A Hamburger Helper

I use a potato masher to make my ground meats perfect for gravies, dips, and sauces.  Works great!


Last days of warm weather here in Missouri so we are grilling a lot. Easy grilled chicken is just marinading frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast in Zesty Italian Salad Dressing (just enough to cover the chicken) overnight (or freeze the chicken in the dressing and it will marinade as it defrosts).


Grill and it is perfect!  Great with pasta salad or baked potato and a green salad.


My friend is decorating her spare bedroom in orange and hot pink.  Looks better than it sounds. I found these lamps at Hobby Lobby and Alice loved them!


She has this gorgeous orange couch and love seat (very retro!) so I am working on an aghan shaped like a huge hot pink star to contrast with the rectangles and squares of the couch.  I think it will be a great Christmas present.


Very simple pattern of shell stitches that can be found on Ravelry here.



Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Recipe

I tried this Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Recipe and we all really liked it.  The bow tie pasta was a great idea.  Good texture.  Next time I’m going to remember to add a couple of tablespoons of butter to the pasta before adding the sauce.  Rachel Ray says that adding butter to the pasta helps the sauce to cling to it.  I’ll also make a double batch to freeze one and serve one.


Cream Cheese Chicken {Crockpot Recipe}
Author: Kimberly
Recipe type: Crock pot
Prep time:  5 mins
Cook time:  5 hours
Total time:  5 hours 5 mins
Serves: 6
1-2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen) 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup 1½ cups chicken broth 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 packet of Italian dressing mix ½ block of cream cheese Pasta of your choice or rice
  • 1-2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen)
  • 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 packet of Italian dressing mix
  • ½ block of cream cheese
  • Pasta of your choice or rice
  1. Place chicken, broth, soup, garlic, and dressing mix in the crock pot
  2. Stir slightly to break up the soup and mix all the ingredients together
  3. Cook on low for 4-6 hours (mine was done in 4 hours) or until chicken can shred with a fork
  4. Remove chicken and shred; place back in crock pot
  5. Add small chunks of cream cheese and mix slightly
  6. Cook on high for 30 more minutes to melt the cream cheese.  Serve over pasta or rice.
  7. Freezer instructions: Prepare it following the instructions above, then let cool completely
  8. Pour into gallon-sized ziploc bags and lay flat to freeze
  9. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge
  10. Pour contents of bag into a saucepan and heat on low-medium heat until heated through

Apple Butter


Core and quarter 18 to 20 large Jonathan apples into 7 quart (or larger) crock pot.  Add 3/4 to 1 cup apple juice.  Cook on low overnight (12 hours).



Dip hot apple mixture into food processor and blend for 3-5 minutes until smooth.  Pour smooth mixture back into empty crock pot.  Add to mixture 1 1/2 to 2 cups brown sugar, 1 1/2 to 2 cups white sugar, 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice. Cook on low for another 8 hours.


My sister-in-law sent me this great addition to my measuring spoons.  Isn’t it great?!!


Now comes the actual canning process.  Run jars through the dishwasher.  Once the dishwasher is done, add lids and rings to a large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil then remove from heat.  Take hot jars out of dishwasher and fill with apple butter up to 1/4 inch from the top.  Use a paper towel to clean the rims of the jars before adding the lids and rings.  I just used my big pasta pot and lid to boil water in.  Add seven half pint jars to the boiling water making sure the water completely covers the jars and cover with your lid.  Boil for 15 minutes.  Remove jars and let stand until cooled.  If you hear a pop and see the indent in the top of the jar lid it means it sealed and you are good to go.  Any unsealed jars will need to be refrigerated and used within a month’s time.


And the second batch makes a total of 22 half pints (and one quart jar full in the refrigerator) of Applebutter!




Six Pounds of Hamburger

I love it when this:


becomes this:


Sweet & Sour Meatloaf:

Mix together with your hands in a large bowl:

2 lbs. ground beef, 1 lg finely chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup ketchup, 3/4 cup dried bread crumbs, 2 beaten eggs, 2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Form into a loaf in a loaf pan or 13×9 baking dish.  May now be frozen in a loaf freezer container.  Cook at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or in crock pot on low for 8 hours.

Prepare Sauce:  Mix together 1 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 tsp. dry mustard, and 1 tsp nutmeg.  Mix with whisk the spoon over meatloaf.  Return to oven for 15 minutes or continue to cook in crockpot for another 1 – 2 hours.

Sloppy Joe Sandwiches:

In a large skillet, brown 2 lb ground beef then drain any fat.  Stir in 1 medium finely minced onion, 2 cups ketchup, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 4 tsp prepared mustard, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.  Cool then spoon into two gallon freezer bags.

To serve heat in microwave or on top of stove.  Spoon over toasted french bread halves sliced into serving portions.  Sprinkle with shredded mild chedder cheese and add a side of dill pickle slices.

Two for One Dinner and Other Stuff

Yesterday morning I tried an experimental recipe for crockpot chicken.  I used 3 lbs. of skinless, boneless chicken breasts in the crockpot then prepared two packages of Southeastern Mills Chicken Gravy with 4 cups of boiling water and 1 cup cold water to mix the two packages of gravy mix before adding it to the boiling water.  I poured the hot gravy over the chicken and added 2 cups of chopped carrots then cooked on low for 10 hours.


I served one chicken breast with mashed potatoes and green beans for dinner and it was delicious.


After dinner I shredded the remaining chicken with a fork then added a can of peas and 1/4 cup diced onion.  I poured the now chicken pot pie mixture into a 13×9 pan and spread out 1 can of Grands Buttermilk Biscuits over the top then put it all in the refrigerator.


Today I replaced my pan cover with aluminum foil and cooked the chicken pot pie in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  I took off the foil and cooked it another 15 minutes and it was again … delicious.  Rick will eat two lunches of chicken pot pie this week because he liked it so much and asked for it.


I finished my crocheted house slippers … finally!  I found this slipper pattern on Pinterest and I sort of modified it here and there, but kept to the basic instructions.  I used 3 strands of Red Heart Super Saver and an H hook.


Ben and I are learning to play chess.


I got to have lunch with my daughter.  She had her third miscarriage last month and we are all sad and confused about that.  She’s been through every test they can think of to find out why she has been pregnant three times in the past five years and miscarried in the first trimester every time.  The physicians all say that there is no reason for her to miscarry next time, but she has.  Has anyone heard of anyone else having a story like that?


Been Busy


I am not a morning person.  Hence my interest in frozen egg mc muffins, pancakes, and breakfast burritos that I am filling my freezer with.


I found 5 lbs of carrots in the clearance bin at the grocery store and bought them to blanch and freeze for cooking later and to add to freezer to crockpot meals.  I’m finding that I like doing this as long as I pace myself and don’t do too much in a day.  My new titanium knee is still just 3 months old now.  The other knee is in need of replacement and my back recently had 3 nerves severed so that I don’t feel the pain, but that is not really true.  I feel pain. But this time last year and the two years before I was in a wheelchair so this liberation to do things that I love is wonderful.


I’ve been baking mini banana breads (bananas were on sale for 39 cents last week) and pumpkin bread from two cans of last year’s pumpkin then freezing them to add to meals later.


And I’ve been covering all of my crochet hooks with DIY Polymer Clay Crochet Hook Handles.


I love the feel of them and I love that I can stand them up so I covered even the hooks that are fat enough for my arthritic fingers and hands.  They are so smooth and fit my hands perfectly.


I have not been able to grow flowers for 8 years now because of my back and knees, but I’ve been buying fake flowers at Michaels (once they hit the 75%) off mark for the past year and I’ve been making a fake flower garden in front of our tiny retirement home.  We bought it for cash and have no mortgage for our old age (I’m 56, but disabled due to the severe arthritis and allergic reaction to NSAIDS).  Suprised we were when 13 years ago I came up pregnant.  *laugh* Anyway, it isn’t much, but it is ours.  We gutted it and did all the work on it ourselves so it truly is our home.  The only thing we didn’t replace was the furnace and the siding.


A Quick Mississippi Mud Cake Recipe


This cake is quick, easy and delicious.  Prepare a chocolate cake in a 13 x 9 pan.  Use a mix or use a favorite recipe from scratch.  AS soon as the cake comes out of the oven, cover the top evenly with 3 1/2 cups of miniture marshmallows.  Sprinkle 1 cup of chopped pecans over the marshmallows.  Return the cake to the oven until marshmallows soften and puff up, 2-3 minutes usually.  Remove cake from oven and let it cool on top, maybe 30 minutes.  Gently spread 2-3 cups of chocolate frosting over the marshmallows.  Cool until topping is set.