Recipe: Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

I make a lot of crockpot recipes for the convenience of them.. but I especially like this recipe for Beef Stroganoff because the slow cooking makes the meat more tender...
I know this uses canned soup and some other shortcuts.. but ... trust me.. this makes a really good Stroganoff.
Make sure you use Golden Mushroom Soup... don't substitute Cream of Mushroom Soup.. it's just not as good...
The recipe calls for a 1/2 packet of dry onion soup mix.. I used Lipton... the savory flavor is really a good mix with the Golden Mushroom Soup..
Many recipes call for sautéing the mushrooms before adding them.. I don't do that.. I think it adds unnecessary fat to the sauce and the mushrooms cook very nicely in the crock pot (added about 45 minutes or so before serving).
Many other recipes call for beef bouillon .. my recipe uses beef broth... I use lower sodium broth.. which helps cut the salt in the dish.. again.. I really don't think all that salt is needed.
Try this.. it's really terrific!

Recipe:  Crockpot Beef Stroganoff
All you need:
About 2 pounds of sirloin steak cut into 1/2 inch strips
2 cans Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup
1/2 packet dry Onion Soup mix
3/4 cup onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
8 oz package fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 small package (4 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, cubed
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked noodles
All you need to do:
In a medium bowl, mix the Golden Mushroom Soup, dry onion soup mix, Worcestershire sauce and beef broth.
Put the beef, diced onion and garlic into the crockpot and pour the soup mixture over it.  Stir to mix.
Set the crock pot on low and cook for 5 hours.  Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 45 minutes.
Add the cubed cream cheese and sour cream and mix well.   Cook for about 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened and bubbly.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste
Serve over cooked noodles.

Quick and Easy Halloween Treats

I thought I would do a quick post of my Quick and Easy Halloween Treats that I've recently posted...

I always liked to make holidays special for my son when he was growing up...  and while I adore Martha Stewart.. most of her stuff was just not happening..  I had limited time and resources... so it was nice to find a few things that make the day special and that don't require a lot of time and stuff.

Mummy Dogs... these cute little guys are sure to make a kid smile... serve them with Tater Tots and it's a great little meal.

Witch's Hats... who doesn't like Fudge Stripes and Hershey's Kisses? 

Spooky Graveyard Puddings... cute and easy.. can't ask for more... having a party.. make a smaller version.. the kid's will love them!

Recipe: Mummy Dogs

Aren't these the cutest little mummys??  Make Halloween special ... with a terrific hotdog lunch or supper... make them into little mummies.... Mummy Dogs.... BOO!

These are really easy to make... but... you need few tips to make them...  it took me 2 tries before I worked out the little kinks... so read on...
The number one most important tip.. the hot dogs have to be dry.... take them out of the package and lay them on paper towels... and dab them completely.... otherwise the Crescent Roll dough has a hard time sticking.
I went to Pillsbury and followed their recipe... which I had trouble with.. they wrap the dough strips around the hot dog and a piece of cheese.. nice idea.. but it was a royal pain getting it to wrap around the dog let alone around a piece of cheese too.  I did it.. and quite honestly.. the cheese doesn't add that much taste wise.. it really isn't worth the effort... in my humble opinion.
I cut the strips as instructed... and frankly... it just wasn't enough to wrap around my hot dogs.. albeit.. I have bun length hot dogs... still they made scrawny mummies.
So the second time I made them... I used 1 can of crescent roll dough for 4 hot dogs instead of 10... remember my hot dogs may be a bit larger because they're bun length... but they came out more realistic... about the size a bun would be for the hot dog... which makes far more sense.
Cut the strips into about 7 or 8 per rectangle.. don't agonize over the width.. you don't tant them too thin.. especially the top one and the bottom one on the hot dog... I like to make sure the ends are wrapped.. kinda cute that way.
Try these adorable mummies...if you have kids... they will adore them!

Recipe:  Mummy Dogs
All you need:
4 bun length hot dogs
1 can Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
All you have to do:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Unroll the dough and separate the dough into 4 rectangles.  Press the perforations closed.
Cut each rectangle into strips down the long side.
Wrap a strip around the top ... making it like a turbin... pull the 2 top strips slightly apart to expose a bit of hot dog for the face.  Keep wrapping the strips around the hot dog... you don't have to have them wrapped perfectly in one direction.. you can criss cross them a bit...
Line a baking pan with non-stick foil.  Lay the Mummy Dogs on the foil about 2 inches apart. 
Bake for 13-17 minutes or until golden brown...  mine too about 15 minutes...
Using a toothpick ... make eyes by dotting mustard on the exposed "face".

Recipe: Super Easy Chicken and Dumplings

A Repost ..of sorts

Ahhhh comfort food... perfect when the weather gets cooler... Chicken and Dumplings... a Southern favorite.... and what better way than making it in a crock pot...  no fuss ... one pot and it cooks for you.. now how great is that??

Be warned this is not the dumplings my Mother made.. nope... not those floury dry things floating in stew... some people adore those dumplings... all the power to them..  I don't care for them....
These are little doughy lumps infused with the flavor of the chicken.. are made from biscuit dough... either homemade or canned....  absolutely delicious...

So now about the "repost part"  I posted this recipe with veggies added... I have since been advised.. the traditional one doesn't have veggies in it... okay.. so I'm open minded.. I did it the other way.. and it was delicious just the same...

And... there is a slight update... I read you can make it with the chicken totally frozen... that it would be moister and more tender... so I tried it... I agree it worked wonderfully... so if you forget to defrost the chicken... and you need to do something for supper.. this recipe is for you!
This is what I'm told... the traditional Chicken and Dumplings recipe... chicken and gravy and dumplings.... some people like to add other ingredients.. and sometimes I do too... and that's fine.... if you add mushrooms or vegetables.. add them toward the end of the cooking time... I'd suggest adding them when you add the biscuit dough.
I serve cranberry sauce and vegetables on the side.
I used Campbell's Soup Cream of Chicken with Herbs... I think the light flavor of Herbs really adds to this.. but you can use plain Cream of Chicken Soup.... I wouldn't suggest substituting Cream of Mushroom Soup... it's just not the flavor you're going for.
You will ned to have enough chicken broth to almost cover the chicken breasts.... I buy those cartons and use what I need and store the rest in the fridge.  I used about 2 cans worth... I poured the chicken broth into the empty Cream of Chicken cans and then poured it into the crockpot.
Don't fret about how thin the liquid is when you add the biscuit dough... it will thicken up.. mine thickened to a perfect consistency... the dough absorbs the extra liquid.. which is perfect.. it gives them a light chicken flavor.

Don't omit the butter.. I almost did and it would be a mistake.. it helps thicken the gravy and it adds a bit of flavor..
Make sure you use Homestyle Biscuits.. you don't want the flaky variety for this.
I used all boneless skinless chicken breasts to keep the fat down to a minimum... you could use other parts of chicken.. but then you will need to skimp excess fat off the top before adding the biscuit dough.
I put the chicken in the crockpot completely frozen.. yep... right from the freezer.. it actually helps make the meat really tender... when I took the meat out to cut or shred it.. it was fork tender and shredded easily.
I sprinkled the frozen chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika.  Sprinkle them inside the crockpot.. the spice will "fall off" because the breasts are frozen... but it will still be in the pot and the flavors will be in the sauce.  Thyme and sage are other good additions... add a sprinkling if you like a little more flavor.
The chicken breast quantity is listed in a range.. 3 good sized breasts are enough... 4 will make it meatier...
This recipe will serve 4.
Try this super easy recipe!

Recipe:  Super Easy Chicken and Dumplings
All you need:
3-4 good sized boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen (not thawed) See TIPS
2 cans Campbell's Cream of Chicken with Herbs Soup
About 20-24 ounces of chicken broth See TIPS
1/2 medium onion, diced
Sprinkling of salt and pepper
Sprinkling of garlic powder
Sprinkling of paprika

2 tablespoons butter
1 can of Pillsbury Grands Homestyle Biscuits, cut into quarters
All you need to do:
Put the 2 cans of Cream of Chicken with Herbs Soup into the crockpot.
Lay the frozen chicken breasts in the soup... sprinkle one side with the salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika... flip them over and do the same to the other side.
Add the diced onion and add enough chicken broth to cover... I used a spoon to swirl the Cream of Chicken soup around a bit to mix with broth.. but it will mix on its own as it cooks.
Put the lid on and cook on high for 3 hours.... then remove the chicken and shred or cut it up and put it back into the crockpot... the gravy will be very thin.. don't worry...

Add the 2 tablespoons of butter... swirl it around to melt it.
Separate the biscuits and cut them into quarters... and drop them into the pot.  They will float.  Take a cooking spoon and push them down to cover them in broth.. they will pop up again.. that's okay...
Replace the lid and cook for 2 more hours.  If possible check on it after about an hour and run a knife around the side.. my biscuits tended to stick to my pot and I didn't want them to get too dark in the sides.
And that's all folks..... told you this was amazingly easy...
Serve in bowls with veggies and cranberry sauce on the side.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Mashtini

Another great idea to dress up mashed sweet potatoes... the Sweet Potato Mashtini!  This is a wonderful way to add a little something extra to a special dinner... perfect for the holidays... and a recipe that you can make for any number... one, two or twenty!
If you're like me....I don't have a gazillion Martini glasses... I think my set is for four...  so if you think you want to serve this for a party... party stores have them in plastic.. and I do believe you can get them in different sizes...
If you want to make them for only two... say for a romantic dinner.... mashed sweet potatoes for two can certainly made.. but why kill yourself?... it's your special dinner too... buy already made mashed sweet potatoes.. I used Simply Potatoes.... one of their packages will make 3 large Mashtinis  ... you could stretch it to 4.... depending on the size of your Martini glasses.
You can add a layer of mini marshmallows or fluff in the middle.. the heat from the potatoes makes the minis soft a a bit gooey... very tasty indeed.
The mashed sweet potatoes I bought have a bit of cinnamon in them already so I left cinnamon out of the brown sugar and nut mix... you can add a bit of cinnamon if you like...
Quantities depend on how many you intend to make and how much you want in each glass.... we thought the serving was large when I filled the Martini glass... which is okay since it was a "regular" dinner... not a holiday dinner with lots of other stuff... if you are going to make this for a holiday dinner... definitely use smaller glasses... this side dish is very filling.
Maple syrup is optional... Bob Evans listed it as a possible topping and I thought I would try it.. the flavor was light and very good... if you use it... drizzle it.. no need to drown it ... and use the real thing.. not imitation.
Use a spoon to drizzle the maple syrup otherwise too much will pour out of the jar.
This was quick and easy and delicious!   It looked fabulous too!

Recipe:  Sweet Potato Mashtini
All you need:
Martini glasses
Mashed sweet potatoes
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Mini marshmallows
Maple syrup (optional)
Fluff (optional)
All you have to do:
In a small bowl, combine the chopped nuts and brown sugar, mix well (I used a fork to do this).  Add the melted butter and mix until the butter is well distributed.
Fill a Martini glass about half full... (if using a layer of fluff or marshmallows... a third full)
Put a layer of the nut mixture... then a thin layer of the fluff or some scattered mini marshmallows.
Put another layer of sweet potatoes... leaving enough room on top for another layer of nut mixture.
Drizzle about 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup over the nut mixture.
Scatter a few mini marshmallows.

Recipe: Easy Sugared Doughnut Bites

This quick and easy recipe for Sugared Doughnut Bites uses canned biscuit dough... they cook up in minutes for a quick treat.  They're so yummy and easy to just pop in your mouth... one after the another.   They will disappear in no time!


Use a frying thermometer... it is the best for helping to control the temperature... the right temperature when cooking means the difference between greasy foods and not.
DO NOT leave the frying pot unattended for even a minute.. if you must leave the stove... turn the stove OFF... or you could easily burn your house down!
I used Honey Butter flavored Homestyle canned biscuits.. you can use the plain variety too..  but the Honey Butter ones are the best!
Make sure you use Homestyle Biscuits.. the flaky ones are not the ones to get.
I rolled them in cinnamon sugar.. but you can also use powdered sugar.. the only problems I see with powdered sugar are .... one .... they're messier... and two... the sugar tends to get sucked into the doughnut.  The granulated sugar gives them a nice little crunchy texture.
To combine the sugar and cinnamon, use a wire whisk to mix it... a whisk is great for getting it evenly mixed.  Just gently stir it with the whisk until evenly mixed together.
Try these.. you won't believe how easy they are to make!

Recipe:  Easy Sugared Doughnut Bites
All you need:
1 can Pillsbury Grands Honey Butter Homestyle Biscuits
Vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
All you need to do:
Heat 2 inches of oil in a large pot to 350 degrees.
In a wide shallow bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.
Cut the biscuits into quarters.
Drop biscuits quarters into the hot oil.  Cook for about 2 minutes... turning them over as they turn light brown.
Remove with a slotted spoon and drain for a minute on paper towels.
While still very warm... roll in the cinnamon sugar.
Serve warm or cold.

Recipe: Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas

I know Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas sounds a little ... umm... different... after all... that doesn't sound very Mexican at all... well it's not... a little Italian.. a little Mexican.. it's all good.
This is a quick and easy lunch... kind of like a slice of pizza with a top.  Trust me.. it's good!
I don't use my Quesadilla maker for this one.. I tried.. but it failed .. the top of the maker was too heavy and squished out the sauce and cheese all over the place.. I was picking cheese out from in between all those little nooks and crannies for days... okay hours...
Use the small tortillas and a small skillet... slide it out onto a plate and place another plate over it and flip it... then slide it back into the skillet to brown the second side... it really was easy.
Don't over- do the quantity of sauce.. it will spread...  drizzle the sauce toward the center of the tortilla.
I use thinly sliced pepperoni from the deli section of the grocery store.. the thicker sliced pepperoni is too hard .. it will be tough to cut this into wedges if you use that.
I used pepperoni, pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella... you can use whatever pizza toppings you prefer.
I hope you try it!

Recipe:  Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas
All you need:
Thinly sliced pepperoni
Coarsely shredded mozzarella
Pizza sauce
Small tortillas
Olive oil cooking oil spray
All you need to do:
Lightly spray a medium skillet (omelet pans work best) with cooking oil spray.
Lay a tortilla in the pan... sprinkle generously with shredded cheese.  Drizzle pizza sauce in the center on top of the cheese.
Lay a layer of pepperoni... then sprinkle a thin layer of cheese.
Place a tortilla on top.  Cook over medium high heat until the bottom tortilla is golden.  Flip and cook until the other side is golden.
Remove to a cutting board and allow to cool for a minute.  Cut into wedges and serve with extra sauce.

Recipe: Oatmeal Caramel Apple Bars

This recipe for Oatmeal Caramel Bars is soooo easy... I mean really, really easy!   They're absolutely delicious... the perfect combination of flavors... truly!

This is a Betty Crocker recipe that I altered very slightly... but in my opinion .. it makes all the difference.  Instead of using a 9 x 13 dish... I use a slightly smaller baking pan.. an 7 x 11.  In my opinion, the crust is just a bit too thin with the larger size baking pan.  The smaller pan is just perfect.
If you don't own that size.. I highly recommend you buy one.. they're not expensive and they're perfect for making  bar cookies.
These tend to be sweet so if you're bringing them for a food day at work or a church supper.. make the pieces small...  they can always go back for seconds.
Cut the butter into small cubes... really small cubes, makes cutting it into the oatmeal cookie mix easier.
I used Hershey's Caramel Topping.. it really is the best for recipes like this... the ones in the squeeze bottles are too thin.
I used a Granny Smith apple.. the slight tartness of the apple offsets some of the sweetness.  The sweeter apples make this almost too sweet.
I line my pan with non-stick foil, all you have to do is lift it out and cut it... makes cutting bar cookies a snap.
I still spray the foil generously with cooking oil spray.  Butter flavor cooking oil spray is perfect for this recipe.
Allow this to cool completely, a couple of hours before attempting to cut it.
This makes a fabulous dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Recipe:  Oatmeal Caramel Apple Bars
All you need:
1 stick of COLD butter (1/2 cup),  diced
1 pkg. Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie Mix
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 medium size Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
3/4 cup Hershey's Caramel Topping
1/4 cup flour
Cooking oil spray (Butter flavor preferred)
All you need to do:
 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a 7 x 11 baking pan with non-stick foil.  Spray the foil generously with Butter flavor cooking oil spray.
Put the cookie mix into a medium bowl.  Add the butter cubes and using a pastry blender cut the butter into the cookie mix until it looks like small pebbles.
Add the egg and using a spoon mix until incorporated into the mix.
Remove 1 1/2 cups of the mixture and set it aside.
Press the remaining mixture into the prepared pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.
While baking, in a small bowl, combine the caramel topping with the flour, stir until completely mixed.
When the crust comes out of the oven, sprinkle the apple over it.  Drizzle the caramel topping mixture over the apples.  Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the apples and topping.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown.  (I baked mine for 25 minutes).
Cool completely (at least 2 hours) before cutting.

Recipe: Quick and Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Nothing is better than a wonderful bowl of soup on a crisp fall day.... and this creamy soup certainly fits the bill nicely.
This soup has little prep and cooks up quickly... now how great is that?

I use Fat Free Half and Half... it really lowers the fat content of this soup without losing the richness...

Yes.. I used real butter... nothing beats the flavor of real butter... but if you really need to cut the fat even more... by all means.. substitute a lower fat alternative.
This can be made with fresh broccoli or frozen.... I used frozen... this is not the place to skimp... don't buy store brand and buy the baby florets... Bird's Eye makes them... and they are perfect for this soup.
I cooked the broccoli in the microwave while I set up the base for this soup... it cuts the cook time down considerably.
The recipe calls for sharp cheddar.. you can use mild cheddar if you prefer.. but it won't have that stronger cheese flavor sharp cheddar gives this soup.
I used 99% Fat Free and lower sodium chicken broth.. another big fat cutter in this recipe...
This recipe is easy easy easy... honest!

Recipe:  Quick and Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

All you need:
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup Fat Free Half and Half
1 cup Fat Free and Lower Sodium Chicken Broth
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups frozen broccoli baby florets, cooked
A sprinkling of garlic powder
Salt and white pepper to taste
All you need to do:
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan.
Add the onions and cook for about 3-5 minutes until they're translucent and soft.  Do not let them brown, reduce heat if needed.
Add the flour all at once... mix thoroughly.  Cook for 2 minutes to cook off the flour taste.  Using a wire whisk and whisking vigorously, add the Half and Half.  Whisk until smooth and all lumps are gone.
Add the chicken broth and whisk constantly.  As the soup begins to thicken, add the cheese.  Whisk until the cheese is melted and soup is smooth.
Add the garlic powder, mix well.
Add the cooked broccoli and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Great Tailgating Recipes

Fall sports is in full swing and with the weekend coming up... what better time to post some really great Tailgating Recipes!

Whether you're bringing it all or just a dish.... here are some suggestions...

I hope you enjoy your day!

DIPSdips and snacks are always welcome at games... and easy to make ahead and tote...

Corned Beef Bread Dip - a quick dip to make and  serve with cut up chunks of store bought fresh bread loaves ... you're done in no time!

Onion Dip - a great dip for veggies and chips

SANDWICHES - another make ahead food.. or even better... make the filling and let them make their own!

Italian Subs - pile on the meats, cheese and veggies... wrap in parchment paper for an easy way to tote and handle

BBQ Pork Sandwiches - this great make ahead filling is easy to tote.. and easy to make.... make it in the crockpot.... on game day just bring the fixings and let them make their own... shredded BBQ Pork, rolls and coleslaw... don't forget to bring some extra BBQ sauce ....

SALADS - don't forget the side salads

Coleslaw - gotta have coleslaw with BBQ Pork Sandwiches!

Pasta Salad - perfect with Italian subs

Potato Salad - always a winner

HEARTY ONE POT MEAL - maybe you want to keep it really simple...

Chili and Cornbread - bring a big pot of Chili... make it completely ahead in your crockpot or the Quick 30 minute version... bake a big dish of cornbread... it's hardly any work and perfect for crisp, cool days at the game....maybe you have a place to plug in a crockpot or maybe a big pot can be kept warm on a camp stove...

SWEETS - you can't forget sweets!  Brownies or cookies... there are never any leftovers of these

Brownies - everyone loves brownies!

Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Try these Neiman Marcus Urban Legend Chocolate Cookies.. they are legendary ... and for good reason! They're fabulous!

Recipe: Crockpot Au Gratin Potatoes

This recipe for Crockpot Au Gratin Potatoes is quick to set-up... you can make a great big pot...  perfect for holidays when oven space is at a premium.. perfect t bring along to that covered dish supper.. perfect for a buffet.. the crock pot keeps it warm.... an all around perfect dish!
The kind of potatoes you use will make a difference in the time it takes to cook...  Russets will take longer than white or Yukon Gold potatoes.
I listed the bacon as a range of slices.. if you like bacon.. use it all.. if you're only okay with it.. then use less.
Definitely use the garlic salt on your potatoes otherwise the dish can be bland.
The sauce is made from scratch.. but well worth it... it only takes a few minutes to make it.. I swear in under 10 minutes.
I used 5 good sized potatoes... not super large.. not too small...  they were medium/large sized.  There is a bit of leeway with the don't fret too much about the quantity.. 
I always make the bacon in the oven.. if you've never tried it.. definitely try it.. Click here for the instructions.
This will serve 8.
Try this for your next get together... everyone loves potatoes and cheese.. throw bacon in there and they will scrape the pot clean!

Recipe:  Crockpot Au Gratin Potatoes
All you need:
5 good sized (medium/large potatoes), sliced 1/4 inch thick
3-5 strips bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups skim milk, warmed
1/2 cup fat free half and half, warmed
1/4 cup flour
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Butter flavored cooking oil spray
All you have to do:
Spray the crock pot with cooking oil spray.  Set aside.
In a small skillet heat about 1 tablespoon of bacon grease over medium high heat.
Add the onion and cook until soft.. about 5 minutes.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the flour and mix well... cook for about 3 minutes.. do not let it brown.  Remove from the heat.
Heat the milk and half and half in the microwave to take the chill off.  Add the milk to the flour/butter mixture slowly, whisking as you add it.  Whisk until smooth and mixture starts to thicken.  Add the shredded cheese and whisk until the cheddar cheese is melted.  Add the white pepper and whisk to mix.   Remove from the heat.
Ladle 1 large ladle of sauce and spread on the bottom of the crockpot.
Lay one layer of potatoes on top of the sauce... sprinkle the potatoes with garlic salt. Sprinkle with some bacon crumbles and sautéed onions.  Ladle more sauce over the potatoes.  Remember a little goes a long way.. the heat of the crockpot will spread the sauce.
Repeat until all the potatoes, onions and bacon have been layered with sauce.
Pour any remaining sauce over the top.  Cover and set the crockpot on low and cook for 6-8 hours to until potatoes are cooked.   Every crockpot is different.. mine heats up very slowly.. if yours heats up fast.. then you will probably need less time.

Recipe: Crockpot Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Oh the convenience of a crockpot... the inventor should definitely be given sainthood.  It freed women everywhere of long hours simmering sauces, soups and a host of other foods. 

Truth be told I make my spaghetti sauces on top of the stove too.. in fact, I have a number of recipes that can come together in as little as 30 minutes... But I will be the first to tell you nothing beats a sauce that has been  simmering for hours.

As with a lot of recipes, there is a lot of leeway with this recipe.. certainly adapt it to your own tastes...

With the meat ingredient in this recipe you have a number of options...  so adjust it to what you like or what you have on hand... keep in mind some meats are blander than others and you may have to adjust the seasoning accordingly.. let your taste buds be your guide.

I use one pound hot Italian sausage and one pound sweet (or mild) sausage.  Bulk sausage is what I used, but link sausage also works... cook it and slice it.

This sauce recipes makes a lot... so one night we have it over penne pasta and the leftovers are either frozen in "dinner size" quantities...(a great timesaver for weeknight meals) or I use this sauce as a base for my lasagna.

You can sub ground beef for the Italian sausage (all or part of the 2 pounds of meat)... keep in mind it will change the flavor of this sauce... not better or worse.. just different.

I prefer Hunt's Diced Tomatoes...  I like the way the sauce comes out.. especially for when I use it for lasagna, there are no large lumps of tomato. 

The canned tomatoes come in "flavors"... at least most brands do anyway... I like to use the at least one can of the Garlic flavored one and sometimes the Basil Oregano and Garlic ones....  both are great flavor enhancers.. and in answer to your next question do I still use the quantities of seasonings in the recipe... the answer is YES! 

Will the sauce come out good with the plain canned tomatoes? ... absolutely!  In fact, the sauce in the picture was made with one can of Hunt's Diced Tomatoes with Garlic and the rest were plain Hunt's Diced Tomatoes because that's what I had on hand... it came out great.. I didn't need to adjust the seasonings at all.. not even the garlic quantity...

Fresh herbs versus dried... Fresh is great.. but most people don't have them on hand..  and for this recipe, dried herbs will be fine...

Tomato paste really is optional... if you like really thick sauce.. definitely use it... my sauce is meaty thick with a little runny tomato juice from the canned tomatoes.. I definitely add tomato paste if I will use the sauce as a base for lasagna.

I added mushrooms to this sauce.. I list them as optional.. we love mushrooms.. but if you're not a fan.. leave them out.

Tomato paste comes plain or seasoned.. again... it's not necessary to use the seasoned ones... but you certainly can.

This recipe will serve 8.

This is easy...just a few prep steps.. pop everything in the crockpot and 8 hours later... you have a great sauce!

Recipe:   Crockpot Spaghetti Meat Sauce

All you need:

1 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
1 pound bulk sweet or mild Italian sausage
2 large onions, diced
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
5 cans (14.5 oz.) Hunt's Diced Tomatoes *See TIPS
1 tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional) * See TIPS

All you need to do:

In a large skillet, over medium high heat, brown the sausage, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks.  When sausage is completely cooked (no longer pink) remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and put it into the crockpot.

Leaving about 1 tablespoon of the fat from the sausage in the pan, add about 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Heat over medium high heat and add the onions... cook for about 3 minutes.. do not let the onions brown, reduce the heat if necessary.

Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until onions and mushrooms are soft.  Remove skillet from heat and remove vegetables with a slotted spoon, leaving as much grease in the pan as possible.  Dump them into the crockpot.

Add the remaining ingredients and set the crockpot on low.  Stir well and cook for 8 hours.

Spooky Graveyard Puddings

These adorable Spooky Graveyard Puddings are perfect for kids and adults alike… make them minis for a party dessert or regular size just for fun.


I’m just going to list ingredients and let you choose your favorite pudding.. homemade… you can use mine.. or boxed.. or even instant… what ever floats your boat.

For the dirt… I used crumbled brownies… crumbled chocolate cookies work just as well also.

I used bits if green icing.. from a can… to make the bits of grass.

For the tombstones… Pepperidge Farms Milanos work well.. good size and shape.

Have fun and have a spooky Halloween!

Recipe:  Spooky Graveyard Puddings

All you need:

Small glass or plastic glasses
Chocolate pudding
Brownie or chocolate cookie crumbs
Candy Pumpkins
Tombstone shaped cookies
Decorator icing for lettering
Green icing for the grass

All you need to do:

Put pudding in the cup… crumble a bit of crumbs on top for dirt.  Write on cookies… and insert them in the pudding … add a pumpkin and a little green for grass and you’re done!

Recipe: Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe for Creamy Chicken enchiladas is not only easy.. you probably have the ingredients on hand.  It takes a few shortcuts.. but everyone can use a shortcut now and then… especially on busy nights.

This is a basic recipe that has been around forever… and with good reason..  it’s delicious!


The recipe calls for cooked chicken.  I use boneless chicken breasts… I season then lightly with salt pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.  Place them on a non-stick foil lined pan and bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until they are no longer pink inside.  Mine are usually fairly thick and 20 minutes cooks them fine. 

You can poach the chicken in chicken broth also.. what ever is easier for you.

You can also used any leftover chicken.. or even use a rotisserie chicken you can buy at the grocery store.  You will need about 2-3 cups of diced chicken.

This will make about enough for about eight 6-inch tortillas or four of the larger ones.  I made 4 large ones and they were filling… we each ate only one.. with a side salad of shredded lettuce and guacamole and sour cream.

I list the chopped green chilies as optional… I found the sauce a bit too spicy with them…  and I like spicy food…so if you’re making them for children or people who don’t care for spicy food… leave them out or cut back the quantity.

I know the recipe uses Cream of Chicken Soup… which ordinarily I wouldn’t use in a Mexican dish.. but it really works with this… the sour cream and cheddar cheese really cut the chicken taste back to a pleasant light flavor.

You can use low fat Cream of Chicken Soup and Fat free milk to cut the fat in this recipe.  You could also use lower fat sour cream.. although I recommend the real thing .. same goes for the cream cheese… but that’s your choice and what you are used to.

You can add seasoned rice to the filling to stretch the filling and add more flavor… if you do want to.. add about a cup (cooked)… and double the filling ingredients (cream cheese, water, cumin, onion powder, salt and pepper).

I used flour tortillas because we prefer them.. you can use corn tortillas if you rather have them.

Forget to soften the cream cheese?... no worries.. click here for instructions how to soften it quickly.

This recipe easily doubles… so make as much as you want… the leftovers nuke easily and make a great second supper or lunch.

Try this yummy dish!

Recipe:  Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

All you need:

For the Filling:

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced or shredded
1 pkg. (4 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon salt
Sprinkling of ground pepper

For the Sauce:

1 can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup sour cream
½ cup milk
1 can (4 oz.) green chilies (optional) *See TIPS

Other Ingredients:

1 cup cheddar cheese

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking oil spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the soup, sour cream and milk until smooth.  Add the chilies if you are adding them in.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the all filling ingredients,  EXCEPT the chicken, until smooth.  Stir in the chicken.
Put about a ¼ cup of filling in small tortillas or about a half cup in the larger tortillas.  Roll them and place them in the prepared baking dish.

Pour the sauce over the enchiladas.  Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.

Bake for 40 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Looking for More Recipes?

If you are looking for more recipes click the "Older Posts" link to page back to older posts or go to the archives in the right column. The list of labels at the bottom in the right column will help you find specific types of recipes or try our search engine at the top and search by name or ingredient.

What's more comforting on a cold day than Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup? .. and it's so easy to make!

Chicken Noodle Soup