Friday, February 12, 2016

Almond Roca Knapp Style

2 C butter
2 C sugar
2 C slightly chopped almonds
3/4 C finely chopped almonds
12 Oz bag  chocolate chips or 2 C

1.  Spread 2 cups almonds onto a jelly roll pan
2.  Melt butter in saucepan
3.  Add sugar and stir continuously over medium -high heat until it reaches a full boil.
4.  Cook and stir for about 12 minutes or until it reaches 300/ or hard rock on candy thermometer
Toffee will be golden brown like PB
5.  Immediately take off heat and pour over almonds on cookie sheet
6.  Smooth toffee over almonds until its even
7.  while toffee is still hot drop chocolate chips evenly distributed on top
8.  Let chocolate melt
9.  Smooth melted chocolate over toffee with frosting spatula
10.   Sprinkle with 3/4 C almonds
11.  Allow to cool for several hours
12.  Break into pieces

This is seriously the best toffee I have ever tasted.  Whitney got recipe from her mother in law and made it for us for Christmas.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Best Beef Stew Ever from Budget Bytes


Chunky Beef Stew

4.9 from 11reviews
Total Cost: $10.38
Cost Per Serving: $1.73
Serves: 6
  • 1 to 1½ lbs. boneless stew meat $6.19
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour $0.03
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 medium onion $0.36
  • 4 cloves garlic $0.32
  • 3 oz. tomato paste $0.27
  • 3 cups beef broth* $0.45
  • 1 whole bay leaf $0.15
  • ¾ tsp dried thyme $0.04
  • ¾ tsp dried rosemary $0.04
  • to taste freshly cracked pepper $0.05
  • ½ lb. (about 3) carrots $0.55
  • 1 lb. potatoes $0.90
  • 1 cup frozen peas $0.45
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce $0.05
  • ¼ bunch parsley (optional) $0.21
  1. Cut the beef into smaller, bite-sized chunks. Add the beef and flour to a small bowl and toss the beef in the flour until it is well coated.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it is hot, add about half of the beef chunks and cook until golden brown. Once browned, remove the beef, add the second batch, and cook until browned again. Try not to stir the beef as it is browning, that will make it take longer. Adding all of the beef at once will over crowd the pot and cause moisture to build up, which will also prevent browning. The beef does not have to be fully cooked at this point, just browned on the outside.
  3. While the beef is browning, chop the onion into wedges and mince the garlic. After the beef has browned, add the onion and garlic to the pot, and saute it for 2-3 minutes. If the browned bits on the bottom of the pot become very dark or look like they will burn, move on to the next step immediately. The onions do not need to be fully cooked.
  4. Add the tomato paste and beef broth to the pot. Stir the pot until all of the browned bits have dissolved off of the bottom. Return the browned beef to the pot and also add the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and a generous dose of freshly cracked pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Place a lid on the pot and allow it to come up to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, turn the heat down to low and let it continue to simmer for 30 minutes. If it stops bubbling (simmering) at any point, turn the heat up just slightly.
  6. While the pot is simmering, peel and slice the carrots. Wash the potatoes well and cut them into ¾ inch cubes. Once the pot has simmered for 30 minutes, add the carrots, potatoes, and peas. Cover the pot again and let simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  7. Stir the worcestershire sauce into the stew. Taste the stew and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Roughly chop a handful of parsley and sprinkle it over top. Serve hot.
*I use concentrated beef broth (bouillon) + water to make broth, which is less expensive than canned broths.

Kindra's Perfect Sugar Cookies (hold shapes to decorate)

2 1/4 cup  flour
1/4 t salt
3/4 cup  sugar
12 T butter
1 egg
1 t vanilla

Whisk together flour and salt and set aside.  In another bowl mix butter and sugar until  smooth and creamy.  Add egg and vanilla. Add flour.
Refrigerate dough in plastic wrap.
Roll 1/4 inch thick.
Bake at 350 for 8-10 min

Frosting (cut meringue powder in half for a slightly softer icing)  it will take a day or so to dry if you do, but it won't crack.  see for picture instructions of frosting.
Royal Icing
Yield: Approximately 5 cups
  • 2 pounds {one bag} confectioner's sugar {907 grams}
  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder {approximately 53 grams}
  • 2-3 teaspoons oil-free extract or emulsion...  vanilla
  • 1/2-3/4 cups warm water
  1. Begin by stirring the flavoring into half the water.
  2. Using a paddle attachment, gently mix the sugar and meringue powder. It's not necessary to sift the sugar beforehand, but you can if you like.
  3. With the mixer on it's lowest setting slowly add the water/flavoring mix to the dry ingredients. As the water is added, the icing will become thick and lumpy.
  4. Continue to add the remaining water {this may or may not be the entire amount} until the mixture reaches a thick, honey like consistency. At this point, turn the mixer to medium speed and whip 2-4 minutes until this icing is thick and fluffy. Mixing time can vary greatly so watch carefully and stop mixing when the icing is this enough to form a soft peak.
Don't be afraid to experiment by adding corn syrup, glycerin, or cream of tartar to the mixture. Use a fan for a smooth shiny finish. Royal icing can be affected by many variables. With a little time and patience, you will find your perfect match.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Spiral Pasta Salad
Grandma Elsie Thackeray

Cook Spiral  Noodles (1 lb. Package)
Chopped celery
Chopped tomatoes
Sliced black olives


2/3 cup red wine vinegar ( other types vinegar ok)
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dad's Dutch Oven Chicken (minus the dutch)

It turned out perfect!
3 to 4 chicken breasts (for 6 people)
1 T seasonall or ½ T salt and ½ T pepper
1 C flour
¼ C oil
4 Carrots – cut in 3 inch lengths and then halved
6 potatoes – cut in 4 or 6 pieces
1 onion – sliced in ¼ inch slices (like onion rings)
1 can cream of chicken soup mixed with 1/2 C milk

Combine flour, seasonall or salt and pepper in gallon zip bag
Cut breasts in half or thirds
Shake breast in flour until well coated
Heat fry pan with oil and put coated chicken in pan and brown well on both sides.  The chicken does not need to be cooked through

In 9X13 pan put one layer of onions, potatoes, and carrots
Place browned chicken on top of first layer
Put remaining onions, potatoes and carrots on top of chicken
Sprinkle flour left over from chicken on top – makes nice thick gravy
Mix soup and milk and pour on top of everything.  I will often use two cans of soup because I like lots of the gravy.

Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 3 hours at 300 or 2 hours at 350.

Friday, January 16, 2015

These are amazing.  I've been looking for a long time for a brownie recipe that could hold a candle to my favorite brownie mix (Hershey's triple chunk).  These win.  Hands down.  Yum.  Dense, moist, top crispy layer, sweetly chocolate, and delicious to the edges.  The picture above includes a layer of York Peppermint Patties and Homemade Chocolate Frosting (Choco. chips, Butter, Milk, and Powdered Sugar)

Born from the newest addition to my family.  My Cuisine at Home Cookbook Annual Volumes.  They complete me.  I hope they don't mind that I post this here.  ;)

Basic Chocolate Brownies
(Makes 1- 9x13" pan)
Work Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time 25-30 Minutes

Melt and Set Aside:
12 oz semisweet chocolate, broken up
1 1/2 c. sugar
12 T butter

Wisk Together:
1 c flour
1/4 c cocoa
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt

Bean until Foamy:
4 large eggs (at room temp)
1 T vanilla

Bake at 350 degrees. 22-25 min.
in a greased 9x13 pan.

Heat butter, sugar and chocolate until melted.  (I microwaved mine.  I used 1/2 milk and 1/2 dark because I didn't have semisweet.  Let cool.  Spray pan.  Line with parchment paper if desired and spray again.  Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Beat eggs and vanilla until foamy (mine never foamed, possibly because my eggs were too cold?  not sure)  Add cooled chocolate to eggs.  Mix until well combined.  Add flour mixture, one half at a time, folding into wet ingredients.  Spread batter into pan.  Bake for 22-25 minutes until toothpick inserted in center is barely moist.  Beware of over baking.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Cajun Chicken Pasta

I have made alot (and I mean ALOT) of recipes from Pinterest. Steven and I like trying new things for that spice of life. This post is dedicated to probably the best recipe I've made so far off of Pinterest. I've only made it twice, but can't wait to make it again. Our pictures make it look awful, but it's TASTY! 

This is what ours ended up looking like (I omitted mushrooms and used cheaper bell peppers)

This is the blogger's picture which some have probably seen floating around on Pinterest before. 

Serves 5. 

  • 8 ounces uncooked linguine (I used Dreamfields)
  • 1 pound chicken breast strips
  • 1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning (or to taste)*
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp light cream cheese*
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • Smart Balance cooking spray


1. Prep all your vegetables. In a small blender make a slurry by combining milk, flour and cream cheese. Set aside. Season chicken generously with Cajun seasoning, garlic powder and salt.
2. Prepare pasta in salted water according to package directions.
3. Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; spray with cooking spray and add half of the chicken. Sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until done, set aside on a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken. Set aside.
4. Add olive oil to the skillet and reduce to medium; add bell peppers, onions, and garlic to skillet, sauté 3-4 minutes
5. Add mushrooms and tomatoes and sauté 3-4 more minutes or until vegetables are tender. Season with 1/4 tsp salt, garlic powder and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
6. Reduce heat to medium-low; add chicken broth and pour in slurry stirring about 2 minutes.
7. Return chicken to skillet; adjust salt and Cajun seasoning to taste, cook another minute or two until hot, then add linguine; toss well to coat. Top with chopped scallions and enjoy!

*I don't recommend using "light" cream cheese. NOT a fan at all of the taste. But if you're concerned with calories & like the flavor, by all means.
** The Cajun seasoning creates a dull spice in my opinion, if you like less spice, add less. If you like more, add more. 

I hope you like it as much as I did! Let me know if you try it!