Jana's Strawberries

Around Valentine's Day my friend Jana posted on her blog that she had a stomach bug and wasn't sure if she would be able to make her husband his favorite cheesecake stuffed chocolate covered strawberries. She said it so nonchalantly that I remarked in her comments that it should have been CHEESECAKE..... STUFFED..... CHOCOLATE..... COVERED..... STRAWBERRIES!!!! In the end she made them for Ryan and was kind enough to post the recipe on her blog. When I got home from Walmart today I noticed that "someone" had mysteriously put both strawberries and cheesecake filling in my cart! And well, since I had chocolate candy disks anyway, I thought I would give them a whirl. I am a little lazier than Jana so I went with ready made filling instead of creating my own, but the deliciousness will be the same I am sure.

Jana's Strawberries
Gather your ingredients together. Make sure your strawberries are the big fat ones so you will have some empty space inside to fill with cheesecake goodness.

Cut a notch in the bottom of each strawberry. You may need to twist your knife in the cavity a bit to widen it some.

Then fill one of the ten million medicine syringes we have accumulated in the last few months with cheesecake filling. This was actually the hardest part. I am sure there is an easier way to fill the syringe, but I didn't think of one and I was in too much of a hurry to wait! Squirt the filling into the hollow cavity of the strawberry.

Then put the plug back in and no one will be the wiser!
Since my willpower was fading fast and I was about to eat the whole tub of filling without waiting for strawberries there were a few undersized strawberries in my carton, I thought I would try hollowing one out from the top and tasting it, just for fun.

After melting your chocolate and dipping the berries you will have something like this (below). You will more than likely lose a plug or two but don't panic. Just fish it out and shove it back in place. As the chocolate hardens it will keep the plug there. They may be a little bit uglier, but trust me, no one is going to refuse to eat these due to a bump here or there. Also, more than likely no one will look at them too closely in the frenzy to put it in their mouths as soon as humany possible. Besides, the ugly ones have half the calories, right? RIGHT?

Now, if you have had a great helper for this treat, like I did (by helping here I mean staying-out-the-kitchen-and-out-of-the-way-until-I-call-you) feel free to reward her with a taste of the leftover chocolate!

Menu 2/26 - 3/4--2010

Here is our menu for the coming week. Nothing fancy, but I am trying out a couple new recipes from Taste of Home's 2010 Annual Recipes cookbook that I just got the other day. If they go well, I will feature them in a recipe post. I am enjoying this blog so far but it feels a little weird to type the word "recipe" so many times!

Friday-Hamburger Helper 4 Cheese Lasagna...What can I say?..we love it!
Saturday-Chicken and Stove Top Casserole (I leave out the veggies and serve with salad instead)
Sunday-"Catch as Catch Can" night...a throwback to my childhood where you kind of scrounge around and decide what you want on your own. Everybody eats something different
Monday-Tamale Pie
Tuesday-Chicken Alphabet Soup
Thursday-Stuffed Shells


Taco Soup

A couple weeks ago when I first got the idea for this blog, I was making Taco Soup for dinner. I had lost my recipe and sent out an urgent distress call on Facebook but no one else's recipe was quite like mine. I googled for a recipe and found several that were very close, just off by an ingredient or two. Long story short, I finally found the recipe I was used to online and I thought about typing it up and posting it on my blog and sending it to the people who had sent me their recipes. I envisioned a Pioneer Woman-esque post with pictures and witty phrasing. What follows is my attempt at the sincerest form of flattery!

Gather up all your ingredients
You can use any type of ground meat you like. I have used beef, venison and (like this time) turkey.

Dice your onions

Shred yourself a whole mess of cheese.
I used to buy shredded cheese in a bag until I was at my sister-in-law's house and she shredded her own. The texture was incredible; very smooth and creamy. I have been buying blocks of cheese to shred at home ever since. (The Shiner Bock doesn't go in the soup, it goes in the cook!)

Brown your choice of ground meat with the onions and drain off any fat.

Drain the kidney beans and rinse them off.
Not all recipes call for drained and rinsed kidney beans. The original recipe for this soup didn't but it is a personal thing of mine. The "liquid" in the can is offensive to me so I rinse it all off.

The stewed tomato chunks will need to be made smaller.

If only this blog could relay the heavenly smell to you!

Add the toppings of your choice and ENJOY!!

PS--This soup is very good as a soup, but it is also thick enough to be eaten like a dip with tortilla chips, I usually do a little of both!

Taco Soup
2 pounds ground meat
2 onions, diced
2 cans pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 cans Rotel
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 pkg ranch dressing dry mix

Brown meat and onion and drain fat. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. Serve with cheese, chips, sour cream etc...


Shredded Pork Wraps

I am trying out a new recipe for tonight and as long as my crockpot doesn't decide it hates me (again), I am looking forward to a tasty meal with little to do but sit down and eat it. I'll have to post an update for you with whether or not it was liked by any or all of us.
One of the food issues we have to deal with around here is Jayme's dislike of sweet tasting meats. He does not like barbecue sauce, baked beans and the like (but he will eat brown sugar/honey glazed ham). This has led me to yearn for things like BBQ sandwiches or even a Manwich from time to time. One day I happened upon this recipe for shredded pork that had no barbecue sauce so it had potential for our house. Of course I promptly forgot all about it and only recently re-discovered it in my pork recipe section.
So it is in the crockpot, slowly cooking to (hopeful) perfection for tonight. All that's left to do is shred some cheese and lettuce and heat up the tortillas!
The Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups salsa--divided
2 TBSP cornstarch or 4 TBSP flour
2 1/2 pound pork loin
8 flour tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese
shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, onion, jalapenos or other toppings as desired

Combine 1/2 cup salsa and cornstarch/flour; stir until smooth. Pour into crockpot.

Top with pork.

Pour remaining salsa on top of pork.

Cover and cook on low 6 - 8 hours. Remove roast and cool 10 - 15 minutes, then shred pork.

Use remaining ingredients to make wraps. The boys like them with just a little cheese.

I like mine with cheese, sour cream and fresh spinach!

You'll have a very filling meal and enough leftovers for a lunch or two as well. It's one of our favorite meals.


Menu 2/19 - 2/25--2010

I do my grocery shopping on Friday morning so our menu runs from Friday to Thursday. Our menu is never set in stone either. Things come up every week, unexpected or not, and sometimes what I had planned doesn't pan out. Whether I forget to take something out of the freezer or whatever I was going to make just doesn't sound good that night, it never hurts to have a back-up plan. I try to plan something for late in the week that requires no frozen ingredients so that it can be swapped with something else if need be. We also tend to have breakfast for dinner when what was planned doesn't work out. This is how having 7 chickens in the backyard saves us a lot of arguments and money (since instead of running to Burger King or something we can just have yummy, delicious, nutritious eggs). We don't eat out very often and when we do it is a special treat we have saved up for. Very rarely is it spur of the moment.
Any recipes I have blogged will be linked to the post, and those I have gotten from other websites will be linked as well. If there's ever a recipe that isn't linked and you want to know more about it, leave me a comment and I will be happy to tell you or make it my next post! We try to have salad every night with dinner too. I usually buy baby spinach, petite carrots, sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes and cucumbers for our salads. Sometimes I will combine the spinach with green or red leaf lettuce.
Here is this week's menu:
Friday-The boys are having a sleepover next door so Jayme and I are going on a date with Pattie...don't know where yet
Saturday-BLTs and french fries
Sunday-Deer meat of some sort
Monday-Shredded Pork Wraps
Wednesday-Sloppy Joe Casserole (I use ground turkey instead of ground beef)
Thursday-Chicken Ranch Tacos

Feeding the Chaos

Welcome to my new recipe blog! I have always enjoyed reading recipes and trying them out. I have found myself asking for a lot of my Facebook friend’s recipes when they post what they are making for dinner and I have been asked for some of mine as well. I have a lot of cookbooks and while I go through them and mark the recipes I would like to try, I usually just stick to the ones I know we will like.
We have some food issues in our house but nothing major. No allergies to be watchful for, just a few taste preferences to consider. Jayme likes a lot of spice in his food and I can’t eat anything much hotter than mild picante sauce. Raley seems to have inherited this love of spicy foods so I make sure to keep a jar of jalapenos on hand at all times. They can put them on whatever they want to, just as long as they brush their teeth before giving me a kiss (especially Jayme!) The kids, being kids, have foods they will not eat. Most surprisingly: Clay doesn’t like mashed potatoes, Raley won’t eat beans, and neither one of them likes corn. Imagine that…a kid…who doesn’t like CORN of all things! Most kids live on corn for at least a year, don’t they? I guess since it isn’t the best food for you, I shouldn’t mind so much but some of my favorite recipes have corn in them so it makes those meals happen far less often than I would like them to. Since Pattie is only 2 ½ she basically lives on hot dogs, bacon, eggs, and milk. She is however a pretty good eater most of the time. She will eat almost anything you put in front of her if you promise her a piece of bacon afterwards.
I plan to post at least once a week with our family menu (more than likely on Friday when I create the menu), and at least one other day a week with a recipe from our favorites. Some recipe posts will simply be a link to the website where I found the recipe myself while others will be a photo blog (a la The Pioneer Woman). Occasionally I will tell you about a new product I have fallen in love with or something I have found I cannot live without. I can guarantee you that the recipes I post will be easy, fun, fast, and family friendly. There will be nothing fancy-shmancy or complicated at all. In fact, if it can’t be cooked with a 6 year old “helping” or a 2 ½ year old hanging on your leg (if you’re lucky and being held in one arm if you’re not) then you won’t find it here period. We are, after all, Feeding the Chaos.

PS--If you found this blog first, come on over to Embracing the Chaos for our day to day life blog!