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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Italian Chicken, Marshmallow Puffs, Taco Bake, and Potato Soup!

Hello, Friends! Anyone else get some crazy storms coming through today? Luckily, it was far more uneventful than predicted, just a few rumbles of thunder, although accompanied by some very large wind gusts, and currently a pretty high sustained wind speed of 30-35mph. I just hope all of our trees hang in there tonight!

So only a few things for the blog tonight, we ended up busier than I anticipated this past week, and although we had some pretty tasty dinners, most of them were similar to something that has already been posted here. I do need to apologize, however, for not having gotten a meal plan up for the last two weeks! I feel like I've let you guys down, but I can tell you that after the first of the year, my posts will be much more consistent, or at least that is the plan! I'm sure I don't need to tell my readers how crazy busy this time of year is... pretty sure you can all relate!

Now this first meal is surely a love it or leave it type of meal. I'd say there isn't a lot of room for "in between" here. Many folks don't like the kick to banana peppers, but in this family, all three of my older kids eat them right out of the jar, it's one of their favorite snacks! So when I found this recipe, it was a no-brainer, I had to try it out. Now the recipe suggests eating this on buns, but I didn't have any, so I made white rice, and that worked just fine!





I do think the next time I will try it on Hawaiian sweet rolls and I will try a bit of blue cheese dressing on top, just to test out a new flavor combination. Blue cheese goes well with spicy in my opinion, and this dish is definitely on the spicy side!







Here is the recipe I used: Italian Crock Pot Chicken

These little oven treats were a hit with all four kidlets! Often called "Empty Tomb Rolls" around the Easter holiday, I just called them "Marshmallow Puffs". I, of course, love anything that involves brown sugar. Add in marshmallows and you've got a winner for sure! 






Here is the recipe I used: Empty Tomb Rolls

This was one of our "new" meals this week, and we really liked it! I will be making it again, but I will make a couple small changes, deviating from the original recipe I used. 

This Taco Bake says to bake the Doritos on top. Next time I will add the doritos after it has baked, or maybe add them with only 5 or 10 minutes to go. The Doritos ended up borderline burnt by the end of the bake time, and I didn't like the flavor of the Doritos that resulted. I also will increase the amount of sour cream the recipe calls for. I don't think I'll quite double it, but close, and I will add some salsa to the mix before baking. The kids were excited for this one, because it involved Doritos, and they all know I won't typically buy or keep potato chips in the house for snacking on. You should've seen their eyes light up when they saw the bag of Doritos! Ha ha! 






And last, but not least... one of my oldest's favorite winter meals, potato soup!

I have used the same potato soup recipe for years, since I was 18 actually! I happened to have some ham left over from ham and egg cups made earlier in the week, and it needed used before it went bad. Potato soup was not on my menu plan for the week, but quickly found it's way there when I realized I had surplus potatoes and ham just waiting to be used!

This is a cheddar cheese and ham potato soup, and it typically uses chunked or cubed ham, but like I said, I was throwing this into the plan spontaneously to use up the shaved ham we had leftover.

Basically, boil your potatoes as you would, I usually boil mine longer than average, which will break some of the potatoes down and help to thicken the soup. When you drain the potatoes, reserve the liquid. You will use this with the milk to make the soup. You are going to want to melt some butter in a medium sized saucepan, and add flour to it, forming somewhat of a paste, and then add the milk in, whisking until smooth. You can gradually add flour and more milk as you go, though often times this will cause the flour to clump together in tiny chunks. If you are whisking well, it should help to avoid that problem. Now, let the "broth" simmer, but stir frequently, or it will begin to stick to the pan. While it's simmering, add some of the reserved liquid to your potatoes, depends on how many potatoes you have used, but I usually make my broth half liquid, half milk. Begin to slowly add the mixture in the saucepan to the potatoes and reserved liquid. Stir it all together, and sprinkle a cup or two (depends on preference) of cheddar cheese into the pot. Stir frequently, simmering soup on medium-low heat, until the cheese has melted. Season your soup with salt, pepper, and onion powder.

Depending on who is eating the soup that day, I will often times add chopped (and cooked) onions and sometimes carrots and celery.



That is all I've got for you right now, and definitely will not likely have a meal plan up until at least Thursday this week. Have had some crazy things going on, had to change some plans around, so grocery day will not be until Thursday of this week. 

I hope all of my Great Lakes Region friends stay safe tonight!