Sunday, February 21, 2010

March 12th Meeting

Date: Friday, March 12
Time: 6:30 pm*
Location: Mrs. Red's House
370 Winters Road
Butler, PA 16002

*A van will leave from SRBC at 5:45 pm.

I'm excited about this month's meeting and ask that you would pray with me about it.

The topic of this meeting will be "KIDS -- and all they entail". This may be more of a group discussion rather than having a main speaker. Please begin thinking of questions you may have regarding your child(ren). We will discuss anything from Bible training, to schedules, to attitudes, to family traditions.

By request, I will be demonstrating how to decorate a layered birthday cake. This will just cover the basics. Let me know if you would like to see any particular techniques.

Chicken-Lickin' Pork Chops

This recipe is from the new Gooseberry Patch Ready, Set, Eat! cookbook I bought at Jo-Anns with my 50% off coupon! (Those of you that were at the last meeting will understand where I got that idea.)

I'm not quite sure about the name, but these pork chops are really good. My favorite part -- it's a slow cooker recipe! I've been trying to find more crock pot recipes. I've also been making casseroles and freezing them ahead for hectic days (which seem to be fewer than far between).

Chicken-Lickin' Pork Chops

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
6 pork chops
1 to 2 Tbsp oil
10 3/4 oz can chicken & rice soup

Combine flour, mustard (I only added 1/2 tsp as I was afraind my non-mustard liking family may veto it from the get go), garlic powder, salt and pepper; dredge pork chops in mixture. Shake off excess flour and brown chops in oil, about 5 minutes per side. (I had ample flour mixture left over. I would guess that you could make double the chops with the measurements listed.) Arrange chops in a slow cooker; pour soup over chops. Cover and cook on low setting for about 6 hours, until tender. Serves 6.

*Next time I will add a cup or two of cooked rice to the crock pot before cooking. The amount of rice in the chicken & rice soup wasn't enough for a side dish.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tips to Cleaning Pots & Pans

For the occassion that food may get burnt to the bottom of your pots and pans, here are a few tips I found online:

Baking Soda and Enamel Pots
Stains on white enamel pots can be cleaned by boiling baking soda and water for 10 minutes. Also try scrubbing the pots with a baking soda and water paste.

Baking Soda and Copper
Sprinkle baking soda on your copper-bottomed pots and pans. Pour vinegar over the pan and use half a lemon as your "scrub brush". Rinse thoroughly and your pots will be shiny as new again.

Baking Soda and Frying Pans
Non-stick frying pans can benefit from a mixture of baking soda and water to remove lingering food smells and tastes from your pans.

Stained Pans and Baking Soda *
Use baking soda to remove stains in non-stick frying pans, by boiling the pan in a solution of 4 tablespoons baking soda and 1/2 cups of water. Rinse thoroughly.
*This is the method I use to remove stuck-on food particles (although I don't measure) and what you see pictured.

Roasting Pans and Baking Soda
Clean any roasting pan by sprinkle the surface well with baking soda. Combine 1 cup of hot water and 1/3 cup of vinegar, poured onto the baking soda. The fizzing action will remove the roasted food particles. (I haven't tried this, but I will. Maybe the vinegar would speed up the process of loosening the food particles!)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Spaghetti Chicken

This recipe is modified from Mrs. Nancy Fry's original recipe (member of Slippery Rock Baptist Church). I've made a few changes but mostly in the order of how the recipe is put together and not to the ingredients. This can be tricky as far as time management, but if you plan ahead, it's not a problem.

3 chicken breast halves, cooked and diced (best marinated and grilled)
1 small onion, diced or chopped
1/2 cup celery, diced or chopped
1/2 green pepper, diced or chopped
2 cups chicken broth (may want more than 2 cups)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 lb Velveeta cheese, cut in cubes
1 lb spaghetti noodles

1. Cook chicken or thaw out previously cooked chicken. (Picture #2) This is one of the recipes that I make with the pre-cooked chicken mentioned here.
2. Chop veggies. (I dice my veggies so the kids don't complain when the see big chunks in their food.) Fill pot with water and heat for spaghetti.

3. Saute veggies in butter or oil until softened or translucent. Set aside. (Picture #1. I will saute veggies then cook chicken in same skillet if I don't have the chicken cooked ahead of time.) Add spaghetti noodles to boiling water and cook according to directions.

4. Cube Velveeta cheese. Add 2 cups chicken broth and 1 can cream of chicken soup to pot on stove. Cook over medium heat, stirring until soup dissolves. Add cubed Velveeta cheese. (Pictures #3) Stirring constantly until cheese is melted. Keeping a close watch that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.

*This is where it gets tricky and really pays to have chicken cooked and diced ahead of time. If you want to cook chicken and dice it before starting the rest of the recipe, you can add it to sauce to reheat if it cools down. You may want to enlist the help of your children, spouse or innocent bystanders. (Picture #4)

5. Add diced chicken to the melted cheese & soup mixture. (Picture #5) If chicken has cooled, you may want to turn the heat down a little and wait a few minutes before continuing -- stirring often to avoid burning at the bottom of the pan. (I hope to add post soon on a special way to clean your pot when / if that does happen!) Drain spaghetti and add to sauce mixture.

6. At this point, you could serve it or if you want to make this ahead of time, you can pour it into a casserole dish to reheat later in the oven. Sauce will thicken over time, so you may want to add more chicken broth to thin out sauce to desired thickness.

To reheat: Place covered casserole dish in preheated oven (350 degrees) for 20 minutes or until heated through in middle.

Yield: Serves 6.

This recipe freezes well. So you can double up when you make it and freeze more for later or just freeze the leftovers. I prefer reheating it in the microwave adding chicken broth and stirring to thin it back out. I personally don't like how dried out the pasta gets baking it in the oven, so my mother-in-law and I cut out the step where raw veggies are added in the original recipe. That way it is ready to eat after combining all ingredients and doesn't need to be baked to cook the veggies. You can always add more veggies -- quantity and type -- maybe mushrooms, green chilis or substitute red pepper for color.

Please continue to pray for Ms Nancy and her family as she battles cancer.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Easy Tiramisu

Now that my dishwasher is running, the woodburner is stoked and the kids are entertained, I can post this week's recipe!

We had company this weekend, and I wanted to try a new dessert. So I dug out my old Kraft Food & Family magizines and found this recipe, Tiramisu Bowl (Holiday '08 / Winter '09). I did make an adjustment or two . . .

First, instead of vanilla wafers, I chose to use pound cake. I didn't want crunchy OR soggy wafers, so I used the Betty Crocker pound cake mix I had in the pantry. I baked the pound cake as directed, cooled it, sliced it into 1" slices and then cut each piece into 1/4" slices or a little thicker. If I remember correctly, I used 30 slices (approximately 2/3 of the pound cake).

Secondly, the magazine didn't show the three options on how to serve this recipe. When I started putting the dessert together, I decided to use a 7"x11" baking dish because I didn't think I could get the thin slices of pound cake to stand up around the edge of a triffle dish. I would definitely recommend using the smaller pan (smaller than the recommended 9"x13") because the "custard" layers were thicker.

I opted out of using rasperries and Cool Whip on top. They didn't appeal to me, and I don't even want to think of how much raspberries cost this time of year! I also "borrowed" some decaf coffee from my inlaws since they make it strong and we don't drink coffee. It worked out great. I wasn't worried about eating it late at night either! Here's what mine looked like -- at least what was left over. Can't believe there was any left as it was a big hit!

And without further ado, here's the recipe (copied from

What You Need!

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
3 cups cold milk
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
48 Vanilla Wafers
1/2 cup brewed strong coffee, cooled
2 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, coarsely grated
1 cup fresh raspberries (optional)

Make It!

BEAT cream cheese in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in milk and dry pudding mixes. Gently stir in 2 cups COOL WHIP.


BOWL: LINE bottom and side of 2-1/2-qt. bowl with half the wafers; drizzle with half the coffee. Top with half the pudding mixture and chocolate. Repeat layers. Top with remaining COOL WHIP and raspberries. Refrigerate several hours.

PAN: LINE bottom of 13x9-inch pan with half the wafers; drizzle with half the coffee. Top with half the pudding mixture and chocolate. Repeat layers. Top with remaining COOL WHIP and raspberries. Refrigerate several hours.

PARFAITS: Place 1 wafer on bottom of each of 16 dessert dishes; drizzle each with 3/4 tsp. coffee. Top each with 1/4 cup pudding mixture and a sprinkle of chocolate. Repeat layers. Top with remaining COOL WHIP, raspberries and wafers. Refrigerate several hours.

It's not Olive Garden's Tiramisu, but it GOOD and EASY! Enjoy!