Category Archives: ASM Cooks!

12/18/17

Christmas Treats

There are few things in this world I enjoy any more than producing delicious treats from my kitchen during the holiday season and sharing them with all the people I love.

Friends, family, coworkers, neighbors. It is so richly satisfying, and honestly, Mom and I enjoy it more and more each year!

This year consisted of both sweet & savory treats including family favorite, our own version of classic “Chex Party Mix” as well as my Chocolate Pecan Fudge, a tradition I have continued for 7 years now! My coworkers start asking about the fudge by end of October, ensuring that it is still on my holiday to-do list in early to mid December.

And, of course, it always is. And the amounts increase every year as well, but I don’t mind. That just means our circle is expanding, and that’s always a good thing!

So, this year, that meant 8 very large recipes of delicious fudge!

I use a classic, old-time recipe for Chocolate Cheese Fudge. And yes, I know what you are thinking… Cheese?!? No one can believe how delicious and insanely creamy this homemade fudge is, and furthermore, no one can guess what secret ingredient makes it so… Velveeta! So, before you judge this recipe, whip up a batch of this Chocolate Cheese Fudge for yourself and share with the ones you love. Or enjoy a plate of it all for yourself.

No judgement.

Chocolate Cheese Fudge 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound of Velveeta Cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped & toasted pecans (walnuts are also a great alternative)
  • 2 boxes Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 1/2 heaping cup Unsweetened Cocoa powder

Directions:

Spray lightly the bottom of a 9 by 2-inch square pan with a nonstick spray. You won’t need too much, there is plenty of delicious butter in the fudge itself.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the cheese and butter together, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and nuts.Stir to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and cocoa until thoroughly blended and light.

bread-1

This was just one box of powdered sugar of many. Very, very many.

Pour the cheese mixture into the sugar and cocoa mixture and stir until completely mixed. The candy will be very stiff.

Using your hands, remove candy from bowl and press evenly and firmly into pan.

Because of the amount of butter in this recipe, pat the top of the candy with a paper towel to remove the excess oil. Place pan in refrigerator until candy is firm.

fudge1

To serve candy, cut into blocks or squares. Airtight and wrapped up ready for distribution.

fudge2

For personalized gifts, I cut into 4 equal, large squares (if using a 8×8 or 9×9 square pan or into 6 squares if using a 9×13 pan), wrap in cling wrap, and tie with a beautiful bow, a gift tag, or even a tree ornament for extra flourish.

And now, moving on to the Savory…

My Family’s Favorite Chex Party Mix

Ingredients: (per recipe, yields 1 sheet tray of party mix)

  • 3 cups Rice Chex
  • 3 cups Corn Chex
  • 3 cups Wheat Chex
  • 2 cups Cheerios
  • 2 cups mixed nuts
  • 2 cups pretzel sticks or twists
  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1.5 tsp Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix all dry cereals, nuts, and pretzels in a very large bowl. Toss to combine and to ensure you have the distribution you want.

In a small sauce pan, combine the butter, Worcestershire sauce, and salt, over low-medium heat until the butter is melted and the seasoning has incorporated.

Pour the warm butter & seasoning mixture over top of the cereals and toss to combine thoroughly.

Spread out the cereals on an un-greased sheet tray, or rimmed cookie sheet, and bake for a total of 1 hour, stopping to toss the mixture 3 times, at each 15 minute increments throughout baking time.

Allow to cool completely and then wrap up in clear plastic bags and attach a personalized gift tag to each.

I don’t know anyone who would turn this away! It’s crunchy and spicy and extremely snackable and perfectly craveable! It honestly is one of my very favorite holiday treats, and there are so many variations you could try. Get inventive by adding Cheez Its, or Oyster crackers, or even Crispix Cereal in place of one of the Chex for a different shape. The important thing is to have fun with it and make it your own!

It’s the holiday season after all and they don’t call it “the most wonderful time of the year” for nothing! Share something delicious from your kitchen, and more importantly from your heart, this Christmas season!

xoxo…

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11/16/17

Soup’s on!

Y’all.

I can feel it.

It’s in my bones. It’s officially the dawn of winter here in the Deep South, and all I can say is that it’s about time!

This time of year I always crave one thing- soup.

Soups. Chilis. Stews. I love them all. But, I do play a few favorites.

So, make a big, big batch in your dutch oven or crock pot and then freeze your leftovers for another night when you are running low on time and still want all the comfort and flavor slow-simmered soups have to offer.

Here are a few I return to over and over… and I think you will too!

Crock Pot Ham & Bean Soup

Crock Pot Ham and Bean Soup is the perfect meal to come home to and easy to make. No soaking is required, just place your ingredients in the slow cooker and this recipe is effortless! Dinner is ready when you are!

This is a shortcut miracle soup that begins with Hambeen’s 15 Bean Soup from your grocer’s shelves and ends with a totally amazing supper! If you aren’t crazy about ham, I have also had great success with ground Italian sausage or even slices of smoked kielbasa as well. It’s all good!

Pasta a Fagioli

I first fell in love with this soup as a young girl at the local Olive Garden, and the truth is, I still love it as an adult, but I love my version of this recipe even more than the kind that comes with unlimited salad and breadsticks.

amazing-slow-cooker-soupThis recipe has been adapted for your crockpot and it’s full of hearty Italian flavors, lots of veggies, beans, pasta, and herbs.

You will love it!

Zesty Chicken & Rice with Lime and Cilantro 

Is there anything in this world more comforting than chicken and rice?

Not for me at least!

Zesty Chicken & Rice Soup, and Finding Pleasure and Gratitude at the Bottom of an Empty Bowl

And this recipe is a zesty, Tex-mex version of the classic with big, bold flavors of both lime and cilantro. And, it’s absolutely delicious!

Serve with some tortilla chips and sliced avocados for a great meal, anytime!

Blissful Butternut Squash Soup 

Slow Cooker Blissful Butternut Squash Soup – an EASY crock pot recipe with very little prep and only 6 ingredients!

For a great Vegan soup that eats in a very non-Vegan way, try this Butternut Squash Soup from SkinnyTaste. It’s super simple, only 5-6 ingredients, and is both Gluten-free and Paleo!

I am very partial to Butternut Squash soups this time of year. Love the color and love the flavor!

With a big piece of crusty bread for dipping and maybe a simply-dressed tossed salad on the side, I don’t know anyone who would turn this down!

And speaking of another 5 ingredient soup…

5-Ingredient Black Bean Soup 

Another tremendous recipe that is both easy to make with just a handful of ingredients, but is also incredibly economical as well.

5 Ingredient Black Bean Soup Recipe -- full of amazing flavor, and ready to go in just 20 minutes! gimmesomeoven.com

I love a big ladle of black bean soup served over some hot, brown or white rice for soaking up all that rich bean broth. So comforting!

And a tip for this recipe? If you prefer a smoother finish, like I do, just simply pulse your salsa in a food processor before adding to the soup and it will become a part of the broth and not be quite as chunky as pictured above, but still, every bit as delicious!

Crockpot Magic White Chicken Chili 

White Chicken Chili by www.cookingwithruthie.com is delicious magic in your slow cooker!

“Magic” because you dump all the ingredients in a crockpot, walk away, and come back to something totally amazing, comforting, and delicious!

I’d choose a white chicken chili over red beef chili any day of the week.

Potato & Corn Chowder 

Because no list of soups would be complete without a good, creamy potato soup!

Slow Cooker Potato and Corn Chowder - The easiest chowder you will ever make. Throw everything in the crockpot and you're set! Easy peasy!

This soup is unbelievably easy, makes a ton, and freezes beautifully. Makes a great gift also to someone needing a little extra help over this busy holiday season. Make a big pot and share it with the ones you love!

Hoping these soups give you some ideas and some inspiration to pull out the crock pot, Dutch oven, or Instapot and get cooking!

Enjoy!

xoxo….

 

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