Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Favorite Baked (Crockpot) Beans

I remember when I was younger, my mother gave my sisters and I her overstuffed recipe box and ask us to organize it for her. We would sit for hours rewriting her recipes. I enjoyed looking through them to see what interested me. That began my life long interest in recipes. I really like searching for recipes, especially those that come with a story, like where did the recipe come from and what makes it special?
I enjoy looking through magazines for recipes that I would like to try, cutting them out and gluing them into spiral notebooks or on index cards. This recipe is one of those I kept in one of my notebooks. I have been making it since my oldest daughter Alisha was about 5 years old. They are great for picnic, potlucks and barbecues. I like making mine in a crock pot. I believe the recipe came from a Southern Living magazine, but can not find the recipe on their web site to provide a link.

Favorite Baked Beans
2 slices bacon
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped (was 1/2 cup)
1 (16-oz.) can pork n' beans, undrained
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard 

Cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and place on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside. 

Cut up onion and green pepper, I like to finely chop mine. I need a new camera and better lighting. The onions in this picture look yellow, but they where white sweet onions. The picture below shows the best color.

Using the same pan you used to fry your bacon in, add the onion and green pepper. 

Saute over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Drain and set aside.

Pour the undrained pork n' beans in your crockpot or baking dish. Making sure to remove any pork cubes

Add sauted onion and green pepper mixture, ketchup, brown sugar, Worchestershire sauce and prepared mustard. Mix gently until blended. I heat the beans in my crockpot, on low for about 3-4 hours. Or bake them in a baking dish at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. In the above photo I have used three can of pork n' beans and tripled all other ingredients

Again, not the best picture. My family really enjoys this baked bean recipe.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Valentines Day Cupcakes

Here are the cupcakes that my daughter Ashley made for us for Valentines Day. She has worked at a bakery and a cupcake shop. She enjoys making and decorating cakes and cupcakes. She used a cake mix and added a box of dry pudding mix to the cake batter. It makes the cupcakes moist and delicious!

She made a delicious almond butter cream to top them off with. Everyone loves it!
It is wonderful, give it a try and let me know what you think.

 Ashley's Almond Buttercream Frosting
1 cup Crisco                           
1/2 cup butter, room temperature                         
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon almond extract                          
1 teaspoon of milk at a time, until desired consistency is reached                           
pinch of salt                           
1 teaspoon meringue powder                            
2 (lb) bag confectioners' sugar                            
Gel food coloring , if desired                              

~ Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, in a large bowl blend together the Crisco and butter until well blended.
~ Add extracts and milk, as needed, mixing until well blended.
~ Add salt, meringue powder and confectioners sugar. Mix until well blended and smooth.
~ Use to frost cake or cupcakes

 * Recipe Source: My Daughter Ashley *
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chicken Cheese Ball


Chicken Cheese Ball
2 - (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened (I used Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese)
1 - 1-oz.) package ranch dressing mix (I used Hidden Valley ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix)
1 - (10-oz. or 12.5-oz) can chicken breast (I used Swanson white premium chunk chicken breast)
2 - (1-oz.) package pecan chips ( I used Fisher pecan chips)
Crackers of your choice

~ In a medium bowl , combine cream cheese and ranch dressing mix. Mix very well to evenly distribute ranch dressing mix throughout the cream cheese.
~ Add chicken, mix thoroughly.
~ Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight, this makes rolling the cheese ball a easier.
~ If desired, use half of the cream cheese-chicken mixture and roll into 2 small cheese balls or use entire amount to make 1 large cheese ball.
~ Sprinkle pecan chips on a plate.
~ Roll cheese ball(s) in pecan chips until completely coated.
~ Use remaining pecans to sprinkle around base of the cheese ball(s).
~ Serve with your favorite crackers.
 In a medium bowl , combine cream cheese and ranch dressing mix.

Mix very well to evenly distribute ranch dressing mix throughout the cream cheese.

Add chicken, mix thoroughly.

Chicken mixed well with the cream cheese and ready to chill.

Chill for at least one hour or overnight. This makes rolling the cheese mixture into a ball much easier. You can use half of the mixture and make two small cheese balls or use entire mixture for one large cheese ball. I chose to make one large cheese ball. Roll chilled mixture into a large cheese ball.
Sprinkle pecan chips on a plate and roll chilled chicken cheese ball in pecan chips until completly covered. Sprinkle remaining pecans around base of the cheese ball, if desired. You can also roll this cheese ball in finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese or crushed cracker crumbs, such as wheat thins finely crushed.

You can also place your favorite crackers around the base of the chicken cheese ball for a nice presentation.

This is a delicious cheese ball. Great served any time you need an appetizer. 

* Recipe Source: Recipe Adapted From Allrecipes.com *

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