Fast meal · freezer · Main dish.

Hamburger Casserole – Better Than the Boxed Version!

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I plan for my weekly meals but there are times when life happens and it’s getting to be near supper time and I realize that I don’t have any clue what we’re going to eat in an hour!  Every find yourself there?

Such was the case a couple of weeks ago.  I’d been helping with some projects at my daughter’s house, and didn’t think I’d be gone as long as I was.  When I got home, my wheels were turning as to what I could whip together for supper in a hurry.  I knew what basic ingredients I had on hand, so I set to finding a recipe that would include something with those staples.

I opened one of my old cookbooks and came across this great Hamburger Casserole that I hadn’t made in years.  I only made one tweak, due to not having something the recipe called for, but it was a great substitute.  My husband raved and raved about how good this was!  Bless him!  It really reminded me of the Hamburger Helper Casserole you buy in the store, only this was waaaay better!

Also, Kroger had offered for their Free Friday Download a bag of Barilla’s noodles that are pre-cooked.  All you do is steam them in the microwave for about 3 minutes!  Having those on hand really sped up this supper meal!  I will definitely be keeping those on hand for a fast dinner!

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Here’s the recipe:

Hamburger-Sour Cream Casserole

1 lb hamburger
1 onion, chopped
1/4 green pepper, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 12 oz. can corn, drained – (I used frozen)
3 cups cooked noodles
1 cup sour cream (I used light sour cream)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 3 oz. can chow mein noodles – (I used buttered Panko crumbs instead and think I’ll always use those!)

In a skillet combine meat, onions, and pepper and brown slowly; drain fat.  Add all ingredients except chow mein noodles.  Place in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and top with chow mein noodles.  Bake, uncovered for 25-3- minutes at 350 degrees.  Freezes well, but do not put chow mein noodles on top until ready to bake.

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I added cottage cheese with home canned peaches on top as a side, and it was a satisfying meal – even without planning ahead!

It’s wise if you can, to always keep staple items on hand for days like this.  That might include:

  • Ground beef
  • Cooked chicken breast
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Cream soups
  • Canned Salmon and Tuna
  • Bread crumbs – I love Panko for crunch
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Canned fruits

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This recipe is a keeper.  Men usually go for dishes like this.  Why don’t you try it out on your fella soon?

What do you try to keep on hand for quick meals?

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baking · Cookies · dessert · freezer · Uncategorized

For the Love of the Best Cookie

How could you even have a bad day on an afternoon when you bite into a Snickerdoodle? The name alone makes me smile!  In case you’re somehow not sure what a Snickerdoodle is, it’s not a type of dog, rather it is a cookie drenched in a cinnamon/sugar bath and baked to a soft, sweet perfection!

I introduce you to The Snickerdoodle…

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It amazes me to find that some of my favorite recipes of all times have escaped being posted here on my blog!  I went to search for this family-favorite cookie recipe here in my recipe index and was amazed that it was absent!  In order to fix that, I baked up a batch of cookies, snapped away at pictures, and ate a couple cookies in the process, then froze the rest for upcoming company!  They’re safer in the freezer!

I love this recipe because it’s very quick to whip up, but the cookie isn’t like some mediocre recipe.  This is a Ten!  No kidding.  It makes 3.5 dozen normal size cookies and good luck at eating only one.  You might want to double the batch – which work just fine!  They do freeze well, if you don’t trust yourself with a whole pile of cinnamon/sugar heaven sitting under your nose!

Here’s the simple and wonderful recipe:

Snickerdoodles
Ingredients
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbl. sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon

Directions
Cream together shortening, sugar, and eggs.  Sift together and stir in flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt.  Shape dough into balls the size of walnuts.  Roll each in mixture of the sugar and cinnamon.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 7-9 minutes at 375 degrees or until LIGHTLY browned.

I bake mine for exactly 7 minutes and then let them sit in the pan a few minutes to cool before putting them on the cooking rack.  They may seem a little underdone, but I think they’re best when they’re soft in the middle.

Do someone a sweet favor and bake up a batch to share!

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Just curious, what’s your favorite cookie?  

With love from my country kitchen,

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freezer · Home making · How-to Video

(L)Oven Monday – Pictorial Guide to Strawberry Freezer Jam

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One of our favorite summer treats is Strawberry Freezer Jam.  I’ve made it for years and we smear it on toast, PB&J sandwiches, biscuits, and muffins (especially these).  I also love taking a jar as a hostess gift.  I make up several “runs” of the recipe each May, and we try to ration it out to make it last until the next fresh/local strawberry season.  It could be called a domestic crisis if we run out!

The freezer jam is quicker to make than the cooked jam, and it’s a really simple process.  Another great thing is that once you get a stash of jars stocked up your only cost is the ingredients for the jam.  This recent batch cost me $20 and I made 18 jars!  That’s a great value!

But spite the fantastic taste and the value, sometimes people are afraid to try making it for fear that it won’t set up, and then they’ll have wasted all the ingredients and money involved.  But If you’re one of those people who are afraid to try it on your own, I thought I’d walk you through each of the steps, using my pictorial guide below.

Note: I make my Strawberry Freezer Jam using the recipe on the Sure-Jell box. 

  1.  Sterilize your jars and lids in the dishwasher, or in very hot, soapy water.wp-1495049602796
  2. Wash the strawberries before hulling.
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  3. Cut off the stems. Slice berries.
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  4. Using a potato masher, mash the berries – don’t make them soup.  Leave it a little chunky  See next photo.
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  5. There should be some chunks
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  6. Add sugar.  Be sure to measure it exactly as recipes states.  Level off cups.
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  7. Let set for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
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  8. Put Sure-Jell and 3/4 Cup water in a small sauce pan.wp-1495050470442
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  9. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly and boil 1 minute —–

10.  Stir cooked pectin into strawberry/sugar mixture.  Stir for three minutes, or until sugar is dissolved.wp-1495050654139

11. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/2 inch at the top.  Wipe rims and screw on lids.wp-1495051677817

12.  If you like, do a little test with a small amount of jam, just to see if it has set up —–

 

12.  Leave on counter for 24 hours, then either refrigerate for immediate use, or freeze up to a year.

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Enjoy the fruit of your labor!

Have you made jam?  If not, what is keeping you from trying?  Will this pictorial guide encourage you to try?  

Refresh your family and your freezer with some Strawberry Jam!

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