Homemade Tangy Italian Dressing

We love this homemade dressing.  It is creamy, tangy, and amazing!

Mark had always been a die hard French and Ranch dressing guy until he tried this dressing.  Now this is all he’ll eat.  It is that good!

My favorite salad combo for this dressing is Romaine lettuce, red onion, tomatoes, pepperoncinis, & kalamata olives.

tangy-italian-dressing-recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c. vinegar
  • 1/3 c. mayo
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 4 T  grated Parmesan (has to be real Parmesan)
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic

Directions

Place all the ingredients into a skinny bowl or the blender.  Blend on high in blender or with an immersion blender.

blender-cup-tangy-italian-dressing

My stick/immersion blender came with this nifty cup and lid.  We keep the dressing in here constantly, as soon as we run out I make more.

This dressing can get a little thick once it’s been in the fridge.  I scoop the dressing into the main salad bowl, mix, & serve.

Do you make homemade dressing?  I’ve tried several ones for Ranch but they just don’t taste as good as Lighthouse’s Homestyle Ranch.

 

This recipe has been linked up to the Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange on Little House on The Prairie Living

Ham and Potato Chowder

My kids hate soup or any of its counterparts.  But they LOVE this chowder.  The dill adds lots of flavor to an already yummy concoction.

I usually double this recipe for my family.

Ham-and-Potato-Chowder-Recipe

Ham and Potato Chowder

  • 1 c. ham, cubed
  • 1/2 c. onion, diced
  • 2 T celery, diced
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 1 c. potatoes, cubed
  • 4 tsp flour
  • 1 1/3 c. milk
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • sour cream for garnish

In a medium saucepan, cook the ham, onion, celery, & butter until onions soften. Add the broth and cubed potatoes and cook for 15 – 20 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour and milk until smooth.  Stir into saucepan and add the dill and pepper.

To serve, garnish with a dollop of sour cream.

Hot Chocolate Mix Without Powdered Milk

My mom is a good cook.  She makes popcorn, chili, cookies, and lots of other foods.

Our friend’s mom is a good cook too.  She makes good chili, it is not spicy.

To all the kids, say thank you to your mom for making food.

My mom says I am a good cook too. This hot chocolate mix is better than store-bought. I made it for gifts for friends.

hot-chocolate-mix-recipe-without-powdered-milkHot Chocolate Mix
3 1/2 c. sugar
2 1/4 c. cocoa
1 T. salt
whole milk for serving

We mixed all the dry ingredients in a bowl.  (This makes a lot)

cocoa-for-hot-chocolate-mix

To make:

Heat one cup of milk (I use the microwave). Add two tablespoons of mix to the heated milk. Stir.

hot-chocolate

Until next time,

3 Super Easy No Bake Christmas Goodies

I had big plans to post a bunch of individual Christmas ideas.  But you know, life happens and it doesn’t always go as planned.

So today I’m going to jam just some of the goodies that we made this year.

Since we’re in the camper, we cut down on baking this year.  Significantly.  In fact I did a baking day at a friend’s house and that was it.

But you’ll notice that the recipes below have some things in common.

  1. no bake
  2. almond bark (I’m not obsessed with the stuff, I promise)
  3. quick and easy to make

We did make other goodies and I swear, and they didn’t even have almond bark!  These are just the quickest things we made and are perfect for last minute treats.

So here they are…

Grasshopper Mint Truffles

grasshopper-mint-truffles

Ingredients

  • 1 (10 oz pkg) Grasshopper cookies
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 8 oz almond bark
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • green food coloring

Directions

In a food processor or blender (I used my Ninja), place the cookies and pulse them until they are a fine crumb consistency.  In a bowl, pour the cookie crumbs into a bowl and mix with the cream cheese, use your hands if necessary.  Refrigerate mixture for about 20 minutes.  Shape mixture into 3/4 inch ball size and place them on wax paper.  Refrigerate for about 20 minutes more.

Once cold, place the almond bark in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for about 1 1/2 minutes or until almond bark is almost melted. Stir well (heat in 15 second increments if its not quite melted).

To the almond bark, add the peppermint extract and food coloring.  Dip the truffles into the flavored and colored almond bark.  Tap slightly to remove excess almond bark and place them on wax paper.

Refrigerate in an air tight container.

NOTE:

  • The peppermint extract causes the almond bark to thicken slightly so these don’t end up as smooth as they would if you dipped them in melting chocolate alone.
  • We tried these with regular chocolate and white chocolate (Trust me, DON’T even try the white chocolate – peppermint makes it clumpy and nasty for whatever reason and it’s not a good coating choice).  These are far better with pepperminted almond bark or you can use the mint Ghirardelli (I couldn’t find any though).
  • Other candies and cookies absorb peppermint flavor so if you bring this with other cookies, just be sure to keep the peppermint separate.

 

Ritz Peanut Butter Cookies

*These are about as easy to make as you can get.  My aunt made these last year and I was surprised at how good they were.

Ritz-Peanut-Butter-Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 (24 oz) pkg almond bark
  • Ritz crackers
  • creamy peanut butter

Directions

Place the almond bark in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for about 1 1/2 minutes or until almond bark is almost melted. Stir well (heat in 15 second increments if its not quite melted).

Meanwhile, spread one Ritz cracker with peanut butter.  Place another Ritz on top to sandwich the crackers.

Dip “sandwich” in melted almond bark. Place on wax paper to cool.

NOTE:  1 pkg almond bark is enough to make about 60 cookies.

 

Peanut Almond Chewies

Peanut-Almond-Chewies

Ingredients

  • 1 (24 oz) pkg almond bark
  • 1 c. peanut butter
  • 2 c. peanuts
  • 3 c. miniature marshmallows
  • 4 c. rice krispies cereal

Directions

Place the almond bark in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for about 1 1/2 minutes or until almond bark is almost melted. Stir well (heat in 15 second increments if its not quite melted).

Mix in the peanut butter until smooth.  Let the mixture cool slightly, then add the peanuts and marshmallows. Gently stir in the rice krispies, you don’t want to crush them.

Using a small cookie scoop, spoon candy onto wax paper and let cool.

 

So there you have them….some great, easy last minute treats to make for Christmas.

But I have to ask, am I the only last minute cook??  I find that if I make goodies to early, we eat them all.

How about you?

Sour Cream Chicken – Redo to Trim Healthy Mama E

** To see the updated Trim Healthy Mama Version of this recipe, please see below the original recipe **

This chicken is super yummy.  My kids love it!

Yes it has french fried onions.  Sue me.  😉

If you leave them out, you’re missing out.  Trust me.

The original recipe called for a can of cream of mushroom soup.  But I make my friend, Gwen’s Cream of Mushroom Soup Cubes.  They are delish! If you’ve never made them before, you really should.

This recipe hails from my TX church retreat days.  The place we went to every year served this chicken.  I looked forward to it every year. They closed down the retreat center and no longer serve this gem.Sour-Cream-Chicken Recipe

But here it is for you in all its yummy goodness…

INGREDIENTS

  • salt & pepper
  • 5 chicken breasts, flattened to even thickness with a mallet
  • paprika
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 mushroom soup cube, prepared (or a can of cream of mushroom soup)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 (2.8 oz) can french fried onions

DIRECTIONS

Salt and pepper the chicken breasts.  Place chicken in a 9 X 13 baking dish.  Generously sprinkle chicken with lots of paprika.  Top chicken with patties of butter and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the chicken is baked through and juices run clear.

While chicken is baking, prepare your mushroom soup cube.

Reserve chicken and make gravy in drippings with the prepared mushroom soup cube and sour cream.  Return chicken to pan and cover in gravy.  Top with french fried onions and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with rice.

** Trim Healthy Mama Sour Cream Chicken **

I had to remake this recipe because we love it so much.  Plus there just doesn’t seem to be enough E’s on our menu.  We’re an S kinda family.

Since this version doesn’t contain sour cream, maybe I should call it Greek Chicken.  But that makes it sound like it should be a Greek seasoned chicken.  Yogurt Chicken doesn’t sound good either…so I’m sticking with Sour Cream Chicken.

I still have those dreaded French Fried Onions on there, but it is a scant amount and I’m not a purist.  They do add a trivial amount of fat but given the low fat amounts for the meal, it is not enough to push you into a Crossover or Satisfying category.

INGREDIENTS

  • salt & pepper
  • 5 chicken breasts, flattened to even thickness with a mallet
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • paprika
  • mushroom soup cube (plus ingredients to prepare)
  • 1 c. fat free greek yogurt (or low fat sour cream – which I like better)
  • 1 (2.8 oz) can french fried onions

DIRECTIONS

Salt and pepper the chicken breasts.  Place chicken in a 9 X 13 baking dish. Lightly coat chicken breasts with olive oil.  Generously sprinkle chicken with lots of paprika.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is baked through and juices run clear.

While chicken is baking, prepare your mushroom soup cubes.  I follow Gwen’s suggestion on her site, which is to “add 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk or fat free chicken broth to a sauce pan. Sprinkle 1/2 – 1 tsp gluccomannan in a VERY thin layer over the top of the liquid while whisking constantly (you want to avoid clumps…so keep the sprinkle very light). Add your cream of mushroom cube, and heat until bubbly.”

Remove chicken and make gravy in drippings with the prepared mushroom soup cube and sour cream.  Return chicken to pan and cover in gravy.  Top with french fried onions and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with brown rice.

 

 

Grandma’s Pumpkin Bread ~ Oven or Crockpot

Nothing says fall like Grandma’s Pumpkin Bread!

Grandma's Pumpkin Bread ~ From Scratch

But before I get to that I have to tell you, I almost lost it a few days ago.

My fellow RVing friend, Alicia, told me that baking in the RV oven was challenging and boy was she RIGHT!

After attempting a coffee cake (that was crispy on the bottom and gooey in the middle, I had my moment of temporary insanity.  I had followed all the advice I could find online about RV ovens (which I’ll cover in another post) – still my cake was yuck-o!

RV ovens are tricky.

Hello Pinterest!  Oh how I love thee!

Grandma’s Pumpkin Bread – Crockpot Style

Who knew such a thing was possible, so I gave it a shot with some of that pumpkin I dealt with the other day.

I did a little controlled experiment and made a few adjustments to my RV oven setup.  My goal was to show the impossibility of baking in RV ovens and the success of the crockpot.  But my adjustments to the oven worked!!  Ha!  So if you’re struggling with your oven, head over here for my tips.

Crockpot Pumpkin Bread

They both tasted great but the crockpot version was a little more moist and flatter on top.  My family was still cool with it.

I found instructions for crockpot bread, here and used my all-time favorite Grandma’s Pumpkin Bread recipe.

One thing I do like about the crockpot one, it’s not so time sensitive.  Meaning, I can leave it and go do laundry without worrying about it burning. I’m not the greatest about setting the timer anyway so I like the flexibility the crockpot offers.

So we have a win-win here folks!

Now you have to try my pumpkin bread recipe… it is super-delicious!!

Grandma’s Pumpkin Bread Recipe

  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 2/3 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. butter (melted)
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 c. pumpkin (cooked & mashed, or canned)
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Oven Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Pour pumpkin bread batter into your greased loaf pan(s).
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour for a standard loaf or 20 to 25 minutes for 3 mini loaves.

Crockpot Directions

  1. Pour a couple of cups of water into the bottom of your crockpot, you don’t want the water in the crockpot to go into the bread pan once you place it in there.
  2. Pour your pumpkin bread batter into your greased loaf pan(s).
  3. Place the filled pan(s) into the crockpot.
  4. Lay several paper towels inside the crockpot, so they just rest on the top, and cover towels with crockpot lid to hold them in place.  This is done to collect the condensation that will inevitable form from the water sitting at the bottom of your crockpot.
  5. Bake for 2 to 3 hours, check bread’s doneness with a toothpick or knife.

 

Easy Crock Pot Pumpkins with Canning on the Side

After finally figuring out how to light my camper oven…which was ridiculously simple…embarrassingly…I roasted a pumpkin.  Just one.  It took a few hours. the liquid cooked up and it heated our camper.

Problem.

I had 3 pie pumpkins leftover from my garden.  I wanted to get them taken care of because I had BIG plans for them.

My 3 Pumpkin Babies

Since it’s been unseasonably warm I wanted to avoid the oven, especially with that many pumpkins to cook.

But guess what?!  You can cook your pumpkins in the crock pot!  Yes sir-E.

The process is easy, which is slightly modified from here.

  1. Cut pumpkin in half.
  2. Scoop out seeds and fibers.
  3. Cut pumpkin up in to chunks or slices (the smaller you cut them, the more you can fit into the crock pot).
  4. Add 1/2 c. water for each pumpkin.
  5. Turn crockpot to high and let cook for 3-4 hours.
  6. Pumpkin is cooked when a fork pierces the skin easy and the “meat” is tender.

Whaa Laa!

Cooked pumpkin.

I believe my crock pot is 6-Quarts and I fit 2 1/2 of my pumpkins.  I initially filled my crock pot too full and had to take some out.  2 batches but still carefree.

I cut away the skin of mine carefully so I could cube it and can it.  I was able to get 7 pints.  And yes I canned them.

RV Canned Pumpkin

Pumpkin about to go into the Canner…RV Style

I do not think I’ll be canning much in the camper.

Had I remembered that they needed to be pressure canned for 55 minutes I would not have done it.  BUT since I had already prepped my jars, and filled them I pressed on like a good girl scout.

I found instructions for canning pumpkin here, my pumpkin harvest last year was dismal but this year, inspite of the drought and my lazy watering…I got 6 from one plant.  Good enough for me!

How was canning in the Camper?

Slow

and

Hot

It took a LONG time to get the canner hot enough.  And remember the heat I was complaining about?  Ummm…yeah, we were roasting.  I should have saved the seeds from the pumpkins and just laid them out on the counter.  Could have multi-tasked.

Do any of you full-time RVers can?  Or was that something you gave up?

Mission accomplished on the canning but I may need to admit defeat.  Can’t win them all I suppose.