3 Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells

cheese shells

There is something about stuffed pasta shells that sounds fancy and hard. There is something about making them that is easy and fun.  It’s economical and great made ahead.  

My first love is taking something to friends that maybe they don’t make themselves.  It’s hard, as most of my friends are excellent cooks.  I have made this several times over the past few weeks and everyone gives it two thumbs up.  Add a salad and a loaf of French bread and call it dinner!

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Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

My friend Judi and I walk and talk… then talk and walk.  Our talks always lead to food (shocker), the newest restaurants (big news in our small town), and the latest recipes that we have tried.  We are still waiting for Jack Frost in Texas, but when he finally gets here…..we will be ready for something good to warm our bones.  This is crockpot (from Crockin Girls)  friendly and a treat.

  • 4 Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 Can Cream of Celery Soup
  • 3 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Cup Celery, diced
  • 1 Cup Carrots, diced
  • 2 Chicken bouillon cube
  • 10 Ounces Can of Biscuits, but you can make your own (yeah right)
  1. Step One

    EXCLUDING THE BISCUITS put all ingredients in the crockpot and cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

  2. Step Two

    About an hour (give or take) before serving, remove chicken and pull into pieces and return to the soup mixture.

  3. Step Three

    Place the torn biscuit dough in and cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

Easy Crockpot Chuck Roast

RoastLooking for some comfort food?  I am a 40 something year old that has never made a roast.  Never say never.  I made this last week and shared with family.  A huge hit and so easy that it is ALMOST embarrassing.  Almost…..  The flavor is perfect. Enjoy this wonderful recipe shared by a friend.  Bring on Winter! 

1 chuck roast (2- 3 pounds)

1/2 package of dry Ranch dressing mix

1 package of Au Jus Gravy mix (I use McCormicks found by the brown gravy)

1/4 cup of water

4-5 peperoncini peppers (full of non-spicy flavors, located near the pickles)

1/4 cup of peperoncini juice from the jar

1/2 stick of butter, pats

fresh baby carrots and mushrooms (optional)

cream of mushroom soup (optional)

Put the water in the bottom of the crockpot, Add the thawed chuck roast.  Sprinkle the ranch dressing mix and the Au Jus Gravy mix on top of the roast.  Next add the butter pats on top of the roast.  Finally add the peperoncini peppers and juice.

Cook for 8 hours on low heat in the crock pot.  The final two hours I did add fresh mushrooms and carrots. Once the roast is done, I ladled a cup of the juice (from the bottom of the crockpot) and cooked on the stove with a 1/2 can of cream of mushroom soup.  I used a whisk to mix until well heated over medium heat.  Gravy perfection!

Quick Cheddar Cheese Fondue

We had so much fun with Truman in town seeing us last week. After doing a little indoor skydiving, we went to Dave & Busters and had chocolate fondue. It was such a hit that the next night, we decided to make cheddar cheese fondue. It was loved by all! We served it with three kinds of bread (pretzel rolls, ciabatta and wheat bread), roasted potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli and squash (the veggies we had on hand) and chicken apple sausage. Do this with your kids for a really fun night!

Fondue Ingredients:
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Fondue Accompaniments:
Any kind of bread
Veggies
Chicken sausage

Toss the shredded cheddar cheese with cornstarch in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, whisk the milk, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg, stirring occasionally, until it is hot and begins to gently bubble. Using a whisk, gradually add in the cheese. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth and bubbling. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Pour the mixture into a fondue pot or bread bowl. Serve immediately with accompaniments on fondue forks or skewers.

Chinese-Style Glazed Pork Tenderloin

You know you have faith in a recipe when you post it before you even try it. I posted this about a year ago and have made it several times since. It’s so good and is one of the few meats that even gets thumbs up from my son! If you haven’t cooked with hoisin sauce or five-spice powder, you should! They are so good – you can find them in the Asian section. Enjoy!

Leftover pork makes an excellent addition to fried rice or noodle soup. Serves 4-6.

2(12- to 16-ounce) pork tenderloins, trimmed
1/2cup soy sauce
1/2cup apricot preserves
1/4cup hoisin sauce
1/4cup dry sherry
2tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2garlic cloves, minced
1teaspoon five-spice powder
1teaspoon pepper
1/4cup ketchup
1tablespoon molasses
2teaspoons vegetable oil
Lay tenderloins on cutting board with long side running parallel to counter edge. Cut horizontally down length of tenderloins, stopping ½ inch from edge so halves remain intact. Working with one at a time, open up tenderloins, place between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, and pound to ¾-inch thickness.
Combine soy sauce, preserves, hoisin sauce, sherry, ginger, sesame oil, garlic, five-spice powder, and pepper in bowl. Reserve ¾ cup marinade. Place pork in large zipper-lock bag and pour remaining marinade into bag with pork. Seal bag, turn to coat, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Combine reserved marinade, ketchup, and molasses in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until syrupy and reduced to ¾ cup, 3 to 5 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup glaze for glazing cooked tenderloin.
FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-high.
Clean and oil cooking grate. Pat pork dry with paper towels, then rub with vegetable oil. Grill pork (covered if using gas) until lightly charred on first side, about 2 minutes. Flip and brush grilled side of pork evenly with 2 tablespoons glaze. Continue grilling until lightly charred on second side, about 2 minutes. Flip and brush evenly with 2 more tablespoons glaze. Repeat flipping and glazing twice more, until pork registers 140 degrees and is thickly glazed, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer pork to cutting board and brush with reserved glaze. Tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Guacamole Hummus

Looking for something new and different? Watching college basketball equals great food and company We decided it was healthy (without piling it on a chip). Thumbs up for games well played and even a bigger thumbs up for great new appetizer. Mandy is new to Texas and is 2 for 2 with great recipes.

1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained

1 garlic clove

3 cups cilantro, chopped

3 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 T. lemon juice

1 avocado, chopped (use two if they are small)

course salt and pepper to taste

lemon wedges, garnish

Blend all ingredients in a food processor (with the exception of the lemon wedges) until is the perfect consistency for dipping. Once blended, put in a bowl and drizzle with a little more olive oil (approximately a tablespoon) and garnish with lemon wedges.

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops or Chicken Breasts

When a busy working mom of three kids  gives us an easy recipe to try, it is at the top of the to do list.  We tried it with pork chops, score.  We tried it with chicken breasts, jackpot.  The entire family will eat it,  shout it from the mountain tops. Super simple and very good. Thanks, Lacey. You did us right with this one.  Think more delicious “shake and bake.”

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