Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Meeting Details & Changes

After March's meeting, I had many requests to continue our discussion on kids. Waiting until the May meeting seems like too long of a break in between, so we've added a Special Edition Titus Two meeting on Friday, April 23.

We will meet at Janelle Lott's house. Details are the same . . . 6:30 to 9 ish (for those of you that would like to stay later and chat). Drinks will be provided. Refreshments are optional but very much welcomed!

Please note that the May meeting has been postponed a week due to the revival services scheduled for May 9 - 13. We will meet on May 21st. I am still looking for someone to host this meeting. If you would like to volunteer, please let me know.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Crowd-Pleasing Scalloped Potatoes

I've had to compromise on this post . . . I made my own version of this recipe. I wrote down how I wanted to make it, but forgot to make the notes of how I would tweak it after it was made. I think it needed more liquid so I don't want to give you my recipe and not have it turn out.

SO . . . I'll just post the original and give you an idea of how I made my changes.

Crowd-Pleasing Scalloped Potatoes

prep time 30 min
total time 2 hr
makes 18 servings, 1/2 cup each

What You Need!

1 tub (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Chive & Onion Cream Cheese Spread
2 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk
10 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, cooked, crumbled and divided
4-1/2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes (about 12), cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese

Make It!

HEAT oven to 400ºF.
COOK cream cheese spread, broth and milk in saucepan on medium heat until cream cheese is melted and mixture comes to boil, stirring constantly with whisk.
RESERVE 2 Tbsp. bacon. Layer half each of the potatoes, onions and remaining bacon in 13x9-inch baking dish; repeat layers. Add cream cheese sauce; cover.
BAKE 1-1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender and top is golden brown, uncovering and topping with shredded cheese and reserved bacon the last 10 min.

You can click here for link to recipe on

Notes: Unless you have a large, deep pan like in the picture shown, DO NOT use 4 1/2 lbs of potatoes! I think I used 9 potatoes and had a crammed full 9x13 pan. Also, I would definitely recommend placing half the potatoes in the pan, adding half the sauce, remainder of potatoes and remainder of sauce. I thought there wasn't enough sauce in the bottom half of the potatoes by adding the sauce at the end.

I didn't care for the curdled chunks of cream cheese (sorry I have texture issues). So I made my favorite scalloped potato recipe and made the following changes:
~ replaced the milk in my recipe with chicken broth
~ added bacon, chives and cheese (my scalloped potatoes calls for onions)

I'm sure I'll be making this soon and will try to take better notes. I'll add an official recipe to this post once I do that.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cleaning Tips

I haven't had time to go through all of them myself, but Kelly over at Kelly's Korner put up a link for everyone to add their cleaning tips today. You can check it out here.

My personal cleaning tips:

~ Use a lint roller (I have the sticky paper kind that rip off a sheet at a time), to clean your lamp shades. You will be amazed how well this works especially if it's been a while since you've cleaned them.

~ An old "White Glove" trick from college, use rubbing alcohol to clean hairspray off door knobs and other surfaces in your bathroom. (Not sure how that would work on wood?? We always had metal towel racks, etc.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rueben Dip

This in another recipe I acquired from my mother-in-law. I've heard people request a copy many times. If you love Rueben sandwiches, you'll love this recipe.

Reuben Dip

8 oz. Shredded Swiss Cheese
8 oz. Sauerkraut
8 oz. Sour Cream
8 oz. Corned Beef
1 loaf cocktail rye bread
Chop up corned beef and sauerkraut into bite-size pieces. Mix all ingredients in an 7" x 11" baking pan (or medium-size casserole dish). Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve warm with cocktail rye bread.

Makes enough for one loaf of bread (45 slices).

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pork Roast & Sauerkraut

(Couldn't find my picture easily, so I'll just post this and try to add it later.)

This is a simple, "feel-good" kind of meal. If you use a crock pot, it takes less than 10 minutes to throw everything together, and you can enjoy the smell of it cooking all day long. Although I will warn you, you may feel tortured by the time dinner rolls around. Even if you aren't a big fan (as my kids like to say) of sauerkraut, I'd challenge you to try this recipe. I'm the only one in my family that eats the actual sauerkraut, but they love the flavoring it gives the roast. The apple in the recipe cuts the tartness of the sauerkraut.

Pork Roast & Sauerkraut
Pork Roast
can or bag of sauerkraut
small onion, sliced
1/2 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 tsp caraway seed
1/2 tsp minced garlic or a couple cloves fresh garlic

Pour 1/2 of the kraut into the bottom of the pan.
Sprinkle 1/2 of onion and apple over kraut.
Sprinkle with caraway seeds and minced garlic
Place roast in pan.
Pour remaining kraut over roast. Add onion, apple, caraway seeds and minced garlic on top.
I set the crock pot on low for at least 6 hours for a small 1 lb roast and 8 hours for 2 lb roast.

You could buy a big roast and use an appropriate amount of sauerkraut for one meal and use the remainder of the pork for BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches. If the pork is tender enough to pull apart, pull apart with a couple forks. Add BBQ sauce of your liking and reheat in a crock pot on high for a couple hours another day. If the pork isn't that tender, cook longer in the crock pot until tender. You can add some BBQ sauce to the remainder of the roast to start flavoring it, adding more once you pull it apart.

Cooking times will vary for different size roasts. I have always like to "over cook" my pork so it is fork-tender. For a quick guide to crock pot cooking times, click here. For a quick guide to roasting meats in the oven, click here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cabbage & Kielbasa Skillet

Continuing the theme in March, we'll consider this a tad Irish since there is cabbage in the recipe even though the pierogies make it Polish. This is another recipe I learned from my mother-in-law. There are no "measurements" so I looked up a few recipes and added the measurements I thought were close to the correct amounts.

Cabbage & Kielbasa Skillet
1 box frozen potato & cheese pierogies
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp oil
1 small onion
1 medium head of cabbage
1 1/2 lb kielbasa or smoked sausage (light works well)
1. Slice or coarse chop onions. Slice kielbasa and set aside.
2. Quarter and core the cabbage, then slice it into shredded cabbage. Place in large microwavable bowl.
3. Add 1/2 cup water and cover (not air tight) with paper towel, plate or an off-set lid. Place bowl in microwave and cook for 2 minutes. Stir and continue cooking at 2 minute intervals (stirring in between) until cabbage is tender. CAUTION: steam is very hot and can cause burns! Meanwhile . . .
4. Saute onion in large skillet with butter and oil until tender. (Tip: Adding a little oil to the butter when sauteing keeps the butter from burning.)
5. Add sliced kielbasa to skillet and heat/brown. (Are you still checking on the cabbage in the microwave?)
6. Add frozen pierogies to the skillet and cook according to package directions (5-7 minutes?). You can also remove onions and kielbasa first. (I usually pour them into a dish or bowl.) This will give pierogies more of an opportunity to brown and pick up the bits at the bottom of the skillet.
7. After cabbage has softened and pierogies have been cooked, add cabbage (and any liquid), kielbasa and onions to the skillet. Stir, cover and let simmer for a few minutes. Serve warm.
NOTE: You can always boil the pierogies according to direction and toss them in at the end. We prefer to brown them in the pan for more flavor. You can also cook the cabbage in the pan instead of steaming it in the microwave or a stove-top steamer. After Step 4, add the uncooked cabbage, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add kielbasa and cook until cabbage is tender.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Golden Shepherd's Pie

Since St. Patrick's Day is in March, I'm going to post an Irish dish today. (If it's not Irish, don't burst my bubble. I'm happy thinking it is.)

I don't remember how I stumbled on this recipe, but it was back when I was looking for recipes to use the turkey breast I got on sale. I misplaced it for a while (in a folder on my computer) and found it again! So I pulled out some turkey and stuffing* I had in the freezer, used leftover veggies and potatoes in the frig (I planned extra mashed potatoes the day before) and put this together.

Around Christmas, I found these little ceramic loaf pans for $1. I picked them up thinking I would make bread for someone and give them away. For some reason, I remembered they were laying around and made individual "pies". It worked great to send in my hubby's lunch to reheat in the microwave.

Golden Shepherd's Pie
2 to 3 cups prepared stuffing
1 cup cooked green beans, broccoli, carrots, or other vegetables
2 1/2 cups turkey, cubed or sliced
1 to 2 cups turkey gravy
2 cups mashed potatoes
1/4 cup butter, diced (optional especially if you preseasoned your potatoes)
Garnish: Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Paprika, Parsley
In four lightly greased oven-safe bowls, a 10" deep-dish pie plate or an 11x7" baking dish, layer stuffing, vegetables, turkey and gravy. Spread or pipe mashed potatoes over top; Dot with butter and sprinkles with garnishes as desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, until heated through and golden. Serves 4-6.

* Some recipes I have call for a small amount of stuffing, so I make a whole box and freeze the remainder. My MIL puts some in her chicken salad. I use it for various recipes.
After some research, I found the source of this recipe: Gooseberry Patch (again!) Click on it to be linked to the recipe.