Friday, October 26, 2012

Laura Bush's Texas Cowboy Cookies

This Presidential election has found my family more involve and interested in what's going on and the issues each candidate proposes.  The foodie in my finds The Presidential Cookie Contest interesting and delicious!!  The Family Circle Magazine has hosted it and since 1992, when Hillary Clinton and Barbara Bush bumped spatulas, The First Lady cookie contest has been a terrific tradition and political pacesetter. All but one winner went on to live in the White House. 
 I'm excited to try out the two cookies from the latest contest: Michelle Obama's Mama Kaye's White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie and Ann Romney's M&M Cookies.  It was a tight race with Michelle Obama's cookies getting 51.4% of the votes and Ann Romney's getting 48.5 %.  I believe it was the closest contest ever which makes me want to try both cookies and have my family pick the winner.  For today, I went back in time to the 2000 Presidential Cookie Contest winner Laura Bush!!  They are soft. chewy and delicious! 
While we are on the subject of cookies Become a Nanny has an awesome post dedicated to throwing a Kid's Cookie Decorating Party.  It is very organized. She gives tons of great ideas to help take the stress out of planning the party, so you can relax and enjoy it and the kids will LOVE it!!

Laura Bush's Texas Cowboy Cookies

From my friend Sharon
3 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 sticks butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups sweetened flake coconut (I only used 1 cup)
  • 2 cups chopped pecans (8 ounces) (I omited due to allergies)

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl

In 8-quart bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugars and continue beating to combine, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.

For each cookie, *drop 1/4 cup of dough onto greased cookie sheet, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake 17 to 20 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Remove to rack to cool.

*I used my big cookie scoop and baked them 10 minutes.

These were a yummy change from my normal oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sausage and Potatoes

Lately, I have been looking for ways to make dinner time way less stressful.  This is something I tried and it was awesome and the whole family liked it.  It was simple to put together, clean up was minimal and best of all no stressing over dinner.  I will be making it again.
Sausage and Potatoes
adapted from
1 pound smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, dice in to chunks.
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut in 1- to 2-inch chunks
3 to 4 carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces (I used baby carrots and didn't cut them.)
1 cup onions, chopped
1/4 teaspoon  ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 large clove garlic, crushed and finely minced

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 - 2 cups shredded cheese
*Optional 1/2 cup lemon lime soda

Combine the sausage pieces, potatoes, carrots and onions in a large food storage bag or a bowl.  Toss with the pepper, salt, seasoning, garlic,olive oil and soda.
I then put mine in the fridge so that dinner was all but ready when I got home from work.
(The soda just helps the potatoes from browning and gives it a little extra flavor.)

When you are ready to cook:
Heat oven to 400°. Grease a  9 x 13 casserole dish  with nonstick cooking spray.
Pour mixture into your dish.
Roast for 45 to 60 minutes, until vegetables are fork-tender, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. If desired add cheese to the top and cook until it is melted.
* You can replace the seasoning salt with  Cajun or Creole seasoning.

Made for a quick and delicious dinner!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cute Quick Mummy Decoration

I have had the desire to be a little creative lately, but time has been an issue.  So when I saw a picture of this I knew I could handle it!! So cute simple and cheap!!
You need a jar,
gauze or cheese cloth (I bought some bloody gauze in the Halloween section at the dollar store.)
googly eyes
hot glue gun
battery operated candle (also 2 for a dollar at the dollar store.)
optional: extra Halloween decorations
Glue the edge of the gauze to the jar.
Wrap the jar with the gauze. Glue on the googly eyes and wrap a little over top of them.
Glue your end to the rest.  I then spread open the threads of the gauze just a bit over top of the eyes.
I added some plastic spiders I had lying around.
Turned the candles on and set them in the bottom of the jars.
Voila!! So cute.  The picture does not do them justice!
Cheap, simple and a fun decoration!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cheerio Treats

For some reason we have alot of boxes of Cheerios at our house.  I'm the only one who eats them.  I was so excited to find this recipe so that hopefully I could get everyone else to eat them too.  They were a hit!! I thought they tasted even better the next day. 
Cheerio Treats
from Kathie Cooks
1 cup white sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup  peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla

5 cups  Cheerios

In a large sauce pan, combine sugar and corn syrup. Bring to boil over medium heat.
Allow mixture to boil for one minute and remove from heat. Add peanut butter, vanilla and chocolate chips to mixture and mix until smooth. Add Cheerios and mix until all coated.
 Drop mixture by spoonful onto waxed paper and allow to cool.

*The chocolate chips are optional. I just love the peanut butter/chocolate combination!
Quick, simple and delicious!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Progesso Recipe Starters: Crispy Garlic Parmesan Chicken and a Giveaway!!

Back to school means back to busy weeknight schedules.  Between homework, activities, practices, work and class, preparing a delicious home-cooked meal can be quite a challenge, and getting started is often the hardest part. Let new Progresso™ Recipe Starters™ cooking sauces give you a head start to a home cooked meal, and you’ll ace the dinner time routine this year!

 Progresso Recipe Starters sauces are available in five flavorful varieties that can each be used as a starter to create numerous home-cooked meals. For added inspiration, Progresso created 80 recipes utilizing this new line of cooking sauces that can be found on Many of these recipes are classic family favorites, such as Bacon Mac n’ Cheese, Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken Parmesan, and utilize ingredients your family may already have on-hand. In addition, all of the recipes on the site include a Rate and Review feature, so we encourage you to leave a rating and review of your own, in which you can even include a link back to your blog post about that recipe! Look for Progresso Recipe Starters in the soup aisles!

Inspired by the five “Mother” Sauces that form the basis of classical French cooking, including Béchamel, Velouté, Tomato, Espagnole and Hollandaise, Recipe Starters use a variety of ingredients and the best techniques to make sure you have delicious options to take on the school days dinner dilemma. The five varieties are:
  •  Creamy Parmesan Basil: This creamy, full-bodied and indulgent sauce that was inspired by alfredo and creamy pesto sauces can be used to make dishes such as Crispy Garlic-Parmesan Chicken, Creamy Chicken Alfredo, Basil Chicken Ravioli Carbonara and Basil Chicken Thai Noodle
  • Creamy Roasted Garlic with Chicken Stock: With caramelized, roasted chicken broth, garlic and a touch of cream, this stock is perfect for dishes such as Creamy Lemon Chicken, Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken Enchiladas
  • Fire Roasted Tomato: A medium-thick tomato sauce, accompanied by flavors of roasted, caramelized tomatoes, oregano and bell peppers, which can be used as a great way to begin creating  Pulled Chicken Sandwiches, Easy Weeknight Chicken Parmesan, Cheese-stuffed Mini Meat Loaves and Mole Tacos
  • Creamy Portabella Mushroom: Creamy and highly indulgent, this smooth sauce is rich with sautéed Portabella mushrooms,  giving you any easy way to start delicious dishes like Easy Weeknight Beef Stroganoff, Steak and Mushroom Sandwich and Tetrazzini
  • Creamy Three Cheese: Rich and creamy with a blend of yellow and white cheeses, and a savory background of chicken stock, onion, garlic and cracked pepper, this is a great way to satisfy cheese lovers with Easy Weeknight Bacon Mac & Cheese, Twice-Baked Potato Pizza and Cheesy Egg Breakfast Tacos.
I decided to first test out the Creamy Parmesan Basil Cooking Sauce:
Crispy Garlic Parmesan Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts *
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 can (18 oz) Progresso™ Recipe Starters™ creamy Parmesan Basil cooking sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2/3 cup Progresso® Italian style panko crispy bread crumbs*
2/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese
 Hot cooked pasta or mashed potatoes, if desired

Garnishes, If Desired
 Additional shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese
 Chopped fresh basil or parsley

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line cookie sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray. Between pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper, place each chicken breast smooth side down; gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
2. In shallow dish, mix butter, 3 tablespoons of the cooking sauce and the garlic powder. In another shallow dish, mix bread crumbs and cheese. Dip chicken into butter mixture, then dip into bread crumb mixture to coat. Place on cookie sheet.
3. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (at least 165°F) and coating is golden brown. Meanwhile, heat remaining sauce until hot. Serve chicken with pasta and sauce. Sprinkle with additional cheese and basil.
 * I used chicken tenders and made my own breadcrumbs out of crackers.  I also doubled the recipe to feed my family of six.

****This was so delicious!! The Parmesan Basil flavor made it amazing!! It was easy to make and it was a HUGE hit with the family!

Now for the fun part!! I have a Progresso Recipe Starter gift pack to give one lucky reader:

Two cans of Progresso Recipe Starters
$10 Gift Card to purchase your recipe ingredients
Progresso Recipe Starters recipe book, including 5 recipes to get you started
Baking dish
Measuring Cups
Sauce Scraper
To enter follow the directions below:" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can download a printable coupon for $.65 off the purchase of 1 can of Progresso® Recipe Starters Cooking Sauce here
Good Luck and Enjoy!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Caramel Brownies

One Sunday afternoon my oldest daughter and I were both craving chocolate!!  I had  bought some Rollos and decided to make Chocolate Caramel Cookies, well problem was I forgot to buy the cake mix the recipe calls for so we made some adjustments to our plan and this is what we came up with. It was delicious and oh so simple!! Took a few to work the next morning and they got great reviews!
Chewy Chocolate Caramel Brownies
2 packages brownie mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 bag Rollos, unwrapped and cut in half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix brownie mix, butter, milk and eggs together.  Spread on a greased cookie sheet.  Push the rollo halves in the batter with the cut side down. 
Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges just start to look a little crisp.
Cool and enjoy! Wish I would of got some individual pictures, but they didn't last very long!!
Double YUMMY!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Southwest Chicken Corn Chowder

It is getting to be soup season and I love it.  This is a good comfort food soup.  I was shocked that the kids LOVED it and my picky eater even went back for seconds.  The kidsate all but a little bit, so hubby did not even get to try it out.  It was delicious and very mild flavor so if you like more kick you'll need to add it, but for the kids it was perfect!

Southwest Chicken Corn Chowder
from Healthy Cooking
1 cup onions, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies, drained
2 cans (14 3/4 oz. each) cream style corn
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
shredded cheddar cheese
tortilla chips

Quick Version:
In a large pan saute the onion and garlic in the oil until tender.  Stir in the broth, soup, chicken and chilies until well blended.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; stir in the corn, beans, milk chili powder and cumin.  Heat through, but do not boil.

Crock Pot Version:
Put onions, garlic and oil in the bottom of the slow cooker and stir to coat.  Add the chicken (about 2-3 chicken breasts uncooked). Add the chicken broth, soup, chilies, chili powder and cumin.  Stir to mix. Cook on low for about 4 hours (or so).  About 1 hour before eating remove the chicken and dice it up put back in the crock pot and add the beans, corn and milk. Stit to mix.  Cook until heated through.  
   *Sprinkle each serving with cheese and if desired crushed tortilla chips (I used Ranch Doritos..Delicious!).
I will be making this one again soon!!


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