Dec 29, 2011

Twice Baked Potato Casserole -- 2B or NOT 2B Casserole :)

Welcome back to the Special Edition to continue our 
Christmas Eve Dinner...

So, I bet you're wondering about the title right?!
The best potatoes in the world are Twice Baked Potatoes!
 And when I found this recipe it was called 'Twice Baked Potato Casserole'.
But in making the recipe, Marvin says that it's not exactly like real Twice Baked Potatoes are...
They are boiled and then baked!
Twice Baked or NOT Twice Baked....
You decided!!!! :)

5 lb Russet Potatoes
10 Slices Bacon
8 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Unsalted butter, melted
1 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Chives, minced
2 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
{we halved the recipe}


Preheat oven to 350*

Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch chunks

Place in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches

Bring to boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a simmer

Cook until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes
{like you would for mashed potatoes]

Transfer to a colander to drain; return to pan, cover, and set aside

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat

Add bacon and cook until crisp and brown, turning once

Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool, crumble into pieces

Using a fork, mash the potatoes in a pan until light and fluffy

Add cream cheese, butter, and sour cream and stir until combined and smooth

Add the chives, 2 cups cheddar cheese, half the bacon, salt and pepper

Stir until well combined

Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish

Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese

Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes

Removed from oven; garnish with remaining bacon

Serve immediately

Serves 10

Dec 28, 2011

Honey-Orange Glazed Ham

Marvin made an amazing glaze for our ham on our first Christmas Eve together and he has been looking for that same recipe ever since. We're not sure if this was the same recipe or not but it was really good! And super easy too!!! :) 

2 tbsp Orange Juice
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1 cup Honey
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
1 (8 pound) fully cooked whole ham
(serves 24)
{we did a 2 lb Ham and shrunk the recipe to 6 servings}


Preheat oven to 325*

Stir the orange juice, cinnamon. clove and honey together in small bowl

Set aside

Stir in almond extract (optional)

Place the ham in a shallow roasting pan

Bake it in preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes

Remove the ham from the oven and baste with the honey glaze

Return to the oven

Continue cooking until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 140*, about 45 minutes longer

Baste occasionally as the ham finishes baking

{We over cooked it a little bit but it still tasted amazing!!!}

****Tune in tomorrow for a special edition and 
continuation of Christmas Eve Dinner***

Dec 27, 2011

Tuesday Tip #14

Christmas and New Years just aren't the same with out Deviled Eggs!!
Here are some cool tips for getting the perfect boiled egg!

For the perfect boiled egg...
 Cover eggs with cold water and a pinch of salt
 Bring the water to a full boil
Remove the pan from the heat and cover
Let the eggs sit for 8-9 minutes
Drain the water and place the eggs in ice water to cool and stop the cooking process

When slicing a hard boiled egg, try wetting the knife just before cutting. If that doesn't do the trick, try applying a bit of cooking spray to the edges.

How do you make your Deviled Eggs?

Happy Tuesday!

Dec 21, 2011

Crock-Pot Venison Tenderloin

We have been really blessed this hunting season. We almost didn't get any meat. The weekend before the end of the season, Marvin got a deer and an elk. We have more meat in our freezers then we could possibly eat on our own this next year. :)
We mostly eat just ground meat or sausage but we got a few roasts and tenderloins. Typically we go over to my parents house for dinner on Sundays, but since they were busy we decided to find a recipe to try a deer tenderloin.
After doing the Cafe Rio Chicken in the Crock-Pot I asked Marvin if we could find a recipe using the Crock-Pot so that we could enjoy the simplicity of another easy meal. 
So, here is what we found...

Deer Tenderloin, sliced (small)
1 whole onion, diced (1/2 of onion sliced)
1 bag baby carrots (1/2 bag sliced)
5 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/4 wedges (10 small potatoes cut in 1/2)
2 tablespoons Tobasco Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste
Serves 4-6 ( 2 and some for left-overs)

Defrost tenderloin and marinate in Zesty Italian Salad Dressing the night before cooking

The next morning, simply place the above ingredients in the Crock-Pot

Put about 1 1/2-2 cups of water in the crock pot

We put too much water in and lost all marinated flavor
That why we recommend 1 1/2-2 cups of water
Turn on low heat for about 4 hours

Taste before serving

If more flavor needed, add additional Zesty Italian Dressing and let sit on low for additional 20 minutes

Taste, add more if desired


Dec 20, 2011

Tuesday Tip #13

I personally have never cooked a roast, but this sounds like a great idea. I don't think I ever would've thought of this...

A roast with the bone in will cook faster than a boneless roast - the bone carries the heart to the inside of the roast quicker.

What other tips do you have for cooking a roast?

Happy Tuesday!

Dec 19, 2011

Spiritual Feastin #8

I did it again!!! I’m really getting bad at this. I knew I was forgetting to do something yesterday but I just couldn’t remember what it was. And yet again, I had thought all week about what I wanted to write about and it escaped me. I promise that I will get better at this! :)
Can you believe that next Sunday is Christmas? Where did this year go? I feel like it was just yesterday Marvin and I were discussing the goals that we had for this year… I can’t believe it! But I’m so excited for the New Year and what it will bring for us.

We had the chance to go to the Temple yesterday. I love going to the temple! The first year we were married we were truly blessed and were able to go 15 times :). The second year it got a little less but we made it almost if not ever month. This year, got busier and we kind of slacked off. The last time we had gone to the Temple was for my brothers Endowment before his mission in August. Then hunting season came and when we weren’t busy with one thing Marvin was out hunting. We were really nervous about the weather and crossing passes to get to the Temple. (We live in Montana; the Temple is in Spokane Washington.) But we were safe and sound and were able to enjoy a beautiful session.
There is nothing quiet like going to the Temple.
We have to drive 3 hours to get there. It’s not bad. It could be worse… It’s hard to find a whole day some times to spending driving to and from, but when you do, it is more then worth it. I love the sense of feeling ‘at home’ when we go to the Temple. Whenever it’s time to leave Marvin will turn to me and say “Are you ready to go?” and I always look back at him and say “Am I ever ready to go?”
When we were first married and I was going to school I would get stressed out a lot. I was going to photography school at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and that is intense schooling. You could have a 12 hour day or a 4 our day and whenever I would get stressed out Marvin would know it was time to go to the Temple. When you walk in those doors you have the opportunity to leave the outside world behind and focus on your connection with your Father in Heaven. It was always peaceful and comforting and it was always hard to hold on to that rejuvenating feeling of peace when you walked out those doors. But I would eagerly wait for the next time that we could go.
When we were there this past time, I felt like it was a perfect chance to talk with Heavenly Father about some things that I have been worried about. I know that whenever we pray and no matter where we are He does here us, but I feel like when I’m in the Temple, He’s sitting right next to me and hears me perfectly and I have his undivided attention. It was nice to be able to lay out my frustrations and concerns. I never felt anything at the moment as I was talking, but now that I look back, the worry kind of melted away and even now as I’m talking about this, I still feel peace that everything will work out okay. Marvin had done the same thing and we talked about what we had ‘figured’ out so to speak and we’ve got a plan of action! I know plans always change and that as soon as any make a plan it seems like the Lord has something else in store, but we have to remember that we can’t stop planning and progressing :).
Moral of the story, I’m soooo grateful that we were able to go to the Temple this weekend and so close to Christmas and get that spiritual nourishment. I think it will really help us stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas!!!
Enjoy your week and if I happen to forget to post again next week…
Merry Christmas!!!!

Dec 18, 2011

Raspberry Turnovers

I know I haven't done as many Saturday Season Treats as I have wanted to but I found the time to make these...

This little treat is super delicious and I have been craving it for quite sometime!!
I'm really excited to say that this is all 100% homemade!! :)
By ME!!

For the turn over part see...
The delicious raspberry middle...

And here are images of how it all came together!

I scraps of crust that couldn't make a successful square so I got creative!

They were super delicious and hit the spot!!! :)


Dec 14, 2011

Breakfast Pizza

This was super easy and tasted better then I thought it would.
To hear breakfast and pizza together might make someone wonder how it would really turn out.
But this was good! :)

Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Roll Dough (2 packages)
Cooking Spray
Breakfast Sausage
Frozen Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes, thawed
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Salt & Pepper
Egg Substitute (8 oz)
Parmesan Cheese (optional)
(There aren't measurements because it's really about how much you like.
 I gave some recommendations.)

Separate dough into triangles

Press triangles together to form a single round crust on a 12 inch pizza pan coated with cooking spray

Pressing the triangles together didn't seem to work so we combined 2 packages and rolled them out like real dough
Crimp edges of dough with fingers to form a rim

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until brown, stir, crumble, drain

Top dough with sausage...

...hash browns...


Combine milk, salt, pepper & egg substitute & stir with a whisk
(just a little bit of milk to make eggs fluffy)

Carefully pour egg mixture over "pizza" toppings

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (optional)

Bake at 375* for 25 minutes or until crust is browned

Our crust got burnt because somehow we brushed up against the nob on the stove and turned the heat up too high ;)


Dec 13, 2011

Tuesday Tip #12

When I found this I was shocked. I wouldn't have ever thought of using olive oil instead of flour. I don't know about you but I grow up learning to flour my hands. It's always frustrating how much dough gets stuck on your hands. This will be a fun one to try as the baking season gets into full swing.

When working with dough, don't flour your hands; coat them with olive oil to prevent sticking.

Let us know how this works for you!

Happy Tuesday!

Dec 11, 2011

Spiritual Feasting #7

This week almost slipped away from me again. I thought a lot about what I wanted to share with you this week and I had even found what I wanted to share but time got away from me and I completely forgot about it until I was scheduling some other posts this evening.
I got a few books on Black Friday and one in particular had something in it that I wanted to share. It really made me think. 
I’m reading “Have a Little Faith” by Mitch Albom. I LOVE his books. They are always so insightful and always make me think. In it he quotes a sermon from a Rabbi in 1975...
“A man seeks employment on a farm. He hands his letter of recommendation to his new employer. It reads simply, ‘He sleeps in a storm.’
The owner is desperate for help, so he hires the man.
Several weeks pass, and suddenly, in the middle of the night, a powerful storm rips through the valley.
Awakened by the swirling rain and howling wind, the owner leaps out of bed. He calls for his new hired hand, but the man is sleeping soundly.
So he dashes off to the barn. He sees, to his amazement, that the animals are secure with plenty of feed.
He runs out to the field. He sees the bales of wheat have been bound and are wrapped in tarpaulins.
He races to the silo. The doors are latched, and the grain is dry.
And then he understands. ‘He sleeps in a storm.’
My friends, if we tend to the things that are important in life, if we are right with those we love and behave in line with our faith, our lives will not be cursed with the aching throb of unfulfilled business. Our words will always be sincere, our embraces will be tight. We will never wallow in the agony of ‘I could have, I should have.’ We can sleep in a storm.
And when it’s time, our good-byes will be complete.”
As I read this I had to stop and think for a second. This really is a great piece of advice that I think we all need to stop and think about especially this time of the year. 
Christmas gets to be a really busy time of the year. With all the shopping and parties and gift wrapping and goodies to bake, we forget about what this season is all about.
We need to strive to be more like the man that ‘sleeps in the storm.’
I bet you’re trying to figure out what I mean by that... Well, sometimes, we have to say no to the things that aren’t exactly good or important priorities and focus on what are the important priorities. Like, spending time with family and being in the here and now instead of constantly worrying about our ‘to-do lists.’ 
This year, I decided that I wanted to have all my presents bought/crafted before the beginning of December because I wanted to be able to enjoy the Christmas Season with out the stresses of being behind on the never ending ‘to-do list’. Well, I didn’t exactly get that goal completed, but I did finish crafting my last present tonight and all we have to do is purchase two more and wrap them all. I think that is pretty good considering it’s December 11. That means that I have 13 days, minus the the few to wrap all the presents this week, where I can sit and enjoy the Christmas lights and relax with my husband and remember the real reason for the season.
But this thought isn’t just for the Holiday Season, its for all year round. We don’t have any kids yet, but I already feel stressed and overwhelmed with house work and finding time to fit everything in during the day along with my full time job. The two biggest stressed are the dishes and the laundry. I’m not sure I want to even think about how much more of a stress those things are going to get when our family does grow, but since reading that quote, those are the two things that I have worked on the most. We both had doing them. When you walk into our trailer the first thing you see is the kitchen and the last thing you see when you go to bed is the laundry on the bed or the floor. So I made it a goal to do the dishes every night before we go to bed, regardless of how many there are, and to fold/put away the laundry the day it is washed. I’m proud to say that I completed my goal for the week and it feels amazing. I really have been less stressed and I feel like in a little way, I could ‘sleep in storm’. I got my chores done and I had more time to play and it was more enjoyable with out the dread of having to do it later. :)
I have a long way to go in being more like the man that ‘sleeps in the storm’, with all my work completed and properly, but I’m enjoying the results of what I have learned thus far.
There is one more quote that I wanted to share from the book and it’s a pretty self explanatory quote. Another one to make you think...
“So have we solved the secret of happiness?
‘I believe so’, he said.
Are you going to tell me?
‘Yes, Ready?’
‘Be satisfied.’
That’s it?
‘For what you have. For the love you receive. And for what God has given you.’
That’s it?
He looked me in the eye. Then he sighed deeply.
‘That’s it.’”
May we always remember what the secret is to happiness every day are lives and enjoy every moment!!!

Dec 7, 2011

Pesto Stuffed Shells

So, I'll admit right now that I love the blog {Chef-n-Training}. She has really great recipes all the time. Last weeks recipe was from her blog and so is this recipe.

It's very similar to {Manicotti} and is just as easy!
We really enjoyed it and it has a little "secret" in the cheese stuffing that makes it healthier then just the straight Manicotti.

12 oz Jumbo Shell Pasta
15 oz Ricotta Cheese
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup Basil Pesto
1 Egg
2 cups Fresh Spinach
3 cups Pasta Sauce

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the Ricotta, Mozzarella, Pesto and the Egg

Roughly chop the spinach and stir it into the cheese mixture

Refrigerate the filling until you are ready to use

Cook the Pasta according to the directions on the box (roughly 12 minutes)

Rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process then drain

Preheat oven to 350*

Spread about 1 cup (or more) of Pasta Sauce in the bottom of a glass baking dish (9x13)

Spoon about 3 tablespoons of pesto cheese mix into the center of each shell

Pack closely together, if not they may dry out during the cooking process

Pour the remaining 2 cups (or more) of Pasta Sauce over the top of the shells

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling up around the edges
(the "or until...." section is the key, we have a gas stove and did not have to cook the full 30 minutes)

I'm excited that we found another recipe that is similar to Manicotti and just as easy but a bit healthier with the addition of Spinach.

Hope you Enjoy!