Friday, January 27, 2012

Free Recipe's CRUNCH time!

Have your side dishes gone to sleep?!
Are you tired of baking that routine chicken breast
and plopping open a can of plain ol' green beans to go with it?!
......snore, yawn, zzzz........
Does your meal need a little ZING or a little POW added to it?!?
Well, if you like beans and corn 
then you're gonna LOVE this weeks Free Recipe!!!!
It's not just ANY bean and corn casserole...
this one reigns SUPREME!
It's got great crunch to it and a GREAT alternative
to the old green bean/mushroom soup/fried onion casserole standby!!!!!

(do I like all caps, the ... pauses and exclamation marks much?!???
sorry, it's a SICKNESS............!!! ahhh)

Here's all you'll need!

1 can french style green beans, drained
1 can shoepeg corn, drained
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
- - - - -
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup almonds, sliced or slivered
(ours were whole that we ran thru the food processor)

Spray a 9x13 pan and dump the first 5 ingredients in.

In a separate bowl, melt butter, then add
a crumbled sleeve of Ritz crackers - stir to combine.
Add cracker mixture to bean/corn mixture and stir.
Lastly, sprinkle the mixture with almonds and bake at 350
until golden - appx 45 minutes or longer.
Let cool for 10-15 minutes to avoid lava hotness :)

(Side note - for a family of 6, we doubled this so we could have leftovers!)


Friday, January 20, 2012

Free Recipe Friday....SOUP!

Are you like going to the grocery store
one of your 'leastest' favorite things to do in the whole world?!??
Then today's Free Recipe Friday is just for YOU!
It's one of those
'my pantry is empty so what can I make' kind of meals.  
It is so very easy and the ingredients can be 
as basic or complex as you want them to be.
Have a few potatoes hanging around from that big ol' bag you bought?
Have an almost empty jug of milk about to go bad? 
(THAT sounds scary, but we've ALL been there!)
Then you should make some yummy Potato Soup!!!!!!!!!!
Potato Soup can be as basic or as fancy as you want it to be.
It can be 'Rustic' or more like a 'Loaded Baked Potato' kind of soup...
it all depends on you, your pantry and your fridge!

Our Free Recipe Friday Potato Soup
is of the loaded type...OF course....
because we love pork and dairy!
But the addition of bacon or sausage and cheese
can easily be omitted!  Easily!


- 6-8 bacon strips, diced OR
1/2 lb. bulk pork sausage

- 1 medium onion, chopped

- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

- 2 teaspoons salt (or more, to taste)

- 1 teaspoon pepper (or more, to taste)

- 6 cups chicken broth (canned, low salt OR 
chicken base, paste with water added)

- 4 large baked potatoes, washed and cubed
(peeling them is also optional)
*side note: feel free to substitute YOUR fav potatoes
such as yukon gold, or red potatoes - just be aware
these are less starchy and the soup will not be as thick)

- 2 cups half-and-half cream or milk
- appx. 2 cups cubed Velveeta
(this stuff gags me, but is great for soups!) 

Items for garnishing:
Shredded Cheddar, Sour Cream, Green Onions/Chives

In a heavy medium size stockpot,
pour in your chicken broth and diced potatoes.
Bring to a boil until potatoes are just barely tender.
While those are cooking, in a seperate saucepan, 
cook bacon or pork sausage until crisp. 
Drain, reserving several tablespoons of the drippings. 
Set bacon/sausage aside. 
Saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender. 
Stir in flour, salt and pepper; mix well. 
Gradually add a cup or two of the broth out of your potato pot
into your onion/bacon/flour mixture.
Whisk until smooth.  Now pour bacon/sausage mixture from your saucepan
into your stockpot with broth and potatoes.
Stir for several minutes. Turn down to low.
After mixture has stopped boiling and is down to a simmer,
add cubed velveeta.
Continue to stir.  Add cream...heat through but do not boil.
Check for seasoning (salt/pepper).
Garnish with bacon, cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions or chives.

Add a salad, crackers on the side....or don't add one single thing.
It's that good!
And if you used remnants from your pantry and fridge, it cost you pennies!
Well, maybe a few dollars.
BUT, you didn't have to go to the store! Yippeeeeee!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Free Recipe Friday. . .Grapes and Mayo

It's Free Recipe Friday and we're baaack!!!!
And before you say GRAPES and MAYO, whaaaat???
Stick around, your taste buds will be glad you did.
Even though it's not springtime just yet, we just had to throw in
one of our favorite family quick fix meals.
It's Chicken Salad!  But not just ANY chicken salad.
This is the very same chicken salad that we made at
The Tuttle House Tea Room.
(Raise your hand if you ever had lunch there!?!!???)
This recipe originally came from a Southern Living Cookbook...
probably circa 1983 or 84?!
Who knew that putting GRAPES into mayonnaise could be THIS delicious!

CAUTION:  If you are one that can only cook by measuring exact ingredients
and following precise instructions, then this my friend will be a stretch for you!
But it will be a good stretch indeed.

(we fed our family of 4 plus the newlyweds and a few servings leftover)

Grapes - we used a whole bag of red grapes - sliced in half
(yes, each one sliced in half - one by one -
monotonous I know, but it is a great job for your kids
to do with a butter knife that has a few serrated teeth on it!)

Celery - diced
we used appx a half of a 'bunch'

Chicken - cooked and chopped (we always boil ours)
we used a 3 lb. bag/boneless-skinless breasts
(you could certainly use a rotisserie chicken
or other chicken pieces-but you may need to adjust
the remainder of ingredients accordingly - 
you will definitely need less mayo with a rotisserie chicken)

Mayo - Miracle Whip
gasp - we used almost 2 cups here
you can use less if you will be eating it immediately -
the chicken tends to absorb some of that mayo/moisture
if made ahead or eaten as leftovers, thus the need for excessive mayo!
(and WE personally prefer Miracle Whip to Mayonnaise for this recipe)

Nuts - appx. 1 cup or your favorite - optional of course -
the original Southern Living Recipe called for cashews
(which I used in this batch)
but be forewarned, they should be added right before serving
as they tend to get a bit mushy after a day or two in the fridge.
At The Tuttle House Tea Room,
we used chopped pecans was magical!

You can certainly increase or decrease this recipe easily to your liking.
Only need chicken salad for one or two?
Chop up only the amount of chicken you will need - one or two pieces -
continue to add as many grapes and celery as you'd like.
We prefer a little less celery sometimes, 
so we only put in the amount of 'crunch' we want!
That's why this recipe isn't really measured - again, be flexible...
let loose in the kitchen and don't be scared!

Although back in 'The Tuttle House days' (as we call them),
we would serve this on a big yummy croissant with a nice piece of leaf lettuce
and a few potato chips on the side (or some homemade soup!).
These days we don't seem to bother with 'extra filler' like bread,
we just eat the chicken salad STRAIGHT - maybe a few crackers on the side.
Our whole family loves this chicken salad - even the kids!

Hope you are able to try this recipe really soon - you'll be so glad you did!
Have a great, warm, snugly weekend!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A New Year with Passion!

Is everyone still fasting from all of the holiday madness??? 
Wow!  I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and start to the New Year! 
Around our household there has been much partying, traveling, 
eating and a little bit of resting. 
Our back to reality 'routine' officially just began today!
Yes, just now on January the 9th!
Our youngest back in school,
myself starting back to work tomorrow and
our middle and oldest daughters will be back at college in a few days.
The biggest treat to the New Year for me???
My sweet husband is no longer working nights!!! Hip-Hip-Hooray!!!!!
It has been nice to have had so much family time
these past few weeks.

We are finally recovered from our trip to Atlanta, Ga.
that we took last week with about 25 college kids!
A drive that took 13 hours coming and going, whew!
I am so thankful we were able to take our group and attend
the Passion Conference again this year. WOW!
What a powerful week and how our eyes were opened
to so much tragedy that is going on in this world.
So excited that this generation is making a difference!
Approximately 45,000 college kids gave over 3 million dollars
to help end modern day slavery/sex trafficking.
It. Was. Amazing!!!!

I am so thankful for 2011
and for all of you faithful Crumbs & Crayons fans!!!
Looking forward to this year...
consulting classes with the great Holli Conger coming up soon
and promoting our 'Crumbs in YOUR Kitchen' venture is going to be great fun!
I can't wait to see what all God has in store!
We are also looking forward to being back on Friday with a new recipe!
Have a great week!