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Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's Not Too Late For a Soup-er Bowl Party

I know, you're thinking it's WAY to late to pull off a Super Bowl party tomorrow night, I mean less than 24 hours from now?!?!?!

But, I promise, it is NOT too late for my Soup-er Bowl Party!! 
Really, you have plenty of time!! Trust me!!
I promise!!

The seed for today's entry was planted on this past Christmas Eve, but I didn't realize it until today. I have always, ALWAYS made my famous Loaded Potato soup from scratch - totally!! Until this past Christmas Eve!!

Okay, I'm getting there - I never learned to tell a short story - I love talking too much to shorten ANY story, lol!!

So, Christmas Eve morning I'm standing in line at a local restaurant waiting on a smoked turkey for our family Christmas get-to-gether, which was slated for 12 noon at my house(big, extended family - nieces, nephews, great nieces, nephews, etc.) when I receive a phone call that a good number of relatives (13 or so) were coming that but had forgotten to tell me.  No problem, I had this smoked turkey, had the fixings at home for build your own sandwich and the ingredients for my famous Loaded Potato Soup.

My plan was to run by our local one-stop-we-have-it-all supercenter to pick up some more bread, an extra soft drink or two and maybe some chips and salsa.  I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to pick up some "fillers" i.e. a veggie tray, fruit tray....my niece called asked what she could do....delegated the chips, salsa and drinks to her.  I then thought about some bbq I had in my freezer that I had smoked a few weeks earlier and a plan started hatching....just a couple of hours before time for my guests to arrive.....so, I go to the frozen foods section and pick up three different bags of potatoes (because they didn't have three of the same variety) a few other things and head home.

So many things about this Christmas get-to-gether was well, a little unfinished!! But it ALL came together and was perfect!! The biggest hit was the Loaded Potato soup, which was basically heat and serve.  A star was born that day!!

Okay, okay!! My Soup-er Bowl Party to celebrate the Super Bowl!!

Well, don't be ashamed, or afraid to take a little help from some great pre-made items from your grocer's freezer.  There are some good quality chicken wings, nuggets and strips available and some of the bite-size pizza products are great too.

I mean, frozen foods have REALLY evolved since the days of the tv dinner served in those little aluminum trays, lol!!

My Soup-er Bowl party features my Not-quite Homemade Loaded Potato Soup, Sub Sandwich fingers and  fresh baked Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  Don't be afraid to buy your subs if you're crunched for time.  Everybody knows Jared's favorite sub shop sells $5.00 footlongs every day.  Pick up a couple and cut them into smaller "finger" and you're done.  Take some help from the refrigerated cookie dough department.  One of the national brands features a "chocolate lovers" chocolate chunk which we love.  I really like the pull-apart better than the rolls because you can bake as few or as many as you want.

And finally, as promised way back there, here is my now famous Not-quite Homemade Loaded Potato Soup recipe.

The stars of this show

one stick of butter
2 (24 oz.) bags frozen Garlic Seasoned Potatoes 
1 (22 oz.) bag Mashed Red Potatoes w/Garlic & Parmesan
1 quart fat free half & half 
2 cups whole milk
assorted toppings to load your soup
bacon
cheese
french fried onions 
(can use chives, green onions, etc)

1.  Melt butter in large stock pot on LOWEST heat setting
2.  While butter is melting, heat half and half in microwave; add to butter
3.  Microwave 1st bag of potatoes per directions on bag (about 10 minutes)
     * carefully open bag and empty into stockpot (I mash the steamers because I am not a fan of 
        huge chunks of potatoes
4.  Repeat with remaining bags; keeping on low heat and stirring as needed
5.  Heat 2 cups of milk and add to soup - can use more or less to your preference
6.  Stir and heat for 5 - 10 minutes to blend flavors
7.  Check to see if seasonings are needed (I don't add anything except a little black pepper)
8.  Serve with toppers



Note to self:  Hubby says if it's gonna be a super bowl party you gotta have a man-sized bowl of soup


Happy Eating !!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This Is What I Found

Sketti


My son, who is in the Air Force, has always been pretty handy in the kitchen.  While he was recently home on leave, he treated us to a big pot of spaghetti with homemade meat sauce on Family Night.


IT WAS A HIT!!!

The recipe is pretty simple and uses common, everyday ingredients most of keep on hand in our pantries OR at least know exactly where to find them in our neighborhoood grocery store, lol!!

1 1/4 pounds ground chuck


a large onion


a couple cloves of garlic


canned Italian-style tomatoes, unless of course you're fortunate enough to have a stash of your own - canned from YOUR garden


some canned OR canned by YOU tomato sauce


some plain, ole water
salt (I only use sea salt, but...whatever you use is fine) and pepper
a little dried basil and dried oregano


AND
8 ounces of angel hair pasta



Now, I felt compelled to throw a splash of olive oil in for good measure BUT
I restrained myself and TRIED to follow the recipe - not always an easy task for me!!


I just had to know how my son came up with such "precise" measurements, quantities, etc.
He said, "Well, duh, MOM, I googled spaghetti recipes and this is what I found!"


Oh, the joy!! My offspring can find a recipe AND follow it -yay!!


This recipe is now (and forever more will be) dubbed 
"My Son's "I googled spaghetti recipes and this is what I found" recipe"


Happy Eating!!


Here's the link from cooks.com 
http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,1626,146169-247206,00.html





please note: the images posted here are simply internet images and are not in support of or an endorsement for any website or product 





Saturday, January 28, 2012

Princess Leksi's 2nd Birthday

Today I stood in the kitchen of my nephew as we celebrated his grand-daughter's second birthday. I watched as Princess Leski, the guest of honor, weaved in and out among her guests.  I thought about how our life experiences are woven like fabric, in and out,  through happy days, and some not so happy days. As I stood in the midst of family and friends, I looked around at my daughter - now an adult with a child of her own, my niece - now an adult with a child of her own, and others whom I had watched grow as children and were now weaving a new piece in the fabric of my life and I thought about how much I've been blessed to have known and kept this circle of love for these many years.  You see, these circles never really end, they never close!! Instead, they continue as an unbroken thread that connects us through the years.  Happy 2nd birthday Leksi!! Your great-aunt Donna looks forward to making many, many more birthday cakes for you just as I have for your momma, your cousins and many others in our circle of life.!!






Going retro with a Princess Cake for Princess Leksi to smash, lol!!


a simple chocolate cake w/vanilla buttercream icing and piped decoration



And a retro sheet cake for the guests!!


A simple vanilla cake w/buttercream icing and piped decoration!!



Oh, how I love cake - especially when shared with family and friends!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Few Christmas Goodies

Here are a few tried and true and easy recipes for some Christmas goodies!!
Happy eating!!

Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball

1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (can add up to 2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese, room temperature
1 envelope dry Ranch Dressing mix

Beat cream cheese until soft and fluffy.
Add dressing mix, combining well.  Add cheddar cheese, one cup at a time.
Serve with tortilla chips.
Enjoy :)


Patti's Dip

1 (16 ounce) carton Sour Cream
1 packet taco seasoning
.
Mix well.
Serve with Tortilla Chips.
Now, how easy is that???


Yo-Yo's

Ritz crackers
Peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
White and Dark Chocolate Candy Coating

Spread peanut butter between two Ritz crackers
Dip in melted chocolate.
Place on waxed paper til coating is set.
Optional:  Scatter a few sprinkles on top.


Fruit and Nut Bark

Assorted nuts and dried fruits
White and Dark Chocolate Candy Coating

Melt chocolate; stir in fruit and nuts.
Pour onto waxed paper sheet until set.
Break into random pieces.
Repeat with other variety of chocolate.


Simple, tasty fare!!






Tuesday, December 6, 2011


OH my goodness!!

Eggnog Cheesecake Bars!!

I am 
soooo
gonna
make 
these!!!
Well...on my second day of "blogging" I am finding out it is much easier to bake than to set up a blog, lol!!  My philosophy in the kitchen is there are no failures, just opportunities for creative twists to bring about a success.  I don't think that same philosophy will work here!! Speaking of baking......I'm off to the kitchen!! 


Monday, December 5, 2011

Well, I'm not exactly sure I'm a blogger but, I am sure I love to bake, really love to cook - period, but baking is my specialty, well....maybe. I thought, perhaps, it might be interesting to chronicle my adventures and mishaps, if for no one else's reading enjoyment, then for my sweet little grand baby who may someday read this and say, "Oh...that's my Nana" - so, welcome to my blog!!