Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Crock Pot Sausage Bites {Giveaway}

Let me start this post of by saying that we all went wild over this recipe. My son kept going back for another bite. Then another. And then another. He normally doesn't care for cranberry, but in this case, he really had no idea it was one of the ingredients. Same goes for my hubby. He asked me about the ingredients and was totally surprised. I love doing that!
I make something similar with meatballs. Except that recipe just uses grape jelly and chili sauce or BBQ sauce. This mixture of cranberry and ketchup was a nice change to that recipe. This recipe comes from Gooseberry Patch's latest cookbook, '101 Super-Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes'. They had my attention at "Super Easy" and "Slow Cooker"! 
I have had lots of fun cooking from this cookbook. There is a little something in here for everyone. You've got appetizers, main meals, soups and even desserts! I shared another recipe from this cookbook earlier this month if you missed it. It was the Crock Pot Taco Joes. SO good!
 And I'm giving one of these cookbooks away today! 
Just be sure to scroll on down to the bottom of this post to enter to win.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekend Potluck #114

Good Friday morning to you! I'm gonna give y'all a heads up. We all apparently had a sweet tooth because you will notice that all of our featured recipes are something sweet. And our most popular recipe from last week (as clicked on by you) was also something sweet!
I hope y'all have a joyous and blessed Easter with those you love this weekend. Now lets get to all this sweetness! Let the potluck begin. Grab your sweet tea and come join us at the table!

The recipe with the most clicks was...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken

Some of the best advice I was given before I was a Momma was from another mother of six grown children. She told me that the two places you will get your children to open up are at the supper table and in the car. Be quiet and listen. Give your children time to talk to you. Be more loving and less judgmental and your kids will talk to you. At the time, I didn't realize how important that advice was. I was just trying to get through and enjoy my pregnancy. But now all these years later, I see the truth in her words. Hey, when a Mom of six grown, loving, well-adjusted productive members of society gives you advice, you listen.  She obviously knows her stuff.

I think each generation has it's own struggles when it comes to raising children. And each generation of parents groans a little bit on what they have to deal with. I am mid-life now but 30 years ago, I can remember hearing my parents frustration over kids playing too much Atari and watching too much television. Today's parents express the same frustrations. Only now it's cell phones and computers and social media. It is never easy parenting through these mine fields. But I have never forgotten the advice given to me years ago. I took it to heart.
 I don't have a ton of unbending rules as a parent but one of them is we will sit at the table and eat together. No matter what the meal is, we will take time to sit at the table and eat together as a family. No television, no phones, just us.  If you haven't done this before, it can be a little awkward or even quiet at first. Sometimes no one is sure what to say or what to talk about. For some kids, they will be chatty right away, others will take a bit more time. Some fun ways to get the conversation going might be to have a hat or bowl full of funny questions that everyone has to ask each other. It's a good way to learn more about each other and get everyone to talking. My son loves to play cards. It's a good way to get him relaxed and laughing and more open to talking about school and friends and we can learn more about his day other than getting the standard answer of "I don't know."  The reality is, parents are busy, kids get busy as they get older, but even if you can only manage one or two meals together a week, that is still something special.
 I work every day of the week. There really is no time off for me. But my husband's day off work is always Sunday. So for Sunday dinners, we make those meals that maybe we didn't have time to make during the week. It's a good chance to get the kids in the kitchen with you too. Depending on their age, you can give them certain tasks; making salads, setting the table or getting everyone their drinks. It doesn't have to be fancy or look like something out of the Saturday Evening Post. It's just about doing it together. And after dinner, everyone also helps to clean up too! Years from now, I'm willing to bet your children will say, "I have wonderful and fun memories of those Sunday dinners with my family."  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Weekend Potluck #113

Happy Friday Friends! Welcome back to weekend potluck! Did you check out last weekend's potluck. Goodness gracious, I was all over that Smothered Chicken! Mmmm. Mmmm! Just a quick reminder to our food blogging friends to make sure you link back to Weekend Potluck.This will help more people find our fun potluck and you could be a featured recipe here next week!
Now, let's check out our featured recipes for this week. Be sure to scroll all the way down to check out all the recipes being shared right now. I promise you will find something you will love!

The recipe with the most clicks was...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mamma Mia Easy Deep Dish Pizza

Pizza night is pretty much a weekly occurrence at my house. Not only is it simple and affordable to whip up but it's one of those meals that the whole family can pitch in and help make. My son loves to put all the toppings on. So I let him have at it! It's a meal we all look forward to. We all grab our slices and a drink, then head to the table for a game of cards. 
So when the folks at Ragú asked me to create a Deep Dish Pizza recipe using their Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce, I knew it would be right up my family's alley. With 11 tomatoes in every jar, Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce is their richest, thickest recipe ever!

 But was it thick enough to be pizza sauce? Turns out, it was. We all really loved it and my boys love a lot of sauce on their pizza so it turns out this jar was the perfect size!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Weekend Potluck #112

Happy Friday! I'm doing my Friday dance! It has been a beautiful weather week here in Virginia. Gracious, it sure is good to see the sunshine again and to walk outside without a coat on. The dogwoods are starting to bloom.  It's killer on the allergies but the beauty of spring renewal outweighs it all.  It gets me in the mood to make some fun and fresh spring dishes. It's why I enjoy this potluck so much. I'm always so inspired by what others are cooking and baking up!
 So, let's get to this food! Grab your glass of sweet tea and kick back and browse through some scrumptious recipes. First, let's highlight our most popular recipes from last week's potluck!

The recipe with the most clicks was...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Crock Pot Taco Joes

When I was a kid, there were a few meals that we had on a regular rotation. My Mom worked a full-time job and my Dad was in the Navy and was often gone for long stretches at a time. Our meal rotation often stayed the same though no matter everyone's work or school schedules. It's just as I got older, I was able to help cook more of those meals like Sloppy Joes, Spaghetti, Chili, Tacos, Taco Salad or Lasagna. My folks had pretty exhausting jobs so supper was usually kept simple, but hey, we all loved those simple meals! So when I come across recipes like the one I'm sharing today, it automatically feels comforting to me because it reminds me of a childhood meal.
And it's a slow cooker recipe! Y'all know how much I enjoy crock pot cooking. It comes from Gooseberry Patch's new cookbook, '101 Super-Easy Slow Cooker Recipes'. Well, ya know when the words "easy" and "slow cooker" are involved, I am all in. I've been a Gooseberry Patch fan for a long time and I've always felt that I can rely on the recipes in their books. All the recipes come from regular homecooks like me. In the last couple of years, GP has started producing these photo cookbooks. Each and every recipe has a photo along with the recipe! Love that!
This cookbook is spiral-bound. And I mention that for one reason: it lays flat! So you can flip to the recipe that you are making and it stays flat on your counter. It's the small things, ya know? This cookbook is broken down into cooking times so you can make the call on how fast or slow you want something ready.  They even included slow cooker desserts! I'll be sharing a few recipes from this cookbook over the next few weeks so stay tuned. AND there will be a giveaway for one too!
This recipe immediately caught my eye. This stuff was so good! We all loved it. This makes a great filling and not just for these taco joes. I made this to use in tacos and taco salad and it was amazing! Make taco night just a little more extraordinary!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekend Potluck #111

Happy Friday friends! I wanna welcome you back to our weekly potluck where I hope you'll find a bunch of new recipes to try! We have been having some amazing potlucks recently. Over 200 recipes have been shared each week! And I'm so happy because this week, we are giving our ole potluck a facelift. A new banner! That table looks so cozy, don't it? Now we just need a little sweet tea or lemonade and we'll be all set! We're working on a share button for y'all too!
Let's start off by featuring some of the most popular recipes from last week's potluck. These were recipes that were the most viewed by y'all! And I can see why, holy yum!

The recipe with the most clicks was...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pasta Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing

How many of y'all cook with balsamic vinegar? I have only recently started using it. I've had it in meals when I've eaten out but it wasn't one of those ingredients that I kept in my own pantry, until now.  And actually, I could really use your advice. I need help picking out a good one. Most recipes tell you to use a "good quality balsamic vinegar" but rarely is a recommended brand given.  I interpret the words "good quality" as meaning "more expensive". Is that correct to assume? So I bought the slightly more expensive bottle (seen in picture below) and it was just fine but I know I've tasted better. It wasn't the most expensive bottle on the shelf but it was definitely not the bottom of the line. What brand is your favorite and how do you like to use it in recipes?
Ok here's the other, more fun thing, I need your help with. This whisk below was given to me by my friend Megan. Megan cracks me up. Not only is she absolutely sweet and would bend over backwards to help someone out but she comes up with some amazing zingers. I keep trying to get her on Twitter. Megan's sense of humor was made for Twitter. I am literally snorting out loud at some of her texts to me sometimes. Anyhoo, I was letting her know that the Chicken Whisk she gave me will be making his debut on the blog. And she asked me if I had named it yet. I told her, that so far, I just call him Chicken Whisk but he really should have a name with pizzazz. 
I'm sure you can imagine the hilarious name game that ensued. We went back and forth with name ideas.  These were just a few: Reggie, Chuck, Cluck, McNugget, General Tso, McLovin, Mother Clucker, Sir Pecks-a-lot, Biscuit and Atila the Hen. So, I need your help in naming the chicken whisk. If you would please vote for your favorite name or if you have a different name, leave me a comment below! I'll go with whatever y'all choose - majority rules. And next time Chicken Whisk makes an appearance, we'll use his new name. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Weekend Potluck #110

Happy Friday Friends!! I think you are going to love our featured recipes today! And don't forget to scroll down to the bottom of this post to see all the recipes that your favorite food bloggers are sharing right now!  I promise you will get some great new recipes each week. 
We have this potluck each and every Friday! For those of you who are new here, we always highlight our most popular recipes from the previous week's potluck. These are the recipes that had the most views or clicks by you! So let's get started.

The recipe with the most clicks was...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cowboy Hash Brown Skillet

The ideal breakfast/brunch meal for me is something that combines a bit of protein and a bit of carbohydrate. It fills me up, gives me energy and keeps me fuller longer. But I like to keep it simple. So when I was challenged by the good folks at Simply Potatoes and Food.com to come up with a recipe that had only 5 ingredients (as part of Simply Potatoes' 5 Ingredient Fix Recipe Contest) - I knew exactly what I was making. This is one of my favorite breakfast or brunch meals. Or even breakfast for dinner? How many of y'all do that? I love to whip up a meal like this for supper too. Serve it with some fresh fruit and toast and it will easily feed a family of four. 
 And ya know what made this even easier? I didn't have to thaw any hash browns first. Simply Potatoes are always fresh and never frozen (no freezer burn!) The bag stays in your fridge. So you literally pull out the bag and get to work. And I noticed that I didn't have all that excess moisture that you sometimes have to deal with when using frozen hash browns. They brown up beautifully. And they taste just like you shredded the potatoes yourself that day!

 Simply Potatoes would love to see *your* creativity with their 5 Ingredient Fix Challenge. You could win some major moola! And I know I have some of the most creative cooks here in our Country Cook Community! Head on over to Food.com to learn more and enter to win!