May 292016
 

Spaghetti is an easy meal for my husband to take to work with him, so I make quite a bit of it. With my current obsession with the crock pot, I decided to see what would happen if I added the uncooked noodles directly to the slow cooker and cooked them with the sauce. I expected to wind up with a gooey, nasty mess but was shocked to find that it turned out great. The noodles were plump and filled with flavor.

I haven’t found a jarred spaghetti sauce that I like, they’re all too sweet or bland, so I played around with tomato sauce and spices until I came up with something that I thought tasted pretty good. Not sweet, tons of tomato flavor and just a tad spicy. If you like the jarred sauce, you can always replace the tomato sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste and spices with an equal amount of your favorite sauce. That should be somewhere around 85 ounces of sauce.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti
Serves 10
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Cook Time
4 hr
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 pounds Italian pork sausage or hamburger or a pound of each
  2. 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 2 cups chopped onions
  4. 16 ounces (2-3 cups) sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
  5. 1 green bell pepper (optional)
  6. 3 cans (15 ounce) tomato sauce
  7. 1 pound spaghetti noodles
  8. 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  9. 1 can (28 ounce) diced tomatoes
  10. 1 can (12 ounce) tomato paste
  11. 1 1/2 Tablespoons dried basil
  12. 1 1/2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  13. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  14. 1 teaspoon pepper
  15. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  16. 1-2 cups beef broth
Instructions
  1. Cook sausage/hamburger, garlic, onions, mushrooms and green bell pepper until browned. Drain.
  2. Empty 2 cans tomato sauce into slow cooker.
  3. Break spaghetti noodles in half and place on top of sauce. Cover with last can of tomato sauce.
  4. Add sausage/hamburger mixture on top of noodles and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  5. On top of cheese, add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and herbs and spices.
  6. Cook on high for 3 hours. Stir well and add 1-2 cups beef broth depending on how thick or thin you like your sauce. Cook for remaining hour or until ready to eat.
Notes
  1. If you like your sauce thinner, you can always add more beef broth or water.
  2. This recipe fills a 6 quart slow cooker. If your largest size is 5 quart, consider waiting to add the sausage/hamburger mixture until you are ready to serve.
  3. If you don't like your spaghetti spicy, make sure to leave out the crushed red pepper flakes.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Slow Cooker Spaghetti

Update: June 21, 2016
I tried this recipe with rotini instead of spaghetti noodles, but I didn’t like the way it turned out. The rotini was mushy and didn’t hold up well. I think the rotini might have been too “thin” and a thicker noodle type would have worked. I doubt I’ll try it again with rotini or noodles like it.

Update: July 13, 2016
I tried the recipe this time with macaroni noodles and it worked wonderfully. Noodles weren’t mushy this time. I had to add 2 cups of beef broth, 1 wasn’t enough. The noodles soaked up all the liquid making it an even thicker dish. It was more like Spaghetti Macaroni Casserole. I will probably make it this way from now on because macaroni would be easier for the hubby to eat at work than spaghetti noodles.

I’m going to try it with penne next.

May 132016
 

Slightly smoky and full of flavor, this easy baked beans recipe is great for a small meal or can be doubled, tripled or more to feed a crowd. If you double the recipe, it just fits in a 1.5-quart slow cooker.

Make sure to add extra time to the minimum if you double, triple or quadruple the recipe. The sauce will thicken the longer it cooks.

You can use your favorite BBQ sauce. I use KC Masterpiece because that’s what I usually have on hand.

Slow Cooker Baked Beans
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (16 ounce) can pork and beans, undrained
  2. 1/3 cup brown sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  4. 2 teaspoons dry minced onion
  5. 2 sliced crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
  6. 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  7. 2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce
  8. 2-4 drops liquid smoke (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a 1 or 1.5 quart slow cooker.
  2. Stir and cook for 4 to 8 hours.
Notes
  1. Sauce thickens the longer it cooks.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Slow Cooker Baked Beans

May 062016
 

I had a couple boxes of stuffing and wanted to find something to do with them other than just following the box directions. I happened to run across a recipe for crockpot chicken and stuffing, but I didn’t have any chicken. The stuffing was pork flavored, so I decided it was a sign and substituted pork for the chicken.

I’ve made this several times now. Sometimes I only use one can of soup and I’ve even used no soup and twice the sour cream. I don’t always add water or wind up adding it more towards the end depending on how liquidy the mixture is. I don’t like the stuffing too wet or too dry, so I modify it while it cooks, but I don’t always have the chance. If I’m not able to keep an eye on it, I follow the recipe below and it works well.

You can replace the pork loin with 4 chicken breasts, 2-3 pounds of turkey, 2-3 pounds of pork chops or any other meat you like with stuffing. Use your favorite stuffing flavors or make your own.

Slow Cooker Pork and Stuffing
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Cook Time
8 hr
Cook Time
8 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2-3 pounds pork loin
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 2/3 cup celery, chopped (optional)
  4. 2 (10.5 ounce) cans cream of mushroom, onion or celery soup
  5. 2 boxes of pork stuffing mix
  6. 1 cup sour cream
  7. 1 (12 ounce) bag of frozen green beans or french style green beans
  8. 1/2 cup water
  9. Olive oil spray or Non-stick cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Spray slow cooker with olive oil or cooking spray.
  2. Place pork loin in slow cooker. Add onion and celery.
  3. Pour dry stuffing mix on top of pork and vegetables.
  4. Stir together soup and sour cream. Spread over stuffing mix.
  5. Dump green beans on top.
  6. Add water on top of green beans.
  7. Cook on high for 4 hours or cook on low for about 8 hours.
Notes
  1. Add less water if you like your stuffing dry, more if you like it very moist.
  2. You can shred the pork into the stuffing or slice it and serve the stuffing mixture on the side, as pictured. It's good both ways.
Adapted from Jennifer
Adapted from Jennifer
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Pork&Stuffing

Apr 292016
 

I lost my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe, so I thought I’d give these a try. They don’t taste like I remember, but they’re very good. There’s something different about them though. I wish I could find my favorite recipe to compare.

I don’t know why, but they actually taste better when flattened. I tried them both ways thinking that not flattening them might make them softer. Flattened, they were just as soft, but somehow tasted better. Weird.

I added chocolate chips to some and meant to smooth them out to make a frosting, but I forgot. Oops.

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies
Yields 36
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Cook Time
8 min
Cook Time
8 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  2. 1/2 cup shortening
  3. 1 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  4. 3 Tablespoons milk
  5. 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  8. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add egg and beat until just blended.
  3. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix until just blended.
  4. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly in crisscross pattern with tines of fork.
  5. Bake at 375 for 7 to 8 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing.
Notes
  1. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in chopped peanuts. Press center with teaspoon. Top with 8 chocolate chips. Bake 7 to 8 minutes. Smooth melted chocolate chips with spoon to make Irresistible Peanutty Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies.
  2. Stir in M&M’s and decorate top with more M&M’s to make Irresistible M&M Peanut Butter Cookies.
  3. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in chopped peanuts. Press center with teaspoon. Bake 7 to 8 minutes. Press mini peanut butter cup into depression to make Irresistible Peanut Butter Treasures.
  4. Stir in 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup peanut butter chips or 1 cup chocolate chips. Decorate top with more chips to make Irresistible Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Apr 222016
 

Easy, creamy and disappears like magic!

This is a great recipe for large meals, holidays and potlucks. At potlucks, I’ve never had leftovers and sometimes didn’t even get a bite of it because it was gone before I got my food.

Want to make it extra special? Try adding ham and mushrooms, ham and broccoli or top with crumbled bacon. Even hamburger and green beans are yummy in this versatile dish.

Hash Brown Casserole
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Cook Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of mushroom, chicken or onion soup
  2. 1 cup sour cream
  3. 1/2 cup butter, melted
  4. 1 (30 ounce) bag frozen hash brown potatoes
  5. 1 medium onion, chopped
  6. 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  7. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  8. 1/2 cup crushed corn flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir soup, sour cream, butter, potatoes, onion and cheese in a 9x13 casserole dish. Season with the black pepper. Sprinkle evenly with the crushed corn flakes.
  3. Bake for 1 hour or until the mixture is hot and bubbly.
Notes
  1. Try adding ham and mushrooms for a yummy entree.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Hash Brown Casserole

Apr 182016
 

I’ve been seeing people posting about soda cakes, how moist and delicious they are. The idea is, you ignore all the ingredients on the back of the box of cake mix and replace them all with a can of soda (pop). Many, many posts from people using different cake mixes, different flavors of soda (pop) and even using diet soda. All positive. I haven’t seen anyone posting a bad experience one. The worst I saw was someone called it a “cheap” cake and that from scratch is better.

I guess that makes me the exception. I decided to try devil’s food cake mix with diet black cherry soda. I also found a recipe for frosting that used soda in the recipe. I figured that I’d wind up with a cherry chocolate tasting cake and a vanilla frosting with a hint of cherry flavor.

Devil's Food Black Cherry Soda Cake

Sadly, this wasn’t the case. The cake had no cherry flavor. It also didn’t rise correctly and didn’t hold together well. It was moist but crumbled into pieces. And the frosting also had no cherry flavor, but it was a little pink in color. It tasted like eating a spoon full of powdered sugar. 

I’m not sure why my experience was so much different. The directions are pretty clear. Just mix together the cake mix and soda, then bake. Maybe it would have been better if I hadn’t used a diet soda even though I saw countless people that said it worked for them. Maybe my cake mix was too old. Maybe I did something else wrong, I don’t know. I really wanted it to be good.

If you’d like to try it yourself, maybe you’ll figure out what I did wrong, here’s some ideas for cake and soda combinations.

Soda Cakes

 

Apr 152016
 

I happened to have some toffee bits and pecans leftover from making Christmas cookies and candy. I didn’t want them to go bad, so I tossed the bits and nuts in my chocolate chip cookie recipe and Chocolate Chip Toffee Pecan Cookies were born. We liked them so much that it became a recipe of its own instead of a “leftovers” recipe, but I’ve never written it down until now. One of these days my memory is going to fail and I don’t want to forget this one.

Sometimes yummy things can happen with leftovers. And with my love of toffee, yummy it is!

Chocolate Chip Toffee Pecan Cookies
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Cook Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup shortening
  2. 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  3. 2 Tablespoons milk
  4. 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 3/4 cups flour
  7. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 6 oz chocolate chips
  10. 1/4 cup toffee bits
  11. 1 cup pecans, broken
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream shortening, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Add egg and stir until just blended.
  3. Mix flour, soda, and salt; stir in shortening mixture. Stir in chips, toffee and nuts.
  4. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove pan from oven; allow cookies to remain on cookie sheet for about five minutes before attempting to remove to cooling rack.
Notes
  1. To make chocolate chips cookies, omit toffee and nuts.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Toffee Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Apr 082016
 

This recipe is the marriage of two of my husband’s favorite things, deviled eggs and potatoes. After he came home from work, I handed him a plastic container with the deviled eggs that wouldn’t fit in the container I used for the rest of them and told him, “Because I love you.” Watching his eyes light up made my day. But when I told him that because of the added potato there was a lot of leftover filling he could eat with crackers, he asked me to marry him again.

I didn’t manage to fill them all pretty without a piping bag and tips. I also failed at keeping the paprika on just the filling, but no one seemed to care. They disappeared fast.

The extra filling is especially yummy on Wheat Thins Tomato and Basil crackers.

Potato Salad Deviled Eggs
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Ingredients
  1. 12 eggs
  2. 1 large potato
  3. 2-3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  4. 1 Tablespoon mustard
  5. 2 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  6. salt and pepper to taste
  7. paprika for garnish
Instructions
  1. Place the eggs in saucepan in a single layer. Fill with water to cover the eggs. Bring water to a boil. Cook eggs for 15 minutes once water is boiling.
  2. While the eggs are cooking, cut up potato and cover with water in a saucepan. Boil potato until tender. Drain, place in a bowl and mash. Let cool.
  3. Drain eggs and fill pan with cool water. Add ice to help eggs cool faster. Peel eggs once cold.
  4. Slice the cooled eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out and reserve yolks.
  5. Once mashed potato is cool add egg yolks and mash together. Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, relish, salt and pepper until well blended.
  6. Stuff each egg half generously with potato salad and sprinkle with paprika. Cover and chill until ready to serve, at least 30 minutes.
Notes
  1. Amount of mayo, mustard and relish will need to be adjusted based on size of eggs and potato. Consistency should be thick and creamy.
  2. You can use a plastic bag, like a quart size plastic bag, to fill the eggs by cutting the corner off the bag and using it like a piping bag for icing.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
Potato-Salad-Deviled-Eggs

Apr 012016
 

Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies. I finally remembered to take pictures as they were cooling on the rack, so I’m reposting the recipe with shiny new pictures and Yumprint support.

Sometimes I add about 1/2 a cup of white chocolate chips (that’s what the lumps are in the pictured cookies) or melt white chocolate and dip half the cooled cookie. Snickerdoodles are sweet enough on their own, but the taste of cinnamon and white chocolate is decadent. 

I usually make Snickerdoodles in the fall to pair with apple cider or spicy Earl Grey tea, but I had a craving a few days ago.

Snickerdoodles
Yields 24
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Cook Time
8 min
Cook Time
8 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup butter
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  9. 2 Tablespoons sugar
  10. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets with shortening or line with parchment paper.
  2. In large mixing bowl, cream 3/4 cup sugar and butter with wooden spoon. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  3. In small bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Stir into butter mixture until well mixed.
  4. In the same small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon.
  5. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll each ball in the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place balls 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/

Mar 182016
 
Creamy Grape Salad
This is a really good kid friendly salad. What kid does not like grapes and there are lots of grapes in this one.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  3. 1/3 cup sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  5. 2 pounds seedless red grapes
  6. 2 pounds seedless green grapes
  7. 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  8. 3 tablespoons chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. 1 In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until blended. Add grapes and toss to coat.
  2. 2 Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans just before serving. Yield: 21-24 servings.
Notes
  1. I made half of the recipe.
  2. Will try cutting the grapes in half, using only red grapes and adding cooked chicken for a sandwich next time.
Adapted from Taste of Home
Adapted from Taste of Home
Kryson's Kreations http://krysonskreations.com/
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