Easy Crock Pot Chicken stew


3 chicken breasts, cubed
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of broccoli
1 can cream of potato
1/2 bag baby carrots, diced
3 celery sticks, diced or sliced
1 clove garlic – crushed (I love the frozen cube ones, so easy)
Diced onion (recipe ready by birds eye is easy and quick)
2 cubes chicken bullion dissolved in 2 cups hot water.
1 can corn, drained.

Seasonings: poultry seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper, rosemary leaves.

Mix the seasonings with the cubed chicken then brown the chicken in a sauté or frying pan.

Dump all three “cream of” cans in crock pot. Add the diced carrots, celery, onion, and crushed garlic.
Add the broth made from bullion cubes.
Add the browned chicken.

Mix well and let simmer on low in the crock pot for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally.
During the last hour, add the can of corn.

If I would have had them, I would have added potatoes or rice to the stew.

Apple Pie Baked in the Apple


Granny smith apples with the tops cut off. Why? So I can hollow them out!

Then mix up some fuji apples and what I could salvage from my hollowing attempts from the granny smiths. Add some sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon juice. Stuff inside the apples.


Then, to make them look pretty, add some lattice pie crust.


Bake at 375 for 20 minutes with foil covering the apples. Remove the foil, bake another 20 minutes.

And voila!


You have apple pies baked inside an apple shell!



Edit to add: Just cut into one and had a bite. OH MY GOODNESS! Sweet from the fuji apple and the sugar and cinnamon, and tart from the granny smith apple. mmmmmm

Chocolate Mint Cups


Don’t those look delicious?? They are my (second) attempt at making chocolate mint cups. The first ones…well you won’t be seeing pictures of those! The second ones turned out good though.

The ingredients:
1/2 bag Toll House milk chocolate chips
1/2 bag Toll House white chocolate chips
1/2 bag Toll House dark chocolate and mint morsels. Pick out all the mint morsels to be used. The dark chocolate ones can be used in place of the milk chocolate if you prefer.

(note: I used three different melting techniques making these candies).

Step 1: preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a mini muffin pan with mini muffin paper cups. In each cup, place a single layer of the mint morsels. Bake in oven two minutes then check. If the morsels are now shiny, take them out and stir them in each cup. If not shiny or wont stir smooth, bake at 30 second intervals, checking for the shine to see if they are ready.


Step two: let the mint cups cool 15 min before moving on.

Step three:
Using a double broiler method (mine is a small sauce pan with enough water to boil and a metal bowl that fits perfectly in the pan without touching the water). Bring water to a boil, reduce heat. Add white chocolate chips to bowl and stir until melted and smooth. Pour into each mint cup and use a knife to get all the mint covered.


Step four: let cool 15 minutes before moving to next step.

Step five:
Place milk chocolate chips in a ziploc bag in a single layer (substitute the dark chocolate morsels if preferred at this step). Microwave for 30 seconds. Kneed the bag. If not melted and smooth, microwave again at 10 second intervals until smooth. Cut small tip off end of bag and squeeze the milk(dark) chocolate over the white chocolate. Again use a knife to get coverage over all the white chocolate.

Step six: this is the hard part…give the cups at least an hour to fully harden. Then…


Step seven: enjoy!

What’s For Dinner? Taco Tarts!

Thursday on the way home from work, I was trying to think of something different to make for dinner (I have a long drive home, lots of thinking time).

And what pops into my head? Taco Tarts!


Don’t those look cute? Almost (yes almost) too cute to eat. But…that defeats the purpose, plus we’d still be hungry!

Step 1:
1 lb ground beef – cooked and drained.
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup taco seasoning

Add water and seasoning to meat and bring to boil. Let simmer til liquid is almost gone.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Step 2:
Pillsbury has a can of dough that is like crescent dough but is a sheet instead of triangles. Cut into squares and press into muffin pan cups. Fill 1/2 way with taco meat. Top with desired items like onions, peppers, etc.

Bake for 10 min at 375. Remove from oven and add shredded cheese to each cup. Bake for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Remove from muffin pan to stop them from sitting and burning while doing next step.

Step 3:
Add your desired cold ingredients such as more shredded cheese and lettuce:


Or tomatoes and more peppers:


Or just add a little of everything you love on tacos!


Pot Pie Pockets

What are pot pie pockets, you may be asking. Well, they look kind of like a hot pocket but are homemade and stuffed with chicken/turkey pot pie filling!

Well okay, not all of them look like hot pockets! The triangle shape in the bottom right was my first attempt. The two… wads?… in the middle were the next attempt. After that I stood back and looked at the dough (I used Pillsbury Croissant dough) and decided to pinch together the perforated sections and make square pockets instead.

Each one of the pockets is filled with turkey/chicken pot pie leftovers that had been frozen from the last time I made pot pies.  I baked them at 375 degrees for 11 1/2 minutes and they turned out pretty good, in my opinion and my hubby agrees!

Stuffed Manicotti


Monday night I decided to try something kind of new for dinner. I’ve made stuffed peppers before but I’ve never made manicotti.

Doesn’t it look yummy? I browned ground beef with some diced onion and a clove of garlic diced. In a small pan I made up some white rice. Once the rice was ready, I added the rice and a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies to the pan. Mixed it together with shredded Italian blend cheese.

In another pan, I cooked up 7 manicotti noodles according to the directions (7 min al dente). Let them cool a little then stuffed them with meat and rice mixture.

While the pasta and stuffing were cooking, I had the oven preheating to 400 degrees. In a 9×13 pan I spread out half a jar of marinara sauce with a little water added. Evenly placed the stuffed manicotti in the pan, covered the manicotti with more sauce then sprinkled shredded cheese. Covered the pan with tin foil.

Into the 400 degree oven for 30 minutes and presto, dinner is ready!


Goals for 2012

Since I did a recap of 2011, it’s only fair (I think) to do a Goals for 2012 post as well.

For 2011, I crocheted 6 blankets that were for donation to a cancer center. Time got away from me though (my own fault) and I did not get them to the cancer center before 2011 ended, so they will be the first donation made in 2012.


Crochet Goals:

  • This year’s goal is to aim for 10 donation blankets. Again, my work schedule will be the deciding factor as to if I get that many made, plus whether or not I have baby showers/wedding showers to make any for. And if I get any more custom orders for blankets, scarves, or whatever else crocheted.
  • Another goal is to use up more of my yarn stash than I buy. Hard to do though, isn’t it? All those skeins of yarn in the stores, calling our names, saying please save me. And of course, sometimes you need a specific color to match what you have at home, and while you’re there looking you find those three orphan skeins looking for a home. It’s not right to leave them behind, is it?
  • I also want to learn a few more patterns and stitches this year, even if I don’t do much with them other than practice swatches. You never know when that experience will come in handy down the road.
  • While we’re on that subject, I think I want to set a goal of trying to create my own patterns as well. Why not, right? The worst that happens is that it doesn’t work out and I hide the attempts away in the cupboard!


Non-crochet related goals include:

  • Painting the kitchen, putting up a tin tile backsplash (saw it in a decorating book), changing out cabinet hardware. Basically trying to freshen up our kitchen that was decorated years ago by an 80 year old lady.
  • Practicing more with canvas painting and wood painting. I think the wood items are more forgiving and turn out better, but the canvas is fun!
  • Getting back into writing more – I have a story running around in my head and I need to write it down before it disappears to show up in someone else’s brain.
  • Making my fabric butterflies and maybe dragonflies to hang on my Wife Cave walls.
  • Experimenting more with cooking.


What are some of YOUR goals?

Dinner Experiment

Tonight I was faced with a dilemma. What to do with 1 pound of hamburger and no ideas for dinner. I could have made the old standbys, either spaghetti or hubby’s favorite “rice meat stuff” but I wanted something…different.

So I tossed the hamburger into the deep skillet and started it slowly browning while I went through the fridge and cupboards. There in the veggie drawer was one lone onion and a red bell pepper that was getting close to seeing better days. So I diced up 1/4 of the onion and tossed that in the pan. Next I added the red bell pepper, cut up into inch long strips. A little seasoning: salt, pepper, garlic powder. Then while the meat continued browning, I went in search of the next ingredients to be thrown into what was at that point, a mystery dinner.

After careful consideration, I pulled out beef broth, barley, a can of diced tomatoes (with green chilies), a can of corn, and a can of green beans.

Once the meat was browned, I added the barley and tomatoes, brought to a boil then reduced heat and simmered, covered, for 1 hr 15 minutes. Added in the corn and green beans, another 5-10 minutes, and dinner was served!

There we have it, a successful dinner experiment! I guess it would be a hamburger barley soup? Whatever it would be called, it’s good!


Hamburger Barley Soup

1 pound hamburger, browned

1/4 onion, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch strips

2 boxes beef broth (32 oz each)

3/4 cup barley

1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 can corn – drained

1 can green beans – drained

Seasonings: Salt, pepper, garlic powder – to taste


  1. Brown hamburger in a deep skillet along with diced onions and bell pepper, adding seasonings to meat while cooking. Drain grease.
  2. Add both boxes of beef broth, can of tomatoes (with juice) and barley to skillet.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 1 hr – 1 1/4 hrs. Stir occasionally.
  3. When barley is softened, add 1 can of corn (drained) and 1 can of green beans (drained) to skillet. Cover and simmer 5-10 minutes longer.
  4. Serve!


Lessons: Needs a little more seasoning. Will need to tinker with different seasonings the next time I make this.





Hearty Beef Stew – Updated

Ever get those food cravings where something sounds really good, and while you won’t go nuts if you don’t have it (unlike pms cravings) you still end up buying and/or making the food?

Yesterday I was thinking that beef stew sounded pretty good, but I’m fighting a cold so I was not in the mood to cook last night. Today though I’m feeling a bit better and so I stopped on the way home to pick up meat and veggies to make beef stew.

There it is, cooking away in the pot. Doesn’t that make your mouth water?

Ingredients in Shell’s Hearty Beef Stew:

1 1/2 lbs stew beef

4 redskin potatoes, diced

5 stalks of celery, diced

1/2 bag of baby carrots

1 1/2 cups barley

1 green pepper, sliced

1/2 cup cut green beans

1/4 cup cut sugar snap peas (would have been more but the bag wasn’t as fresh as I thought)

Swanson’s Beef Broth – low sodium

It has about an hour left to cook, but I’ll try to get a picture of the stew in the bowl once it’s done!

11/6/11 – Edit to add photo and lessons learned:

Lessons learned:

  • This was my first time using barley as an ingredient. 1 1/2 cups of barley is too much once it’s all cooked (unless you have room to add more broth in the pot). Didn’t realize it expanded THAT much! But… this was very delicious and my husband’s response was “This is really good.”
  • I would probably use red bell pepper next time, to add more color to the meal.
  • Last lesson… it’s still really good the next day!

Chicken Pot Pie

Other than the rough looking crust…what’s pictured above is my very first attempt at making a chicken pot pie. And it’s a success! (other than the looks of the crust as I said).

What does the looks of the crust matter, when the inside looks this good?

Rather than ramble on more, I’ll share my recipe for my readers.

Shell’s Chicken Pot Pie


3-6 chicken breasts (less if they are thick, more if they are thin)

1 can Cream of Chicken (10 3/4 oz)

1 can Cream of Broccoli (10 3/4 oz)

1 large idaho potato, cut into small chunks

1 cup baby carrots, diced

1 cup frozen corn (thawed)

1 1/2 cup frozen broccoli/cauliflower mix (thawed and diced up)

Chopped onion (amount depends on your preference)

Chopped green pepper (amount depends on your preference)

2 tsp diced garlic

1 tsp poultry seasoning

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 pkg Pillsbury Pie Crust (2 crusts)


1. Add chicken, chopped onion, green peppers, and carrots to a sauce pan. Add enough water to cover everything. Next add 1 tsp of diced garlic and 1 tsp poultry seasoning. Cook for 10-15 minutes (until chicken is cooked). If you like, add salt and pepper to taste.

2. In a small sauce pan, add the chopped potato, water, and allow to cook until almost soft but not falling apart. Drain and set aside to cool slightly.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4. In a large bowl, combine the diced broccoli, cauliflower, corn, potatoes, 1 tsp diced garlic.

5. Drain the chicken and cooked veggies. Dice the chicken into bite sized pieces. Add the chicken and cooked veggies to the bowl of other veggies.

6. Mix everything together and add in the cans of Cream of Chicken and Cream of Broccoli. Make sure everything is mixed together well.

7. In a deep dish pie pan, roll out one of the Pillsbury pie crusts. Fill the crust with the chicken mixture. Roll out the 2nd pie crust and place on top of the pot pie. Seal the edges of the crusts together then cut steam vents in the top.

8. Bake for 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees.

9. Serve!