Cooking a Whole Chicken

whole-chickenI didn’t realize until recently how easy it was to cook a chicken and you know the best part ?    =-) You can make homemade chicken broth while doing it! That’s like killing two birds with one stone! Heheheh (I know bad joke!)  Maybe I should already know how to do this and I’m just really behind the power curve, but I thought I’d share with others in case you’re like me!

*Money Saving Tip* First off, buy a whole fryer chicken when it goes on sale. Cook it or freeze until you need it!

When you are ready to cook, make sure it is thawed out.  You will cook with the skin on.

1. Take out of package while it’s sitting in your sink. Pull out “insides”, either set aside to use in a giblet gravy or discard.  Cut off tail and discard. Rinse it well (inside and out).

2. Put in a BIG pot and season with salt, pepper, 2 tsp minced garlic, dashes of oregano, and basil.  Fill with water but not to the point it will over boil.

Shredded-chicken3. Boil the chicken until it “falls apart.” This can take up to a couple of hours depending on size of chicken.

4. Carefully take out chicken and de-bone it (should be easy as it will “fall off the bone.” Discard bones and skin. Chicken is now ready to use, or freeze for later.

5. The broth that was made from boiling the chicken can be used immediately or put in a air-tight container and frozen.broth

This is both healthy and economical! You are making your chicken and broth from scratch – no additives or chemicals you can’t pronounce! It’s economical because you are cooking your chicken and making broth at the same time! We have used part of the cooked chicken to make Taquitos, as well as a making mixing it in with cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving. The possibilities are endless!

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Rice Krispie Treats

Only 4 ingredients!!!!

Only 4 ingredients!!!!

Don’t you just LOVE Rice Krispies? They are just a gooey yummy mess! Did you know that they are SUPER easy to make? YUP!

What You Need:

1/4 cup of butter

1 (10 oz) package regular size marshmallows

5 cups Rice Krispies

Variations:

Peanut Butter – 1/4 cup – stir into marshmallow mixture BEFORE adding Rice Krispies

Chocolate Chip – 6 oz – stir in after Rice Krispies have been added.

Coco – Substitute Coco Krispies for Regular Krispies

1.  Melt Butter in Large pot over low heat. While that’s melting take additional butter and lightly run it across the pan you’ll be pouring them into. (9×13 for thinner ones/smaller pan for thicker ones) .

FullSizeRender_12. Once butter is melted, stir in marshmallows. Stir well until marshmallows are melted.

3.  Add Cereal and stir until it is all mixed together.

4. Pour into pre-buttered pan and using a spatula (coat in butter so it won’t stick – I use a metal spatula) spread out and press down until even across pan.

Our favorite way to make these are with Peanut Butter. Try using Coco Krispies AND Peanut Butter – It will blow your mind and taste buds!!! =-)

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EAT ME!!!!

Homemade Seasoning Mixes

There are so many recipes out there that call for various different store bought seasoning packets. Have you seen what they put in those things??? Not to mention the sodium content in them!! I set out on a mission to change from using store bought packets to making my own. I searched around on Pinterest and other websites for the ones we use the most. As with any recipe, there are always different variations so after comparing a few I settled on the recipe I liked for each mix and tested them out. They have all turned out great and in some recipes, my family said some tasted better with the homemade seasoning!!!
My goal is to continue updating and adding to this post as I try more seasoning mixes. Here are the links to the ones that I have tried and liked so far.

Taco Seasoning – This is a bulk recipe that will last between 4-6 months.

Fajita Seasoning – This recipe only lasted me about 2 meals however, it would be a good one to test out to see if you like the mix.

Bulk Fajita Seasoning – I took the above recipe and tripled the ingredients so it would last much longer.

Ranch Seasoning – There are two different versions of this recipe. A smaller batch and a bulk batch. This link will take you to the smaller one…..from there you can find the bulk version if you want to make that one.

Italian Seasoning – I’ve used these mix in several recipes. Really good!

Lipton Onion Soup Seasoning –  I mix these up in Ziploc snack size bags and label them. This recipe is the equivalent to 1 Lipton Onion Soup Mix.

Taco Soup

This is probably my favorite thing to eat (PERIOD!). Seriously when asked what I want for my “birthday dinner” I usually request Taco Soup! One good thing about this recipe is that it makes a TON! I use the biggest pot I have for and it is usually filled to the top. After cooked, I pour this into several bowls and jars of different sizes. I refrigerate what we want to eat for a few days and the rest, I label and freeze. You can take a bowl/jar out in the morning and it will be thawed out in time to heat up for super that night!

What You Need:

2 lbs of ground chuck (can substitute ground turkey or a mix of beef & turkey)

2-3 onions (diced)

2 cans pinto beans (no salt or low sodium)

2 cans ranch style beans

2 cans corn (we use a 16oz bag of frozen corn – less preservatives & sodium)

2 cans rotel

3 cans stewed tomatoes (no salt added)

2 large cans tomato sauce (no salt added)

3 packages of taco seasoning (or use your homemade taco seasoning – click here for the recipe)

3 packages of ranch dressing mix

1 med size jar of mild picante sauce

1 can of water

Optional Ingredients for Toppings: Fritos (our favorite), shredded cheese, sour cream, tortillas

Brown meat and onions together; drain well.

Meanwhile in a LARGE pot, add ingredients and once meat is drained add it as well. I usually let it simmer for 30 mins or so to let everything “marry” together.

A few notes:

~ If using homemade taco seasoning or ranch dressing mix start with 3 TBSP – then after it simmers, taste the soup. If it’s not spicy enough add more. If it’s too spicy add water. Always remember you can add more spices but you can’t take them out!!

~ If the soup seems to thick, add a little water until it’s at the desired consistency.

~ To divide the soup -get a bunch of bowls and/or jars and fill them with soup. For the ones going into the freezer make sure to leave room at the tops of the bowls/jar for the soup to expand while it’s freezing. I usually dish all the bowls/jars up and then set my timer for 30 mins to allow them time to cool off. Once they have cooled, they are ready to store in the fridge or freezer.

This is such a great recipe and one that is loved by my family. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do!

 

Homemade Peach Cobbler

cobbler 5

 

Nothing tastes better than a homemade cobbler. I’ve always thought it was really hard to make until my mother-in-law made it one night and showed me how easy it was.

 

 

What You Need:

Approximately 8 peaches, peeled & sliced

Cinnamon

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

3/4 stick of butter

2 store-bought pie crusts in a box or use 2 homemade pie crusts (click here for the recipe).

Directions:cobbler 2

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Spray non stick spray in 9×13 pan.  Place 1 pie crust in bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Mix flour & sugar in a separate bowl.  Add peaches and coat well.  Pour into crust along with any leftover sugar/flour mixture from bowl. Spread out evenly. Dot the top of the mixture with butter.

cobbler 3

2nd homemade crust cut into strips for top.

Cut 2nd crust into strips and criss cross over the peach mixture.  Bake 45 mins to 1 hour or until golden brown and bubbly.

 

 

** Don’t forget to buy the ice cream to go with it! I always make that mistake. It’s so much better when you have ice cream with it! ENJOY!

Easy Homemade Pie Crusts

Unbaked Pie Crust Shell

Unbaked Pie Crust Shell

This recipe came from my husband’s grandmother. When my mom-in-law mentioned it to me, I was surprised at how easy the recipe was. One of the things I love about it is that it makes 6 regular pie crusts!! You must know by now that if I can make something in bulk and save some for next time, it’s a HUGE added bonus for me!

What you Need:

pie crust 1

All Mixed Up

4 cups all purpose flour

2 cups Crisco

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 ½ teaspoon salt

Mix to crumble. I mix it together in my kitchen aid mixer using my dough hook.

 Add:

1 beaten egg

½ cup water

1 Tablespoon white vinegar (I know this sounds weird but trust me it works!)

Mix lightly to a soft dough.

Turn out onto a well-floured surface.  Roll it out and shape into a rectangle.  Divide into 6 sections.

pie crust 4

Divide & Freeze

If you are freezing them, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then wrap in freezer paper. Label and freeze.

To thaw – take out however many pie shells you need and set them on the counter or let it thaw in the fridge.

 

Million Dollar Cookies

millon dollar cookiesMy absolute favorite cookie is Oatmeal Chocolate Chip.  I’ve never been able to find a good homemade recipe that tops Pillsbury until now.  A neighbor gave me this recipe and it is fabulous! This recipe makes 112 cookies. I usually 1/2 this recipe if I’m making it just for my family.

What you Need:

2 c. butter

2 tsp baking soda

4 c. flour

2 c. sugar

5 c. blended oatmeal (put oatmeal in blender and pulse until it looks like flour)

2 c. brown sugar

24 oz milk chocolate chips chopped

24 oz white chocolate chips chopped

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. salt

4 eggs

Preheat oven to 375.

md cookies 4Cream butter and both sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla. Gradually add in flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda.  Add chocolate chips.

md cookies 5

 

 

 

 

 

Roll into balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until they start to brown.