Saturday, March 24, 2018

Paleo Breakfast Casserole


Paleo Breakfast Casserole

1/2 pounds sausage (can use Italian sausage or make your own)
5 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large or two small sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded (I use the food processor for this)
10 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk

Set the instant pot to saute and put on the medium setting.  Add the sausage, bacon, and peppers and cool until sausage is no longer pink.  While least is cooking, mix eggs and milk in a large bowl and use a hand held mixer or immersion blender to beat up well.  With coconut oil, grease a 2 quart round casserole dish that will for into your instant pot.  When meat is done, drain if needed/desired.  Add meat mixture and shredded sweet potatoes to eggs and stir to combine.  Pour into prepared dish and cover with aluminum foil.  Place 1 1/2 cups water (or whatever is the required minimum amount for your instant pot) into the bottom of your instant pot crock.  (I use the one I have already cooked my meat in.  The steam will help make clean up easier!). Place the casserole on your instant pot trivet and lower into the instant pot using the handles.  Secure the lid and set the instant pot to manual pressure cook for 26 minutes.  When the cycle is complete, do a quick release.  Carefully remove the bowl and enjoy with your other breakfast favorites!

Note:  if you are a mushroom lover like me (and no one else in my family!), then put in less shredded sweet potato and add some sliced fresh mushrooms.  

Enjoy!


Ready to go in the instant pot.


Place foil over the top.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Scotcheroos


Sometimes the best recipes happen a little by accident.  In my family, my grandma was legendary for having to make substitutions in recipes because she was out of something.  Once when making jam, she didn't have enough wild grape juice or sand hill plum juice left to make a batch of jelly.  She and my brother decided to combine the remaining juices together to make one last batch.  They called it "grum," and it was a family favorite.

Another time, when making a chocolate pie, she had to improvise.  She always said that it was the best pie she ever made.  The problem was, she couldn't remember what she had done differently, so she was never able to recreate it.

Fast forward several years to my kitchen. . .

My husband was getting ready to take my older kids in to the high school basketball games one night.  My oldest son, ever the sweets connoisseur, happened to mention, "They have the best scotcheroos there.  And they're really big!"

My husband, who has been particularly germ-conscious during flu season with a new baby, said that they would not be getting any concessions at the game.

After they left, I decided to surprise them when they got home with a batch of scotcheroos.  I texted my mother-in-law to get her recipe.  It's fairly straightforward.  However, in the middle of getting my ingredients ready to make the scotcheroos, I discovered that I didn't have enough corn syrup!  A quick internet search revealed that I could use honey as a substitute.  And. . . they turned out great!  I will be making them that way from now on.  So, not to repeat my grandma's mistake, I decided I had better get my modified recipe onto Sew God's Grace.

Scotcheroos

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup corn syrup
6 cups rice crispies

Topping:

1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chocolate chips

Measure rice crispies into a large bowl and set aside.  Also, spray a 9 by 13 inch pan with cooking spray.  Place peanut butter, sugar, honey, and corn syrup into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for two and a half minutes, stirring after every minute.  (My microwave is 900 watts, so you may need to adjust this time if you have a more powerful microwave.  You want the sugar to dissolve, but you don't want it to boil.)  Pour the mixture over the rice crispies and stir to coat.  Spread in prepared pan.  (I use clean, greased hands to pat it down.)  Place butterscotch and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on 50% power one minute at a time until they are melted.  Spread on the top of the bars.  You can place the pan in the refrigerator to help them set up more quickly.  Once they are set, cut into bars and serve.

Tip:  you can use all chocolate chips if you don't have any butterscotch chips or are not a butterscotch fan!

Enjoy!




Thursday, March 1, 2018

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken


This is one of my favorite go-to weekday lunches!  It's fast, easy, and full of flavor.  It also makes me nostalgic, because when I was pregnant, I used to crave Chinese food.  This dish doesn't rival an all-you-can eat Chinese buffet (I may have needed a few of those for each pregnancy!), but it comes close.

Instant Pot Sesame Chicken (adapted from this recipe)

2 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (I use four ounce chicken breasts from Schwan's, partially frozen)
1/2 C. coconut aminos or soy sauce
1/2 C.  honey
1/2 C. Water
2 T sesame oil
1/4 C. Tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic if desired
Red pepper flakes, if desired
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T. Tapioca starch or cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 C. cold water
Sesame seeds for garnish if desired

Place chicken in instant pot liner and season with salt and pepper (I probably use about 1/4 teaspoon of each).  Whisk next five ingredients together and add garlic cloves and a few shakes of red pepper flakes if desired.  Pour sauce over chicken.  Place liner in instant pot and seal with the lid.  Set on manual high pressure to cook for 14 minutes.  (If your chicken breasts are very large or completely frozen, you may need to add a minute or two.  If your chicken is completely thawed, subtract a minute or two).  When the cooking time is complete, do a quick release.  Remove chicken to a pan, press "cancel" on the display and select "saute" function.  Add starch and water mixture to the liquid in the instant pot and stir.  It will take just a few minutes for the sauce to thicken up. After the sauce thickens, press "cancel" and then select the "keep warm" function.  Meanwhile, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Then add them back into the sauce.  Place the lid on top, and your meal is ready when you are.  When ready to serve, garnish with sesame seeds if desired.  Serve with cooked rice and an extra shake of red pepper flakes if you like a little kick!
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Our Favorite Granola Bars


I have made this recipe so many times that I have it memorized!  The kids love these granola bars, and they are relatively easy.  I have adapted the recipe to make a large batch so that it lasts at least a week in my house.  You can halve it for a 9 by 13 sized pan or quarter it for an 8 by 8.

Our Favorite Granola Bars (adapted from this recipe)

2 cups honey
3 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 cups quick oats
6 cups rice crispies or Cheerios or a combination of both
1/2 to 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, place in freezer preferably the night before (use Enjoy Life brand to keep dairy free)

Combine honey, peanut butter, and brown sugar in a large microwave--safe bowl or pitcher.  Microwave for two minutes, stir, then microwave 2 minutes again and stir to combine.  (My microwave is 900 watts, so you may need to adjust your microwave times.  You want a nice, consistent mixture with the sugar dissolved.).  Stir in vanilla.

While your mixture is microwaving, place oats, rice crispies, and/or Cheerios in a large bowl.  Spray a 15 by 10 inch pan with nonstick spray.

Pour peanut butter mixture into bowl and stir to combine.  This can take a little bit of time and elbow grease.

Next, pour it into prepared pan.  With greased hands or the bottom of a measuring cup, flatten it slightly.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  (Note: it's best to have these in the freezer beforehand to avoid having the chips melt as you are packing down the bars.) Continue to use hands or the back of a measuring cup to pack the bars down evenly.  You made need to spread the chocolate chips out a bit as you go to keep them well-distributed.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set up; then cut into bars.  I like to wrap them individually so they are ready to go for snacking, lunch boxes, etc.  However, Saran wrap can be such a pain to work with.  I have started laying out a long length of Saran wrap on my table or counter.  Then I place several granola bars, top-side down, on top of the Saran wrap.  I use a scissors to cut in between the bars and then wrap them up.  It works so better than trying to cut off individual squares of Saran wrap and wrapping them one at a time!

Hope you love these as much as we do!


Ready to mix.


Press slightly into pan before adding chocolate chips.


Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.


Press down firmly with a flat measuring cup.  You may find that the chocolate chips start to melt slightly.  To combat this, have them in the freezer beforehand.


Lay out a long strip of Saran wrap on your table or counter.  Put bars, top side down, on top of Saran wrap.  Cut in between the bars with scissors and wrap up.  This technique is much faster than trying to wrap the bars individually.  I have to tell you, my husband saw me doing this and was impressed with my ingenuity!


Enjoy in lunches, for an afternoon snack, or whenever you need a little something to get you through to the next meal!


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Creamy Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes



So I kept seeing recipes on Pinterest using an Instant Pot.  I thought I didn't need one.  But, finally, this Christmas, I got one.  And. . . I love it!  I use it almost every day, and I'm wondering how I ever did without it.

If you are like some people that I know, you may have an Instant Pot sitting in your closet because you are intimidated to use it.  My advice--don't be!  Just pop that thing out and get cooking!  An easy recipe to start with would be hard boiled eggs.

One of the reasons I wanted the Instant Pot was because my friend Keara told me how easy mashed potatoes were to make in it.  My kiddos love mashed potatoes, and I make them fairly often.  However, I really dislike having the potatoes boiling on the stove and then having to drain them with little ones at my feet.  Enter the Instant Pot, and mashed potatoes are on the menu a lot more at our house!  Happy Mommy and happy kids!  Plus, you can make them an hour or so ahead, put the Instant Pot on "Keep Warm," and have the potatoes ready when the rest of your meal is.

I have been using my Instant Pot so much that my husband once jokingly asked if it would clean his boots.  I told him to use the "boot" setting!  At any rate, I made these mashed potatoes this morning (probably at least the fifth time since getting my Instant Pot), and I wanted to share the recipe.

Note:  this recipe is for the 8 quart capacity Instant Pot.  You may want to scale back slightly for the 6 quart size.  Also, my family likes really creamy mashed potatoes.  If you want yours thicker, just scale back a little on the milk.

Creamy Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes (Adapted from this recipe)

5 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 cups plus 1/8 cup water
1 stick butter, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 1/4 cups milk, warmed

Place potatoes, water, and 6 tablespoons butter in your Instant Pot crock.  Put lid on and set to manual for 6 minutes.  Once it is done cooking, do a quick release of the pressure and remove the lid.  (I like to put the milk in the microwave at this time to warm so it will be ready when I need it.)  Add salt, pepper and cream cheese, and mix with a hand mixer or potato masher.  Add sour cream and continue to mix.  Add milk, about a half cup at a time, until desired creaminess is reached.  Place remaining two tablespoons butter on top (this is optional, but I love the way that the melted butter looks on top!)  Place lid back on and keep the Instant Pot on "Keep Warm" until ready to eat.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sweet Potato Breakfast Bake



We love breakfast for supper at our house.  I like to make a large breakfast casserole, and then we have leftovers to eat for several days afterward.  This recipe is one of our favorites.  Use your food processor to shred the sweet potatoes, and it comes together quickly.

Sweet Potato Breakfast Bake

2 large or 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
8-10 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 - 1 pound sausage, cooked and crumbled  (make your own if you want one with no sugar added.  I like this recipe.)
1/2 cup coconut milk (or any other milk desired)
16 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 by 13 pan with coconut oil.  Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl and add milk.  I like to use an immersion blender to mix these up.  Tip:  if you are using canned coconut milk, use the immersion blender first to mix up your coconut milk in a small glass pitcher.  Then add the half cup to the eggs and blend together.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir.  Pour into prepared pan.  You may have to spread the sweet potatoes around a bit to distribute evenly.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until eggs are done.  Let set 5-10 minutes before serving.

Tip:  To save time, use 4-5 precooked, frozen sausage patties.  Just microwave enough to thaw and then cut into small pieces.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hearty Beef Stew



So, I finally did it.  I got a picture of my beef stew so that I could get the recipe recorded on my blog.  Then when I went to edit it. . . wow! when you enlarge the image of your crock pot on your monitor, it doesn't look quite as great as you thought it did when you snapped the picture!  Alas, I am not a photographer.  In truth, a hurried snap on my phone is as good as you're going to get on this blog!  Please go ahead and try this recipe, though.  It really is delicious!

Please note:  this makes a large amount.  Be prepared to freeze some or halve the recipe if you don't have a large crew to feed like I do!  Also, I do not cook with onion as my husband cannot tolerate it.  By all means, add some onion if you like!

Hearty Beef Stew  (influenced by this recipe)

3 pounds stew meat
4 cups beef broth
6 oz. can tomato paste
3-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
20 or so baby carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine in crock pot and cook on low for 8-9 hours.  Stir every now and again if possible.

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