Dec 30, 2010




I don’t like to refer to myself as cheap so I will say I am frugal. I hate spending big bucks on things we use every day.  I love to have foaming hand soap in the bathroom, but I hate to pay refill prices. In the kitchen I have the Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap System which I refill myself also. I decided to find a way to refill my foaming hand soap dispenser that I purchased at Target. I paid around $2.50 for the initial foaming soap dispenser and of course it came filled, but I wasn’t going to pay the money they wanted to refill it. After 2 minutes of research I found a “recipe” and instructions on how to make my own. I walked to the bathroom with a measuring spoon, cup, and dish soap and 1 minute later I had foaming soap! Simple Simple Simple! Cheap!


You will need:
  • 1 empty foaming hand spa dispenser
  • 3 TBS Clear (very important) liquid soap (body wash, hand soap, dish washing soap, shampoo)
  • 2/3 Cup water


Directions:

  1. Add the 3 TBS of clear liquid soap to your foaming hand soap dispenser
  2. Add the 2/3 Cup of water
  3. Close up your your foaming hand soap dispenser and gently move the soap and water around so that they will mix well. Do not shake! Gently combine the water and the soap.
  4. Test your foaming hand soap dispenser to insure it works
  5. Enjoy!





This is an excellent recipe on a cold winters night! It's warm and filling, and even better... it's not very expensive! I love corn chowder!! I had no idea I loved it until I finally gave it a chance now it's a favorite soup of mine. I did not use fresh corn. I actually used one can of sweet corn.

Ingredients:


Directions:

  1. Husk the corn.
  2. Carefully remove most of the silk by hand and then rub the ears with a towel to finish the job. 
  3. Cut the kernels from the cobs and place in a bowl.
  4. You should have about 2 cups.
  5. Using the back of your knife, scrape down the cobs and add the milky substance that oozes out to the corn kernels.
  6. Heat a 3-to 4-quart heavy pot over low heat and add the diced bacon.
  7. Once it has rendered a few tablespoons of fat, increase the heat to medium and cook until the bacon is crisp and golden brown.
  8. Pour off all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat, leaving the bacon in the pot.
  9. Add the butter, onion, bell pepper, thyme, cumin, and turmeric and sauté, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for about 8 minutes, until the onion and pepper are tender but not browned.
  10. Add the corn kernels, potatoes and stock, turn up the heat, cover, and boil vigorously for about 10 minutes.
  11. Some of the potatoes will have broken up, but most should retain their shape.
  12. Use the back of your spoon to smash a bit of the corn and potatoes against the side of the pot.
  13. Reduce the heat to medium and season the chowder with salt and pepper.
  14. Stir the cornstarch mixture and slowly pour it into the pot, stirring constantly.
  15. As soon as the chowder has come back to a boil and thickened slightly, remove from the heat and stir in the cream.
  16. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  17. If you are not serving the chowder within the hour, let it cool a bit, then refrigerate; cover the chowder AFTER it has chilled completely.
  18. Otherwise, let it sit at room temperature for up to an hour, allowing the flavors to meld.
  19. When ready to serve, reheat the chowder over low heat; don't let it boil.
  20. Ladle into cups or bowls and sprinkle with the chopped chives.

This recipe was found on www.food.com

Dec 29, 2010


This is a fantastic recipe! The chicken legs are bursting with teriyaki flavor. I marinate the chicken legs no less than 12 hours which makes a huge difference. By marinating them for at least 12 hours the marinade has a chance to get deep into the meat. Fantastic!


Ingredients 
  • 2 lbs chicken legs
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 cup soy sauce (I use reduced salt)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

  1. Heat butter, soy sauce, sugar, water mustard and garlic powder  in the microwave or stove top until the butter and sugar melt. Allow to cool
  2. Place chicken legs in zip bag
  3. Pour  marinade over legs and marinate at least 12 hours, turning as often as possible.
  4. Drain off all the marinate
  5. Bake in a heavy foil lined baking pan at 375F for 1 hour or until down, turning occasionally.

Dec 28, 2010


Chex Party Mix is a staple for our Christmas Celebration. 
Since I married my husband I always make something 
that he grew up being “Puppy Chow” which is made with 
Chex cereal! We love finding new and creative ways to use 
Chex especially at the holidays!



Ingredients:

  • 9 cups Chex cereal
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
  1. In a saucepan over low heat melt the chocolate chips and add peanut butter.
  2. Mix until smooth.
  3. Remove from heat, add Crispix and stir until coated.
  4. Pour powered sugar into a large plastic bag, add coated Crispix and shake until well coated.

 

Dec 8, 2010


This is how coupons pay off!! Because I use coupons I got 74 items at Kroger totaling $139.21 for $7.90 after coupons!! When people tell me they don't like to use coupons, it's embarrassing, they don't have time, it's too much trouble... yada... yada...yada this is what I say in response: $7.90 for 74 items! Coupons give me the ability to share with my extended family, the food pantry, and feed my own family for very little to nothing! Clip, Save, and Life!

Dec 1, 2010


When Kevin and I were at the Texas Renaissance Festival on Saturday where the pretzel guy became our best friend. We literally didn’t eat one single thing other than pretzels. We are seriously cheap! LOL We just couldn’t justify $8 for everything you could eat there especially after we spent that a few weeks ago when we were there, and it wasn’t worth the money. We had a large breakfast before we went, and had a good dinner when we left. It sill ended up costing us less. So anytime we got hungry we had a pretzel and actually completely enjoyed them. I am sad that the Renaissance Festival is over for another year, but it was sure fun while it lasted.
 

Nov 24, 2010


This is fantastic and a great presentation if you want to give it to someone as a gift, or make it for a great after dinner treat. We make at least two each Thanksgiving. They do not last very long in our family. I have even known people who sell these in their office for $8-$10 each. Shesh.. or just make it for $4? This is a must for Thanksgiving! So if you are sitting there right now wondering what you should make tomorrow this is it!!

Ingredients:

Cake


  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
Filling:

  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)
Directions:
CAKE:


PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts. BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack. FOR

FILLING:

BEAT cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired. COOKING TIP:Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.

Nov 23, 2010



I love these crackers. Not only are the inexpensive to make but they spicy (not hot) and yummy, and a great grab and go snack for a holiday party. You can use any ranch dressing, but the fiesta ranch adds a nice tangy zip to the crackers. Last Christmas I took these to a holiday party and they were a big hit!

Ingredients:
  • 2 TBS of Fiesta Hidden Valley Ranch Dry Mix
  • 1 bag of Oyster Crackers
  • 1/3 cup veg oil (I don’t suggest Olive oil because it alters the flavor)
  • 2 paper bags (lunch bags)
Directions:
  1. Add oil, and Fiesta Hidden Valley Ranch Dry Mix to a bowl and mix well
  2. Fold in the Oyster Crackers and mix until they are well coated
  3. Evenly distribute the Oyster Crackers into two paper bags
  4. Close your paper bag up well and shake. Shaking every once in a while for a few hours (the purpose of the bag is to absorb the excess oil)
  5. Remove from the paper bags after they have sat for three hours and store in an air tight container. I used this great Rubbermaid container
  6. Enjoy!


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Nov 17, 2010



My husband refers to my food storage containers as my “Redneck Tupperware.” The fact of the matter is if there is a plastic container that has come into my house with food in it I have always tried to reuse it like sour cream and cottage cheese containers until a few days ago. After reading a scary article about how dangerous it can be to re-use certain plastic containers I decided I better do some house cleaning

Clearly I was in desperate need to do so anyway because they were taking over the cabinet they were in. I had a laundry basket full of containers. Most were missing lids, or the lids were missing their containers. After inspecting the triangles on the bottom of some of my containers I realized I had many that needed to be thrown away. I think I will start sticking to Tupperware, Gladware, and Ziploc, and so on! Rubbermaid Premier are my favorite!!  Here is the article if you are interested!


Nov 13, 2010

I made the mistake of  making this casserole as a main dish. I have been trying to incorporate two meatless meals in our menu per week, but I haven’t been very successful. I made this for dinner thinking what a great meatless meal it would be when it truth it would have made a much better side dish. I don’t blame the recipe I blame myself.

As for the dish in general it has a great flavor, makes a great presentation, and doesn’t cost much to make. It smells great cooking, and turned out perfect. As I said before it would make a wonderful side dish for me the word casserole was misleading. Thank you Wildflour for the great recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 2 quarts chopped cabbage
  • 1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of celery soup 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup packed shredded American cheese or 1 Velveeta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, less if desired
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup finely crushed butter flavored cracker
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter, more if needed
Directions:
  1. Cook cabbage 5-7 minutes in salted water, drain well.
  2. Combine soup, milk, cheese, salt and pepper in large bowl.
  3. Microwave til cheese melts and is creamy. Stir occasionally.
  4. Fold in cabbage.
  5. Pour into 1-1/2 quart casserole dish.
  6. Mix cracker crumbs and melted butter.
  7. Sprinkle evenly over top.
  8. Bake in 350º over for 30-40 minutes til bubbly.

Nov 10, 2010

Each year my husband and I go to the Texas Renaissance Festival. Normally we have gone for our anniversary. Last year we missed the Renn because we were in Vegas, and this year we did it a little later than our anniversary waiting on the cooler weather. Saturday was the perfect day to partake in the festivities. After sitting in traffic for almost two hours we were just ready to get there. Sadly the traffic put us getting there really late, and in all honesty pretty much ruined the day.

In the end we had a great time, and are hoping to go back after Thanksgiving for closing weekend.

My favorite event is the jousting of the knights


The sun was blasting me in the eyes at this point. I really didn't think the pictures would turn out, but I did get a nice action shot!

The knight that was fighting for our side of the arena


Our knight didn't win, but they all looked great doing it.


A piece of serenity in the middle of the Renaissance Festival …the Enchanted Garden.

Nov 3, 2010


I started off making one recipe tonight, and then changed in the middle of chopping. So this was another recipe that has been modified to something I thought might be better, and I was right it’s fantastic. The weather here is nasty! Cold and rainy weather has soup written all over it. This is a very rich and hearty recipe. The flavors work so well together, and it’s just down right good!
Soup Base Ingredients:
  • 4 cups peeled cubed potatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrot
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
Cheese Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups diced ham
Directions:
  1. In large dutch oven, add all of your Soup Base Ingredients
  2. Cook soup base until the vegetables are. Do not drain.
  3. While your soup base is cooking add your flour and butter to a saucepan and begin to whisk to insure you don't get lumps
  4. Once your butter is melted gradually add your milk while whisking, then add your salt.
  5. Once your mixture is well combined add the cheese and allow it to melt. Don't forget to keep whisking
  6. Fold in ham.
  7. Gradually add your cheese sauce mixture to your vegetable mixture, and stir well.
  8.  Simmer until ready to serve. Make sure it's not cooking too high or it will burn quickly.

My husband loves to vacuum! He calls it his therapy. I don’t stand in the way of his happiness in fact I encourage his “therapy”! If vacuuming makes you happy then have it! A husband who loves to vacuum is pretty wordless.

Oct 29, 2010


I am notorious for putting dinner off until the last minute. I either forget to take something out of the freezer or time gets away from me, and we are approaching eight pm, and I haven’t even started dinner. Because of those reason I always make sure I have something that I can make for dinner that’s quick and easy and something I can pull out of the freezer at a moment’s notice. I always have stewed or roasted chicken in the freezer. I keep many zip bags with a pound of cooked chicken in the freezer at all times. When I am in a hurry I make barbeque chicken sliders. It’s cheating at its finest but it works, and taste great too! It’s simple, and I have not met a kid yet who doesn’t like them. They really are kid sized. Don't forget the paper plates for quick clean up. If you are going to cheat why not cheat all the way?


Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of precooked shredded chicken
  • Your favorite barbeque sauce
  • Slider buns
Directions
  1. Add chicken to a medium size pot
  2. Coat with your favorite barbeque sauce (just enough to coat your chicken, not soupy)
  3. Heat through
  4. Add to slider buns, and top with pickles onion, or whatever makes you happy!

Oct 28, 2010

I love this recipe especially for our meatless nights. It's so easy and quick, and it's just wonderful. I can't say enough about just how great it is. It's like Spinach-Artichoke dip on pasta. Yummy!

Ingredients
  • 5 ounce box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • (14 ounce) can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb of peene pasta
Directions:

  1. Heat a deep skillet over medium heat with the oil and butter.
  2. When butter melts, add garlic and grated onion. Saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Whisk in the broth, then the cream and bring to a simmer
  5. Reduce heat to low.
  6. Chop and separate spinach into pieces then add it to the sauce.
  7. Stir in the artichokes and cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Cook the peene in salted boiling water according to package directions, about 12 minutes.
  9. Drain and toss with the spinach artichoke sauce.
  10. Serve immediately

Oct 27, 2010

As my husband’s friends and family in Minneapolis are dealing with horrible weather, snow, sleet, and just nastiness I had to post this picture for Wordless Wednesday. Here in Houston our weather is gorgeous! Yes its 94 degrees outside today, but it’s breezy and wonderful. I could go for cooler, but that will be here tomorrow. Tomorrow night our cooler weather will be here.

Tomorrow is my fourth wedding anniversary. I wanted to post a couple of our wedding pictures.  Four years ago tomorrow I married my best friend. It’s hard to believe it’s been four years. Like my husband said four years, and so much stronger. I always laughed when a friend of mine would go on and on about how she couldn’t wait to get married because life would be so much easier. One thing I have discovered about marriage is that it’s not easy at all. It’s a work in progress every day.





I had never made roasted carrots before, but I needed a veggie to go with dinner, and we had a few bags of carrots that needed to be used. I decided to try roasted them. Something about the fall makes me want to roast everything. Who knows why? There were several things I was not prepared for, 1 they shrink down, 2 they cook pretty quickly I figured the cooking time was wrong, and 3 they are so sweet and delicious. I was very impressed with the natural sweetness my husband even asked if I added sugar to them. They don’t need anything extra they came out perfect!


Ingredients:
  • 1lb of carrots cleaned and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. If the carrots are thick, quarter them, if they are thin just leave them whole.
  3. Then cut them in 1 inch pieces. 
  4.  Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. 
  5.  Transfer to a baking pan place the carrots in one layer
  6. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until browned and tender

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Oct 26, 2010


Normally when I make chicken marsala I spent a couple of hours making it. Last Sunday the night got away from me, and I didn’t realize dinner time was quickly passing us by. I went into full panic mode because I had planned chicken marsala for dinner. I went back through some recipes that had been emailed to me from readers, and gave this one a shot. It looked, easy, and quick everything I needed. 

I was correct, it was very quick, super good, and I could not have been happier with the results. In all honesty this recipe will probably get used for often than my other recipe. Thanks for the recipe Michelle.

Ingredients:
  • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten with
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 4 tablespoons garlic minced
  • 1 large can of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cups marsala wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
Directions:
  1. Wash chicken breasts and place inside of a plastic bag and with a meat mallet pound to 1/4" thickness.
  2. In a large skillet heat 2 tsps. olive oil add onions, garlic and mushrooms and cook till mushrooms have a golden brown appearance. Take out of skillet and set aside.
  3. Pour bread crumbs on a plate. In a large bowl add egg and whisking
  4. Take chicken one piece at a time and dredge through the egg wash and then into the bread crumbs,
  5. Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to skillet add your coated chicken breasts and brown both sides over medium high heat.
  6. Return Mushroom mixture back to skillet and add the marsala.
  7. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
  8. Your chicken should be done and you should have a nice thickened gravy - serve over angel hair pasta and add some grated cheese if you like.
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Oct 25, 2010

I don’t have a lot of experience cooking with pork so I was a little intimidated making this recipe. It was a great I actually surprised myself. Everyone really enjoyed these chops, and loved the fact that they are stuffed. One thing I did not like about this recipe was  it was time consuming. I must admit as much as I liked it, I won’t be making it again until I have the time to devote to it. It’s definitely a weekend meal. Thank you Bill Gary for such a great recipe.
Ingredients:
  • 4 pork chops (for stuffing, 1 to 2 inches thick)
Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped mushroom
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell peppers or 1/4 cup red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Stuffing
  • 4 cups toasted bread, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup diced mushroom
  • 1/4 cup finely diced green bell peppers or 1/4 cup red bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup beef stock (or a combination) or 1/4 cup red wine (or a combination)
Directions:
  1. 1 Prepare the stuffing: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the onions, garlic, celery, bell pepper, and mushrooms over medium heat until the vegetables have softened (about 10 minutes).
  2. Stir in parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper, mixing until well combined.
  3. Toss with bread cubes gently.
  4. Add liquid until bread cubes are just barely mushy on the outside (you may not need the whole 1/4 cup liquid, or you may need a little more).
  5. Stuff the pork chops: Slice pockets into the pork chops toward, but not quite reaching, the bone.
  6. Stuff each pork chop and seal with toothpicks (I jam pack the stuffing in there, feel free to do the same).
  7. Sauté the pork chops in 2 tablespoons butter for about 5 minutes per side, until browned.
  8. Remove toothpicks and set pork chops in a casserole or other baking dish that will hold them.
  9. If there is any stuffing left over, you may mound it on top of the pork chops.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Prepare the sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add all the vegetables.
  12. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until all the vegetables are tender and the onions are translucent.
  13. Lower heat to medium and sprinkle with flour.
  14. Cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute.
  15. Whisk in the milk, scraping the pan as you go to get up all the flour.
  16. Cook, whisking often, until mixture begins to boil and thickens to a slightly thicker consistency than heavy cream.
  17. Immediately remove pan from heat and stir in cheddar cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted.
  18. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  19. Pour sauce over the pork chops.
  20. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly.
  21. Let stand for about 10 minutes

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