Simpatico: December 2010

Simpatico

Just the life and times of a silly girl, her dachshunds and all things Southern!

My Favorite Songs Playlist -- I Don't Think I Am Weird

Ok, so when I am working I enjoy playing music. I have an external hard drive of music that I will just turn on and let go... but every now and again, I have an auto-made playlist through Zune of my favorite music which I can play and it immediately makes my brain happier.

I was playing this list while I was dusting (ranking right up there with ironing and putting away groceries as my least favorite household chores) and overheard Reed telling his xbox friends about how odd my musical tastes are... Pfft... He sings with most of them in the car and in the house.

Well, here is a list to help you see that I am not that odd... :)


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Broccoli Cheddar Soup ala Panera Bread

I have been up to my ears in cooking, baking, cleaning, partying...Ahhhhhhh, the holidays are upon us. :) As much as I love this time of year, I am longing for those days of quietly reading and enjoying the sound of silence...(ok, now I will be singing that song all day long).

When the days have hustled and bustled you into tearing your hair out, here is the perfect recipe for you. Warm comforting homemade soup ala Panera. It is amazingly simple, and keeps me from ordering Pizza Hut again. :D

I hope you enjoy! Now, I am off to find Simon and Garfunkle music on my external hard drive and wrap the last of the gifts!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
*1 tablespoon butter, melted
*1/2 medium onion, chopped
*1/4 cup melted butter
*1/4 cup flour
*2 cups half-and-half
*2 cups chicken stock
*1/2 pound fresh broccoli
*1 cup carrots, julienned
*salt and pepper to taste
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*1 cup grated cheddar

Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.

Forecast: Napping with a Chance of Snoozing

12 Days of Redneck Christmas

I had a Christmas party yesterday, so I apologize for not being able to post... just no time!! One of the things that amuse me is this tradition we have of singing Jeff Foxworthy's 12 Days of Redneck Christmas... Regrettably we do the whole thing, not just the short original Foxworthy song...

Enjoy!


The Twelve Days of a Redneck Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my old lady gave to me,

Some parts to a Mustang GT.

On the second day of Christmas my old lady gave to me,

2 huntin' dawgs
and some parts to a Mustang GT.

On the third day of Christmas my old lady gave to me,

3 shotgun shells
2 huntin' dawgs
and some parts to a Mustang GT.

On the forth day of Christmas my old lady gave to me,

4 big mud tires
3 shotgun shells
2 huntin' dawgs
and some parts to a Mustang GT.

On the fifth day of Christmas my old lady gave to me,

5 flannel shirts
4 big mud tires
3 shotgun shells
2 huntin' dawgs
and some parts to a Mustang GT.

On the sixth day of Christmas my old lady gave to me,

6 cans of Spam
5 flannel shirts
4 big mud tires
3 shotgun shells
2 huntin' dawgs
and some parts to a Mustang GT.

On the seventh day of Christmas my old lady gave to me,

7 packs of Red Man
6 cans of Spam
5 flannel shirts
4 big mud tires
3 shotgun shells
2 huntin' dawgs
and some parts to a Mustang GT.

On the eighth day of Christmas my old lady gave to me,

8 table dancers
7 packs of Red Man
6 cans of Spam
5 flannel shirts
4 big mud tires
3 shotgun shells
2 huntin' dawgs
and some parts to a Mustang GT.

On the ninth day of Christmas my old lady gave to me,

9 years probation
8 table dancers
7 packs of Red Man
6 cans of Spam
5 flannel shirts
4 big mud tires
3 shotgun shells
2 huntin' dawgs
and some parts to a Mustang GT.

On the tenth day of Christmas my old lady gave to me,

tin of Copenhagen
9 years probation
8 table dancers
7 packs of Red Man
6 cans of Spam
5 flannel shirts
4 big mud tires
3 shotgun shells
2 huntin' dawgs
and some parts to a Mustang GT.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my old lady gave to me,

11 rasslin' tickets
tin of Copenhagen
9 years probation
8 table dancers
7 packs of Red Man
6 cans of Spam
5 flannel shirts
4 big mud tires
3 shotgun shells
2 huntin' dawgs
and some parts to a Mustang GT.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my old lady gave to me,

12 pack of Bud
11 rasslin' tickets
tin of Copenhagen
9 years probation
8 table dancers
7 packs of Red Man
6 cans of Spam
5 flannel shirts
4 big mud tires
3 shotgun shells
2 huntin' dawgs
and some parts to a Mustang GT.

Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu

I love, love, love this recipe, especially during this very busy time of year. The flavors are deep and comforting, the color is striking and it never leaves you feeling empty. I made the full recipe below and shared it with a neighbor who just had hip surgery (what a horrible time to plan that... middle of an ice storm??)

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as me and my family... now off to finish all the pre-weekend before Christmas chores!! :D

Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu
*8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*1 tsp salt
*1/8 tsp white pepper
*1 tsp dried thyme leaves
*8 thin slices boiled ham
*2 onions, chopped
*4 cloves garlic, minced
*1 (16 oz) bag baby carrots
*1 (16 oz) jar Alfredo sauce
*1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup
*2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and thyme. Wrap a slice of ham around each breast and secure with toothpicks.
Place onion, garlic, and carrots in a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker. Top with wrapped chicken breasts.
In medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour into slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve chicken and carrots with sauce.

A Winter's Day Music Playlist...

Milo is contemplating the ice and snow. I can see the same question in his eyes which is in mine "when will it be summer again?"

It won't be long, Baby Boy.... I promise!

Until then, we have put together some of our favorite songs about winter. I hope you enjoy them as well... as you count the days until summer with us!

~Shelle, Reed, Milo and Dixie


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French Onion Soup

Reed is not a fan of French Onion Soup... not a fan of onion at all, except in ring form. :) So I am going to make me a half recipe of French Onion Soup to enjoy for lunch while he is at school, then give him big oniony, garlicy kisses when I get him at 4pm. :)

The recipe below can easily be doubled or tripled for additional guests. I knew that the original recipe would be a waste if cooked for me alone, so this is just enough for 2 people, possibly 3 if you serve additional food items with the soup.

I do not find this soup keeps well after 1 day, so plan accordingly.

French Onion Soup
Serves 2-3

* 3 large red or yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
* Olive oil
* 1/8 teaspoon of sugar
* 1 cloves garlic, minced
* 4 cups of beef stock (traditionally the soup is made with beef stock)
* 1/4 cup of dry white wine
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/8 teaspoon of dry thyme
* Salt and pepper
* 4 slices of toasted French bread
* 3/4 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere with a little grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30-40 minutes (or longer). Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the carmelization.
Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock, vermouth or wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.
To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately.

Orange and Brown Sugar Crusted Salmon

Once again, pulling from my box of fresh oranges I am making one of my favorite recipes. This is by far the easiest salmon recipe you will ever make. I also will say, it is one of the tastiest.

I am serving mine with some steamed broccoli over a bed of orange couscous. The Orange Couscous recipe can be found here.


Orange and Brown Sugar Crusted Salmon

* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon chili powder
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange rind
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 orange sliced into 1/4 inch slices
* 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
* Cooking spray

Preheat broiler.
Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture over both sides of salmon fillets. Place salmon on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil for 4 minutes then cover with orange slices. Broil an additional 5 minutes or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Sicilian Orange Cake

My aunt and uncle always send me a box of oranges, lemons and grapefruit from their own trees each Christmas. It is probably one of the best gifts I get every year. There is something much sweeter and fresh about the fruit from the tree than fruit stands at the local market.

Each year I plan my recipes with care so I can use my fruits to make some delicious items. Yes, we do just eat some, but I plan recipes, too! :)

This is one of my favorite recipes to make. I hope you enjoy!

Sicilian Orange Cake

*2 sticks lightly salted butter, room temperature
*1 cup sugar
*4 medium eggs
*1 1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
*1 cup self rising flour
*1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

For the icing:
*1 cup powdered sugar
*5 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 345 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 11x7 inch pan. In an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar together for 4-5 minutes until very pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating very well between each one, if necessary adding a spoonful of flour with the last egg to prevent the mixture from curdling. Beat in the orange zest. Add the flour all at once and mix in well, then slowly mix in the orange juice.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer, inserted into the center of the cake, comes out clean. *If it starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with a sheet of lightly buttered foil. Leave the cake, in its pan, to cool on a wire rack, then carefully remove, if desired, and place onto a serving plate.

For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the orange juice until you have a spreadable consistency. Spread it over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides, and leave to set. Serve cut into slices, and store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Christmas Music to Make Things Merrier & Brighter

Christmas music is a must for any home. Today I plan on watching the snow gently falling, snuggling up under a blanket, and reading while listening to some Christmas tracks.

Enjoy with me :)


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Lazy Saturday for One and All

Having a lazy Saturday... We watched:
The Presidio
Green Berets
Heartbreak Ridge
A Few Good Men
Battle of the Bulge
Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade
Indiana Jones & the Crystal Skull

Yeah, it was that kinda day! Milo, for one, enjoyed it immensely! :) Enjoy the rest of your Saturday.... Now time for another movie!!

Crafty Goodness

I spent the majority of yesterday putting together some crafts for my newly made over front living room. I just put this room together in July and still daily find things that I wish I could do a little differently.

I made 2 Christmas crafts and 1 decorating craft. All 3 were easy-peasy crafts.

The decorating craft was just a new red pillow to put into my recliner chair. I needed some red on that side of the room as an accent.

It was made from some red denim material, over a pillow form, and trimmed with the same tan color found in the patterned print which is the primary fabric in the room.

I found the color fabric at Hancocks for $4.28 for 3 full yards of 60 inch fabric. The print fabric I found on Ebay for $6.00, with shipping, for 8 yards.

Now I have a splash of red, Milo has a comfortable place to rest his butt, and I feel productive. Now I need to make him a heating pad cover which has the colors in the room, huh?

As for the Christmas crafts, I needed something on that long piece of furniture which holds the Flat screen TV. I wanted something that wouldn't take away from viewing but would add just a wee bit of color and holiday spirit.

I was pleased with the results. The containers were .50 from Goodwill, I had the filler paper already available, the beads were left over from prior Christmas tree decorating, and the ribbon was on one of my gifts from last year.

To make the trees, simply wrap styrofoam cone shapes with beading, using hot glue to stick the beads in place; wrapping all the way to the top of the form. I left the cones to dry for a few minutes prior to painting... this also gave me time to pull off all the glue boogers that are left behind from any hot glue project. I used acrylic paint to cover the whole tree... I used antique gold so it would match a low profile Santa sled I already had for the area. After it dried I simply glued a knotted ribbon on top and placed in the containers.
The finished area is just as I envisioned it. They are barely noticeable when you are watching TV, but add a nice flash of color.

My last craft I found my inspiration from KoJo Designs Tea Wreath. They have perfectly lovely pictures and instructions on their site so I will simply point out how my wreath is a bit different.

I did not cover my clothes pins with scrapbook paper, I simply spray painted them the same red I used as an accent color in my room. After they dried I speckled all the pins with my antique gold acrylic. It added just a little bit of color.

On 12 of the 24 pins I covered the hinged area with scrapbooking brads. I found them at Michael's for $1.99. They were the perfect color for the paper I had picked for my back ground color.

Instead of cardboard I used a piece of foam core which I had left over from another project. It was easier to use, I feel, and also gives a more rigid product.

Also, the inside circle I used a small piece of the gold beading I had left over from the tree craft above. I left this accent without any paint. It is a bit brighter than the acrylic speckles I put on the clothespins, but it is barely noticeable.

The wreath is hung from the door with a piece of ribbon which matches the backing paper. I tied the bow so it was in the middle of the circle and left a loop at the top for attaching to the door. It is simply hot glued into place.

The total for this project was $1.99 as I had everything else just waiting for the perfect project.

I apologize for the pictures. My photos are from my phone which has a flash, but sometimes will over power shiny things :)

Praline French Toast Bake (ala Paula Deen)

I have always said I want to be reincarnated as Paula Deen. The things that woman does in the kitchen makes me crazyy hungry. She is my main Food Porn lady. Mmmm butter!!

So I thought I would try one of her fab breakfast dishes for dinner... Yeah, its a thing of mine... I do not like breakfast food in the morning. I am barely coherent enough to speak before noon. However I find breakfast food, especially southern breakfast food, is just too heavy to start out your day.

Back to the recipe... This is FAB!! But omg, I am doing Slim in 6 about 20 times today to work off the calories... those yummy... buttery.... praline sugar-coated...creamy calories. -sigh-


Praline French Toast Casserole
Serves 8 Recipe from: Paula Deen
* 1 loaf French bread
* 8 large eggs
* 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
* 1 cup milk
* 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* Dash salt
* Praline Topping, recipe below
* Maple syrup

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.


Praline Topping:
* 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
* 1 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 cup chopped pecans
* 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

Holiday iTunes Freebies Just for You

Here are a couple freebies through iTunes available for your Christmas pleasure.

Vince Guaraldi Trio -Christmas Time is Here (Instrumental)
*Only Available FREE through 12/13/2010 after that you can purchase through iTunes for a nominal fee

"Many standards are from films that never made the revival circuit or Broadway musicals that never quite caught on. Not pianist Vince Guaraldi’s Christmastime Is Here, which is revisited yearly via the classic TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas. While the vocal version with a chorus of angelic Peanuts voices is most familiar, the longer instrumental track gives Guaraldi’s elegant trio the chance to stretch out and showcase their considerable skills." -- iTunes Store




Country Christmas Sampler from People Magazine
*Only Available FREE through 12/31/2010

Featuring:
Brad Paisley - Away in a Manger
Rascal Flatts - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Joe Nichols - O Holy Night
Point of Grace - Little Drummer Boy
Rodney Carrington - Camouflage & Christmas Lights
Steve Wariner - Deck the Halls
Indigo Girls - Your Holiday Song
Dailey & Vincent - Beautiful Star of Bethlehem

From Boring to Bling!

I got an idea from a blog I frequent on a cardigan make-over. I didn't wish to make the cardigan over with as big of a ribbon detail as what they had shown, but used the directions to take something boring to exciting....not only did I get the cardigan but I was able to make a pretty headband as well.

I started with a size 12 shirt with some beading... I had picked it up at Goodwill for $2.50 just for this project. I was very lucky to find exactly what I wanted within seconds of being there instead of shuffling down the aisles thinking "OMG why am I here?" *This is my normal thought process!

The project went fairly quickly, the longest part being the spacing of the pleating detail. I suggest not doing it on the couch with a dog trying desperately to get into your lap.

I am quite pleased with the results. It is something I will definitely do again, with the same larger pleated detail and ribbon from the original tutorial. *Ignore the lovely t-shirt under the cardigan... I didn't think when I was taking the picture last night -oops-

The best part, which I didn't anticipate, was the freebie headband I was able to produce from the beading. I simply removed it from the shirt, added some fusible fleece to give it some extra heft, then added a backing of the same silk material. I created a small tube of the silk, added some elastic, and sewed it on so it would stay snugly on my head.

Its rather lovely, I think. :)

Chocolate Crinkles

Yesterday was cold. I mean C-O-L-D. It was a day to snuggle under a blanket, turn on some music and not go out of the house. Period. Not even for the dogs. I just kick them out the backdoor and watch them shiver while doing their business all from the comfort of my 72 degree house.

It was also the day for cookies. Cookies hot from the oven... aroma filling the house... kitchen extra perky warm from the oven being on!! (see I got a 2fer there).

So I looked through the pantry, saw a new container of cocoa powder and decided these were the cookies that I wanted... I only made 20 of them for our enjoyment yesterday. I still have a large container of dough available to drop cookies this week after Reed comes home from school.

Hope you enjoy!

Chocolate Crinkles
* 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 2 cups white sugar
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 4 eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls. (I used the large size melon ball scoop.) Coat each ball in confectioners' sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets. *Do not flatten the cookies, they will do this naturally themselves.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Sunday Beef Roast

This is one of my mom's favorite recipes: Simple ingredients, simple to prepare, and delicious when served. It's called the Sunday Beef Roast because it takes 4 hours to prepare; just the perfect amount of time to load up the kids, head to church, then come home to prepare sides.

The ingredients make a gravy, albeit very salty for my palette, that is divine. All you need are some green beans (crock pot anyone?), rolls, and perhaps a side salad or quick made glazed carrots to make this the perfect meal.

I hope you enjoy this roast as much as I did every week!

Sunday Beef Roast
*4 1/2 lbs sirloin tip roast (or rump roast or chuck roast of similar weight)
*1 envelope dry onion soup mix
*1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

Place roast beef on foil in small covered roaster pan. Stir onion soup mix into cream of mushroom soup in bowl; spoon over meat. Fold foil over top.
Cover with roaster lid. Cook in 300°F oven for 4 to 4 1/2 hours depending on the degree of doneness you want. Serves 8 to 10 easily.

*If you do not have a roaster pan, you can place into another pan and tightly cover with aluminum foil.

Music for a Snowy, Cold Weekend

Today I am going to snuggle up by my Christmas Tree, turn on a playlist made for this cold day, read some new books and drink lots of apple cider and hot chocolate.

Enjoy some music with me:


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Dog Treat: Apple Cinnamon Drop Cookies

I have been on a baking kick for weeks... Its the cold weather, you know. The moment fall rolls around I start thinking cookies, cakes and pies. We have enjoyed the offerings, but I had forgotten two very important parts of the family... Milo and Dixie. We are very careful not to give them human food. There are so many spices and foods which not only cause them to gain lots of weight but can kill them. But it doesn't keep them from turning their soulful eyes toward us when we are smacking our lips at the newest tasty treat that was just baked.

I knew there had to be some goodies I could make especially for them, so I started looking for homemade dog treat recipes through Google search. I came upon a site full of different ones...and even my human stomach was growling after reading through them!! I picked the first one which I had readily available all the ingredients and set off making my babies something good. Needless to say they loved it. In fact my human puppy was drooling over the aroma!!

Homemade Dog Treat Recipe Apple Cinnamon Drops

*1 large apple
*1/4 cup honey
*1/2 cup of water
*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
*1 cup oatmeal
*1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
*1/8 cup whole wheat flour


Preheat oven to 350F. Core, slice and mince the apple (use a food processor if you have one). In a large bowl, combine the minced apple bits, honey, water, cinnamon, and oatmeal. Gradually blend in the wheat flour, adding enough to form a stiff dough.

Spoon the dough by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches (5cm) apart. In a small bowl, add 1/8 cup wheat flour and using the bottom of a glass dipped in the wheat flour, flatten each spoonful of dough into a circle. Adjust the size of the drops based on how big a treat you like to feed your dog.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and flip each cookie to brown evenly on both sides. Reduce oven temperature to 325 ° F (180 °C). Return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool overnight.

Makes about 3 dozen crunchy cookies

Snow + December = Homemade Tomato Soup

Can you believe that its December already? I am busy buying and wrapping gifts, sending gifts to far away relatives, and actually thinking about sending Christmas cards out before 12/23 this year!!! Yesterday, to add a bit more reality, we woke up to the heaven's sprinkling us with wet, white snow. To me this is an easy mathematical problem... Snow + December = Homemade Tomato Soup!!

I honestly couldn't wait to make it... I hurried to the store after dropping Reed off at school to pick up some bay leaf as I had used the last during Thanksgiving, and grabbed some Gouda for grilled Gouda cheese sandwiches while I was there, and rushed home to make the soup. :) It was delish!! Made the whole snow thing even a happier time...

Homemade Tomato Soup
* 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
* 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 stalk celery, diced
* 1 small carrot, diced
* 1 yellow onion, diced
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 cup chicken broth
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 450F. Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, to taste, drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and roast until caramelized, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, chicken broth, bay leaf and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and add basil right before serving.

Slow Cooker Creamy Potatoes and Sausage

My mom made this recipe over the weekend. Lemme say this, it is not only stupid easy to make but amazingly tasty. She didn't tell the little ones what was in the creamy mixture as many do not care for the sour taste of cream cheese. The addition of the ranch dressing and cream of celery mix took it to a different cheesy taste level.

She served it with the onions, as is seen to the left, as that is not a vegetable of choice for Reed I left it out at home and added some crumbled pieces of leftover bacon to the mix when I made it last night.

Slow Cooker Creamy Potatoes and Sausage


* 3 lbs potatoes, red, Yukon, russet, Idaho, with or without skins, cubed
* 2 lbs smoked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
* 1 small onion, sliced (if desired)
* 8 ounces cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
* 10 1/2 ounces cream of celery soup
* 1 ounce dry ranch dressing mix

Layer potatoes, sausage and onions in a slow cooker.
In a bowl blend softened cream cheese, cream of celery soup and envelope of dry ranch dressing mix. Pour over vegetables and sausage.
Give it a little stir and cook on low 6-8 hours.

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