Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Free Easter Devotional

I just had to share with my friends the free, downloadable, 17 day Easter Devotional, which includes ornaments and instructions for an Easter Tree over at A Holy Experience.  You do have to subscribe to her posts, but you will want to, they are wonderful!  The devotional is call Trail to the Tree,  written by Ann Voskamp, and includes reproductions of classic paintings in full color as part of the book, and for use as ornaments at the end. You can look over a preview in pictures of the devotional and Easter Tree at her blog.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Easy Monkey Bread

This is one of my Mom's recipes.  I've seen similar ones in other places.
Monkey Bread is one of the first recipes I made with my kids.  My experience with my own kids, and others, is that kids love to make this.  They can do everything except take the bread in and out of the oven.

3 cans refrigerator biscuits
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 stick of butter (or margarine, but we don't use margarine at our house because the kids are allergic)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a bundt pan (I use the stick of butter to grease it, but you can grease the pan however you like).
Mix cinnamon and sugar in a medium size bowl.
Cut or tear the biscuits into quarters.
 Roll the biscuit pieces in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Drop the biscuit pieces into the greased bundt pan.

When all pieces of biscuit have been coated in cinnamon and sugar, add the butter to the leftover cinnamon and sugar.  You can melt it in the microwave or on the stove. 

When sugar is melted, pour the mixture over the biscuits.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Test doneness by pulling on some pieces, also  biscuits will look done.

Immediately invert the bread on to a plate so that the glaze will coat over the bread.

The really fun part is eating monkey bread.  You just pull off little pieces.  Everyone seems to like the outside crunchy part best, but the inside is really good, too!

This is a great dessert or breakfast dish.  The picture is not the best, usually monkey bread looks darker than this.  This is the the easiest way to make monkey bread, but you can also make your own biscuit dough to make monkey bread.  I've had a Martha Stewart recipe for Monkey Bread made from scratch for years, but never taken the time to make Monkey Bread that way.

Easy Crockpot Russian Chicken Soup

I have posted this recipe before, but not my easy crockpot version.

Soup Ingredients:
1 box of your favorite chicken broth
2 or 3 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 stalks of celery, chopped
about a 1/2 to 1 cup of shredded or chopped carrots
country seasoning (or green onion and dill)
2-4 potatoes peeled and chopped
1 -14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)

Dumpling Ingredients:
3 eggs
2/3 cup flour
country seasoning (or ground pepper and dill)

Put frozen chicken breasts in crockpot and add the rest of the soup ingredients.  Cook on high for about 4 to 6 hours.  About a half hour before you want to serve the soup, pull the chicken out and shred it up with a fork.  Add the chicken back to the soup.

Then mix up the dumplings.  They might seem a little runny compared to other dumplings you've made before.

Make a bowl of ice water and grab a teaspoon (just a metal spoon, not a measuring spoon).  Open up your crock of soup (which should be very hot, maybe even bubbly).  Dip the spoon in the ice water, then scoop up a dumpling and dip the spoon in the soup.  The dumpling should slide off as you pull the spoon out.  Then repeat:  could water bath, scoop of dumplings, swim in soup.  When you've scooped all the dumpling mix into the soup, put the lid back on and let the dumplings cook for about 30 minutes.  They will look done, nice and fluffy, instead of the the lumpy/runny stuff you put in earlier.

This is not a pretty looking soup, but very tasty and nutritious.

Cinnamon Apple Pork Tenderloin in the Crockpot

I got this recipe from, but I don't make it in the oven, I make it in the crockpot.

1 to 1 and 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin... or really any cut of pork you like (chops would work, too)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (actually, I wind up kind of chopping them)
2 tablespoons dried cranberries (or raisins, but I have always used cranberries, hubby doesn't like raisins)

I usually use a frozen pork loin.  I put that in my crockpot first.
In a separate bowl, mix the other ingredients.
Pour over the pork loin in the crockpot.
Then cook on low for about 6 hours, or high for about 4 hours. 
Cook time will depend on the size of meat and if it is completely frozen or partially thawed.
Just make sure the meat is thoroughly cooked before you serve it.  ;)  You can always check it with a meat thermometer.

Cinnamon Toast

Can you tell I've been wanting to blog and not getting to?  The dates on these photos give me away.

This is a recipe of my Dad's; I would say it is one of his specialties.  Dad didn't cook a lot, but I remember him making it for my brother and I for breakfast on the weekends.  It smells so good, and tastes even better.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Start with 1/2 cup sugar. 
Put in a little cinnamon and stir to make it look brown. 
Add a little milk in and stir, you want it to look thick, but thin enough to spread on bread.
If it doesn't look right, add more sugar, or cinnamon, or both.
Spread pretty thick on the bread on a baking sheet.
Toast in the oven for 8 to 15 minutes.
Check often.
Cinnmon and suar with bubble on the toast.
Check under toast to see if it is brown, if so, toast is done.

FYI:  1/2 cup sugar won't cover much bread.  :)

This is very much like those old recipes from grandma, or great-grandma, where you don't get the exact measurements, but it is a family recipe and worth experimenting with.  My first try turned out pretty good.  One of these (or two, or three) and a glass of milk, and I'm a happy camper.

Cheesy Hashbrown Potatoes

This is my son's absolute favorite dish.  I believe this particular one is missing the extra cheese on top.  But, it basically looks right.  This is one of the dishes that I usually try to make one and free one.  I buy enough ingredients to make two, instead of just one, and the second one goes in the foil pan that you see there (this is a double from Thanksgiving... didn't last long in the freezer before Wyatt requested to eat it).

To cook the frozen one, I have to either add time to cooking, or thaw out in the freezer the day before we want to eat it.

Ingredients (for one dish... double if you want to make a spare):
1 lb 14 oz Country Style Hash Browns
1 can cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken... we like mushroom... you can also substitute extra sour cream in a pinch)
"medium" container of sour cream (I use about the same amount of sour cream as mushroom soup)
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (save about 1/2 cup for the top)
1/4 cup butter-melted
original blend Mrs. Dash-be generous with this seasoning
salt and pepper (optional... I don't use it anymore)

Oven Directions:
Thaw hash browns.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together.
I usually mix all ingredients, minus hash browns, in the dish I'll be cooking in:  a 9 x 13 inch pan.
Then I add the hash browns gradually and mix thoroughly. 
Next add the saved portion of cheese (you can add a little extra if you have it, and you are cheese lovers like us).
Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Crockpot Directions:
You can also make this in the crockpot.  I think it's just as yummy that way, though Wyatt disagrees with me.
If making in the crockpot, spray your crock with cooking spray, then follow directions to mix together.  You won't need any foil.  The bigger the crockpot, the more like the baked dish this will be.  I used a large oval crockpot to make mine (sorry, I don't have any pictures of the crockpot dish).  Cover with lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.  The cheese on top should be melty when done, and hopefully the top edges are brown and crispy.