Slow Cooker Mexican Red Beans

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I have been quite remiss in posting lately.  Let me just say that the holiday season left me very very busy.  I should have posted this recipe long before now.  This is one of the family’s favorites and a recipe I make quite frequently.  On Christmas Eve in West Texas especially along the border, it is traditional to have tamales and beans.    After we ate we would go for a drive to look at all the luminarias.  Entire neighborhoods were lined in luminarias and they were so beautiful.  This year we had tamales and beans but I unfortunately did not see any luminarias as they are not a common thing to see in this area.

Mexican Red Beans

1 pound dried pinto beans (soak overnight)
4 cups cold water
1 large onion, chopped
1 14.5 oz can tomatoes (I get the diced)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper or 2 teaspoons chili powder (I use the chili powder)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 pound salt pork or bacon, chopped (I use bacon)

Put soaked and drained beans into slow cookers. Add water and all remaining ingredients. Cook and cover on High 2 hours, then turn to Low for 8 hours.

I also like to serve this with cornbread.

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What to do with Thanksgiving Leftovers: Slow Cooker Turkey and Dumplings

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I usually make Turkey Soup the day after Thanksgiving but I changed my mind.  I have been having a craving for Chicken and Dumplings so I thought, why not?  I will just make it into Turkey and Dumplings.  This was a winner with the family.  I think I will be making this every year instead of the Turkey soup.  It was soooo good on a cold Fall night.

Here is the recipe:

I put the turkey carcass in the slow cooker and filled it up with water until the carcass was covered.  I didn’t add anything else to it.  The turkey was flavoring enough.  I cooked it on LOW for 8 hours.  At the end of the 8 hours I removed the carcass and all bones.  Set the carcass out to cool off.  Skim the fat off the top of the broth and discard.  Then pick off all the meat and put it back in the slow cooker.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk and stir.  Turn slow cooker to HI.  While the slow cooker is heating up, make the dumplings.

Mix 2 cups of flour, 1/3 cup of shortening, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt until just combined. Slowly add up to 1 cup of milk until a soft dough forms. Sprinkle your work surface and rolling-pin with flour. Roll dough as thinly as possible, between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick. Cut into squares with a knife or pizza cutter.  Let the dough dry a little.  Then drop the dumplings into the broth and continue cooking on HI until the dumplings are done, about 15-20 minutes.  Season turkey and dumplings with salt and pepper.

I served fresh Bread Machine Challah Bread with it.

Bread Machine Challah Bread

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Easy, easy Challah Bread, perfect along with soup or in this case, Turkey and Dumplings! This is wonderful straight out of the oven with butter spread on it!

3/4 cup warm water about 110 degrees F
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons yeast
Egg Wash: (you don’t have to put this on if you don’t want to)
2-3 large egg yolks (freeze the whites and use it for something else)
2 tablespoons water
Topping: sesame or poppy seeds

Lightly grease or line with parchment paper one or two baking sheets. (I am using a Silpat baking mat). Add warm water, egg, vegetable oil, salt, flour, sugar, honey and yeast to bread machine pan in the order recommended by manufacturer. Select the Dough Cycle of your machine. Start the cycle.

When the dough cycle is complete, remove dough from machine to a lightly floured work surface. Punch dough down and let rest for 5 minutes. Knead dough a little bit to make it easier to handle. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces and roll each piece into a 20 inch long rope. Put the ropes on the prepared baking sheet. Braid the ropes. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under dough. Cover dough with a cotton cloth and let it rise for 45-50 minutes.

Brush loaf with egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until it is done. Cool on wire rack.

Bread may be frozen after it has cooled. Wrap loaf in foil then place in a ziplock freezer bag. Label and date. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw for 1 hour at room temperature before serving.

Bread Machine Dinner Rolls

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These rolls are so easy to make because the bread machine does most of the work.  They taste wonderful too.  These can be made ahead of time and frozen if needed.

Here is the recipe for a 1 1/2 pound bread maker.  It makes about 1 1/2 dozen rolls.

½ c. milk
¼ c. water
3 rounded tbsp. butter
1 large egg
2 rounded tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 c. bread flour
2 ½ tsp. bread machine yeast

Egg Glaze
Lightly beat 1 egg with 1 tbsp. water

Select recipe size recommended by the manufacturer of your bread machine. Add all ingredients except Egg glaze into bread machine pan in the order suggested by manufacturer. Process in dough/manual cycle. When cycle is complete, remove dough to lightly floured surface. If necessary, knead in enough flour to make dough easy to handle. Divide dough into 8 (12) greased 2 ½ inch muffin pan cups. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes. Brush Egg Glaze on rolls. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until done. Remove from cups; cool on wire rack.

Freezable Mashed Potatoes

I hope to have most of the Thanksgiving meal fixed ahead of time.  I want to spend my time visiting with company instead of cooking in the kitchen.  I am going to cook the turkey on Thanksgiving day.  There is just something to be said about the wonderful smell of turkey that goes through the house.  If you want to follow along, I will be cooking other dishes for Thanksgiving and freezing them.  After Thanksgiving I will be preparing for Christmas and cooking freezable goodies.

The first thing I am cooking and freezing ahead of time is mashed potatoes.  I have never tried this recipe but it seems like it would work.  I froze all the mashed potatoes together because I am having quite a few people for Thanksgiving but you can freeze this in smaller containers that is more meal sized for your family.

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5 pounds of potatoes
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 pinch of paprika

Peel potatoes. Boil in water until soft. Drain. In a large bowl combine potatoes, egg, garlic powder, salt, cream cheese and milk. Mash by hand or with an electric mixer. Freeze potatoes at this point. I put mine in a ziplock freezer bag. May put potatoes into smaller freezer bags.

Cooking directions: Thaw potatoes. Place in a 3 qt. buttered casserole dish. Drizzle butter over top of potatoes and sprinkle paprika on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until top is golden.

Fresh Strawberry Cake

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 This is a recipe my mother in law gave me when I first got married.  I have been making this recipe ever since and everyone loves it.  Fresh strawberries really make a difference in the taste of the cake.  It doesn’t take a lot of time to make.  The only thing that takes time is waiting for it to cool off before putting the icing on it.

Cake:

1 box white cake mix
1 box strawberry jello
2/3 cup oil
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
2/3 cup crushed fresh berries

Icing:
1/2 stick butter
3 oz. package cream cheese
Dash of salt
1 pound powdered sugar
1/3 cup crushed berries

Cake: Mix cake mix and jello until blended. Add oil and water and beat 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs and berries and beat 2 to 3 minutes. Bake in a lightly greased and floured 9×13 inch pan or 3 layer pans. Bake at 325 degrees F for 20-30 for layer pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes for 9×13 pan. (I ended up cooking my 9×13 inch pan for 35 minutes.)

Icing: Beat butter and cream cheese with salt until smooth. Gradually beat in 1/2 the powdered sugar, then the strawberries, then the remaining powdered sugar until smooth. Ice cooled cake.

Baked Chicken

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This is such a good and easy recipe.  I have had this recipe for a long time.  It was given to me by my mother in law when I got married and I have fixed it many times since then.

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Cut up a whole chicken.  Take the skin off all the pieces.  (I left the skin on the drumsticks.)  Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides.

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Put the other parts of the chicken such as the back, wings, etc. into a freezer bag and freeze for use later.  Could be the beginning of a great chicken soup later on.

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Roll each piece in sour cream.  I put 1 cup of sour cream on a plate.  It was just enough for one chicken.

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Crush 1 package of potato chips.  I just smash the chips right in the bag.  Then I put the chicken (after it has been rolled in sour cream) right in the potato chip bag and shake it up.

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Put some foil in the bottom of a pan with a little oil.  Place the chicken in the pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

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This is so good served with scalloped potatoes and green beans.  The scalloped potatoes can be baked with the chicken and they both will be done at the same time.

Korean Beef

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This was a real winner with the family.  Everyone liked it and it was quick to get on the table, which gives it even more appeal for the “mom” in me.

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 – 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers (I used 1/2 teaspoon and it was hot enough for us Texans!)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch green onions, diced
1 egg for each serving (optional)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown hamburger with garlic in the sesame oil. Drain most of the fat and add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt, pepper and crushed red peppers. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Serve over steamed rice and top with green onions. Optional: Hubby wanted his meat cooked with an egg so I cracked an egg into the meat mixture and stirred it until it was cooked. Also could poach an egg and put it on top. I think next time I will try poaching eggs.

Chicken Fried Steak

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This is by far a family favorite.  It is even better when I can buy fresh vegetables to go along with the dish.  Here is my recipe for Pressure Cooker Green Beans.  You can add new potatoes to the green beans too, so they both cook at the same time.  I love, love, love this You Tube cooking segment on how to shuck fresh corn on the cob.  Oh my goodness, I wish I had known about this little trick years ago!  Here it is!

Now for the wonderful chicken fried steak……

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Buy 4 cube steaks.  Generously salt and pepper both sides of the cube steaks.

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Flour both sides of the cube steaks.  Flour those steaks well!!

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Place all four cube steaks in a skillet with some vegetable oil in it.

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Cook until it is good and brown.  Flip it over and brown the other side.

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While the cube steaks are browning, start making the country gravy.  I am lazy so I grabbed a package of Pioneer gravy mix but if you are not as lazy you can go ahead and make your own white gravy and add the black pepper to it.  Follow the directions on the package and make the gravy.  Have it ready when both sides of the cube steaks are browned.

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Pour the gravy over the browned cube steaks.  Simmer the steaks in the gravy for about 1 hour or until the steaks are tender.  The gravy will also thicken up in the process.  If the gravy is getting too thick, put a lid on the skillet.

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And that folks, is comfort food at it’s finest!

Orange Dreamsicle Cake

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One of my favorite things to eat on a hot summer day when I was growing up was an orange dreamsicle popsicle.  I savored every cold bite of orange and vanilla flavors.  It isn’t any wonder that after I got older I still craved those flavors so I thought I would make an Orange Dreamsicle Cake.  It is one of my favorites.

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Combine 1 package of French Vanilla Cake Mix, 12 oz. of orange soda and 2 eggs.  Since I had some leftover orange soda I drank it while I was mixing up the cake just to get my taste buds going.

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Spray a 9×13 inch pan with an oil spray.  Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake it at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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About 5 minutes before the cake needs to come out of the oven, mix 1 package of orange jello into 1 cup of hot water.  Mix up the jello until it is completely dissolved.  Then add 1 cup of cold water to the jello.

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When the cake comes out of the oven, pierce the cake with a fork.  Carefully pierce the cake as many times as possible.

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Pour the jello mixture that you just mixed up on top of the cake.  Cover the cake and refrigerate it for 2 hours.  Right before the end of the 2 hours, mix up the frosting.

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Pour one box of french vanilla instant pudding into a bowl.

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Pour 1 package of orange jello into the same bowl.

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Pour 1 cup of cold milk into the bowl and mix it up.

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Add one teaspoon of vanilla.

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Add 8 ounces of a frozen whipped topping that has been thawed out.  Fold it into the jello/pudding mixture.

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Now your frosting is ready to put on the cake!  Cover the cake after it has been iced and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

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Now enjoy every luscious bite!!!

Here is the recipe:

Orange Dreamsicle Cake

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 regular sized vanilla cake mix
  • 1 can orange soda pop
  • 2 pkg. Jell-O orange
  • 1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 C. milk
  • 2 C. water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz Cool Whip Whipped Topping

 Mix cake mix with orange pop and eggs. Spray 9×13 cake pan with Pam, pour batter into pan. Bake 20 -30 minutes at 350 degrees. When cake is done, poke holes in the cake with fork sprayed with Pam. Mix 1 pkg. of orange jello in 1 C. hot water until dissolved.  Add 1 C. cold water and pour entire mixture over cake.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Mix vanilla pudding mix and other pack of Jell-O together (dry). Add 1 C. of milk and 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix well, blend in thawed Cool Whip. Use this mixture to frost cake! Keep cake refrigerated.