenos (diced)
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp lemon juice
Tortilla chips
*I usually put this together the night before and set the whole crockpot insert in the refrigerator. Next morning, all you have to do is put the insert in the "shell", plug it in and turn it on.

Start by finely dicing your onion

Then dice your jalapenos. Add more jalapenos for a spicier soup. It's perfectly okay to use fresh jalapenos, too. Just be sure and seed them.

Add all ingredients except the tortilla chips to the crockpot and stir.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

After letting this simmer on low all day, remove the chicken. It will look pink or red because of the spices and the Rotel.

Shred chicken with two forks and return to the crockpot. Stir.

That's it! Put some tortilla chips in a bowl and cover with the soup.

How easy was that?
We love this soup!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sweet Potatoes AKA Candied Yams

Growing up, we always just called these "sweet potatoes" and they always had all the fixin's on them. That's the only way we ever ate them. It wasn't until I was older that I figured out that "candied yams" were what we simply called sweet potatoes. Whatever you call them, they are delicious! And, if you're like me and only eat them once or twice a year, on holidays, go ahead and make them just as wonderful as you please. 

First of all, start with boiling your sweet potatoes. I always start this early in the day or even the day before. They keep nicely after they're softened and still in their "jackets." Bring to a rolling boil on the stovetop until you can insert a fork into them easily. You want them nice and soft.

When you're potatoes are soft and have cooled where you can handle them. Peel the jackets (skins) off and slice the potatoes into wedges and place in a 9 X 13 glass pan.

Top the potatoes with butter and brown sugar. I have that nagging diary allergy, so I use Earth Balance Dairy & Soy free spread and it works like a charm!

Like I said before, most people only have this once or twice a year, so I say, put all the yummy stuff on there that you want. Don't be shy.

Then cover with marshmallows. I prefer the mini marshmallows as they seem to melt and blend better.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes enjoy!
Wonder why we don't have these more often?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie. Is there anything else like it? 

Making pumpkin pie may seem like a daunting task, but it's super easy and oh, so much better than store bought. Have you ever noticed that metallic aftertaste from a store bought pumpkin pie? 
Just try this recipe one time and see how easy it really is! 

Here's all you need:
15 oz can Libby's 100% pure pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
2 large eggs
pie shell (I did get pre-packaged pie shell) 
**leave pie shell out about 10-20 minutes to thaw while you're whipping up everything else

***preheat oven to 425 degrees

Mix the following in a small bowl:
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves

In a larger bowl, beat 2 eggs

Add the pumpkin to the beaten eggs and mix well

Add sugar & spice mixture to the eggs and pumpkin
Mix well

Add evaporate milk gradually. I stick with about 1/4 can at a time.
As a note, this will make your pumpkin pie mix very liquidy and you're probably going to get some slinging out the sides of the bowl while mixing. 
Just be forewarned.

Your pumpkin pie filling is going to look like this. Notice the sides of the bowl? 
Yeah, it kinda goes everywhere.

Take a fork and poke holes all around the sides and the bottom of your crust.

Pour your pie filling into your crust. Notice it just about goes over the edge. Your pie shell will also be flimsy feeling from the weight of the filling when you transfer it to the oven.
Either place your pie on a cookie sheet or put aluminum foil down in the oven because it's probably going to spill over as it bakes.

Here's another shot of the pie going in the oven. Isn't it pretty?
Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then reduce the oven to 350 and continue baking for an additional 45-50 minutes.
Insert a knife in the center when almost done - if it comes out clean, you've got yourself a pie!

Yum! As you can tell, I lost track of time and had to do the knife check thing a couple of times.

Have you ever seen a prettier piece of pumpkin pie??? 

See how easy that was? C'mon try it!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Easy Crockpot Chicken 'N Dumplings

What is it about Fall that makes us crave comfort food? There's something about a nice warm soup or stew on a cool fall evening to set everything right with the world. 

If you're like me, you would love nothing better than to indulge in a hearty Fall concoction that's been simmering all afternoon; filling the house with the smells of, well, Fall. 
But, if you're like me, too, ain't nobody got time for that!

Yep, crockpotS. I love them so much, I've got a collection. And, there's nothing better than a Fall day with the leaves falling to make me want to break them out and get to work.

This is the absolute easiest chicken 'n dumplings recipe in the crockpot ever.
Trust me.

This is all you need:
Chicken - I use skinless, boneless breast meat
Can of biscuits
10 3/4 oz can of Cream of Chicken soup
48 oz Chicken broth 
(ooops, I accidentally pulled out vegetable broth for the photo - I did actually use chicken broth)

And this:
A crockpot
(my big oval one would have worked better. I almost ran out of room in this one)

Place the chicken broth, soup, chicken and 1 cup water in a crockpot and turn on low. Cook for 6 - 8 hours or until chicken is done.

If you like extra ingredients (carrots, etc.) add to the crockpot at the beginning and allow to simmer all day.

Remove chicken from crockpot and place on a plate. Turn crockpot on high.

Open biscuits and cut into bite size pieces.

Place cut up biscuits into broth in crockpot. 

Take two forks and shred chicken. Put chicken back in the crockpot. Stir chicken and biscuits. Allow to cook on high 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure all biscuits are cooking evenly.

That's it! The easiest way to a hearty bowl of chicken 'n dumplings you're ever going to find.
(salt and pepper to taste)

Here's another look. Yummy!

Stay tuned. It's fall and I've got all these crockpots...