Category Archives: recipes

2018 Christmas – Advent, Day 12, Gnocchi Soup

Luke 1:68 – β€œPraise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.

Ingredients

This is a family favorite and it is so very filling. You can make this with cooked chicken, carnitas or ground beef. 

  • 4 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart half-and-half or whole milk
  • 28 ounces chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup carrots finely shredded
  • 1 cup spinach leaves coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound cooked hamburger
  • 16 ounces package ready-to-use gnocchi
  1. Melt the butter into the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion becomes translucent.
  2. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in the half-and-half or the whole milk. Simmer until thickened.
  4. Whisk in the chicken broth. Simmer until thickened again.
  5. Stir in the thyme, parsley, carrots, spinach, beef, and gnocchi.
  6. Stir in salt and pepper.
  7. Simmer until the soup is heated through. Before serving, season with additional salt, if necessary.
  8. Serve with bread and salad. 

Christmas Cookies – Chocolate topped Toffee

KrisandLarry.com presents 6 different Christmas cookies/desserts for your cookie exchanges – Chocolate topped Toffee

Another tasty treat in our house, Although we do not make it terribly often as it is very rich.

It is a GREAT gift wrapped up in a bag with a bow for a last minute gift for someone this Christmas. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-1/4 Cups  (2-1/2 sticks) butter
  • 1-1/4 Cups  granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt (I use pink Himalayan)
  • 2 Cups  semisweet chocolate chips
  • Optional: 1 Cup  toasted chopped almonds, pecans or peanuts (or a mixture – )
  • Pink Himalayan or Flaky sea salt, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

 
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Do not skip this step or you will be stuck to everything!!!!
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Let butter melt and sugar dissolve and bring to a boil, then cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, so the butter and sugar don’t separate, until mixture turns a medium amber and is thick, 12 to 15 minutes. 
  3. Pour toffee mixture onto a prepared baking sheet and immediately top all over with chocolate chips. Let sit 2 minutes so chocolate begins to melt, then spread chocolate all over with a spatula to create a layer on top of toffee.
  4. Sprinkle all over with almonds and pecans (use chopped crumbs too for nice texture!) and salt.
  5. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour, then cut or break into pieces and serve.

Christmas Cookies & Desserts – Missouri (No Bake) Cookies

KrisandLarry.com presents 6 different Christmas cookies/desserts for your cookie exchanges – Missouri Cookies (No Bake)

This is my favorite childhood cookie. My grandmother always made these and even would make and bring during visits into my adulthood. This is the recipe that she gave me on my wedding day. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 3T Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • 1t Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Milk

Stir together above ingredients in a pot on the stove. Cook on high for exactly 5 minutes. Stir constantly. 

At 5 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the following: 

  • 1/2 Cup peanut butter
  • 3 Cups instant or quick cook Oatmeal

Stir until mixed well. Spoon into “cookie-sized” bites onto wax paper and let cool and set. 

 

 

Using Freeze-Dried Chicken

I love having my freeze dryer. My favorite item that I love to freeze dry is not Ice cream (Although “Astronaut Ice Cream is Delicious – Remember Astronaut Ice Cream from the 1980’s?? check out this link if you have a minute: https://amzn.to/2OU33ai Yes, I literally make this now with my Harvest Right Freeze Dryer and my kids love freeze-dried ice cream).

Fruit is not my favorite either, although the kids go GAGA over the fruit snacks that we make.

And it isn’t the leftovers that I freeze-dry for Larry and Shelby to take to work for their lunches. These are SO convenient and don’t take up any freezer space because these are SHELF SAFE!!

Here is my affiliate link to My Harvest Right Freeze Dryer  – https://affiliates.harvestright.com/377.html. They are pricey but so worth it. I have no waste coming out of my kitchen.

I have freeze dried green bean casserole, lunch meat (yes, lunch meat when I can get it on a SUPER SALE), veggies out of my garden. We have made homemade “cup of noodles” with organic healthy ingredients and a lot less salt.  Soups and stews have been dried and later eaten as well as Alfredo! I even freeze-dried beef liver sliced up for my doggies for treats! We have even freeze-dried excess eggs, (Raw and whisked) and goats milk right off of our homestead. 

Of all of the things that I have used my freeze dryer for, I think that freeze-dried baked chicken has been the best item that I have made (you can purchase canned freeze dried chicken as well).  When I can pick up boneless skinless chicken for less than $1.50 a pound in my area, you can bet that I am buying extra and cooking in my crockpot or roaster oven for later. 

 

So what do you make with freeze-dried chicken? ANYTHING that you make with fresh baked chicken – Fajitas, alfredo, chicken with sauce, casseroles, tacos, chicken salad sandwiches…. literally ANYTHING!

So, HOW does this work?

This is very simple. Depending on the item, you can either choose to reconstitute with hot water by submersion (Either in water or thrown into soups), you can use a spray bottle to reconstitute (I use this method for things like kale or spinach that I am not added into a soup), you can wrap an item in a wet paper towel (think tomatoes) or you can leave as is and use on items or eat it CRUNCHY THe kids LOVE to eat strawberries like this and I have found that if I crumble up guacamole – yes, I did make and freeze-dry this as an experiment – it tastes GREAT on salads. 

 

OK, My friends here is the down low – This is EASY! Do not be intimidated by freeze-dried foods!!

 

 

 

Elderberry Syrup for those winter colds

My children know that when they are starting to feel yucky, they can just go into the fridge and get out the elderberry syrup. And all they need to do is to take a spoonful. We have been making this for years. 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dried elderberries (There are many places to get these… The best price that I have found and from a company that I trust is Mountain Herbs – https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/elder-berries/profile
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick (I keep these around for my chai tea)
  • 4 whole cloves (I keep these around for my chai tea, too)
  • 1 cup honey (I buy local honey from a small store in my area called HoneyMan.)

Instructions

  1. Add the berries, water, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon stick to a large pot and bring to a boil. 
  2. Once boiling, reduce the berry mixture to a simmer. (I actually cooked today’s batch on my wood stove)
  3. Allow ingredients to simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, remove from the heat.
  5. Add your honey to your jar.
  6. Strain the berries from the juice, using a cheesecloth and small mesh sieve over your jar. 
  7. Now you have the perfect syrup for fighting off the sniffles this season. Keep your jar in the fridge.
  8. Take 1 tablespoon daily by spoon . When I am in the middle of a cold, I take it 3 times a day. 

You can find me and others at the Simple Life Mom Hop and the Simple Homestead Hop!

Recipe – Cheesy Beef Noodles

This is a recipe that I found a long time ago and had jotted down on a post-it note. We have been making this for about a year now and have altered it to fit our family. πŸ™‚

INGREDIENTS:

  • 16 ounces medium pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1Tablespoon Italian seasoning, dried basil or oregano
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of roasted green chilies
  • 1-1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, about 3 cups

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well and set aside
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook into small crumbles until browned. Set aside.
  3. Add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in garlic and seasoning until fragrant. 
  4. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in chilies and diced tomatoes.
  6. Gradually whisk in beef stock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced and slightly thickened, about 6-8 minutes.
  7. Stir in pasta, beef, and heavy cream until heated through, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Stir in cheese until melted.
  9. Serve immediately.
 
 

Instant Oatmeal recipe

I love that I can have a warm breakfast available for my kids on colder mornings and I know exactly what  they are eating. And even my younger kids can make this themselves. 

 

 Strawberries’n’cream or Peaches’n’cream Instant oatmeal 

(our family triples this recipe to make it worth our time to make)

  • 3  cups quick oats, divided (1 cup ground up, 2 cups regular)
  • 1 cup dried milk
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups sugar or  powdered Splenda (to taste) you can also alter the flavor and use sugar cane or brown sugar. I try and use less sugar.
  • 1 t salt
  • 3/4 cup freeze dried peaches or strawberries (broken into small bits)

In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients until throroughly blended.

We store it in a large recycled gallon size pickle jar with a 1/2 cup scoop.

To serve, scoop 1/2 cup of oatmeal mixture and add desired amount of hot water. Stir until desired consistency.  Some of my kids like their oatmeal thick and other like it very runny. 

Homemade Chai Tea

I love the taste and the smell of Chai Tea… I hate the price tag at coffee shops…. So, Let’s make our own!!

 

Chai Tea: a beverage that is a blend of black tea, honey, spices, and milk.

 

I simmer 3 black tea bags in a pot with 4-6 cups of water. I add my spices in a cheesecloth or flour sack wrap that I tied close

Spice bag is filled with several cinnamon sticks, and about a Tablespoon of whole allspice, whole cloves and whole coriander, 3 or 4 whole star anise. I also add about 1 teaspoon of ginger and cracked black pepper. This mixture gives a yummy spice flavoring. Sometimes I will add some licorice root as well to change the flavor. 

I cut a flour sack to a 6x6in square and place all of my spices in the center and then tie the top. 

Once brewed, let the tea sit and seep for about an hour to meld all of the spice flavors. 

Fill a glass 2/3 with the tea mixture and add ice and top with milk. I sweeten mine with liquid stevia or local honey.

Have some yummy tea for me! <3

The smell of fall – simmering potpourri

I love having a wood stove. I grew up with them at my parent’s house as well. When Larry and I looked for a stove to have put into our home (Yes, our huge house only had “fake” heating  fireplaces – Propane burning ones and a chimney for a pellet stove.) We had to get something in that was more economical for our family size. And not letting us run through our propane every winter.

I love the fact that the woodstove that we got has 2 cooking burners on top. I keep a water kettle on there all of the time.  I even fixed some elderberry tea with that heated water this morning from off of the woodstove. That is a different story altogether.

We have already simmered soup on the coldest rainy day so far this season. Our season has not gotten cold during the day, however, when you are up at 3 am and the temperature outside is at freezing or so, a nice fireplace is well worth it especially when I have turned the heater OFF!!!

Since as far back as I can remember, I always try and simmer some potpourri on my stove or in a mini-crock. This season, I have an old pot that I have been putting goodies in on the wood stove on the other

burner.  This has worked out great and when I want to simmer something else, it is simple to jest set the potpourri pot to the side. 

Eucalyptus, lemongrass, and clove

This morning, I added cloves, dried lemongrass and dried eucalyptus. 

 

For each of the following recipes, I add about 4 cups of water in my stove pot or mini crockpot and then the plants/herbs/fruit. 

After 1 hour, the mixture is simmering down.

Better Breathing

  • 1/4 cup eucalyptus
  • 2T lemongrass
  • 2T whole cloves

 

Fall is HERE 

  • 1 orange (Peel and Fruit), sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cloves, whole 
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Open your Mind

  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Apple Harvest Spice

  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

Fresh and clean

  • 1 lemon, sliced (peel and fruit)
  • 1/2 cup of eucalyptus leaves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chai Tea Potpourri

  • 1T Vanilla extract
  • 1t  cinnamon
  • 1t cloves
  • 1t allspice,
  • 1/2 t black pepper,
  • 1/2 t ginger,
  • 1/2 t coriander seed,
  • 1t mace,
  • 1 star anise

If you want, you can throw in a few black tea bags and use this as a chai tea base too. Strain and mix with milk. 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

One of my favorite snacks is pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) or roasted pumpkin seeds (whole). I eat them on salads, in my homemade granola or just as a snack.  You can salt them and roast, or roast plain. You can flavor with lime and chili or with cinnamon and sugar. I obviously only make this is the fall and hopefully  it lasts for a while. πŸ™‚

To start, I separate the seeds from the pumpkin string pulp. This is not an exact science. But I do have a ton of little hands (and kunekune pigs who love the pulp) and toss those seeds into a strainer and rinse. 

Next, lay seeds out on a cookie sheet or pizza pan. And let air dry for a few hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Once dried, toss with a tsp of olive oil and spread back out. Sprinkle with your topping/ flavor of choice.(or leave plain) This can be garlic powder, sea salt, chili and lime juice etc.

Place into the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Stir and back in for 10 more minutes.