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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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Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Makes about 2 quarts (about 8 servings)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
  • 1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ bay leaf
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups milk or cream, warmed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
1.  Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2.  Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
3.  About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don’t be afraid to always season to taste at the end).
4.  Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.

Stove-Top Version
  • 3 cups diced tomatoes with juice (you can use canned)
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • 4 Tbsp fresh basil or 1 Tbsp dried
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups milk or cream, warmed
  • 1 tsp salt
1.  Heat oil in 4 quart soup pot.  Add celery, onions and carrots.  Saute 5 minutes.  Add basil, oregano, bay leaf, tomatoes, and chicken broth.  Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender (15 minutes).
2.  While soup simmers, prepare a roux.  Melt butter over low heat, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 5-7 minutes.  Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup.  Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth.  Add back into soup pot.
3.  Simmer, stirring constantly, until soup begins to thicken.  Add Parmesan cheese and whisk to blend.  Stir warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


from http://utah.todaysmama.com/2012/03/20/tomato-basil-parmesan-soup-in-the-slow-cooker-or-on-the-stove-top/
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Healthy No Bake Cookies (no sugar/sweetened with honey)

This is one of our favorite recipes and we usually end up making these at least once a week.  Since they are whole grain, don’t have any sugar and have good protein we eat them for snacks, dessert or even for breakfast sometimes!  Since I have blood sugar issues (hypoglycemia, dysautonomia) I need to eat something every few hours that has protein in it so I always have something in my purse and these work great.  (I also always keep a little container of almonds in my purse for the same reason so if you’re ever hungry, come find me and I’ll always have a little snack!)

Both of my girls are allergic to peanuts so I developed this recipe with almond butter (I’ll post the recipe for that soon!) but peanut butter, and really any nut butter, will work. Just be aware that peanut butter has more oil than almond butter so you may need to add a little more coconut or oats to get the right consistency.

No Bake Cookies

Ingredients
3/4 Cup Honey
3 Tbs baking cocoa (unsweetened)
1/3 Cup butter
2 Cups Oats (old fashioned, quick..any oats work)
1/3 Cup Coconut, unsweetened, dried, shredded (you can replace this with more oats if needed)
1/3 Cup Almond Butter (or any nut butter or sun butter)

 1-Put the first 3 ingredients in a sauce pan over medium high heat, stirring often until they are completed melted and mixed well together.

2-Turn off the heat and stir in the oats and then the almond butter.

3-Stir in the coconut until everything is well mixed.
4-Let the mixture cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so (you can move right on to the next step but this makes things easier if you can wait.)
5-Scoop small amounts of the mixture on wax paper or aluminum foil and let the cool.  (I use my measuring  tablespoon to scoop and it works great.)

*You can freeze or refrigerate the cookies in an airtight container and then take them out one at a time as you like.  I think I actually like them best chilled. I put them in layers with a piece of aluminum foil or wax paper in between.

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Chicken Parmesan (Crock Pot or Oven)

Ingredients:
2lbs or 4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 6 to 8 boneless skinless thighs, frozen or not
2 cups marinara sauce
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
4 oz Parmesan, grated (or powdered in the can)
1 (5-oz) package garlic croutons (optional*)

 

1-Spray crock pot or 9×13” pan with cooking spray.  
2-Place chicken in the bottom & pour the sauce over the top of it.  
3-If using them, put the croutons over the top & sprinkle with the cheeses.  
4-Crock pot on low 6 to 8 hours or bake, covered with aluminum foil in oven at 350 degrees for about 50 min.  Remove the aluminium foil & bake for 10 more minutes.
I like to serve this with pasta.
 
*You can also skip the croutons and it’s still yummy!
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Mexican Haystacks

½ lb browned ground beef
1 to 2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce 
Mexican spices to taste (I use garlic powder, onion salt and Cummin)
2 cups uncooked rice
Shredded lettuce
Grated cheddar cheese
Chopped tomato
Sliced olives
Corn chips
Avacado
1 cup frozen corn (or can of corn), cooked and warm.

1-Cook 2 cups of uncooked rice.  
2-While the rice is cooking, brown ground beef and drain the fat.  Add the cans of tomato sauce and spices to taste warm through out.  

3-Cut up the lettuce, olives, tomatoes and avocados.
4-When everything is ready everyone can build their own haystack how they like.  I put lettuce down first, then cheese, sauce, olives, tomatoes, corn and corn chips.
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Asian Lettuce Wraps (crock pot and quick stove top versions)

1 lb ground turkey  or 4 chicken breast halves
5 chopped cloves of garlic
1/2 chopped onion
1 8oz can roughly chopped water chestnuts
1/4 cup cashews (optional)
1/4 cup soy sauce (or Tamari sauce if making a gluten free meal)
2 tsp fresh ginger
1/4 tsp Allspice (or a dash each of cloves, cinnamon and black pepper)
3 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 bunch chopped green onions to add at the last few minutes of crockpotting

 

The Directions:
1- Chop up the water chestnuts, cashews, onions and garlic, put into crock pot on top of the meat.
2- In a mixing bowl, mix the liquid and spices
3- Pour sauce on top of meat.
4- Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on high, 6-8 on low. Stir a few times while it’s cooking.
5- Serve over lettuce leaves with rice. I like Romaine
–If you like, top with a bottled plum sauce.

 

Quick Stove Top Version
Just brown the ground turkey, drain the fat and stir in the rest of the stuff and you’re good to go.
 
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Hawaiian Haystacks or “Stack ’ems” 2 ways (crock pot and stove top)

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Hawaiian Haystacks with brown sticky rice, chicken sauce, peas, cheddar cheese and fresh pineapple-yum! Plantomakeitsimple.com
Crock Pot version
Ingredients for homemade cream of chicken soup:
(I make my own cream of chicken soup with the next 5 ingredients but you can replace it with 2 cans (10 3/4 oz. each) cream of chicken soup)
-2 cup milk
-2 Tbs. butter
-¼ cup. cornstarch
-2 tsp “Better than Bouillon” chicken
-1/4 tsp. ground pepper

-2 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
-1 t paprika (optional)
-1 cup of milk (maybe a little more or less)
-½ c sour cream (or cream cheese)

-And any toppings you want from this list: cheddar cheese, pineapple tidbits, sliced olives, diced green onion, chopped celery, shredded coconut, slice almonds, diced fresh mushrooms, Chow mien noodles, diced tomatoes, peas or mandarin oranges
-Hot cooked Rice
 
Instructions
1-Put all 5 ingredients for the “homemade cream of chicken soup” into a medium sauce pan, turn the heat to medium and whisk constantly until there are no lumps and the soup thickens. (This will take several minutes of constant whisking.)  
2- Take the soup of the burner and set aside.
3-Place chicken breasts in crock pot and cover with soup & paprika. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
4-Shred or dice the chicken in the crock pot with kitchen shears.
5-Add sour cream and enough milk and stir to make the consistency of gravy.
6-Serve the sauce over individual plates of cooked rice.
7-Let everyone top their “haystack” with any of the toppings you choose.
 
Quick Stove Top Version
Ingredients for homemade cream of chicken soup: (I make my own cream of chicken soup with the next 5 ingredients but you can replace it with 2 cans (10 3/4 oz. each) cream of chicken soup)

-2 cups milk
-2 Tbs. butter
-¼ cup. cornstarch
-2 tsp “Better than Bouillon” chicken
-1/4 tsp. ground pepper

-Cooked chicken (canned chicken, rotisserie chicken or this chicken work really well for this)
-1 t paprika (optional)
-1 cup of milk (maybe a little more or less)
-½ c sour cream (or cream cheese)
-Any toppings you want from this list:
cheddar cheese, pineapple tidbits, sliced olives, diced green onion, chopped celery, shredded coconut, slice almonds, diced fresh mushrooms, Chow mien noodles, diced tomatoes, peas or mandarin oranges
-Hot, cooked rice
 
1-Put all 5 ingredients for the “homemade cream of chicken soup” into a medium sauce pan, turn the heat to medium and whisk constantly until there are no lumps and the soup thickens. (This will take several minutes of constant whisking.)  
2-Add cooked chicken shredded or cubed ( to the soup.
3-Take the soup of the burner and set aside.
4-Add sour cream and enough milk and stir to make the consistency of gravy.
5-Serve the sauce over individual plates of cooked rice.
6-Let everyone top their “haystack” with any of the toppings.
 
 
Note: I found it quite funny that when these were served at a party while I was living in Hawaii, most of the Hawaiians had never heard of this dish and the one who had called them “Stack ’ems” so this recipe is dedicated to you, Bro. Ho!
 
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Chicken Taco Soup in the crock pot

2 precooked chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs or 1 can of canned chicken
1 can diced tomatoes (don’t drain)
1 can tomato sauce
1 small can diced green chilis
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 cup black beans cooked from scratch)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or any other can of beans, even another can of black beans)
1 c frozen corn (or 1 can of corn)
1 onion, chopped
2 c chicken broth (2 c water + 2 tsp “Better than Bouillon” chicken or other bouillon)
1-2 cups of water
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin

 

tortilla chips
sour cream
avocado
shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese

 

1-Put chicken, onions, beans, corn, broth, water and spices in the crock pot .
2-Cook on high 6-7 hours or low 8-9 hours.
3-If chicken isn’t already falling apart, shred it with kitchen shears or 2 forks.

*For a 30 minute stove top option, put all the ingredients together in a stock pot.  Bring to a boil and boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and turning the temperature on the burner down a bit if needed.

 

Serve soup with tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream and sliced avocados.
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Baked Pesto Chicken

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (can be frozen or fresh)
salt and ground black pepper for seasoning chicken
1/2 cup basil pesto (I used the Costco Pesto and freeze the rest in about ½ c amounts)
2 oz. (1/2 cup) grated mozzarella cheese
Fresh or frozen green beans or asparagus (optional)


1- Preheat oven to 350 F.
2-Spray a 9″ x 12″ (or 8.5″ X 12.5″) baking dish with oil spray and put the chicken inside(can be frozen or not),
3-Spread 1/2 cup basil pesto over the chicken.  
4-Bake for 30 minutes (or 1 hr if chicken is frozen) until chicken is no longer pink inside.  Sprinkle grated mozzarella on top & cook a little longer to melt it, about 10 minutes.  You can also add fresh green beans or asparagus at this point & they’ll be ready to serve with the chicken.

Serve with brown rice, potatoes or pasta.  You may want to heat up more pesto to serve with the pasta.