Friday, October 28, 2016

Hot and Cheesy Chicken Casserole

I made the best dish for Cookbook Club. The recipe is from The Potluck Cookbook, which I picked up at God's Storehouse (thrift store) in Topeka for $1.50! I love this cookbook and have several recipes I'm wanting to try out of it soon. 


I worked Cookbook Club Friday, but this was a breeze to throw together and wash up the few dishes before everyone arrived.  I cheated a lot. First I used canned chicken. 


I could tell it was canned chicken while eating it, but I like canned chicken, so it wasn't a bother. 

I also used already cooked rice! 


This was so easy! 

Chicken. (Poor pic, I was working by afternoon light.)


Broccoli, rice and peas. 


Two soups, Rotel and some cheese. 


Crackers and more cheese. 


Finished! Recipe is below. Of note, I didn't add the crushed red pepper flakes and it still had a kick to it. If you or those you're serving this to don't care for a kick, I'd substitute diced tomatoes for the Rotel and cheddar cheese soup for the fiesta nacho cheese soup. 

We were missing one member of the group, but had a great dinner of my casserole, cornbread casserole and Boston creme pie, which is actually a cake!  The meal was great with all going back for seconds of both casseroles! 


Next months Cookbook Club has a theme! Slow Cookers! So we're all to make a new to us slow cooker recipe from a cookbook! 

Here's the recipe for this months contribution. 

Hot and Cheesy Chicken Casserole

3 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used canned chicken)

1 14oz pkg frozen broccoli florets

2 cups cooked rice (I used Ready Rice by Uncle Bens) 

1 1/2 cups frozen peas

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can fiesta nacho cheese soup

1 10oz can Rotel

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional, I didn't use)

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup crushed rich round crackers (Ritz, I used one sleeve, didn't measure it) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a 3 quart rectangular casserole dish. In a large bowl combine broccoli, rice and peas. (My notes; Vegetables are frozen. Rice can be cold.) Spread mixture over chicken. 

In a bowl combine the soups, undrained Rotel, milk and if desired, crushed red pepper. Stir in half of the cheddar cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese. Pour mixture over broccoli mixture in baking dish. Sprinkle crushed crackers evenly over all. Top with the remaining cheese. 

Bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes or until topping is golden. 

Makes 8-10 servings. 

Recipe from The Potluck Cookbook. Cookbook note reads; Here's what every mom is looking for - nearly every food group in one quick-fix dish. To complete the food pyramid, serve this colorful casserole with a spinach-orange salad. 



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How Not To Make Apple Bread!

I found a new recipe online using a yellow cake mix to make apple bread. I had a yellow cake mix and apples on hand, so decided to try it. 

First error was that I didn't have any ground ginger on hand. 


I used these little cake pans. They make the perfect size loaf to eat and to share and they make the best loaves. No overly done edges and raw middles. 


It smelled heavenly while mixing it up. 


Here's where I noticed my second error. I forgot the main ingredient! Apples! So, I quickly cored, sliced, peeled and diced some apples and stirred it in. 


Which was the third error. The apples were to be shredded, not diced.  Oh, well! I baked and then let them sit for 10 per the directions. They didn't turn out well. 



They're good. It was nice not lugging out the sugar and flour and I don't think you can tell they're made using a cake mix. At least, I couldn't, but I've had better apple bread. 

I sent a loaf home with the guy that built my fence. I asked that he not judge as it was a new recipe and they didn't turn out of the pan well. He replied he's from the farm and you don't judge food, you just eat it! 

Sunday, October 23, 2016



Bulbs planted and some replanted! I hope they come up, multiple and live till I die! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Green Stuff

I first had green stuff a year, maybe two ago. I had been to Effingham Union Church for Sunday School and church. Afterwards we went to Lancaster United Methodist for a youth group spaghetti dinner.  While waiting in line I was told to "try the green stuff". Green? Stuff? What was this green stuff I wondered and did I really want to try it? I'm so glad I did! This stuff is good! 

To make; mix one 3.4 oz box of instant pistachio pudding mix with one 20 oz can of crushed pineapple (juice and fruit, do not drain). 

Stir in 2 1/2 cups mini marshmellows. 


Fold in one 8 oz container cool whip. 


You may also add 1/2 cup chopped pecans, but  my family prefers neutered desserts (nut less!). 


Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Delicious! Unless you're my picky nephew who doesn't eat cool whip! 

Sunday, October 16, 2016


My family came over today to help me clear some of the brush in the backyard and stayed through lunch. I hadn't wanted to buy lunch out, as we often do, or make the same things we often have. I wanted to try something new and Stromboli fit that bill! I made it two ways. The first recipe was for Ham and Swiss Stromboli from The Girl Who Ate Everything




I subbed mozzarella cheese for the Swiss as I already had mozzarella and I reduced the amount of bacon to 4 slices. 


I'm not a fan of onions and if I were making this for myself, I'd have left them out. Otherwise, I thought it tasted great. 

The second Stromboli I made was from 
Southern Bite and was a pizza type. I was talking to my mother as I prepared it and forgot to take pictures! 


It was a mess as I cut it fresh from the oven. I used turkey pepperoni in place of regular pepperoni. I think everyone preferred this one. Both recipes call for canned bread dough and were a breeze to prepare. I'll definitely make both again. 

I served it with a salad (lettuce not shown) and green stuff. 


We ate on the front porch off of paper plates in mid 80 degree heat! Hard to believe that it's October 16th! 


One load ready for the dump, one or more still to go. Stay tuned for the Green Stuff recipe!


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Apple Pie Bites

Sigh. The backyard is 3/4 full of brush and I'm pretending it doesn't exist! I know it'll be nice to have my backyard back and it'll feel good to have tackled that project, but I'd much rather pretend it isn't there! So, this evening I turned to baking apple pie bites.

This is all you need; an apple, a can of crescent rolls, some butter and sugar and cinnamon.  

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Unroll the rolls onto a baking mat or cookie sheet. Spread a thin layer of butter. 

I'm sure the original recipe calls for butter from the stick, but I found table butter easier to work with. I scoop out some and mash it on the cutting board to make it easy to spread and so that I'm not sticking my knife back in the butter. 


Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on. 


Add a thin apple slice or two (make sure they're thin). 


(Went a little too heavy on the cinnamon sugar on this one.)  Roll up and bake for 15 min. 


These I made tonight and the pic below are of the first batch I made. I'm still getting used to my stove. 


Some are prettier than others. I didn't worry too much about appearance, nor should you. Anyone you serve these two will forget how they look after they've had a bite. 

They're good just like this or let cool a bit and serve with a scoop of ice cream! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

October Garland

I love October!  The cooler days and nights, fall leaf color, pumpkins and mums!  Halloween! 


I had planned to make a different bunting for October, but it was more complicated and I wasn't that motivated. So, I went with a bat design from HGTV.  They suggested you hang the finished bats from lower branches on a tree. 


You can find the instructions and template  



I already had the googly eyes and purple rickrack. 




I punched holes through the bat tails and threaded mini rickrack through them to hang. 


I think they turned out very cute! Easy and cute! 



Cookbook Club!

Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks.  Have you heard of them?  You can find info on them

hereMy mother owns all but a few of them, but rarely makes anything from them.  I thought I might borrow one every so often and  make at least one recipe.  Then I stumbled upon a pin on Pinterest about hosting a Cookbook Club and thought I'd challenge others to try recipes out of their cookbooks with me. 

Four of us met for the first time last Friday night and will continue to meet one Friday evening a month.  The pin I had read suggested that everyone cook from the same cookbook, sign up for a specific dish and identify weeks in advance what they’re bringing.  I didn’t want to be responsible for all that, so I just asked everyone to make a recipe they’ve not made before from a cookbook and bring both to dinner.  For the first gathering I supplied the main course, but for future gatherings its pot luck.  We may have a month of all desserts, but we all agreed we’d take our chances.  Other “rules” were that the recipe had to come from a cookbook (not pinterest, a website, etc), it had to be a recipe we’ve not made before (and preferably one we haven’t had before) and we’re to bring the dish, even if it’s a failure (no going out and buying something last minute).


The dishes brought in September were Harvest Squash Bake, Peanut butter banana roll-ups (I think they were named differently, but I’ve forgotten the name), 3 Envelope Roast and Blueberry Buckle.  



We shared our meal and then discussed the recipe and the cookbook we got our recipes from.   My recipe came from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. 


I love this type of cookbook.  Recipes were submitted for it by KDWPT employees and for the mostpart are recipes I could see myself making.  Well, except for the game section.  I can guarantee you I’ll never make squirrel enchiladas or coot chili!  If you’re interested in the cookbook, check with your local KDWPT to see if a copy is available.  They were printed in 2013 and are $10.  


I thought the gathering was a lot of fun and am looking forward to meeting again this month!  We’re looking for one or two more people to join us, so if you’re reading this and think you might like to try it, comment below or consider hosting your own Cookbook Club with friends and family.  


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sofa Repair

 This is my sofa.  




I’ve had it for about 14 years and prior to that it was my grandmother’s.  Six years ago I went to Honduras on a mission trip.  I believe I was gone 8 days, might have been more, but it was too long according to my cat Hobbs.  




1999-2014 RIP (Oh it's hard to look at his pictures. I wish he were still with me.)


While I was gone he shredded both ends of the sofa and ever since then he wanted to use the sofa as his scratching post.  


There was no point in replacing it then as he’d just ruin a new sofa.  So, now I’m in a house and about to host a cookbook club. It was time to address the sofa.  I considered replacing it, but;


*I like mismatched, thrift store/flea market find and hand me downs, which this sofa is.

*I don’t have a lot of company, but I do have a lot of house projects that take priority over purchasing a new sofa.

*I’m not vain.  If you don’t like my belongings or my house, you don't have to visit. 

*I haven’t settled on how to decorate the living room and my tastes might change before I do.


But the number one reason I’m hanging onto the sofa; Its comfortable for me to sleep on.  I have an auto immune disease and there are times that my joints ache so bad that I can’t sleep in my bed.  During those times, I can normally sleep on the sofa.  So, its staying, at least for the time being.  Now what do I do with those ugly shredded ends?  A slip cover is an option, but they never fit right and they move whenever someone gets up. Pinterest gave me another plan; cover the scratches. 



I took a sofa cushion and a friend to Hancocks earlier this year when they were having a 70% off store closing sale and purchased the fabric.   I purchased the tacks from Walmart.


I had planned to attach the tacks so that they were close together like this;




That looked nice here, but was next to impossible to accomplish along the sides.  There was too much batting and the tacks were too short, making every tack hard to place on the sides of the arms.  I bent a lot of tacks;




After about 12 bent tacks I decided they could be spaced further apart.




So, here again is how the sofa used to look.




And here is how it looks now that I’ve covered the front edges.




And here is how the sofa looks when I don’t have company, oh wait…





Okay, here is how it looks when I don’t have company!


Lyncoln says he's available for modeling jobs. 


If you’re down on the floor, it looks pathetic, but I don’t think its as noticeable that I did a horrible job when standing up.  I wish I had done a better job, but having worked on it as long as I did and having bent so many tacks, I’m happy with how it turned out.  I had originally planned to cover the long strip of fabric along the front below the cushions, but ran out of time.  I have enough tacks and fabric to do so. Should I go back and do that? Please comment below! 

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