Maybe because it is cold outside, and maybe because Randy and I went to Snuffers a couple of weeks ago to pig out on their amazing fries that have melted cheddar all over them with bacon bits and green onion with Ranch Dressing to dip them in (as if they needed extra flavor?), this recipe caught my eye when I was going through a pile of magazines last night. But, At Mr. Please Get Rid of Some of The Magazines So We Don’t Have to Move Them, suggestion, I decided to go through them and cut out the recipes I wanted to keep and throw the rest away. That is so hard to do. I keep thinking, “what if my taste change and in 5 years, the recipe I’m throwing away today, might actually sound good to me and then I don’t have it anymore”. But I guess that is why Google was invented. Anyway, back to this recipe, it sounded like a dish that would be so fun to eat on a Friday night when you are sitting having dinner in the Living Room watching a movie. So here it is…see what you think. It is taken from Cooking with Paula Deen. Please do not tell her I threw out some of her magazines. I would hate to ruin my chances of one day meeting her and telling her that she is the best cook EVER!
1 lb ground chuck
2 (15.5 oz) cans chile beans
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles (mild or regular)
1 tables Worcestershire sauce
1 (2 lb) bag of crinkle-cut frozen fries
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
Garnish: diced green onion, pickled sliced jalapeños, and my suggestion, green onion and Ranch Dressing
In a large Dutch oven, cook the beef over medium heat until browned and crumbly. Drain well. Stir in the beans, tomatoes and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 450. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with for. Spray foil with Pam. Spread the frozen fries onto prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce oven to 400. Reserve 2 cups of the fries, but place the remaining fries in the bottom of a greased 13×9″ baking dish. Sprinkle 2 cups of the cheese over fries. Using a slotted spoon, spoon chile mixture over cheese. Now spread the rest of the fries over this and use remaining cheese to sprinkle over the fries.
Bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes and garnish as desired.
Well, I did it again, Sunday, when closing the video of making roast for dinner, I signed off with “bye, love ya’ll” Randy looked at me and said, “love y’all?” I am in such a habit of always ending phone conversations with our kids and family (and yes, even friends) that it just comes out before I think. Randy reminded me after he shut off the video of the times past when, because of this habit, a repairman thought I was after him. As the man (who I had never met before) left the kitchen, headed for the front door, I thanked him and said, “love you”. When he turned around and looked at me, I started laughing and told him I was sorry. That I was just in the habit of saying that to our kids each time they left. Thank goodness, Randy was home to back up my story. Then there was the time when I was trying to get the City of Pasadena to start our water service when we had moved out there. Because Randy knows that I am patient enough to stay on the line when they put you on hold, he figures that it is best to let me do the phone calling for new service so he can just sit and drink his coffee. So at the end of the conversation, I had not only thanked the man for his help, but I ended with “thanks so much and I love you.” Before I could explain, the guy hung up the phone and Randy just looked at me and said, “you know, we have a chance here to begin a whole new life. A life that doesn’t include you telling every person you know that you love them and making them wonder if California doesn’t have another weird stalker moving in.” I gave Randy the evil eye and said, “what would Jesus do?”
A few years back when email was pretty new, I had my son come over and help me get an email address and show me how to customize a signature. It was so exciting. Because I had never emailed anyone before, I guess I thought what reason would I have to email anyone besides family, so I customized my signature with “hugs and kisses, Trudy”
Well some time passed and as with all new things, the email caught on and we, like all of you began to use it to correspond with friends and people who we learned also used email. One Sunday after church, Randy and I talked on the way home about how awesome the choir sounded that day and I told him that after lunch I was going to sit down and write an email to the choir director telling him what a blessing it was to have this beautiful choir lead us in worship. Forgetting about my customized signature, I sent off an email to him forgetting that it was signed with “hugs and kisses, Trudy” Of course I never received an email back. The poor guy was probably scared that there was a stalker in the congregation and that stalker happened to be a lady who had had his wife in her home for lunch more than once. As soon as I could, I changed my signature and wrote to his wife and explained the situation. I didn’t want her to think that I was after her husband and might slip something awful in her food, next time she came for lunch.
One of our family members who will remain anonymous, use to kid me all the time about me calling everyone honey. He told me I would make a great waitress in a southern restaurant. Bless His heart, I told him I loved him before hanging up on him. So maybe it is best for me to live in the South, instead of California or Arizona….love ya’ll!
On Sunday, I posted a video of this wonderful roast that has been on our tables since the 70’s. Our families have loved it and everyone who has been in our home have told me that it is great. Because it makes such a thick rich gravy, you don’t have to worry about making a gravy or adding a packet of brown gravy. It makes it’s own. Give it a try and let me know what you think. It is easy and always turns out great.
1 chuck roast (I always use chuck roast as it has such a great flavor and it more moist than rump roasts)
1 can (10 1/2 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 can (10 1/2 oz) French Onion Soup
2-3 tables Kikoman Soy Sauce
2 teas dried parsley flakes
Garlic Powder and ground black pepper to taste
In a roasting pan or Dutch Oven, which has been sprayed with Pam, heat 2 teas olive oil and then add the roast to the heated oil. As you brown one side of the roast, sprinkle the pepper, garlic powder and half of the parsley flakes on the top side. After a few minutes, turn the roast over to brown the other side, adding the rest of the parsley, garlic and pepper. Before pouring the soups over the roast, sprinkle the Kikoman sauce over the roast then add both cans of soup to the pan, being sure the roast is covered with the mushroom soup and some of the French Onion soup. The French Onion soup will spill over to the sides of the roast. Depending on the size of the roast, add anywhere from 1/2 can to a whole can of water to the pan. In the small roast I made Sunday (was about 1 lb for the two of us), I used about 1/2 can of water. Do not add any salt to the roast as it has plenty from the soups and Soy Sauce.
Place lid on baking pan and Place roast in a preheated 325 oven. Check the roast after about 1 1/2 hours to be sure you don’t need to add water. I added about another 1/2 can when I added 6 carrots to the roast after baking it for 1 1/2 hours. Then continued roasting it for another 2 hours. Depending on how large your roast is, will depend upon roasting time. The soups along with the Kikoman sauce make a wonderful thick gravy that you will love poured over mashed potatoes.
OK, maybe I wasn’t dashing through the snow, maybe it was more like “dashing around the parking lot trying to find where my husband was waiting for me to come out of Walmart”! But it really was “dashing” at least.
We had been out running errands when I realized that we were in a different area than where we tend to stop for some of our Christmas goodies at our (that’s right, “our” Walmart), when I told Frosty to just pull in to this new Walmart and drop me off at the door to see if they have any of the Christmas spatulas that I have been buying up at all the Walmarts around us. He let me off at the door, as the wind was gusting up to 40 mph and told me that as soon as he saw me walk out, he would pull up to the door and I could jump in. He is just so sweet and thoughtful.
FIrst of all, I have to tell you that these spatulas are just so cute and sell for $1.96. I have bought some from high end kitchen stores for about $12/ea and these are just as cute. I collect spatulas and so am always on the lookout for cute ones. They are my signature little gift for hostess gifts and I attach them with Christmas ribbon to packages or Easter or Valentine…you get the picture, right? So when I had bought all that Walmart had in our area, I went looking on Walmart’s web site and thought I would just go ahead and order some to be delivered but to my wondering eye should appear but “3 spatulas for $18.00?” you have got to be kidding me!!! Do the Walmart people realize that they sell them in their own stores for $1.96? And that is why I decided to just hop out of the car, risk ruining my hair being blown to younder and head in to this new unchartered Walmart. Now back to the story.
I wondered over to the baking aisle and there as big and bright as Rudolfs Red nose, were more Christmas spatulas. So I bought all my arms could carry and started out the door. I did notice that there were carts blowing around the parking lot due to the hurricane force winds. (maybe I am exaggerating just a bit, but I knew that maybe I should have used just a bit more hairspray that morning as mine was only stiff enough to hold in winds up to 20 mph). So before I walk out the automatic glass doors I look down a couple of aisles looking to see if I see Frosty, waiting for me when low and behold, I see him straight ahead down the aisle all the way at the end, about 20 cars down. Clear shot. Knowing that as soon as he sees me, he will hurry to pick me up seeing that I have my hands full and whisk me away to Starbucks to celebrate my new addition to my Christmas Spatula collection. Well, I stood there for just a minute and thought, maybe he is on the phone and just hasn’t seen me walk out the door. So I begin to wave furiously at him, waving both white Walmart bags over my head to get his attention. Nothing…so I begin to walk down the aisle, all the while continuing to GLARE and wave as I continue walking out to meet my darling husband, who in my mind is not so darling right at that moment. When I am about 3 cars away from finally getting to our car, he puts the car in drive and begins to creep toward me. By now, my hair is totally gone, my arms are sore from trying to wave him down and my attitude is not very jolly. When I am seated inside the car I look over to him and give him a “what in the world were you doing that you didn’t see me walking toward you with my purchases” look, he smiled at me and said, “it was you, I didn’t recognize you since your hair looked different and you had on a jogging suit. I’m not use to you wearing a jogging suit or seeing your hair like that!”
WHAT? I have been in the car with you all morning and you just realized that I had on the new jogging suit that I bought 3 days ago? All I could say was I was glad I did have on my new jogging suit as at least I was prepared for the “jog” out to the car. And the different hair style? It wasn’t different before I had to walk the 3 miles from the Walmart door to the car? But in hurricane force winds, the hair is always the first to go. We rode in silence to Starbucks! Maybe paying the $18 for 3 might have been worth the money. I would have got my Christmas spatulas, not had to come home and re roll my hair and would not have had to pay for marriage counseling that week. Christmas….it’s the most wonderful time of the year, as long as you keep your marriage counselor on speed dial!
Isn’t it amazing how God works. Yesterday while sitting and having some hot tea before beginning the day, I was thinking back on when I last posted anything. Commenting to Randy that it had been over a week, I sat there and began to wonder if I should post a recipe or if the Lord had anything He wanted to me write. In just a matter of minutes, this song came to mind. A song that, if truth be told is probably one of my least favorite Christmas carols. But as I sat there, the words of this carol would not leave me and I began to sing to myself the words, “star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.” In all my 70 years, I don’t think this song ever just came to mind. Usually it is O Holy Night, or Silent Night, Mary Did You Know, or one of my old favorites, Ring The Bells, which I use to love hearing Sam Satterfield sing at First Bapt Corpus Christi.
But this morning, the words of that song, would just not leave me. It was then that I knew God had given me the next post that I was suppose to share.
We have all read so much this past year of keeping our eyes on the Lord, during this very hard season of Covid and seeing people we love experience the cruel hurts of this virus, some also loosing loved ones to it. And yet, we carry on, knowing that this hard and sorrowful time is one of the times that ask of us sometimes more than we want to give. How will God lead us to His Perfect Light? What will be my role in living a life that shows His love and faithfulness to others? Some of the questions that have crossed our minds are questions which need answers. But yet, we are not always given answers in the time we feel that they should be answered. It is during these hard days that our trust is grown and our faith sometimes either grows or falters.
This past week, I was ask to participate in a podcast next week in which they will ask me about traditions which our family took part in and also some Christmas recipes. (It is at this point that you are wondering what does this have to do with being guided to His perfect light, but hang on, I will eventually get there).
I texted my kids to ask them what they remembered about our Christmases when they were growing up. Having to admit that I wasn’t one of those moms who was big on lots of traditions, I dreaded seeing them answer like this, “Mom, I can’t remember a single tradition” Or “did we have any traditions? If so, they must have not been to much fun or memorable because I don’t have a clue.” But in fact, all 3 answered. Jamin wrote back to tell of several things he remembered. Jodi wrote back and told me the things she remembered and finally Jason called and told me that some of the things that he had read of Jamin’s response, Jason thinks he made up in his mind because he didn’t remember any of the things Jamin had written. But Jason did say that Christmas was always a great time and he remembered the fun and some of the big presents that he and the others were given. None of them remembered the smaller gifts. But it was always important to their dad and I that they walk in Christmas morning to see a Christmas tree that had a pile of presents under it. Because we didn’t have a lot of money, I would go to the Dollar Store and buy anything that would wrap and make it look like they were getting a lot of presents. When in fact, there were only 1 or 2 presents of any real value for each one. It was then that I began to think about how this relates to what I get out of Christmas. Do I surround myself with lots of worthless things that might give the appearance of Christmas or do I keep my eyes on the most valuable of all Christmas gifts…Jesus?
Of all the things that give me the most joy of human made Christmas decor, it is all the lights. Of course the Christmas music is wonderful, but the lights….that is what gives me, year after year, the most wonder. There is never enough time to drive around and see the beautiful displays of lights. For years, the lights on our Christmas trees stay on 24 hours a day. They simply give me such profound joy and excitement. And then comes January when the lights are taken down and this almost feeling of sadness overwhelms me as we see people out taking down all the beautiful lights. It is then that I am reminded that the One who is the Perfect Light will always be there, 365 days a year, 24 hours of each and every day. His Light will shine forth and never never go down. His Perfect Light is His Love shining down on us. Even during days or months of difficulty. His Love came to us so that we could be guided to His Truth. This Christmas may all of us allow Him to lead us to His perfect Light, Jesus, and only Jesus can make the valleys straight. Jesus and only Jesus will calm the storms.
John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the Light of the world. Whosoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid.”
Lord, help us to look past all the artificial lights of Christmas to behold the real Light of Christmas. Jesus, the Son of God who came to earth for our salvation.
One morning, a couple of years ago our preacher spoke from 1John of God’s love for us and what that truly means. During the Christmas season, we are continually reminded of that love, in that we see the nativity scenes everywhere and hear the stories of God sending his Son to earth for us. But in our everyday life, do we really stop to think of what this great love really means? That day in his sermon, he gave the analogy of when one of our children fall, do we just look down at them and tell them to “get up and get over it, the fall wasn’t that bad.” Or do we instantly bend down and scoop them up and tell them that it will be alright; That we are there and will take care of them. That is what God does for us. We are His own and He cares for each one of us. He ask us to think about the last time we truly felt God “love on us”. It was at that moment that I remembered a Christmas miracle, which happened the week I had just heard the sermon . It was one of those incidents which, at the time, reminded me that nothing is impossible with God, but I hadn’t thought about the fact that indeed, He was truly “reaching down and showing me that He loved me and cared about even the small things in my life. Here is the story:
A few weeks ago, I mailed a package to a friend for her combo birthday/Christmas present. It was a book she had been wanting and an apron that I had made for her. She is a strawberry fanatic and so the apron was made from material which had cute little snowmen and chocolate covered strawberries piled up around the snowmen. I was so excited to send these to her, knowing that it would make her so excited when she opened the package. In my haste to get it in the mail, I reused an envelop that I had received a Amazon order. Because it was a bubble envelop, when I tried to write my return address on it, it began to poke holes, so I didn’t put anything except my name. No address whatsoever. When I looked up her address in my contact list, I used the correct street address, but ended up using her old town and zip code, not the new town she had moved to over two years ago. Into the PO I ran and dropped it in the slot. I texted her and told her to be expecting a present in a couple of days. After a week, she still had not received it. At 5 am one morning, I awoke with a awful thought. It dawned on me what I had done. As soon as I could, I drove to the PO and told the guy at the window my story. I ask him if there was any way to track it. He assured me that because I had not put a return address on it, I would never see it again. That the package would go to their unclaimed mail station in North Carolina. I was so distraught. Realizing that not only was the present lost, but when was I going to learn to not do everything in a hurry. I texted my sweet friend and told her what I had done. It bothered me so much and I began to pray, telling the Lord that I knew that nothing is impossible with Him.
That week, on Tuesday, to be exact, I came home and Randy is outside. He tells me to go in the house and look on the dining room table. Asking why, he quickly tells me that the package was on the dining table. What? But how? there was no return address, how could it be here? I ran in (yes, I did run,because this was truly a miracle) and there it was. Apparently, someone had seen my name and had taken the trouble and time to peel off the top label to see where it originated. So they had returned it and here it was! Thanking the Lord for Him giving me a Christmas miracle, I began to think about what this really was. After that days sermon, it made me realize that God does give us those special little blessings to show His love for us, even during the routine days.
Also that week , Randy and I went to eat lunch. As we finished our meal, the waiter came to tell us that the couple sitting at a table over had already paid for our lunch. We were taken care of. Randy, of course, remarked, “well, shoot, if we had known that, I would have ordered the bigger breakfast”. He is such a dear. We walked over to thank them and they just said, “Merry Christmas”
This Christmas, my prayer is that I will be more conscious of God’s goodness to me. To look for the unexpected gifts that He sends to me and to also open my heart to someone who might just need to feel God’s love reaching down to them.
Last week I went to a friends house for lunch. A few friends had decided to get together at our friends house who had had knee surgery. So since she could not get out, we wanted to take lunch to her and just visit for a bit. When we discussed what to have, I had just finished the video of the cheesy potato soup so they ask if I would bring that. Of course I did and so Dena said she would bring these delectable little corn muffins, which are so great with soups. She sent me the recipe and said I could share with you. So here it is and I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. They are so moist and so full of flavor. If you don’t like green olives, switch to black. But with the weather turning cooler, you will love having these with a pot of whatever type of soup is on the menu.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tables sugar
2 teas baking powder
1 teas dry mustard
1/2 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
1/4 teas black pepper
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375. Grease or paper-one 12 muffin cups (2 1/2″ cups)
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, mustard, baking powder, salt and red pepper in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in cheese and olives.
Combine buttermilk with egg in a small bowl until blended. Stir into flour -cheese mixture just util moistened. Spoon evenly into prepared muffin cups (pan).
Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Immediately remove from pan. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or cool completely.
They are great with a pat of butter melted over the top.
Why these little gems are called by that name, I have no idea, because they are so different from what you would think they would be. When I read the name of them, I envisioned a vanilla little “cornbread” looking muffin that would go with a cup of hot tea. But what they are are the most delectable chocolate gooey yummy morsels of bliss. When I made them for a video on YouTube last week, it didn’t dawn on me until today that not everyone out there in WordPressLand would watch my video (shame on you for not, but this is Thanksgiving week, so I will forgive you) and they are so good that I wanted to share them with you. A dear friend Peggy gave me this recipe after a mutual friend of ours told me that Peggy had made them for her and that I HAD to make them. So…here we are a week later and I have made them twice already. A friend from Corpus Christi wrote and she has made them for a ladies event also and loved them. So do yourself a favor and make these wonderful little brownie bites. You will get addicted to them, as I have done. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, but I made them with 1 stick, (1/2 cup) and loved the texture of them using half the amount of butter, so that is how I am posting it.
1 stick butter
8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (or 1 cup)
Melt the butter and the chocolate chips together. I microwaved them for about 40 seconds and stirred the mixture until all the chocolate chips were melted. But my butter was at room temperature.
Add 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 4 eggs, 1 teas vanilla, 1 teas almond extract. Stir until mixture is well combined. Spray a miniature muffin pan with cooking spray. Using the middle size cookie scoop, fill each muffin pan with enough mixture to almost the time. This recipe makes 36 miniature muffins. Bake in preheated 325 oven and bake for about 13-15 minutes. You want to be sure and not overtake. You want the middle to be soft and gooey texture. Cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan.
Just wanted to post that I have started a YouTube￼ channel with cooking videos￼. Have made a couple￼ with some great recipes in the last couple days. One being Cheese Potato Soup and Antique Tea Muffins. Am not allowed to post videos on WP so please go To Sassy Southern for these great recipes! They are Butterful!!!
And no, I wasn’t around then to make this recipe up….it appeared in my email this morning as a recipe someone found in Taste of Home. I have not tried it yet, but it does sound really good and so easy to have on hand during the holidays when you have cooked so much that you feel like you are old enough to have been born in the 1800’s. Just get your slow cooker out and add ingredients and sit back and make your Christmas list to give to everyone.
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium sweet red bell pepper
2 teas minced garlic
3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tables curry powder
1 teas ground cinnamon
1 teas ground ginger
1 teas dried thyme
1 tables light brown sugar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
Hot cooked rice or noodles
Place onion, pepper and garlic in 6 qt slow cooker. Arrange chicken pieces over this.
Whisk the next 5 ingredients with the chicken broth. Pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Add the raisins and tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and cook until chicken reaches 165 (about 2 1/2 hours).
Serve hot over rice or noodles. Sprinkle with parsley if desired or tops of green onions.
Welcome to Chocolate Castles, a blog about food, family and stories that hopefully will bring a smile to your heart.
Thanks for reading chocolate castles and may the recipes and stories help bring your family and friends a little closer around the table!
Remember that Princess On The Porch is still available on Amazon! Makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys being in the kitchen and needs a little laughter in their lives.
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