Friday, February 27, 2015

Crunchy Crust French Toast & Weekend Potluck #159

WELCOME TO WEEKEND POTLUCK!!
Always so happy to have you joining us...

AND....


When I share something worth sharing...again...

This is a favorite recipe.  I love the crunch that goes with this cornflake/coconut breading. If you don't care for coconut, just use cornflakes.  Did I say...I LOOOVE this!?




Now, let's take a quick peek back at last week...

The recipe with the most clicks was ~


Recipes that caught our attention ~




Oreo Stuffed Brownies by Spicy Southern Kitchen

Your hostesses ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FIVE blogs. Plus…

We TWEET. We PIN. We LIKE.

Linky Guidelines:

If you wish to be a featured recipe or for us to promote your recipe either on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, you MUST follow these instructions.
  1. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog.
  2. LINK BACK HERE from your post so that others can find the fun. (Need help linking back? Read this or watch this great instructional video Please use a direct link within your post.
When you are kind enough to follow our guidelines, we work hard to get you as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested. We want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

3 Scrumptious Cake Mix Sweets {Blast from the Past}

Only 5 or 6 ingredients and you can hear rants and raves about how wonderful this dessert is. Cream cheese/powdered sugar/egg topping over a cake mix base - GLORIOUS!! 





So easy to make - just place a candy mint on top and get set to be WOW'd! 





Single Serving Cheesecakes...Oh how I love thee! 
Simple to make..easy to dress up...quick to be gone. 





Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Slow Cooker Loaded Potato Soup - Guest Post - Five Heart Home

 I am just elated to get to share this lovely post from my good friend, Samantha.
She is faithful to link up at our Weekend Potluck party...her recipes are often featured there, and we have gotten to know each other more over time, so I was very happy when she agreed to do a guest post for me.  Her photos are amazing and her recipes will make you swoon....please extend a warm welcome to this very special lady, mom, recipe creator, photographer...and more...

Take it away Sam....


Hi there, fabulous The Better Baker Blog readers! It's Samantha from Five Heart Home, and I'm so excited to be guest posting for Marsha today while she soaks up the sun in Florida! Before I share the yummy recipe that I brought over, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself.Samantha at FiveHeartHome.com ~ quick and easy, family-friendly, real food recipes!

I live with my amazing hubby, two energetic boys, and sweet baby girl in the heart of Texas. The days are crazy but the love is plenty between the five hearts that make up our home! Like many of you, the recipes I cook need to be quick, easy, and kid-approved, so that's what I blog about at Five Heart Home...family-friendly recipes using fresh, (mostly) real food ingredients. In my abundant spare time (ha), I also enjoy creating free seasonal printables to share with my readers!

Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup ~ a smooth and creamy crock pot soup garnished with a variety of toppings, from sour cream and shredded cheese to crispy bacon and green onions | FiveHeartHome.com

But enough about me...how are y'all? Have you been staying warm this February? Texas has been swinging back and forth all winter between frigid temps and unseasonably spring-like weather. But one thing I can say for sure is that my family has been enjoying this Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup all winter long, regardless of the current forecast! Seriously, y'all, I would have no complaints about eating this once a week, year-round...it's just that good.

Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup ~ a smooth and creamy crock pot soup garnished with a variety of toppings, from sour cream and shredded cheese to crispy bacon and green onions | FiveHeartHome.com

After all, what's more comforting than a bowl of silky, sour-cream-and-butter-laced potato soup, drizzled with more sour cream and generously topped with freshly grated cheddar and crispy diced bacon? And to make it even better, this recipe is beyond quick and easy to whip up in the crock pot!

Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup ~ a smooth and creamy crock pot soup garnished with a variety of toppings, from sour cream and shredded cheese to crispy bacon and green onions | FiveHeartHome.com

Simply toss some cubed potatoes, garlic, and seasonings into the slow cooker and allow everything to cook in a nice chicken broth bath. Then use an immersion blender to puree the potatoes until smooth and creamy. Stir in some milk, sour cream, butter, and cheese and then serve the whole shebang with your favorite baked potato garnishes piled on top. Easy peasy and oh-so-delicious!

Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup ~ a smooth and creamy crock pot soup garnished with a variety of toppings, from sour cream and shredded cheese to crispy bacon and green onions | FiveHeartHome.com

So who's ready to put your crock pot to work making a savory supper of Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup? It's guaranteed to please and it's guaranteed to make you feel all warm and cozy inside, whether the thermometer is registering below freezing or a balmy 90-degrees. ;) I sincerely hope y'all enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do!

Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup ~ a smooth and creamy crock pot soup garnished with a variety of toppings, from sour cream and shredded cheese to crispy bacon and green onions | FiveHeartHome.com

Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Yield: 6 to 8 servings


4 pounds baking potatos (such as Russets), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
6 cups chicken stock or broth
1 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated cheddar
GARNISHES:
Sour cream
Grated cheddar
12 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled/chopped
Diced green onions or chives
Place cubed potatoes, chicken stock, and garlic in large slow cooker. Season with garlic salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high (or until potatoes are completely tender).
Turn heat to warm and use an immersion blender to purée potatoes until smooth and creamy. Stir in milk, sour cream, butter, and grated cheese. Stir until all ingredients are melted and incorporated. (You may add a bit more milk if you prefer the consistency of your soup to be thinner.) Taste soup and, if necessary, season with additional salt and pepper. If soup is not hot enough at this point, place lid back on slow cooker and heat on warm for 5 to 10 more minutes (don't heat too long after the dairy is added or the soup may turn brown around the edges of the pot).

Ladle soup into bowls and top with your favorite baked potato toppings: a drizzle or dollop of sour cream, grated cheese, chopped bacon, and/or diced green onions.
NOTES:
You may use vegetable stock and omit the bacon if you would like to make this soup vegetarian.
You can use skim milk, 2%, whole milk, half-and-half, heavy cream...it's up to you! But obviously, the fattier the milk product you use, the richer and creamier the final soup is going to be.

The type of stock or broth you use is going to dictate whether or not you need to add additional salt at the end. I often mix up my own broth using Organic Better Than Bouillon chicken base, and since it's already pretty salty, I seldom feel the need to add more.

If you don't have an immersion blender, you may purée this soup in batches using a food processor or blender. Just allow it to cool down a bit before doing so, work with small batches at a time (don't fill your blender more than half way!), and leave the top of the blender cracked so that steam can escape and soup doesn't explode everywhere!

To drizzle sour cream, I stir it until smooth, scoop into a plastic sandwich baggie, and snip off a tiny piece of one corner. Then I use it like a piping bag for drizzling.

* * * * * * * * * *

Thanks for having me today, Marsha and friends! I'd be honored to have you stop by Five Heart Home or connect with me sometime via social media. :)
Until then, here are a few of my favorite recipes...
Skillet S'mores Dip
S'mores Dip ~ melted chocolate and toasty marshmallows bake up in a skillet; scoop up with graham crackers for a perfect party dessert! | FiveHeartHome.com

THANK YOU! THANK YOU Sam!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Caramelized Nuts {Sugar Free}

What a special treat to share, especially with someone having to watch their sugar intake. 

I have a new blogging friend and I am learning a lot of cool and 'healthy' recipe ideas. This is the first recipe of his I made, and I plan to try several more. 

Arman is author of The Big Man's World...and lives in Australia!
He's very funny and we have become friends at Facebook, so he manages to humor me often.  We became acquainted after he began linking up recipes at our weekly Weekend Potluck party. 

I'd love for you to pop over and pay him a visit...and tell him I said hello. 
I published a guest post by Arman earlier this month...
Greek Yogurt Chocolate Brownies...take a peek...and a lick! 

My dear hubby is diabetic, but most of everything I made over the holidays were sweets he can't freely enjoy.

So when I saw this recipe, I had to make it for him.  He loved the nuts and it gave him something good to snack on, while he gazed at all the other sweets being created, and pushed off on others during the month of December. *-*

I am sure you could use regular sugar if that's your preference, but I can tell you these turned out great using a substitute.  Arman uses one called Norbu.
I've never heard of it (maybe it's only available in Australia?) but I used my trusted xylitol, and it worked just fine.  You can also use coconut palm sugar or Stevia baking blend, per Arman. 

Do try this recipe - it makes for a great snack. Great for any time of year, especially if you're looking for a healthier treat. 



CARAMELIZED NUTS (SUGAR FREE)

3 c. raw nuts
(I used mixed nuts)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 Tb. cinnamon
(I used about 2 tsp.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. xylitol, coconut palm sugar or Stevia baking blend
1/4 c. water

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add all the ingredients, except for the nuts. Mix until combined. Allow to heat, stirring occasionally. 

When sweetener is dissolved, add the nuts and stir until fully mixed. Continue stirring often until nuts have been coated and are starting to crystallize. 

Remove from heat and allow to sit for 1 - 2 minutes. Stir again and pour on a plate or cutting board to cool. 

For larger cluster portions, allow to sit for 10 minutes before stirring.  Nuts may be stored in airtight container. (Hubby kept his right by his favorite chair=). 

Linked to Weekend Potluck
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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Leader Enterprise - Feb. 18, 2015 -Browning Ground Beef in the Crockpot & Recipes

"Family:Where life begins and love never ends."

As some of you may already know, we recently buried my dear dad, Bob King. He had lived in an awesome assisted living facility in Michigan for the last 5 years and was so loved there, because he gave away so much love. I'm honored and blessed that God allowed me to be holding his hand when he took his last breath here on earth. I spent a few days with my family recalling wonderful memories left by our special parents. We had a wonderful celebration of dad's life as we laughed through our tears. We are comforted knowing know we'll see him again. I have no doubt, that even at 89, dad would say life was short. 

The process I'm sharing is more of a technique than a recipe, but by keeping pre-cooked meat in the freezer, you'll save time,and money as it will save you from running through the drive-through to pick up dinner on your way home. All you have to do is thaw and you're ready to prepare a quick meal. While I prepared my own burger, I did laundry and dishes, so this is a real time saver too.

You'll be all set to make spaghetti, tacos, sloppy joes, or some of the favorite recipes I'm sharing here.

BROWNING BURGER IN THE CROCKPOT    


Place as much (lean) burger as you want to brown, in crockpot.(I used about 4# in my 3-qt.crockpot.) Stir it around to break up any lumps. Place the lid on the crock and cook on high for about 2 hours, depending on your crockpot.Stir a few times while it cooks. When done(no pink remaining), drain the grease into a bowl, then rinse with hot water to remove more grease. After it cools, bag it into freezer bags - whatever size suits your family's needs - and there you have it! Label it, date it and you're ready to rumble. 

I've been making this great meal since my kids were very young. It's still a favorite.

FARMHOUSE BBQ CUPS 

1 can (10 count) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 lb. (lean) ground beef
1/2 c. ketchup
3 Tb. brown sugar
1 Tb. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. chili powder, optional
1 c. (4 ozs) shredded cheddar cheese
(I use strips of Velveeta and criss cross them over the top)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 10 (regular size) muffin cups. Separate dough into 10 biscuits; flatten into 5"circles. Press each into the bottom and up the sides of prepared pan;set aside. In a skillet, brown ground beef; drain. Add ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar and chili powder to beef; stir until blended well. Divide meat mixture evenly among biscuit-lined muffin cups, using about 1/4 c.for each. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 16-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 4 minutes before removing from pan. Yield: 10 cups 

EASY TACO PIE 

1-8 ozs. can crescent rolls
1 lb. (lean) ground beef
1-1 oz. package taco seasoning
3 c. Doritos, crushed, divided 
1 c. sour cream
1-1/2 c. shredded Mexican cheese (we love 2% fiesta blend)

Preheat oven to 375. Set out crescent rolls to warm - (so they'll spread out easier). Brown hamburger on the stove with taco seasoning. Cook over medium high heat until the meat is browned. Drain any grease. Spread crescent rolls in a pie plate to form a crust, covering the bottom of the dish and going up the sides with the dough. (place roll points in middle and flat edges toward the outside). Place a layer of crushed Doritos as the bottom layer, adding them until the crescent dough is nicely covered (make sure to reserve some for the top layer). Add all of the meat, then layer on sour cream and cheese. Top with more crushed Doritos. Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted. Let set for 5 minutes before cutting. Serves 8. Reheats best in the oven on a stone or in the pie plate.

CROCKPOT FAMILY-FAVORITE CHILI 

2# lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (28 ozs) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16 ozs) can chili beans in sauce, undrained
1 (8 ozs) can zesty tomato sauce
1 c. favorite salsa 
(Or use 15 ozs. tomato sauce and no salsa)
2 Tb. chili powder
1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper, each 
(If preferred, use a chili seasoning packet and eliminate spices) 

In large skillet, brown beef and onion; drain. In 3-4 qt.slow cooker, mix beef, onion and remaining ingredients. Set your slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4. Serve with a grilled cheese sandwich for a perfect meal.

This tasty goulash makes enough for a family of 8.

NOT YOUR LUNCH LADY'S GOULASH 



2# ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped,optional
8 ozs. sliced fresh mushrooms
(I use a lg. can, drained)
6 garlic cloves
3 c. water
1-29 ozs. tomato sauce
1-28 ozs. diced tomatoes,undrained
1 TB. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. smokey paprika
1 tsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes,optional
garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
3 Tb. worcestershire sauce
3 c. uncooked elbow macaroni (or your favorite kind)

In large stock pot, cook beef over medium high heat, until no longer pink. Add onion, pepper and mushrooms. Cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes.Add garlic, water, tomato sauce, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, paprika, sugar, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt, pepper and worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat. 

Allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Add macaroni, stirring well. Cover and simmer 15 minutes longer, or until macaroni is done. (Check while they cook to see if you need to add more water). If there's already too much, just allow to simmer until it thickens. Allow to set covered for 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings

Friday, February 20, 2015

Chicken Pillows Extraordinaire & Weekend Potluck #158

WELCOME TO WEEKEND POTLUCK!
Always so happy you stop by to share...or check out what's being shared. 


AND...


When I share something worth sharing...again...


These guest-worthy chicken pillows are one of our favorites. Chopped Chicken, soup, cream cheese and butter ...rolled up into a crescent roll.  Swoon!!!


Just a reminder to go to the link before pinning...


Now, let's take a quick peek back at last week...

The recipe with the most clicks was ~


Shoney’s Strawberry Pie by Kelli’s Kitchen

Recipes that caught our attention ~


Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy by In Good Flavor


And, a personal favorite ~


Easy Caramel Sauce by Simply Suzanne's at Home

Your hostesses ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FIVE blogs. Plus…

We TWEET. We PIN. We LIKE.

Linky Guidelines:

If you wish to be a featured recipe or for us to promote your recipe either on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, you MUST follow these instructions.
  1. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog.
  2. LINK BACK HERE from your post so that others can find the fun. (Need help linking back? Read this or watch this great instructional videoPlease use a direct link within your post.
When you are kind enough to follow our guidelines, we work hard to get you as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested. We want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!









Wednesday, February 18, 2015

3 Crockpot Recipes using Oatmeal (Blast from the Past}


BEWARE: This overnight dish will have you jumping out of bed and running to the kitchen in the morning! 






Awesome & Company-Worthy!! 




Just the right amount of spices and bits of apple that make this a wonderful and healthy breakfast to begin the day! Make ahead and reheat in the morning if you desire. 






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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Old Fashioned Slow Cooker Baked Apples

I LOVE baked apples and this was a healthy treat for me while I'm cutting back on sweets. 

Simple, easy and delicious! Let the crockpot do your cookin' for you!

(hover over image to pin)

I saw the recipe at Cristy Jordan's Southern Plate.  You just gotta love that woman...so humble, down-to-earth and her love for family is so special. This recipe came from her granny...one passed down for generations, so you know it's gotta be awesome.

I reduced the sugar amount...drizzled with some agave nectar...added less water, skipped the butter and used fresh nutmeg instead of allspice.  There are many options in this recipe to make it your own...to fit your dietary needs or wants!  Add nuts or use raisins instead of cranberries, etc. etc. 

These apples were wonderfully sweet and the house smelled so amazing while they cooked. 

If you click on the Southern Plate link above, you can see how Cristy made these...step by step.  And she gives you options to bake in the oven as well.  Please stop over and say 'Hey' to her!

I don't use it often, but am so thankful for my apple corer that made it much easier to core these babies. 

The recipe gives amounts for EACH apple, so you can make, or few, as many as will fit in your crockpot. 


OLD FASHIONED SLOW COOKER BAKED APPLES 

4 - 6 apples
1/3 - 1/2 c. apple juice, cider or water

For each apple:

1 Tb. (dark) brown sugar
(I used half xylitol with 1/2 tsp. molasses)
1 Tb. dried craisins or raisins
1/2 tsp. cinnamon and a few shakes of allspice
(or some fresh nutmeg)
1 Tb. butter, optional
agave nectar or honey, to taste

Core each apple (I went all the way through the bottom) and peel a strip from around the top of each one (about 1"). Place in bottom of slow cooker.

In small bowl, combine brown sugar, craisins and spices; stir until combined.

Stuff each apple with filling, all the way to the top, pressing down to make room for more. Place the butter on top. (Drizzle with agave nectar or honey over tops of apples, optional) Pour water into bottom of slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours, or until tender. 

Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream and maybe some caramel syrup, or just be sure to serve some of the beautiful 'syrup' in the bottom of the crockpot on top of your apple. 

I love mine warm!! MMM!! SO comforting!



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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Crockpot (Pasta) Pizza

Looking for something simple for dinner this week? 

Here you go...you're welcome.  *-*

Let the crockpot fix dinner for you, and you'll love the ease, and the flavor!

This really isn't like a pizza...it has no crust, but it is a lovely meal and is prepared with little effort. I'm thinking it should be called Pasta Pizza!

I've had this one in my files for almost 30 years.  A friend brought it to our home that long ago and I've made it several times since.  It was high time to share it with you too!

I already had browned burger (see how to do that in the crockpot here) in the freezer, so it made this dish even easier to mix up. 

Cook the rigatoni...cut the pepperoni in half (if desired)..brown the burger if necessary... and mix everything up. 

You could combine everything but the pasta the night before, then mix it together before adding to the crockpot.  Since it only takes a few hours to cook, maybe you (or hubby?) could sneak home over lunchtime and get it going for dinner. *-*

Definitely cheesy, filling, comfort food!

Serve with garlic bread and a veggie. YUUMMMMM!


CROCKPOT PIZZA 

2/3 of 1# box of rigatoni pasta
2 lg. (16 ozs each) pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
3-4 ozs. pkg. pepperoni
2 (8 ozs. each) pizza sauce
1 - 2 lbs. (lean) ground beef
1 small onion, diced, optional
(I used a couple teaspoons of dried minced onion instead)

Cook the rigatoni; drain. (be careful not to overcook)
Cut pepperoni in half if desired, or leave whole.
Brown the burger, adding (fresh) onion if using; drain.
In large bowl, combine all ingredients, reserving some of the cheese to top dish before finishing. 

Spray a 3 - 4 qt. crockpot with cooking spray. Add mixture; cook on low for 3 - 4 hours or on high for 2, stirring occasionally. About 30 minutes before serving, top with remaining cheese to melt over top; turn to high until ready to serve.

Linked to Weekend Potluck
           Meal Plan Monday
     Whatcha Crockin Wednesday

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