Lazy Pierogi

pierogies

My Aunt Chere used to make this for family parties and it was always one of my favorites!  It is a creamy buttery delicious side dish or meal!

**There are more pictures on my Facebook page here:  Lazy Pierogi

1 16 oz box rotini pasta cooked
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut (or more/less to your taste)
1 medium onion
1 cup mushrooms chopped
1 stick of butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Saute the mushrooms in 2 TBSP butter and set into a large bowl with the cooked pasta.

Using the same pan add the rest of the butter and saute the onions until soft (approximately 4 minutes) and pour over the pasta in the large bowl.

Mix the soup and sauerkraut with the pasta mixture and pour into a 9×13 cake pan.

Bake at 350 approximately 15 minutes until heated through.

**to make this a one pot meal brown some kielbasa in the onion pan and mix into the pasta before warming**

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Stuffing (or Dressing)

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With the upcoming Thanksgiving feast on it’s way here is how we make our homemade stuffing.

This is a FAVORITE of everyone at our table and something I have to make the most of if we want to have any leftovers!

You can adjust this to the quantity you need (add another loaf of bread and more of the seasonings). I use 2 king size loaves of white bread for a 14 lb turkey.

2 loaves of bread cubed and baked at 350 to toast them (almost like a crouton)
1/2 medium onion diced
1 long stalk celery diced
3/4 to 1 stick of butter
about a cup of chicken stock
celery salt, sage, poultry seasoning (I use about 1 tsp of each to start)

Cube the bread and bake at 350 until toasted (I do this in a few batches)

Melt the butter and add the diced onion and celery cooking about 4 minutes or until softened

Mix into the bread cubes and add the seasonings

Add chicken stock slowly stirring frequently until the desired consistency

Taste test and add more seasoning to your desired taste!

You can stuff your chicken/turkey or you can cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 until heated through. Remove and bake about 5 minutes more to get a bit of a crunch layer on top.

Homemade stuffing is a staple in our house. It’ so simple to make and I know exactly what’s in it!!

Homemade “Beef” Helper

On busy school days with hockey, cheer, barn chores and so on, you can still make a great homemade hamburger helper without a box in about 30 minutes if not a little less.

Last night was one of those nights and with this meal, everyone was happy!

You can see how I made our homemade hamburger helper on my facebook page here:  Homemade Hamburger Helper

Italian Bread

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Making Italian bread (or any bread really) is much easier than most people think.  This recipe makes 3 nice size loaves.  The bread has a nice crust and soft center with great flavor.  It also holds up well if you freeze it for later use. (pictures at the bottom)

Ingredients:

3 cups of warm water

1 full Tablespoon dry active yeast (if you have packets use a packet and a half)

1 1/2 tsp. white sugar

2 tsp. salt

8 cups of all purpose flour (I used unbleached flour or you can use half white and half wheat)

Mix the water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl until dissolved and let sit for 10 minutes to proof.

Stir in 4 cups of the flour and mix it until smooth and set it aside for approximately 15 minutes.

Add 2 cups of flour and the salt and mix again.  Add more flour 1/2 cup at a time to form a stiff dough and pour out onto a floured surface.  Knead the dough adding flour lightly as needed until the dough is smooth and elastic (it should spring back when you press two fingers into it).

Put into a greased bowl and in a warm spot to rise approximately 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down, turn out onto a floured surface and lightly knead for a minuted then place back in the greased bowl to rise again for 30 minutes.

Spray a cookie sheet lightly and sprinkle cornmeal over the sheet

After 30 minutes, punch the dough down again and separate into 3 pieces, forming them into a loaf (a football type shape) and place on the cookie sheet

Set back into a warm spot and let rise about 25 minutes or until correct loaf size.

I brush them lightly with water and place them in a 450 degree preheated oven and bake approximately 30 minutes (turning the pan after 15 minutes and sprinkle a bit of water again on top) and bake until the tops are lightly browned and they sound hollow when you tap on them.

It’s ok if they touch when baking as you can cut them apart.

Your family will LOVE this super easy bread.  My niece and daughter grabbed the first slices as soon as the loaves were cool enough to handle!

 

Apple Crisp

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It’s that time of year again and while apples are in season it’s the best time to make some yummy treats!  This is a pure comfort food dessert.  Super easy and the house smells amazing while it’s cooking!!

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6 large apples peeled, cored and sliced
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
4 Tbsp melted butter

Combine all in a bowl and set aside to marinate together

Make the sweet buttery topping
½ cup quick cook oats
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
¾ cups heaping all purpose flour
1 ½ sticks of room temperature butter

Combine oats, sugars, and flour and mix until well incorporated. Add in the room temperature butter and use a fork or a pastry cutter to form crumbles

Place the apple mixture in a lightly greased 13×9 cake pan. Sprinkle the crumble top evenly over the whole top.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 32 – 35 minutes (or until evenly browned)

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Veggie Tips

We eat a lot of vegetables in our house.  Raw, grilled, steamed, chopped, pan-fried, over the open fire, you name it, we eat it that way.

I thought I would share some tips we have learned along the way as well as how we (ok it’s me really) sneak more veggies into our family diet.

Keeping sliced carrots and celery in our fridge in some cold water to make them last longer is a trick I do every week.  I keep blue cheese and peanut butter around so they can dip them instead of just munching on them raw all the time.  Works like a charm!

Chopping up all types of vegetables and storing them in baggies or small containers that are visible when opening the fridge is another way of getting the kids to snack healthy as they will grab them when hungry.  I keep some ranch dressing along with the blue cheese for these types of vegetables.

Storing my own homemade salad in a bag is another easy thing for kids to grab.  I have a few different dressings to choose from and also red wine vinegar as that’s the Teen Queen’s favorite to top off her salad.  You would be surprised how quick a kid will eat salad if they only have to grab a handful out of a bag and put it in a bowl!

Keeping things colorful is inviting to all.  In our chicken stir fry I use all different color peppers and also for when I am making a vegetable side dish for dinner.  The kids call these dishes “rainbow vegetables”.

Kale chips are another great crunchy snack.  You can do the same thing with brussel sprouts by peeling them and baking.

Topping veggies with sauce and cheese is a great alternative to pasta.  This gets scooped right up in a matter of minutes!

Filling them with meat and rice topped with sauce…who could resist!

Loading up your crockpot meals with all different types of veggies that soften, add flavor and break down into the gravy is sneaky!!  This is how I hide parsnips from the Boy!

Grilling is huge in our world.  I will grill many many vegetables in the summer.  Seasoned with a little olive oil, garlic powder and salt and cooked until charred and soft.  Every vegetable is delicious!

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And last, keeping fresh corn around and teaching the kids how to microwave their own for 4 minutes and then peel allows for a delicious, no string ear every kids loves!

I have shared recipes on this blog (you can find them under the “Categories” section) as well as on our Facebook page: ChasenChanceranch for all of these pictures.  If you can’t find one, just ask!