Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Getting Paid to Shop Online

Just a few weeks ago, my mom asked me if I had heard of Ebates.  I scratched my head and said "No, do you mean Ebay?" (As if we had static in our phone lines.)  She proceeded to send me a link to find out more. 

Ebates is a website that cooperates with over 1,200 retailers that will pay you back cash for your online purchases.  These aren't obscure retailers either.  They are stores you use regularly.  They have everything from Walmart, Kohls, JC Penny to FTD - and even EBAY!  I know... getting cash back for shopping on Ebay, who would have thought?

How it works?  Signing up for an ebates account is completely free.  When you are going to order something online, just log into ebates, find your retailer and click the link to be taken directly to the store.  Go ahead and shop as you normally would.  When you finalize your purchase, Ebates gets notified from the retailer and credits your ebates account.  Then quarterly Ebates pays you the balance in your account - you can get a check OR have them deposit it directly into your Paypal account.

Why am I telling you this?  Because I know you'd like to get cash back on any online shopping you do - AND - it doesn't cost you anything to join!  This company has been doing this since 1999... yes, over a decade and paid out more than $50 million so far!  For the month of December, just by doing my regular Christmas shopping, I'm getting paid back over $25.  And that wasn't even the online shopping I did the day after Thanksgiving... dang it all.

Every day they also offer a Daily Double... which is a retailer that is offering double the % back for purchases that day!  Today's for example is FTD Flowers... they are paying 20% cash back... so if you are sending flower to someone you can't be with over the holidays, it makes sense to get a rebate!

To learn more and sign up for your own account, go to Ebates and see for yourself!  http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=eTxuDFXWgMxfkQEdNvOV3g%3D%3D

Thanks mom for telling me about it!  Heck for as much as I'm on Ebay... I'm tickled to now be getting cash back in addition to my regular Ebay bucks!

Hope 2011 drops dollars in your lap!
{Hugs!}
~Dawn

Monday, December 20, 2010

What to do with Chili Leftovers

So you've had chili 4 nights in a row and there's still some left.  You could always freeze that for a night when you're on the go and don't have time to cook.  But, I wanted to bring the taste of a ball game to my kitchen.  So last night I whipped up...

Chili Dog Casserole!

3 cups Leftover Chili (or whatever is left in your crock pot)
2-3 Hot Dogs - diced
2 cups cooked noodles
   (I used both elbow macaroni & egg noodles to clean out the pantry)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Cook noodles.  Mix with diced hot dogs and left over chili in greased casserole dish.  Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese.  Bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes.  For the last 5 minutes take the cover off to get cheese slightly browned.

Super easy, and yet delicious - adds a whole new twist to left overs!  And let me tell you, it's also sooooo much easier than eating a loaded chili dog at the ball park while trying to balance your $8 beer!

Have a delicious afternoon!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Corn Casserole

This recipe is from my Mom's Aunt Noreen.  Aunt Noreen had a whole bunch of kids, so when she cooked, her meals needed to feed and army!  I started to make this dish as my "dish to pass" for family gatherings about 3 years ago after our family published our own cookbook.  I saw the recipe and was enlightened for a new use of corn.  Give it a try for your holiday cooking and see what your family thinks!  This is also a great dish to make ahead of time and freeze.  It freezes very well!

Corn Casserole
2 Sticks Butter - not margarine
3/8 cup dry onion flakes
1 lb. fresh mushrooms - sliced
1 1/2 boxes seasoned croutons
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp pepper
2 - 20 oz. bags frozen corn
6 cups shredded colby (or cheddar) cheese

Melt butter, mix in dry onion flakes & mushrooms.  Stir for 3 minutes.  Add croutons, parmesan cheese, milk and pepper.  Stir well.  In large bowl mix corn, cheese and add stuffing mixture and salt.  Put in casserole dishes and top with a little cheese.  Bake until hot at 350.

Makes 2 large casseroles & freezes well!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Meals on Monday - Apple Cherry Dessert

Happy Labor Day one & all!  We've been celebrating since Saturday and it's been a wonderful weekend thus far.  For our family BBQ on Saturday, I brought a side & a dessert.  That's the perfect meal in my mind.... sides and dessert! :)

As a side dish, I made my Grandmother's Calico Beans... they were a tremendous hit.  Chris' family always loves it when I bring them.  They are a great source of protein & fiber (and if bacon was it's own food group, it's a good source of that too! :)  I'll share that recipe with you very soon... but... the star of the show was the dessert.

I made an Apple Cherry Dessert that was AMAZING!  It was so good the 9x13 pan was empty and there were only 10 of us.  It uses a homemade flaky pastry crust and with an apple cherry filling that's perfect for autumn!  So without further adieu here's the recipe - straight from my brain to you!

Apple Cherry Dessert
Crust:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup milk
1 egg separated

In large bowl combine flower and salt; cut in the butter until crumbly.  Stir in milk and egg yolk.  Chill in fridge for 15 minutes.  Divide dough in half and roll out each portion into a 9x13 rectangle.  Place bottom crust in greased 9x13 pan.

Sprinkle with 1 cup cornflakes.

Filling:
5-6 cups granny smith apples, peeled & diced
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling.

Mix apples with cinnamon, sugar and vanilla.  Stir in cherry pie filling.  Pour entire mixture on top of cornflakes.

Top with second rolled out crust.  Cut slits in top.  In small bowl, beat egg white and brush over pastry.  This creates that yummy, golden brown top.  Then sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sugar.

Bake at 350 F for 55 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Let cool on wire rack.

Glaze:
1/2 powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 or 2 tsp milk added slowly

Mix all glaze ingredients starting with less milk and slowly adding more until you get desired consistency.  Drizzle over top of the dessert.  Can be served warm or cool.  Refrigerate the left overs (if there are any!) :)

*Note:  I used Granny Smith apples because of their tartness.  The sweet of the cherry pie filling needs a little tart to balance it out.  It would also be delicious with peaches, rhubarb or pears!

I'll share with you Grandma's Calico Beans on another day.   Promise!
Enjoy your Labor Day!

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl  ~Dawn

Monday, August 30, 2010

Meals on Monday - Awesome Meatloaf Recipe

"This is the best meatloaf I've ever eaten... even better than the Cheesecake Factory's meatloaf, and theirs was very good." - Chris D.

Lil' Cheddar Meat Loaves
(adopted from www.TasteofHome.com)
Ingredients:
1 Egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup chopped onion (but I used 1 Tbsp. of dried onion flakes - much less acidic = no heartburn later!) :)
1/2 tsp. salt
1.5 lbs ground beef
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1.5 tsp. prepared mustard

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk egg & milk... (yes, manually whisking, not using the mixer burns more calories and is better for you!) Stir in cheese, oats, onion (or onion flakes) and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. I knead beef in by hand. It's the best mixer you've got AND it's great for relieving stress!

Now the recipe calls for you to make 8 mini loaves (individual serving sized) but I prefer 1 full sized loaf. So I greased a regular size bread loaf pan. And formed the beef mixture in the pan.

In a small bowl, combine ketchup, brown sugar & mustard. Spoon over top of the meatloaf.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until no pink remains and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Best served with brown & serve rolls and mashed potatoes! Trust me, by the time the meatloaf is ready, your sense of smell is going to drive you crazy... and you too won't have the patience to snap a picture... in my case, my stomach won!


If you would like to join us in celebrating homemade family meals, join my good friend and Meals on Monday organizer, Stacy Petersen in the link-up!  Click here to see her great recipe for Pulled Beef French Dip and share the link to your post!  We'd love to see what you share!

Enjoy!   

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fresh Summer Bruschetta

One of my favorite things to order when we go out to eat is Bruschetta.  We always end up saying what a wonderful, healthy meal it would be if we made it at home with our own veggies.

So I found this recipe for Bruschetta and tried it.  I have to say, it was DELICIOUS!  And using our own 'maters & basil was the added bonus of healthiness... no pesticides or added "stuff."

So here's my modification of the recipe - hope you enjoy!

Dawn's Bruschetta
    * 6 or 7 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
    * 2 cloves garlic, minced
    * 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    * 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
    * 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
    * Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    * 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
    * 1/4 cup olive oil

Method

1 Prepare the tomatoes first. Parboil the tomatoes for one minute in boiling water that has just been removed from the burner. Drain. Using a sharp small knife, remove the skins of the tomatoes. (If the tomatoes are too hot, you can protect your finger tips by rubbing them with an ice cube between tomatoes.) Once the tomatoes are peeled, cut them in halves or quarters and remove the seeds and juice from their centers. Also cut out and discard the stem area. Why use plum tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes? The skins are much thicker and there are fewer seeds and less juice.

2 Make sure there is a top rack in place in your oven. Turn on the oven to 450°F to preheat.

3 While the oven is heating, chop up the tomatoes finely. Put tomatoes, garlic, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, vinegar in a bowl and mix. Add the chopped basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4 Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil using a pastry brush. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down. You will want to toast them in the top rack in your oven, so you may need to do these in batches depending on the size of your oven. Once the oven has reached 450°F, place a tray of bread slices in the oven on the top rack. Toast for 5-6 minutes, until the bread just begins to turn golden brown.

Alternatively, you can toast the bread without coating it in olive oil first. Toast on a griddle for 1 minute on each side. Take a sharp knife and score each slice 3 times. Rub some garlic in the slices and drizzle half a teaspoon of olive oil on each slice. This is the more traditional method of making bruschetta.

5 Align the bread on a serving platter, olive oil side up. Either place the tomato topping in a bowl separately with a spoon for people to serve themselves over the bread, or place some topping on each slice of bread and serve. If you top each slice with the tomatoes, do it right before serving or the bread may get soggy.

Makes 24 small slices.  (It was delicious served with cottage cheese on the side.)

With a great tomato crop, there's so many delicious recipes and we've been eating so fresh.  Too bad that doesn't last in WI.  This is a Meals on Monday post to coincide with Stacy Petersen's wonderful Meals on Monday event.  If you'd like more information about Meals on Mondays, check out Stacy's Blog!

Bon Apetite!

~Dawn

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jalapeno Poppers... but better! :)

I have a super secret source for this recipe.  I cannot reveal my source, but 2 generations of passing it along, leads back to an authentic Mexican recipe.  So if you have a bunch of jalapeno's and are jonsin' for something delicious... and yet slightly sinful... you've got to try this!

Jalapeno Poppers or Jalapeno Bacon Dip

The poppers are super easy….take tops off, slit and take out seeds.  Fry bacon and crunch up in cream cheese, stuff peppers and wrap w/partially cooked bacon….bake till pepper is soft… 350, 45ish min.  I think I fried 1lb of bacon, mixed w/2 pkgs cream cheese, and used another lb of bacon (cut strips in half) for 35 peppers.  

The guy who showed me this doesn’t bother with all this fuss anymore….he puts it all in a food processor and bakes it like I do my famous artichoke dip…much less fuss….but I thought we’d eat it the authentic way the first time.  Enjoy!!!  

That's the recipe... If I made them personally, I too would make into a dip and serve with Triscuits.  The salty crisp of a cracker would be delicious with all these flavors combined.  It's also much easier preparation leaving time for socializing with friends and family!

Enjoy!
Dawn

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