Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thick and Creamy Potato Bacon Soup

We love to eat at Cheddar's restaurant in Mansfield.  When Baeleigh was little, she used to like to sit in the middle booths so she could watch all the fans whip around. (See cute picture below of her when she was 3!)

  Our favorite food at Cheddar's is their potato soup.  IT is very thick and creamy; not the least bit watery;  and it has BACON!! (Can't you just hear the Beggin' Strips Dog commercial??) I love bacon. The only thing bacon related that I haven't tired yet is the bacon sundae at Denny's.  But I have tried to concoct the Cheddar's soup recipe for years and I think I finally have it down to a science! 

Recipe for Thick and Creamy Potato Bacon Soup (Better than Cheddar's because I can have as much as I want, when I want.)

8 slices of bacon.
1 c. sauteed onion or 1/4 c. dried minced onion (have used both and it makes no difference!)
8 potatoes - chopped
1 c. water
1 3/4 cup whole milk (or if you use 2% no one will know but you!)
1 c. sour cream
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 - 10 3/4 ounce cans of cream of chicken soup
1- small can of cream of celery soup

Put large stock pot on the stove and bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Clean and chop potatoes into squares with the skins left on (or you can take the time to peel them).  I cut mine in half, then fourths but the chunks can be smaller if that is your liking.

Add spuds to boiling water and set timer for 17 minutes.

Meanwhile, grab a cookie sheet WITH SIDES (or you will have a mess) and line with foil.  Put the bacon on the foil. Set oven to 400 degrees and immediately put in the bacon. Do not preheat the oven. Bake for 15 minutes and let it cool in the pan until you are ready to cut them into bits.

If you are sauteing your onions, use some bacon grease in a small pan and saute until clear. I deleted this step and just added minced onion because I hate it when my hands stink like onion (I'm not an onion lover).

In a separate large mixing bowl, (I use a pancake batter bowl for easy and transfer) combine onion, water, milk, sour cream, salt, pepper, cream of chicken soup, and cream of celery soup.  Use kitchen shears to cut the bacon into fourths.  Reserve 2 pieces of bacon for garnish. Add quartered bacon to the pot.  In a small bowl, cut remaining 2 pieces into bacon bit sized pieces. 

Drain potatoes in a colander in the sink. Leave them there for a few minutes.  Carefully wipe out the pot for skin residue if you wish. Return the potatoes to the pot.  Add the soup mixture and stir well.  Simmer for 2 hours.

OR simmer for a half an hour, add to a crock pot, and put it in the fridge for the next day. Cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours. (I also take out 4 servings and put in a tupperware container and put in the freezer. But there are only 3 of us...so if you have a big family, you probably can't take any out!)

Garnish your delicious soup with a few fingers full of triple cheese blend and your bacon bits.

**Note to self** Next time, try adding some garlic. Hubs bought a HUGE tub of garlic and it just might go well in this soup!**

Until the next time I cook,


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Grilled Garlic Shrimp & Pasta Recipe under $10 by J.P.

I think this is the best dinner we have had in a long time. AND it was under $10.  Our Family Chef aka J.P. (aka Hubs & Daddy) is on a cooking kick. We (mostly me) are/is so sick of restaurant food. Especially...I hate to admit it... EVEN PIZZA. 

My very close and wonderful friend Wendy Lou and I had a discussion tonight and we compared some good recipes, including but not limited to, BBQ ribs, laundry detergent, and fabric softener.  She turned me on to Pinterest, which I think should have an add-title that reads "Pinterest...the reason we don't need college anymore."  Can you imagine all the $$ people would save on college loans?????

Seriously. Between Pinterest and Google, I don't know why I keep thinking I need to finish my Bacherlor's degree.  The Internet is much cheaper. And I can find an answer to EVERYTHING.

So, to celebrate my blog hiatus (almost 2 years of not blogging) let me include J.P.'s recipe that is WAY better than Red Lobster or Olive Garden, I promise, and costs under $10 for the both of us.  (My 10 year old has yet to try shrimp but when she does...we will be buying 2 pounds of shrimp I'm sure!)  

Ingredients for Garlic Shrimp: 
1 pound of uncooked shrimp (about 30 count)  ($7 at Gerwig's White Barn)
Skewers (.99)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1 TBS. dried parsley (more if it's fresh)
Black Pepper to taste

Directions: In a gallon size ziplock, combine all ingredients and marinate the shrimp for 30 minutes.
Soak skewers in water in a shallow baking pan if they are wooden.
Put the marinated shrimp on the skewers. You should have about 5 or 6 skewers full of shrimp.
Cook on a preheated grill until the shrimp are pink and no longer opaque.

While the shrimp are marinating,boil 8 oz. of angel hair pasta.

Ingredients for Butter Garlic Sauce:
1/4 olive oil
3 TBS Butter
7 cloves of mined garlic.
Sea Salt or Kosher Salt (it DOES make a difference than regular ol' table salt) 
Parmesan cheese

Directions: Saute in a skillet and sprinkle parsley and salt to taste.  Top with Parmesan cheese.

When the shrimp are done on the grill...add them to the top of the pasta... sprinkle with Sea Salt...H*E*A*V*E*N

It's Sunday and I have to do some meal planning for the week but watch for my laundry concoction recipe made from several other recipes and I have finally come to a recipe that is what I need it to be! After two weeks of making a million batches, I have a version that I like BETTER than Gain. I would have never believed me had I heard me saying this a few weeks ago!

Have a good week!

~ Natalie~ 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pizza Baked Spaghetti

My Pizza Baked Spaghetti starts with Jamie's sauce:

In a crockpot, add 1.5 lbs. of extra lean ground beef (raw)
a large can of Hunt's tomato puree
a large can of Hunt's tomato sauce
2 packets of spagetti seasoning
1 small can of mushrooms

Cook on low all day. The ground beef will cook on its own - get extra lean if you are worried about it being too greasy.

Make the spaghetti and add sauce, it's wonderful. With the left over sauce, I put it in a plastic container and freeze it. That's where the baked spaghetti comes in. Of course you can use jar sauce but it is not as near as good as homemade.

So here's the recipe for the casserole:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Defrost spaghetti sauce - enough to break up the frozen chunks but it should still be cool. Meanwhile, cook about a half a box of spaghetti for 7 minutes. Do not overcook because it is going to get gooshy after it goes to the oven. Drain spaghetti.

With cooking spray, lightly spray casserole dish. Add a very thin layer of sauce. Layer half of the spaghetti on top and use half of the sauce you thawed. make sure you cover the past completely. Add the rest of the pasta and the rest of the sauce and cover pasta completely. Use finely shredded mozzarella cheese and make a think layer. Sprinkle a thin layer of grated Parmesan cheese. Add deli pepperoni (it's cheaper and really big!) and then cut 2 slices of sliced mozzarella cheese in triangles and spread over the top. It should look like this:

Cook uncovered for about 45 mins. in a 350 oven or 30 mins. in a 400 degree oven. If the cheese starts getting too brown cover with a glass lid or foil.

My thoughts on my devotions today:   This morning in Isaiah 64:8 (AMP) it said: "Yet, oh Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter, and we all are the work of Your hand." How encouraging to know that God is my Potter. He is making pieces of pottery out of every one. I am pottery. You are pottery. God is our Potter. How awesome to know that my imperfections will become perfection in His time. Today He molds me little by little. Sits me on the Potter's wheel and smooths out all the bumps in me. The round and round makes me dizzy and sometimes it's hard to see the purpose in it all, but the Potter is at work on the pottery.

As I read Isaiah's words, I felt his pain. He was a prophet - God spoke directly to him and told him to warn the others of what was to come. How often do we hear God's word and think, "Well, it could happen... I guess...but I'm going to go on about my way because I'm too busy to do what I know I should do. Tell me again later, Lord, and hopefully I will have the house clean, toilet scrubbed, laundry done and dinner cooked and then I'll do what you say."

Isaiah reminded Jerusalem of the relationship they USED to have with God: "Our holy and our beautiful house, [the temple] where our father's praised You, is burned with fire, and all our pleasant and desirable places are in ruins." The chosen people had a sanctuary with their God, a place of worship and fellowship with Him. And because they drifted away from God, they lost it all. When we drift, we lose that close intimate fellowship with God.

Isaiah 53:4 speaks of Jesus: "Surely He has borne our griefs (sickness, weakness and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains of punishment, yet we ignorantly considered Him stricken, smitten and afflicted by God [as with leprosy]". Isn't it sad to think that we take Jesus for granted - what He suffered for us we continue to treat Him like He has some kind of disease?

Isaiah died by being sawed in half by King Manasseh. Manasseh didn't like what Isaiah had to say ~ much like there are times when I am in the middle of sin and don't want to hear God say that I am wrong ~ I sever God's Word from my heart and my mind because of my stubbornness. Lord, I pray that you soften me to Your Word and Your Presence in my life. Help me not to turn a deaf ear to You. Help me to love You more than the sin that I am participating in. Lord, make me like Isaiah, that I would not be ashamed of Your Word and that I would be willing to die for Your truth like Jesus died for me. Amen.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's been awhile...

It's been awhile since I posted a blog...I believe it was winter time...and now we are right smack dead center in the middle of summer, which I happen to LOVE LOVE LOVE.

What has happened since January somethingish... (at least I think it was January...)

February ~ Celebrated Jamie's birthday and my one year Collins & Lowther anniversary on the same day. Bae and I gave him an iTunes giftcard that is still sitting on the kitchen table because he bootlegs all of his music. Yes, I am married to a thief. I guess that is why I am strategically employed as a Paralegal.

I don't remember much about March, April or May, except that Jenny finally made it through her chemo and radiation and she is doing wonderfully. Her scans have come back clean and I cannot praise God enough. Another vague memory ~ I can sorta recall that we had several Court trials - like 3 which is insanely insane. Won one, lost one and one is still being decided, so our batting average could go either way at this point.

For Easter this year we went to New York to see the Jarrell's. We took Flat Stanley, sent to us by my nephew Izak Darling.

We had a great trip...we stopped by the Hudson River...Niagara Falls...took lots of pics...its was really fun.

I'm going to conclude my blog to a part two later...I'm all of the sudden extremely exhausted. And remind me to tell you about my washing machine...


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Just the Good Ol Boys...

...Never meanin' no harm.
Beats all you never saw
Been in trouble with the law
Since the day they was born.

Staightnin' the curves
Flatnin the hills
Someday the mountain might get 'em
But the law never will.

Makin' their way
The only way they know how
That's just a little bit more
Than the law will allow.

I had a Dukes of Hazzard experience this morning on my way to work. The roads were a complete mess until I got to Crawford County. It looked fairly clear. I was driving through Galion, going about 45 (the speed limit was 50 thank-you-very-much) and the mini van in front of me started fish tailing. I tapped my breaks and bing bam boom I started to slide all over the place.

Quick decision: A. Go left of center and hit the oncoming vehicle. B. Straighten out the fish tail and hit the van in front of me because I ain't stoppin'...or...C. Hunker down, grip the wheel, and jump the ditch like Bo Duke.

I chose the Bo Duke option.

The ditch was probably 4 feet deep. I soared through the air, too petrified to yell "Yee Haw" like my mother would have.

I landed over the ditch and hit a snow bank. The car was covered in snow but still running. My rear wheels were too far buried in snow for me to just drive away.

After doing the "put it in reverse" "put it in drive" series, I decided I wasn't getting out and called Anita and asked her for a number for a tow truck in Galion. She couldn't find anything...

...and as I looked up 3 very fine gentlemen in carhardts and work boots came walking towards my car... Thank you Jesus! These Good Ol Boys just saved me $100 towing fee!

I am going to make some cupcakes tonight and drop them off at that place on my way in tomorrow morning...provided we don't have another snow storm...

Yee. Haw.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Is it Summertime, yet?

I don't care about Christmas this year. Which saddens me, because I normally LOVE this time of year. But seriously, things have just become too busy and I'm tired of all the mania.

It's fine on Black Friday...Jenny and I shopped from midnight on Thursday until 3:00 p.m. on Friday. I got TONS of good deals. I do my shopping and dad's shopping for the grandkids so I definately have a lot to buy. My best deals were at Target this year. We hit the Polaris location after the came from the Jefferson Outlets with Sammy and Brittany.

Since then, I have not cared much about Christmas. I think it is because I gone from home 11 hours a day and when you calculate in the 3 Christmas programs Bae is in, (school, daycare and church) and laundry on top of all that, I am just plain old tired.

I can't wait to go to Michigan next year. Ty and Jenny came up last Saturday and all talked about it. I love not having any responsiblities. I love not having to do laundry for one whole week (even though it takes me two whole weeks to catch it back up when we get home...) . And I LOVE supporting the Kewadian Community! But most of all, I love spending time with the family that helped raised me - the Russell's. Ralph and Patty are second parents to me and it's great to hear them them tell stories...like Patty hiding the Ho Ho's because she knew I was on my way over... True story.

Jamie desperately needs a week off of work. He freezes to death during the winter. Why they make him work in a building with no walls in the wintertime is beyond me.

We did finally get the tree up last night.

The only thing I am looking forward to is the stockings that Santa does every year. They are stuffed over the rim, full of my favorite usuals: chapstick, Andes Mints and the best thing...scratch off lottery tickets!

Grandma Shoup started the Santa Stockings and now Deb has kept up the tradition. We get some really unique things too and stupid me, every year, "Deb, where in the world did you find that!?!" Deb: " I don't know, Santa picked it up somewhere..."

I tend to forget that the kids still beleive in Santa.

I am also looking forward to staying home for Christmas. We are doing dinners early this year starting tonight...so we will be home for the entire weekend. The only thing missing will be my friend Schwen...I wish she was coming home this year. Then maybe I would be excited about Christmas~!


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Friday, November 20, 2009

New Phone ... Yippee!

FINALLY...I have a new phone! My old one was JuNk!!! To be fair, I am extra rough on the equipment, just ask my mother-in-law. She gave us a car and I've dented in the side, (twice), knocked a piece of the muffler off (so it's loud...gets louder by the day), I got hair color on the console (it's purple) and I've burned up the brakes (they are clanking at every stop sign). But all of the sounds are okay because the stereo still blares over top of them. So I'm not whining at all...until I blow the speakers up like I did in the Jeep...

Yes, I'm taking full blame for my Samsung Alias turning in to junk after only 9 months of use. I wore out the piece that takes the charger so I had to buy an external battery charger. Then the battery wouldn't hold a charge for more than a few hours so I bought another battery. I guess I talk too much (or text too much rather) and burned that baby up too. Needless to say, when Verizon sent the email to upgrade 6 months early I couldn't get online fast enough! I got an LG EnV3 and so far, I really really like it. It is maroon. And it has a keyboard which I like. The Alias was a flip phone and I liked that but I wanted a change.

Change is good, although Jamie would disagree with me. I can prove this because I offered him the Alias but he declined. He still has Lesi Jarrell's FIRST EvEr phone from 5 years ago. That phone has made it through the washer and dryer. The flash wouldn't turn off so Jamie just poked it out with a screwdriver. That phone looks like it did it's tour of duty in Vietnam. He hates change. Me, not so much.

Here are the only pictures that I saved from the old phone... (plus the one at the top...)

Isn't she beautiful? I am a proud Ma Muh that's for sure.

So, next time you call me, or I call you, I will not have to say..."Shoot, I have to go, my battery is..." and then it dies.

Have a great weekend.

" 11Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." 1 Thessalonians 11-12