My Favorite Broccoli Cheese Soup

My Favorite Broccoli Cheese Soup

One of my favorite comfort foods is soup. And when it’s creamy and cheesy, even better! I like to get sourdough bread bowls to put this in…you can find them at some local bakeries! Top with a little shredded cheese and even your kiddos will gobble it up!

Ingredients

  •  ½ cup butter
  •  ½ cup flour
  •  6 cups chicken stock
  •  6 cups milk
  •  1 tsp salt
  •  1 tsp white pepper
  •  3-4 cups fresh broccoli florets
  •  1 pound processed cheese, shredded
  •  2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, and mix in the flour. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Mix in the chicken stock and milk, and season with salt and white pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 10 minutes.
  • Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place the broccoli in the boiling water, and cook 2 minutes, or until just tender. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
  • Gradually mix the processed cheese and Cheddar cheese into the large pot until melted. Mix in the broccoli. Continue cooking about 5 minutes.

You Have My Heart Cookies

You Have My Heart Cookies

So I had this crazy thought, what if we took the Grinch Cookie recipe and left out the green food coloring? This is how those turned out. Perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Ingredients

  • 1 Box Vanilla Cake Mix
  • 1 Stick Butter, softened
  • 1 TBLS Oil
  • 2 Eggs, Room Temperature
  • ½ Cup Powdered Sugar
  • ½ Cup Corn Starch
  • Red Heart Sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  3. Combine powdered sugar and corn starch in a small bowl
  4. Mix the butter, cake mix, oil and eggs together into a thick batter
  5. Using a small spoon or scoop, grab a glob of dough and roll it into the powdered
    sugar mixture
  6. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart
  7. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until they get puffy
  8. Cool on the cookie sheet for several minutes
  9. Press the heart onto the dough before it gets cold
  10. Move to wire rack to finish cooling

Hawaiian Chicken Cups

Hawaiian Chicken Cups

When I saw these on a pin, I just HAD to make them. Not sure what everyone is bringing to your New Year’s or Game Day gatherings, but these are so different and delicious! Plus, they’re only 140 calories! WHAT?! Don’t delay! Make these today!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 2/3 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
  • 4 TBS barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 TBS chives
  • 12 wonton wrappers (found in the produce section)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup reduced fat 2% shredded cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix chicken, pineapple, BBQ sauce, and chives in a medium bowl until well coated.
  • Lightly spray cups of a muffin tin with cooking spray and press a wonton wrapper into each cup
  • Spoon about a tablespoon of the chicken mixture evenly into the cups, and sprinkle with cheese
  • Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes. Let the cups cool for 5 minutes before popping them out so they keep their shape.

Jar of Soup!

Italian Barley Soup Mix in a Jar

As we continue our month of JOY-uary, we found another way to spread a JAR of JOY! This is easy to make and can be a sweet gift for someone. Make a dozen of them to have on hand for someone recovering from surgery or just to brighten someone’s day! I added half a cup of corkscrew pasta because the jar wasn’t full. You could add more barley to fill it instead.

Italian Barley Soup Mix in a Jar

In a Jar, layer these ingredients in the order listed in a wide-mouthed pint jar:

  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 TBS dried chopped onions
  • 1 TBS dried minced garlic
  • 2 TBS dried basil
  • 1 TBS dried oregano
  • 1 TBS dried parsley flakes
  • ½ cup pasta to fill (optional)
  • 1 bouillon cube (I used beef, but you can use veggie)

Instructions for cooking the Italian Barley Soup from mix: Remove wrapper from bouillon cube and add it, plus all remaining ingredients, plus four cups of water and one 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes to a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the barley is tender, about 20 minutes. Serve topped with grated Parmesan. Season to taste. If you want to take it up a notch, add a pound of fried crumbled ground beef.

Here’s a downloadable tag to attach to the jars.

Caramel Sauce

Just a few ingredients and you’ll have this decadent caramel sauce to put over ice cream and some to give away to a friend that needs some JOY! 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream’
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Steps

  • In medium saucepan, heat corn syrup, brown sugar, butter and salt to boiling over low heat, stirring constantly.
  • Boil 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly
  • Stir in whipping cream and vanilla. Careful, it will bubble up! 
  • Heat to boiling and boil for 1 minute
  • Cool about 30 minutes
  • Serve warm
  • Pour gifts into jelly jars (this made 4)
  •  Reheat slightly before serving if desired

Festive Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels

Festive Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels

Maybe you’re not a baker, and that’s okay. You can still provide homemade holiday treats! These are simple and the kiddos will LOVE to help!

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Pretzel Rods
  • 12 oz Chocolate Chips, dark or white chocolate or Candy Melts
  • 1-2 TBS Shortening
  • Sprinkles

Instructions

  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper
  • Microwave 2 cups of chocolate and shortening in a tall glass for 45 seconds. Stir. If necessary, microwave for additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until melted
  • Dip the pretzel rods into melted chocolate, tilting the glass to easily cover as much of the pretzel as you want. Use the side and rim of the glass to remove excess. Place on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with sprinkles
  • Let set up. Store in an air-tight container.

Pumpkin Brownies

Pumpkin Brownies

Let’s face it. Thanksgiving or not, not everyone is a fan of pumpkin pie. If you need a dessert for those chocolate cravers, but you still want to stay in theme, try these! A great blend of both!

Ingredients

  • 1 batch of brownie batter (can be from a box)
  • 1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Prepare brownies per box recipe and divide in half
  3. To half, add pumpkin, oil, cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix until smooth
  4. Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared pan (greased bottom per most brownie box recipes) and smooth
  5. Pour the pumpkin batter over the chocolate in a swirl and drag a knife through to create a marbled effect
  6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until set and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the pan
  7. Remove from the oven and allow the brownies to cool on a wire rack before cutting


Creamy CrockPot Chicken Stuffing with Green Beans

Creamy CrockPot Chicken Stuffing with Green Beans

This tastes like comfort and Thanksgiving and Christmas all rolled into one EASY dish! Seriously. All you do is put these 4 layers in a CrockPot and walk away. AND…it can be the whole meal! If you want to add a salad, great. But your veggies and starch and protein are all covered! We will definitely be making this one again!

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 box chicken stuffing mix
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 soup can water
  • 10 oz bag frozen green beans (I used french cut)

Instructions

  1. Spray crockpot with cooking spray
  2. Season chicken with salt/pepper and place in the bottom of a crockpot
  3. Top chicken with stuffing mix
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together soup, sour cream and water.  Spread over stuffing
  5. Place green bean on top
  6. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours (or LOW for 6 hours)

CrockPot Meatball Subs

CrockPot Meatball Subs

Sometimes, CrockTober is a recipe. Sometimes, it’s more of an idea of what to make for dinner. I personally had NEVER had a Meatball sub in my life before this. It was messy (just as I thought, which was why I was avoiding them) but it was worth it! So delicious! And one of the easiest things I’ve ever made! (pro tip…once you’re out of buns if you still have sauce and meatballs left, just serve over spaghetti noodles!)

Ingredients:

  • One 2 pound bag of frozen Italian Style Meatballs
  • 8 hoagie rolls
  • 2 jars of marinara (I added some extra garlic and basil)
  • 14 Sandwich style sliced mozzarella cheese.  
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Dried or fresh basil

How to:

  • Place frozen meatballs in a slow cooker
  • Pour marinara over the top of the frozen meatballs
  • Cover and cook on high for 4 hours
  • During hour 3, preheat your oven to 350
  • Open your hoagie rolls and place on a baking sheet
  • Toast for about 5 mins
  • Add 2 slices of Mozzarella cheese to each roll and return to the oven
  • Continue to toast for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted
  • Add about 4 to 5 meatballs to each
  • Garnish with grated Parmesan and basil
  • Serve with a side of extra sauce

CrockPot Bread

Slow Cooker Bread

CrockTober is HERE! I was super excited to try this recipe and it didn’t disappoint! This bread is easy and so so tasty. And by the way, your house will smell AMAZING!

Ingredients

  • 2 TBS butter, melted (plus butter for the pan)
  • 1 1/2 tsps active dry yeast 
  • 2 tsps sugar 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt 
  • 2 2/3 cups flour

Directions

  1. Butter a 6-by-3-inch round pan and set aside (I used a casserole dish)
  2. Combine the butter, yeast, sugar, salt and 1 cup warm water in a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 cup of the flour at a time
  4. Once all the flour is added, knead on medium speed for 8 minutes 
  5. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and lower it into a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker and cover with the lid
  6. Cook on high about 2 hours and 15 minutes
  7. Turn off slow cooker and let it set for 30 minutes
  8. Take the pan out of the cooker and let the bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes
  9. Turn out onto a rack and let cool completely

I can’t wait to try adding garlic and basil or maybe doing a cinnamon loaf!