Friday, February 22, 2013

Beef Enchiladas (leftover roast)

I’m always wanting ways to use roast that’s been leftover. This is probably my favorite so far! You can use canned enchilada sauce if you don’t want to make your own. The night I made these I didn’t have any so I just made some. Turned out really well! Sorry my instructions and recipe are kind of vague.

The flour tortillas in the kit were somewhat small so if you buy them separately, you may not be able to fill 10 large ones. Although mine were pretty full of meat.

Old El Paso soft taco kit (10 flour tortillas, taco sauce, and taco seasoning which you won’t use)
2 cups tomato sauce
Garlic powder to taste (just sprinkle some in)
Cumin powder to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
Chili powder to taste (about 1 ½ teaspoons)
Black pepper to taste (just sprinkle some in)
¾ cup water
Leftover beef roast (I used half of a 2 ½ pound roast, cooked), cut into chunks
2 cups cheese (I used a mixture of sharp cheddar and marbled Colby/Monterey Jack), shredded

Place the sauce, spices, water, taco sauce from kit, and beef in a medium saucepan over low-medium or medium heat. Cook for about 15 minutes or until beef has shredded apart and mixture is somewhat thick. Strain the meat, reserve the sauce.

Pour enough sauce into greased 11x7 pan to coat bottom. Stir 1 cup cheese into the beef. Fill the flour tortillas and roll up, placing them into the pan seam side down. I had to place two enchiladas sideways down the long side of the pan. Pour the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Old Fashioned Blueberry Muffins

I never was very successful at making muffins.  That was until I located this recipe on one of our blueberry picking trips to Johnson Blueberry Farm.  The owners have a file box there with recipes the customers can take home.  I grabbed a muffin sheet and the first recipe on it is the one I'm sharing with you.  The recipe is easy, uses items I have on hand, and yummy.  Try this recipe, and I bet you'll never make boxed blueberry muffins again!

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar (if blueberries are a little tart, add an extra 2 tablespoons sugar)
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.  Whisk egg, milk, and oil in a small mixing bowl.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened (some lumps will remain).  Fold in blueberries and put int muffin pan.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until browned.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Stained Glass Cookies


I know I’m late in posting this for Christmas but I figured I could post in time for Valentine’s Day.

We used the basic Wilton sugar cookie recipe (something sturdy, not soft).  Bake on foil until almost done.  Add crushed hard candy (we used Jolly Ranchers, put in ziplock baggie and beat with a hammer) to the cut-out spot.  Return to oven until candy is melted.  Allow to cool completely.  Peel off foil.  Easy and beautiful!

If you want to hang them, be sure to use a straw to poke a hole in the top of them before baking.
This was the day my kids thought I was amazing.  Oh, and we were able to learn about how heat melts things, an added bonus!  It’s sooo fun watching those candies melt! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Washer Necklaces

I got this idea from Family Fun Magazine--a very useful, well-worth-the-money magazine we get (a gift from my mom).  I made some of these for nursery workers, teachers at church, and grandmothers.  I hope to make some more soon.  They were something the two older girls could help with, so that should tell you how easy it was!  It was also pretty inexpensive.

What you need:
Washers (any size will do)
Nail polish
Ribbon (about 30 inches per necklace, depending on how long you want them)

I had to put about 2-3 coats of a background color on each washer.  Then I used another color or colors to paint a design on them.  I used different sized paint brushes and simply swished them in nail polish remover afterwards and washed with soap and water.  I was extremely pleased with the outcome!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings is one meal that my entire family loves.  I actually have kids standing at the stove begging for some!  When I announce that we’re having chicken and dumplings, I usually hear cheers!  This may seem like nothing to you but to me it’s huge (I have some picky kids).

I’m sorry but this is not really a healthy meal.  It’s southern comfort at its best. 

I use my food processor for this and have never tried not using it.  If you don’t have one, try just cutting in the fat and stirring the rest in.

This adapted from Cook's Country (Chicken with Slicks).

2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of chicken fat (rises to top of cooled broth after you boil chicken that has skin on it), if you don’t have chicken fat, use shortening or *gasp* bacon grease
1 tablespoon oil
½ cup warm chicken broth

Process in flour and salt in food processor.  In a measuring cup with spout, add the chicken fat, oil, and broth.

Slowly add liquid to food processor while processing.  Process until incorporated.  Remove dough from processor.  Roll half of dough at a time on floured surface to 1/8 inch.  Cut into 1 inch thick strips (I use a pizza cutter for this), about 4-6 inches long.  Line a large plate with wax paper and place a single layer of dumplings on it, place another sheet of wax paper over them and repeat with more dumplings and wax paper.  Freeze for 10-30 minutes.

4 ½ cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
Chicken:  cooked and pulled apart (I usually do about two chicken breasts and this is plenty of meat)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Warm broth in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until simmering.  Add the dumplings, stirring while adding.  Add  milk and return to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low-medium and cook about 30-45 minutes or until the dumplings are desired doneness (not tough), stirring often to prevent sticking.

I usually add the milk with the broth before adding the dumplings but it tends to boil over so you can do that, just be careful.

Serve with corn bread and a veggie.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Wall Calendar for less than $10

I wanted a big wall calendar that the kids could help me update every month and add holidays, birthdays, etc.  I saw them for more-than-I-wanted-to-spend and decided to tackle making my own from the things I already had. 
It was one of those projects I put off for a few months.  I think I was scared to do it.  Ha!  It finally occurred to me one day that if I messed it up, it wasn’t like I had a ton of money invested in it so it wouldn’t be a big deal.  It took me one afternoon to do it and I was pretty pleased with the results.  It’s certainly not perfect but it fits our needs and most importantly, the girls love it!
I measured the elements and figured out the layout.  I sewed a very simple background (two pieces of fabric since it was pretty thin, hemmed the edges, and sewed a placket for the dowel to fit through).  Using a water-soluble fabric pen, I marked where I wanted to sew the lines.  Then I laid one single sheet of clear vinyl over the top, pinning at the far edges just to keep it held in place, and sewed over the lines I had marked.  I then cut away the excess vinyl.  I felt like using a whole sheet of vinyl was much easier than trying to cut and sew individual pieces. 
It was my first experience with sewing clear vinyl and I admit it was a little difficult at times but once I got used to it, it wasn’t so bad.
Here’s what I used:
Blue and white striped fabric I bought at Hudson’s years ago (probably $1 a yard)
A dowel (for 80something cents at Wal-Mart)
Calendar elements from Dollar Tree (a background, month banners, and numbers with holidays) in three different packs for a total of $3
Two different packs from Dollar Tree (day of the week and weather) for a total of $2
Some clear vinyl from Wal-Mart for $2 a yard