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The Perfect Brownies (great GF & dairy free options too!) aka “Hershey’s Best Brownies”

We LOVE these brownies at our house and it’s kind of dangerous how easy they are to whip up.  Takes only 1 bowl and a few minutes and you’re on your way to fudgey, chocolatey brownie heaven…
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Ingredients:
-1 cup (2 cubes) of  Butter (Olive Oil & Coconut Oil both work too to make these dairy free!)
-2 cups of Sugar
-2 tsp Vanilla
-4 Eggs
-3/4 cup Cocoa
-1 cup Flour *If making these Gluten Free, replace with any GF flour of your choice)
-1/2 tsp Baking Powder
-1/4 tsp Salt

Directions:
1-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2- Grease a 9×13″ pan and set aside.
3-Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl.
4- Stir in each of the rest of the ingredients by hand until everything is well mixed.
5-Pour into the greased pan and spread it out evenly.  The batter will be thick.

6-Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.)

7-Let them cool for about 10 minutes (if you can wait that long and enjoy!)

**There are a lot of awesome things you can do with these brownies.  One of our favorites is to sprinkle chocolate chips over the top right after the come out of the oven and leave them for 5 minutes or so and then when they are melted spread them over the brownies like a lovely ganache or frosting.  Super easy and delicious.

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Sprinkle chocolate chips (or any chocolate candy!) over these brownies when they are right out of the oven and wait 5 minutes and then you can spread them over the brownies for a very simple, delicious frosting!

*These are the best gluten free brownies I’ve ever tasted and feed them to gluten eating people all of the time with no complaint!  You can also make them dairy (CF) free by subbing coconut oil or even olive oil for the butter and they are amazing!

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My Mom’s Whole Wheat Pancakes

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2 cups whole wheat flour (or half white, half wheat)
1 Tbs Baking Powder
½ tsp Salt
1 egg
1 cup Milk
1 cup Water
1 Tbs Oil

 

1-In a big bowl combine all of the dry ingredients, mix well and set aside.
2-In another bowl mix the egg, milk, water and oil.
3-Combine the 2 bowls and mix only until combined (it will still be lumpy.)
4-Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat (about 350 degrees.) Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. (A soup ladle works great for this!)
6-cook until bubbles appear on the surface like this…


7-Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

 

-This recipe makes 10 to 12 pancakes so I cook up all of the batter and freeze or refrigerate the extra pancakes to eat later.  To reheat just microwave the pancake for 30 seconds to a minute.
-I love these pancakes with almond butter and or applesauce.

 

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Bacon cooked in the oven

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My favorite way to cook bacon is to bake it in the oven.  So much easier, turns out perfect and easy to clean up. (from http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/breakfastcookery/ht/bacon.htm)

 

1-Line a baking sheet with foil. This will make cleanup easier later.
2-Arrange the bacon slices on the foil and place the baking sheet on the center rack of a cold oven. (Try not to stretch the slices out. Just gently drape the bacon across the pan.) Close the oven door. Turn the oven on to 400°F. Walk away.
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3- Come back 17 to 20 minutes later. As soon as the bacon is golden brown, but not excessively crisp, it’s done. The exact time will depend on the thickness of the bacon slices, and also on how quickly your oven reaches the target temperature.
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4- Remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the bacon to another sheet pan lined with paper towels to absorb any excess fat.
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Perfect to use on BLT’s!
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BLT (or BLTA) Sandwiches

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10 strips of Bacon, about 1lb (2 per person)
10 slices of bread per person (2 per person)
1 head of Lettuce (I like Romaine)
2 Tomatoes, sliced
1 Avocado (optional)
Mayo, mustard and anything else you like on your sandwich

 

My favorite way to cook bacon is to bake it in the oven.  So much easier, turns out perfect and easy to clean up. (from http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/breakfastcookery/ht/bacon.htm)

 

1-Line a baking sheet with foil. This will make cleanup easier later.
2-Arrange the bacon slices on the foil and place the baking sheet on the center rack of a cold oven. (Try not to stretch the slices out. Just gently drape the bacon across the pan.) Close the oven door. Turn the oven on to 400°F. Walk away.
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3- Come back 17 to 20 minutes later. As soon as the bacon is golden brown, but not excessively crisp, it’s done. The exact time will depend on the thickness of the bacon slices, and also on how quickly your oven reaches the target temperature.
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4- Remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the bacon to another sheet pan lined with paper towels to absorb any excess fat.
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Have everyone build their sandwich however they like it.  I serve this with salad.
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Beef Stroganoff (in the crock pot or stove top)

Ingredients:
1 lb of beef stew meat, cubed, frozen or not (you may want a more tender cut if you’re doing the stove top version)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (10.75 oz)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 small can of sliced mushrooms (optional)
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 oz. (1/2 a bar) of cream cheese or ½ cup sour cream
Egg noodles, or any kind of pasta noodles or rice

Crock Pot Directions:
1-Put everything BUT the cream cheese or sour cream  and egg noodles into the Crock Pot.  You do not even have to brown the stew meat!
2-Mix together.
3-Cook on High for 5 hours or on Low for 8 hours.
4-When you are close to serving dinner, prepare about a half bag of noodles according to the package directions.  Mix in the cream cheese or sour cream about 20 minutes before serving.
5-Top the noodles with the Beef Stroganoff and enjoy.  We love this with peas or broccoli on the side.

Stove Top Directions:
1-Follow the directions on your pasta package to boil the noodles.
2-While the pasta is cooking, cut up the meat in small squares, then cut them in half to make them thinner.
3-Put a frying pan on the stove and turn the burner to medium. After it has heated up, put the meat in the pan and brown in on each side until it is no longer pink in the middle.
4-While the meat is browning, peal, wash and dice the onion and add it to the meat to cook for the last few minutes of cooking.
5-In a sauce pan add the cream of mushroom soup, water and Worcestershire sauce (and mushrooms if using them) and stir all together while you heat the mixture on medium. When everything is combined and warmed, turn the burner to low and add the sour cream (or cream cheese) and melt into the sauce.
6-Add the cooked onions and browned meat to the sauce.
7-Drain the noodles and serve the sauce over the noodles and enjoy.

*I have this crock pot and highly recommend it!
Adapted from: http://www.thefrugalfoodiemama.com/2013/01/slow-cooker-beer-stroganoff.html#.U4ZI9PldUSF
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Barbecue Chicken and Potatoes

This one is so easy and basic it doesn’t really require a recipe but I’ve been requested to put it on the blog so readers can keep track of the groceries needed for this meal for their monthly meal plan.
1.5 lbs or 5 chicken thighs, boneless skinless (can be frozen or not, can use any chicken) I like these
½ to 1 cup Bottled BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s)
5 potatoes
1-Wash the potatoes, poke them with a fork and set them on the middle rack in the oven.  Turn the oven to 350 degrees.
2-Place the chicken in a 9×13” pan and pour the BBQ sauce over the top.  Place the pan next to the potatoes in the oven.
3-Bake for 30 minutes if chicken is not frozen and potatoes are smaller, or up to 60 minutes if chicken is frozen and potatoes are larger. (If you’re doing larger potatoes with non frozen chicken you can microwave the potatoes for 3-6 minutes and then put them in the oven to finish baking.)
*You can also make the chicken in the crock pot by putting in the chicken, pouring on the sauce and cooking on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 5.
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BBQ chicken thigh (boneless, skinless) with baked potato, steamed broccoli & baked sweet potato plantomakeitsimple.com
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Sweet and Sour Apricot Chicken-SO easy!

1 cup Apricot or Apricot-Pineapple Jam (Peach works too)
1 cup Catalina Salad Dressing (or Russian or  French)
1 envelope dry onion soup mix (like Lipton)
3-5 lbs chicken (breasts, bone-in/boneless, thighs, tenders etc. frozen or not)
*The amount of chicken you use is very flexible.  If you use less, you’ll just have lots of sauce, and if you use more- you’ll have less sauce to spoon over rice, but there’s plenty to cook that much chicken.
1-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
2-Place the chicken in a 9×13”  pan.
3-Put the jam, Catalina dressing, cider vinegar and the onion soup packet in a bowl and stir to combine and pour over the chicken.
4-Bake for 45 minutes (if not frozen and 60 minutes if frozen.) Eat over rice.
This is a great, super easy, yummy recipe. I’m working on a “real food”/unprocessed version that I’ll be posting on the website soon.
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Homemade Ranch Dressing

1 cup Mayonnaise (some people like ½ c mayo, ½ c sour cream or even sub the mayo with greek yogurt)
⅓ cup Milk (and more as needed to get the right consistency)
1 teaspoon Dried Chives
1 teaspoon Dried Parsley
1 teaspoon Dried Dill Weed
½  teaspoon  Garlic Powder
½ teaspoon Dried Onion flakes (or Onion Powder)
¼  teaspoon Salt
¼  teaspoon black pepper


1-Mix everything together really well.  (I put everything in a jar or “Blender Bottle” and shake it like crazy.
2- Refrigerate it for an hour if possible before you enjoy it.
3- Add more milk as needed to make it thin enough to pour.

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Delicious Whole Wheat Waffles

Makes 12 Waffles
2 ½ cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder


4 Eggs
2 cups Milk
1 cup Oil or Melted Butter
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 teaspoons Cinnamon


1-Mix dry ingredients together and set aside.
2-Mix wet ingredients together well ((if using melted coconut oil or butter add it after step 3.)
3-Combine the 2 bowls and mix only until combined (it will still be lumpy.)
4-Cook in a waffle iron


-For extra fluffy waffles you can start by separating the eggs, adding the yolks to the other wet ingredients and beating the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and save them until the end to gently fold into the batter.

Inspired by the Better Homes and Garden’s recipe for waffles
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Slow Cooker Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:
1 (30 oz) package frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1 lb ground sausage browned and drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions:
1-Spray a 6 quart slow cooker (I have this crock pot and love it) with non-stick cooking spray (you cannot make this recipe in a smaller crock pot because it won’t fit). Layer 1/2 of the potatoes on the bottom of slow cooker.
2-Top with half of the sausage, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, onions, green peppers, and red peppers. Repeat the layers again.
3-Beat eggs, milk, and salt and pepper in large bowl with a wire whisk until well blended. Pour egg mixture evenly over potato-sausage mixture.
4-Cook on low setting for 8 hours or on high setting for 4 hours or until eggs are set.
5-Top with green onions, salsa, tomatoes, mushrooms, avocado- whatever you like!