The Perogie Casserole, with Turkey

Good morning, blog readers!

Today I’m writing about a new discovery of mine. The Perogie Casserole. In this case, I used our turkey leftovers in it, but ordinarily I do not.

I found this particular recipe on the back of the perogie package, but I’ve added little differences.

The ingredients:

– Perogies (we use frozen)
– 2 cans of Cream of Potato soup
– Broccoli (we often use carrots here; sometimes both)
– Cheese – shredded (the variety is your choice. In this case we used white cheddar)
– Leftover turkey meat (you could use chicken or if you want, no meat at all)
– Tomatoes (larger tomatoes chopped, or small tomatoes)

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Directions: (preheat oven to 360 degrees F)

1. Open can of soup and put into bottom of casserole dish.

2. Mix in 1/2 can of water and stir.

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3. Add chopped turkey over soup.

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4. Chop vegetables and add 1/2 over turkey.

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5. Cover with perogies.

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6. Add remainder of veggies over perogies.

7. Add the other can of soup on top and “smooth” over with the back of a spoon so that the surfaces are covered.

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8. Top with shredded cheese.

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9. Put it in the oven at 360 degrees F for 25 minutes. I usually watch it after the 25 minute mark to check its progress. Sometimes it isn’t quite ready. Wait until the cheese is golden brown or bubbly. Remove from oven.

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10. Scoop out and serve, topped with chopped tomatoes.

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Thank you all for reading! Have a great weekend!

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The Cheddar Biscuits – Thanksgiving Dinner (Part 3 of 4)

Good morning, everyone! This morning I’m writing about the white cheddar biscuits that we added to our Thanksgiving dinner.

This is the recipe we used: (I doubled the original recipe)

– 4 cups flour
– 2 tbsp baking powder
– 1 tsp salt
– 2 cups cream
– Cheddar cheese
– 1 cup butter

(Note: we omitted the “chives” from the original recipe.)

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*Note: In the photo above, I had already added the salt and baking powder to the flour mixture.

The steps:

1. Mix the flour with baking powder and salt. (The original recipe said to sift it together, but my husband said it was unnecessary.)

2. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse meal. Now, I had no idea what this meant, but thankfully my husband was around to answer my questions.

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I genuinely had no idea what I was doing or what this portion of my baking should look like. My husband said that I should do it quickly because you don’t want the butter to soften. He helped me quite a bit… I’m sure they wouldn’t have turned out as well as they did if he hadn’t been there to help me!

3. Add cheese.

4. Add cream.

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5. Mix quickly with fork until dough “comes together”. Again, I didn’t know what this meant. I couldn’t figure out why my dough was so crumbly and lumpy, so I kept mixing. Until my husband came in and saw what I was doing and took over.

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6. Using your hands, gently put the ingredients together. I think you can safely assume that  I continued to have no idea what I was doing. Hubby moved immediately to the next step.

7. We dumped the mixture onto our counter and Hubby patted it down until it was about 1/2 an inch to 3/4 of an inch thick.

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8. Use circular cutter (we used a cup/glass) to cut the dough into circles.

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9. Put cut-out biscuits onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

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10. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 450 degrees F. *Note: keep an eye on them after the 15 minute mark if, like us, yours aren’t quite done. We watched until our white cheddar had darkened and then we removed them.

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These cheese biscuits were delicious. Seriously delicious. The family we had over for thanksgiving dinner took seconds, thirds, even fourths of these. They’re great for sopping up gravy!

*Leftover biscuit recipe idea: A day or two after Thanksgiving, we still and a few (6 or so) biscuits left over in the fridge. With these, we (*ahem* I mean, my husband) made mini pizzas. Put homemade pizza sauce directly on top of the biscuit, added a thin slice of Hungarian Salami and topped it with shredded cheese and put it in the oven. So good! I desperately wanted more, but there weren’t any left. The kids loved it, too.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Thank you for reading!

The Veggies, Stuffing, and Gravy – Thanksgiving Dinner (Part 2 of 4)

Good morning, happy blog readers! Today I’m writing about Part 2 of our Thanksgiving dinner, the veggies, stuffing, and gravy. I don’t have as many pictures of the vegetables because there was so much going on in our kitchen and so many dishes to prepare that I simply didn’t have time to take pictures at each stage. Sorry!

The vegetables are remarkably easy to do. This is what we did:

Mashed Potatoes:

1. Chop potatoes.

2. Put potatoes in steamer.

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*Make sure to put water in the bottom of your steamer! I’ve made this mistake before – it’s disastrous. It burns out the bottom of your pot and it makes your food smell (and taste) like burned metal. Plus it stinks up your house. So please, make sure there is water in the bottom of the steamer!

3. Steam.

4. Check potatoes with a fork to ensure that they’re soft for mashing.

5. Put cooked potatoes in bowl and mash with a potato masher.

6. Add butter (and milk/cream if you wish), salt (or other seasonings to your taste). We just add butter and salt and sometimes garlic if it fits. For this dinner because the turkey had so much garlic, we decided to just add butter and salt. It was great!

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While the potatoes were steaming, we had other dishes on the go. The next I’m going to write about is the carrot side dish.

Steamed, chopped carrots: (very nearly the same instructions as the potatoes) (The photos I have are in combination with my last side – stuffing. See below for pictures.)

1. Peel and chop carrots.

2. Put carrots in steamer.

3. Steam until soft but not mushy.

4. Remove from steamer and add butter and salt. Serve!

Our last side is the stuffing. Now, there are dozens of different recipes for stuffing. Ours, however, was the simplest of them all, as we genuinely did not have time to fuss over it. Some people stuff the bird with the stuffing, but again, we were so focused on the other dishes that we did not have the time to think about it. So… we used Stove Top Stuffing.

Stove Top Stuffing:

1. Follow the directions on the box. – Melt the specified amount of butter in a pot and add in the stuffing. Easy peasy.

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Done and done. Now for the most challenging and finicky aspect of this blog. The gravy! I’ve had my share of gravies in my life. Thin, runny ones, thick ones, chunky ones, and then there’s the perfect one… the one in this blog. (Haha!)  Ok, so here’s what we did. Recall in the previous blog post about my turkey, when I shared that we slathered the bird in a butter mixture (butter, bacon fat, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper…). Well, all that fatty goodness was sitting in the bottom of the turkey pan just waiting to be turned into delicious gravy.

*Note: I highly recommend that you drain off some of the greasy, fatty oil from the top (if not, then you’ll have to put a LOT of water, flour, and flavour into it because ours wound up being very thick and oily – but also very delicious).

Ingredients for our gravy:

– Turkey drippings
– Water
– Flour
– Soy Sauce

What we did:

1. Remove turkey from pan and place pan (containing drippings) onto two elements on your stove (on low heat setting).

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2. Let it warm and add water and flour. (I highly recommend that you use a separate container as a “shaker” to shake the flour with a small amount of water to fully integrate the flour. This eliminates any clumps of flour from forming in your gravy. We use an old “OXO” container as a shaker.)

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3. Whisk.

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4. Keep adding water (we added several cups of just water) with flour/water mixture and whisk it together. Constant, constant whisking. The more water and flour you add, the more gravy you’ll end up with.

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5. Our family trick, when it comes to Gravy, is adding soy sauce. It eliminates the need to spice it, as you’ve got the delicious flavour of the turkey drippings. Add the soy sauce to taste.

6. Keep whisking, adding water and water/flour mixture if needed and soy sauce to taste, but give the gravy time to reduce to the desired consistency.

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7. Ladle gravy into gravy boat or, as we did, into a liquid measuring cup. Serve, and enjoy!

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This meal served 5 adults, 2 children, and 2 babies… and our dog (she cleaned up what the babies dropped to the floor), and we had plenty of leftovers.

Thank you for reading! Happy eating!

The Turkey – Thanksgiving (part 1 of 4)

Good morning, happy blog readers!

Today I’m writing part 1 in our Thanksgiving dinner experience. (Part 2 will be vegetables and gravy, Part 3 will be the biscuits, and Part 4 will be dessert).

Firstly, I would like to strongly suggest that you throw the bird’s “package” (if it came in one of those shrink-wrap bags) when it says how long you should let it sit in your fridge and then out in the open, completely out the window. Because let me tell you something… they’re wrong. We had the turkey in our fridge for 15 hours (more than their recommended 8) and then on our counter for several more (again, longer than their recommended amount), and I tell you something, it was still a frozen block of ice when we tried to work with it. We were running out of time, so we ended up sticking it in the microwave on the “defrost” setting for over half an hour. And it was still frozen. We couldn’t even get the giblets out of it. Hubby ended up sticking the whole bird in the sink under running hot water to get the thing to thaw enough for him to take the giblets out. It was ridiculous.

On that note, I would highly recommend that you ensure that your turkey is thawing properly or acquire a fresh one. Next year I think we’ll go with fresh.

Anyway, when it came to preparing the turkey, we followed this video. This is what we did:

First we prepared the ingredients in the rub:

– 1 cup butter
– 1 lemon
– 2 – 3 cloves garlic
– Salt
– Pepper
– Olive oil
– Parsley, freshly chopped
– Bacon fat (refrigerated)

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The steps:

1. Put the butter into a bowl (ours was fresh out of the fridge, which made this process so much more challenging; the butter wouldn’t mix properly with the other ingredients an was rather chunky. I would suggest using softened butter.)

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2. Add salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil, and minced garlic.

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3. Squeeze the juice from one lemon into the mixture. *note: I made the mistake of not removing the seeds… do not make my mistake. It took far too long to dig beneath the butter chunks to find all the seeds.

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4. This is where we added our bacon fat. This is completely non-obligatory. We like to add it because it adds flavour and salt to the bird. Plus it makes the most delicious gravy! We scooped out a spoonful and added it to the butter.

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5. Add in parsley (I forgot to take a photo – sorry!) and mix it all together with your hands.

6. Carefully fit your fingers beneath the skin of the turkey (but not too much), gently creating a space there.

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7. Grab handfuls of the butter mixture (up until about half of it is gone) and put beneath turkey’s skin, spreading it as far as it can go.

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8. Cover the turkey’s skin with the remainder of the butter mixture. (Again, this would be much easier if the butter had been softened.)

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9. Lightly drizzle olive oil on top (to keep butter from burning) and put it in the oven! We had ours in at 350 degrees F for four-five hours. Keep an eye on it and keep basting! We set a timer for every half an hour for basting. (The butter mixture melts and creates the juices at the bottom of the turkey pan.)

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*Note: We used a turkey thermometer to make sure that all the meat had been cooked properly.

Voila! Our turkey!

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Final thought: Because of the butter mixture and our consistent basting, the turkey turned out moist and flavourful. Seriously. Amazing! The lemon, garlic, and parsley added so much to the flavour and scent of the turkey, one could eat it without the need for gravy. Mmm… I might just have some left-overs for breakfast…

Tune in for the next part where I talk about our veggies, mashed potatoes, and gravy!

Have a great one! Thank you for reading!

Our Weekly Salad

Hi Everyone! I’m sorry I’ve been absent for a few days, I’ve been wildly busy with work (writing/editing) that I haven’t had time to be creative with meals. This blog post is about another of our weekly meals – the salad. This is our longest-running favourite meal and the recipe for the dressing has been in my family for generations.

Rest assured, my lovely readers, Hubby and I will be attempting to make a turkey dinner today and it will most definitely be blogged. The last time I tried to make one, the turkey ended up being raw… so this should be interesting.

OK! Here we go. Our weekly salad.

These are the salad ingredients:

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– 3-4 vine tomatoes (I only had two here so I added some cherry tomatoes)
– 1 or 2 handfuls of spinach (we didn’t have enough left for our usual salad, so I just used what was left)
– Kalamata Olives (to taste – we usually put in 10 or so)
– Feta cheese
– 1 yellow pepper
– 1 cucumber

The steps: – Use a large bowl for the salad.

1. Peel and cut the cucumber.

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One would think that I would know what to do and what not to do in my own recipe, but apparently we all have “those days”. I ordinarily have a bowl for peels, cuttings, etc. when I make my salads, and in this case, I ended up putting the yellow pepper top into my salad… I realized what I’d done and I took a picture. So here, readers and friends, enjoy my foible.

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2. Clean and chop yellow peppers.

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3. Slice tomatoes. *Note: In the pieces that are predominantly seeds (or they’re just hanging there), I squish out the seeds. I find that the tomato “goop” or “innards” make the salad watery. Plus (from what I’ve heard) tomato seeds aren’t good for certain bloodtypes. So there you have it. I take the seeds out.

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4. Pit and slice olives. (Unfortunately, it turned out that our olives had been contaminated and had gotten mouldy. So we didn’t use them this time.) The picture below is the pitter that we use, though.

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5. Wash the spinach (and possibly cut into smaller pieces, depending on what size they are. I like to make sure each piece will fit on a fork with some of the other veggies) and add it to the salad with Feta cheese (to taste).

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Our salad is usually a lot bigger with the extra 1-2 tomatoes and more spinach, but I was trying to use up the veggies that we’d had left over from the week.

The dressing: what my family calls Sauce Vinegrette (We’re of a French background). I have never measured my ingredients, as it’s always been to taste and by sight. I was raised eating and making this dressing, so it’s like second nature to me. Though in these pictures my husband is making it (I taught him years ago, so he’s still getting practice).

Ingredients:

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– Salt
– Pepper
– Apple Cider vinegar
– Extra virgin olive oil
– 1 clove of garlic
– Parsley

1. In a bowl, shake in a healthy amount of salt (it’s pictured above, but it’s difficult to see against the white bowl).

2. Pour vinegar over salt. (Put in enough to dissolve the salt).

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3. Mix with a fork. Add more vinegar if the salt isn’t dissolving.

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4. Add pepper and mix with fork.

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5. Add chopped parsley.

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6. Add minced garlic.

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7. Stir and mix in olive oil.

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8. Stir until it looks like the picture or all the ingredients are completely mixed.

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9. Pour it over salad.

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10. Toss and serve.

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The salad can be trial-and-error. Sometimes it might turn out a little vinegary. Taste it before you put it on the salad. If it is overwhelmingly vinegary, then put more olive oil and mix it.

I hope you enjoy it if you’ve tried it!

Thank you for reading!

The Macaroni Night

About once per week I am at a complete loss as to what to make for dinner or I’m just far too busy with the kids going crazy that I simply haven’t had time to prepare anything. On these nights we have a store of frozen pizzas in our freezer, chicken strips, hotdogs, or macaroni. Last night was one of those nights.

Since it’s been a few days since I’ve posted, I thought I’d share it with you.

This is what I made:

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Oftentimes I will add grated marble cheddar or mozzarella cheese into the mix, or perhaps a can of tuna for protein, but last night I simply didn’t have the time, the will, or the energy.

So there you have it, my lazy, once-a-month macaroni dinner.

Thank you for reading!

The Bland Enchiladas

Hello and good morning, everyone! This morning I will share with you my experience with last night’s enchilada dinner. There I was, surfing Pinterest, when I spotted someone’s post about enchiladas. I thought “Hey! I can do that!” and I went searching for more ideas. Each recipe generally had the same ingredients:

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Some recipes lacked certain elements while others had them. As closely as I could, I followed this recipe:

– 1 roasted chicken, carved (recipe called for 3-5 boneless/skinless chicken breasts (boiled & chopped))
– 1 rice package (I used Uncle Ben’s cheddar while the recipe called for 1 pkg of Knorr Spanish Rice Sides) (prepared)
– 1/3 brick of cream cheese (recipe called for 4 oz cream cheese (1/2 of 8 oz pkg) – but I didn’t know how to measure out the oz, so I guestimated)
– 2 tablespoons sour cream
– A bunch of shredded cheese – I used Monterey Jack mixed with aged Cheddar (the recipe called for oz again and as I had no idea what to do about this, I just shredded a bunch and put it in a bowl.)
– 2 tablespoons lime juice
– 1/4 teaspoon cumin
– Salt to taste
– 1 package flour tortillas
– 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1 jar salsa (recipe called for 1 10 oz can enchilada sauce, but as that was absolutely nowhere in my grocery store, I had to settle for strained salsa)
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Once I had gotten all of the ingredients ready, the rest was pretty simple. Here were the steps I took:
1. Prepare the rice (I just followed the directions on the outside of the package.)
2. Combine chicken, rice, shredded cheese (half of the amount you’ve shredded), sour cream, cream cheese, cumin, lime juice, & salt, in large bowl.
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Mix, mix, mix!
3. Put the mixture in tortillas, roll, and put in a deep baking pan.
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In retrospect, I should have either made more of my mixture, or used it sparingly in the other wraps, because I had enough room at the end of the pan to put another one, but I had none of the mixture left.
4. Pour strained salsa (enchilada sauce) and whipping cream over the tortillas.
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5. Sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese over top.
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6. The recipe I followed said to “loosely cover”, but as I didn’t know what with, I used aluminum foil.
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7. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and keep in if you want your cheese to keep cooking. I did, so I put it in for another 10 minutes.
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Serve and enjoy! I found mine to be bland (despite the salsa), so I would recommend that you taste your mixture and add more flavour if you feel it needs it. Despite it being a very bland meal, I think it went over well. We’ll try it again, for sure. Hopefully my second attempt will be successful!
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Thank you for reading!

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Good morning, everyone! Today I get to tell you about the cover image for my blog. I found the recipe (yes) on Pinterest and have modified it to my personal taste.

The recipe:

– 2 containers of BBQ sauce (I use Kraft’s Hickory and Chicken and Rib – I find that the mixture of flavours works very well. I have pictured them below)
– 2 to 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( I used 2 in the pictures today)
– 1/2 or 1 chopped white onion (to taste – I can’t stand onions, so I only use 1/2 and I sift it out later)

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This is an extremely simple recipe, which I think is why I am actually good at it. I also highly recommend it, because, well… yum.

These are the (simple) directions:

1. Dump the entire contents of one BBQ sauce bottle into the bottom of the slow cooker.

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2. Chop the onion. I keep it in larger chunks because I do not like onion and I sift the pieces out after. But if you like onions, then I recommend chopping them into smaller pieces so that they can be mixed into the pulled chicken.

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3. Put the chopped onion on top of BBQ sauce in slow cooker.

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4. Place 2-3 chicken breasts on top of BBQ sauce and onions.

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5. Dump contents of other BBQ sauce container on top.

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6. Turn on slow cooker on high at 340 degrees F for 6 hours. I usually prepare my dinner at noon and we eat around 6:30pm, but if you want it to cook through the day, then lower the temp to probably 330 or 320.

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I sometimes poke the chicken with a wooden spoon after a few hours just to make sure that they’re all coated and they’re cooking. I might flip them over, as well. It’s perfectly fine to just leave them alone though. The picture below was taken about half way through the cooking process – after I’d poked the chicken.

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7. After the 6 hours, take the chicken out. You will know the chicken is done when it falls apart while you’re trying to remove it from the crock pot.

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8. Pull the chicken. You can do this with your tongs, with two forks, sporks, or with your hands (careful, it’s hot!). It’s entirely your choice. I will either use one spork and one fork or I will take it apart with my tongs.

9. Once all the larger chunks are pulled and it’s just stringy meat, scoop out BBQ sauce from the slow cooker (and the onion bits, if that’s what you like) and put it in with the chicken. *Note: More than one scoop will be required. I usually put 4 or 5 scoops of sauce in.

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10. Once it’s mixed with the sauce and the consistency you like, place it on buns (we’ve used regular hamburger buns or kaiser buns, it’s your choice).

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11. Serve! Yum! My husband and kids love these. We have them at least once per week.

Enjoy and thank you for reading!

Strangely Delicious Avocado Spaghetti

Good morning blog readers! I think this recipe was the very first that I’ve chosen from Pinterest that did not need to be altered at all. It turned out absolutely perfect. And strangely delicious. Yes, strangely… Avocado with pasta was not something I would have put together on my own, but it was so great I wish I’d had more.

I will begin from the beginning (har har). The other night I realized that I hadn’t come up with anything for dinner and Hubby was already on his way home from work. We had five avocados that were ripe yesterday so would likely be mushy already. I knew I needed to use them. But what could I do with five ripe avocados? Seemed excessive, yes? So I searched Pinterest. I found several interesting ideas (that I may try later), but the one that caught my eye was Avocado Spaghetti; it was simple, it looked good, and I had all the ingredients.

This is the recipe I followed:

– 2 chopped up garden tomatoes
– 1 cup mushed up ripe avocado meat
– 1 clove finely minced garlic
– 1 teaspoon lemon juice
– Several shakes of salt and pepper. (I didn’t measure, I just went to town shaking)
– 1/4 cup boiled pasta water
– Handful of spaghetti noodles

So after removing the *innards* from my five avocados, I separated the cup of meat into my measuring device.

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I then minced the garlic and added it to my bowl of avocado mush, added the teaspoon of lemon juice, and salt and peppered it.

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Mush, mush, mush! I made sure to put my noodles on the boil (I would have made more, but I realized belatedly that I didn’t have much spaghetti left – oh well. I’ll know for next time to make a TON because it’s delicious) and that my tomatoes were chopped (thanks to Hubby for chopping them for me while I took a break to chase kids).

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With the extra bit of mushed avocado, I added salt and pepper and put them in the buns I made previously. They made for tasty little avocado sandwiches.

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Once my noodles were ready, I scooped a 1/4 cup of water out and put it in with my avocado mixture and stirred it together.

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Lastly, it was simply a matter of plating it all. I mixed the avocado sauce with the strained spaghetti then plated it, topping it with the sliced tomatoes and adding a side of the mini avocado sandwiches. I only had enough for my older sons (5 and 4), Hubby, and I, but not enough for the twins as well. Like I said before, I’m definitely making more next time!

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Overall, if you like avocado I would highly recommend this recipe. It can be pricy with the cost of the avocados, but if you’ve got them around and are willing to give it a try, I think you’ll like it.

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

My Painful Experience with the Giant Bagel

Last night I tried something that was miles away from my comfort zone. It wasn’t good. But for a novice such as I, it was… acceptable.

Be prepared, folks, this blog post will be chock full of pictures! I took pictures along the way and hopefully we can all learn from my mistakes.

I will start at the beginning. Yesterday I knew that I wanted to try something that I’d never done before. So I searched recipes on Pinterest. I found a remarkable amount of things that I’d like to try, but sadly I did not have all of the required ingredients. Then I saw it. The perfect recipe for me to try. Bread! This is the recipe I followed. (The bread/bun recipe is below that of the sloppy joes, so you’ll have to scroll.)

I gathered all of the ingredients but then realized that I did not have bread pans. Instead, I pulled out a bunt cake pan and used that. *Please note that I doubled the recipe in the link, as I thought it wouldn’t be enough. Turned out I was wrong.

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The ingredients for my doubled recipe: (*note: the regular recipe is on the link I posted)

– 2 Eggs plus enough warm water to equal 2 2/3 cups
– 1/2 cup melted butter
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 3 teaspoons of sea salt
– 8 cups of flour
– 3 teaspoons of instant yeast

Then I followed these instructions: (I mixed by hand)

1. Blend all ingredients except flour.

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2. Add one cup of flour at a time, mixing well after each addition.

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At this point, I was absolutely terrified that I was doing things wrong. Throughout this entire process, the same thoughts careened through my mind – “OMG I don’t know what I’m doing! What am I doing? What am I doing? Should I just stop? Ah! What do I do? Should I use a mixer? Should I use the blender? Ah!”

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3. When all the flour is mixed in and the dough stiffens and can be mixed by hand, put on well-floured counter and knead for 5-10 minutes.

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4. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.

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5. Punch down dough and let it rise again.

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Now, the directions on the link I posted says that the dough should get to about double its size. Well, mine didn’t. I asked my husband about it when he got home and he said that it was likely one of two things: 1. The salt and yeast shouldn’t be added at the same time because the salt does something that cancels out the rising quality of the yeast. (At least, that’s my interpretation of what he said) 2. I over-kneaded the dough.

So, after waiting and waiting… and waiting… I moved to the next step.

6. I divided the dough into buns, one giant clump for my loaf, and another chunk for my strange dinner project.

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7. I rolled my dough out and placed it in my bunt cake pan (which I had powdered with flour) and I put the separated buns onto a cookie sheet.

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– The instructions then said to cover them up again and let them sit, so I did. It made little difference in this situation, though, because my dough wasn’t rising.

Then I moved on to my odd dinner project. I wanted to use the dough to create something different. I’d seen pictures of things online and thought I would improvise. This is what I did:

– First, I rolled out my dough with my rolling pin.

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– Then I got my ingredients ready. I used cream of potato soup (only a half of a can mixed with a tiny amount of water *note: the picture of the soup below is the full can; I separated it after I took the picture) and chopped carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, then mixed them all together.

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– Next, I sliced the edges of my dough and spread the mixture of soup and veggies into the centre.

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– I folded the dough over the mixture then brushed a bit of egg wash (an egg mixed with a fork) over it.

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*I used parchment paper underneath to keep it from sticking. I didn’t do that for the buns because I figured I could scrape them off if there was a problem.
– I put it in the oven at 350 degrees F for a good 20 minutes, but kept watching it to see if it would cook right. I ended up raising the temp to 375 for another 5-10 minutes, continuously watching it.

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The end product looked and smelled pretty good, but in retrospect, I should have pre-steamed the veggies, as they came out still crunchy.

– The loaf and buns went in the oven next. Again, I started the oven at 350 degrees F. The loaf was in for 25 minutes and then kept in and watched for several minutes after that. The buns were in for 15 minutes, and again, kept in and watched for several minutes until I was satisfied with their colour.

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The above picture is the under-side of my giant bagel.

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The above picture is the top of my giant bagel.

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After reading this blog, you may be wondering what it is about this process that was “painful” as the title says. Well, allow me to enlighten you. While I was taking the buns off the cookie sheet, I had the sheet in one oven-mitted hand and the scraper in the other… and for goodness knows what reason, I decided to use my stomach to hold the sheet still as I scraped the buns off. Yes. My stomach. Needless to say, I quickly put the sheet down on the counter and ran for the ice. The burn hurt last night, but it is fine today. But boy is my pride scarred.

In retrospect, I would change four things with this process:

1. I would mix the salt with the flour, not adding it to the beginning mixture with the yeast but slowly with the flour.
2. I would not take out my frustration on the dough. (Because of the first two mistakes, my buns and “loaf” came out thick and dense like the dough of bagels. While tasty, they aren’t my goal result – bread.)
3. I would pre-steam the veggies added in all baking.
4. I wouldn’t use my stomach to stabilize the hot things that are in my hands.

Phew! All done. Now to go enjoy a slice of round bagel toast.

Thank you for reading!