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Cook's Illustrated Classic Beef Stew
A few weeks back, the temperatures here in Austin, Texas dipped below 90 degrees. It was our first “dip” of the season and felt positively refreshing.  Due to the relatively cooler weather, my internal clock begged for a hearty stew. I know, it was still 85-90 degrees outside, but at least it wasn't 95-100 degrees. I had been eyeing this recipe for a while, waiting for the right moment to whip it up. So whip it up I did.  It was scrumptious, just as I expected and what a welcome delight from all the grilling I have done this summer.  For the kids, I served this with egg noodles. They mixed it all together and went to town!   Classic Beef Stew (Source:  Cook's Illustrated The Best Slow & Easy Recipes) Ingredients:
Too Much Chocolate Bundt Cake
After the last seven days, I decided I deserved a dessert. A nice, rich, chocolate-y dessert. Like this one.  It was decadent and sweet and delicious and to-die-for. Which was exactly what my tired body needed. Enjoy? I sure did! Too Much Chocolate Cake (Courtesy of, recipe online here.) Ingredients: 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix 1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix 1 cup sour cream 1 cup vegetable oil 4 eggs 1/2 cup warm water 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips Directions:
McCormick's Crusting Blends
Have you ever made homemade chicken nuggets? I have and while they tasted OK (translation - the kids ate them and didn't complain too much). However, they weren't all that great, and certainly were not worth forgoing the ease and convenience of frozen nuggets that you pop in the microwave. However, I am singing a different tune after tasting chicken nuggets made with McCormick's Crusting Blends. I didn't even know this product existed until last week when a friend of mine whipped up a batch of homemade chicken nuggets using this product. She did nothing special – just mixed an egg with some milk, dipped the chicken pieces first in that mixture and then dipped them in the crusting blends. She added no salt or pepper. Then, she cooked them quickly in a skillet. 
Better Homes and Gardens’ Baked Chicken Chiles Rellenos
Let me break this recipe down for you.  You take some chicken, stuff it with cheese and chile peppers, dip it in egg, roll it in a pseudo-fried mixture and then bake.  Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?  It was...good, that is.  I love being able to replicate some of my favorite restaurant dishes at home,  don't you? Baked Chicken Chiles Rellenos (Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book ) Ingredients:
football party
From time to time, I will visit the Martha Stewart/Every Day Food website to peruse recipes, get ideas and drool over the pretty pictures. I normally look for recipes that tend to be healthier for you, but for some reason this week, I am drawn to bad-for-you football party fare. I mean, it's not like the temperatures have cooled off here (they have not). It's not like the football season has officially started (it has not). It's not like I have pulled out my favorite Texas Longhorn shirt to wear every weekend (not yet). Maybe it's the start of school that has me yearning for appetizers and dips and finger foods. Regardless, this recipe is literally reaching through the computer screen and begging me to make it. In due time, yes, in due time. Brown-Sugar Barbecue Chicken Drumettes (source: Martha Stewart/Every Day Food)
Rotel Original
We had a back-to-school BBQ last week. There were lots of food items to choose from, but unsurprisingly, it was the easy-cheesy queso that took center stage. This is a recipe that I assume everyone knows about but surprisingly, at our party, several people asked me how I made it. I was shocked. I have been eating queso for what seems like forever and this recipe just seemed to be the one that everyone I grew up with used.  It is simple and easy and only requires two ingredients - SCORE!  Now that college football season is gearing up to begin, I will be pulling out this recipe again and again. It goes like this. (I have seen this recipe doctored in all kinds of ways.  Feel free to add taco meat, hot sausage, or onions to the mix!) Easy-Cheesy Slow Cooker Queso Ingredients: 1 1-pound block of Velveeta cheese, cut into large cubes 1 can (10 ounce) of Ro*tel diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained Directions:
Pampered Chef Mexican Lasagna
Run, do not walk.  Gather up all the ingredients for this recipe and make it tonight.  Seriously.  A friend of mine made it for our family and I have since made it three more times. We love it and it is so EASY! I especially like to make it when I have a rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken from another dish and I am looking for ways to “doctor” it up.  This recipe comes in handy for those moments. It doesn't call for anything fancy, and even better, since everything is already cooked, after you assemble the casserole, you just throw it in the microwave to heat it up. Perfect for those nights when you don't have much time to whip something up and the kids are clamoring for dinner! Note: Everything in bold below refers to specific products offered by Pampered Chef. I improvised using whatever I had on hand. For example, I used a 13x9 casserole dish for this recipe.
Chinese chicken stir fry
I felt like stir fry for lunch the other day, so I whipped some up, using ingredients that I had on hand.  There is nothing difficult about this recipe. The most time consuming thing was the chopping of the vegetables and the slicing of the chicken. It was easy to pull together and simply delicious for lunch, and beats a sandwich any day! Chinese Chicken Stir Fry (based on this Taste of Home recipe) Ingredients: 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thinly 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly 1 green bell pepper, sliced thinly 1 small onion, sliced thinly 1 12-ounce bag of steamed broccoli 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce 1/4 cup brown sugar 8-ounces canned tomato sauce 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce cooked rice (optional) Directions:
Mrs. Dash seasoning blends
I use spices quite liberally and on everything.  I don't like bland food and if something does happen to be bland, you can season it up lickety-split with the right right seasoning blends. Mrs. Dash is THAT right seasoning blend. With so many flavors to choose from, it's impossible NOT to find something that suits your taste.