Pajama Quilt

Pajama Quilt

My son has been saving his pajamas every year since he was little. You see my mom, aka best grandmother ever, makes him several pairs each Christmas. I am finally learning to quilt and we looked at patterns and took a little from one and a little from another and came up with this design using 1/2 square triangles. I will post more as it comes along. I already moved the reds so that they are at the same spots. This is just the center. There is more to come.

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The Quest for Lasagna

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I started cooking for our hunters in 2012, before this we had hired a cook because I was teaching school.  Cooking for eight to ten people can make a person a little nervous.  I am definitely a perfectionist when it comes to cooking. I want everything just right.  I know it’s silly. My husband is always telling me that the guys won’t care because they are just happy to eat after sitting in a blind all day. Phew! Everyone enjoys a good meal and not just a mediocre one.

Let me just say I had to cook this meal of lasagna and cheesecake for some guys from New Jersey. I was really nervous about the cheesecake because they can get amazing cheesecakes there. But then one of the guys came through the kitchen and said his wife was from Italy. OH NO!! Would this be up to par. It was! I received rave reviews and have every time I have made this.

This cooking OCD I have, inspired me to find the best lasagna I could. I can not tell you the number of recipes I looked at, read reviews on, printed out, and searched for. Let me just say there are hundreds, no thousands of recipes for lasagna. I think everyone has their own recipe that they have been handed down, found, claimed, revamped, whatever.  I however did not have one. I am more of a fried chicken type girl. Italian food is a little out of my genre.

Well as I was looking it became pretty clear that for good lasagna you have to have a good sauce. Am I right? And good sauce is homemade. Am I right again? So therefore I decided upon a recipe that looked pretty easy and I was going to give it a try.  It turned out pretty darn good. Then with some revamping of my own. It has become my staple.

This recipe gives the most amazing sauce I have ever eaten. Yes, we eat it out of the pot as it is cooking. If you walk by the kitchen when this is simmering. You will not be able to keep your self from getting a spoon, and trying a little sample.

I will say it is a little bit of work, but the benefits are so worth it. I have also found that you MUST use diced tomatoes. I pour a little into my hand over the pot and smash around. Then pour another handful and repeat until it is all smashed.   I tried whole tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. They just don’t work. For some reason, it just makes the correct mixture to crush by hand.

This makes a ton of sauce. I mean you will need a large pot for this.  I usually double it, so that I can make two lasagna pans. One for that meal, and another to freeze. I am really into freezing for future meals. Makes life so easy sometimes.  You can also freeze the sauce to use in spaghetti and other pastas.

Werner Hunting House Lasagna

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

  • 1 pd sweet italian sausage
  • 1 pd ground beef
  • ½ cup onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes, crush by hand
  • 2 (6.5 oz) cans tomato paste
  • 1-1 ½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, divided
  • 12 lasagna noodles or 2 pkgs lasagna sheets
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1 cup parmesan cheeses, grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. In a large saucepan cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basic, fennel seeds, italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley and 1/2 tsp salt.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Tope with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make are the foil does not touch the cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Dawna’s Taco Salad

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You know sometimes when you are getting hungry, you yearn for something from home. Or maybe it is when you yearn for home you get a little hungry.  Either way memories and food seem to go hand in hand.

I’ve noticed for myself that when I am especially homesick for Tennessee that is when I crave my mom’s cooking the most. I want those smells to linger in my house. I want to taste the food and savor that memory of the last time I had this in my mom’s kitchen.  I bet we all have those certain recipes that just take us home. No matter where we are in the world, or where we are in life, we can smell that aroma or taste that food and we are back with in our childhood homes enjoying home.

Well that is what I believe this recipe is for my husband and his sisters.  For several years we would celebrate Thanksgiving down in gorgeous Craig, Colorado. Erica, my husband’s middle sister, lived in spectacular cabin placed on the hillside. Just being there over the holiday made you feel like you were in a movie. The crisp air, the cabin atmosphere, and the food. Oh my the food.

After Thanksgiving, my husband’s younger sister would whip up their mom’s taco salad. This recipe makes a ton. The girls would go shopping early in the morning and come home to this for lunch.  It will fill you up and hit the spot. Let me just say I have never settled for just one bowl. I always seem to over stuff my self again on Friday, rather than giving my gullet a break.

Today my husband asked me to make this recipe for our day tomorrow gathering cows on the mountain.  It is a long day and this salad will be a great meal.  (Although my son, who is the pickiest eater in the free world, will have none and a PBJ will be calling his name.) This was a meal from my understanding their mom would make up for large crowds and for cow work.

So Enjoy!

Dawna's Taco Salad

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 lbs of hamburger
  • 1 head of lettuce, chopped
  • 1 lrg onion, diced
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1 lrg can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups mayo
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 1 family size back of Nacho Cheese Doritos

Cook the hamburger meat and drain. Add salt and pepper.  Remove from pan and allow to cool.  Mix together mayo and taco seasoning. Once the meat is cool add the mayo mixture and mix well.  Add the beans, lettuce, onion, cheese, to the meat mixture. Stir to combine.

Crush up the Doritos and add to the salad just before serving.

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This is my 2nd bowl. I was trying to downsize and only have a 1/2 cup of mix before I added my chips. That makes a second bowl better right?

Notes:  I have used pepper jack cheese and it was great. Also I don’t add the chips because it makes soggy leftovers. Instead I place the crushed chips in a large serving bowl and let guests add them to their bowls.  There is always leftovers and it keeps it crunchy. I like it better, it’s a texture thing for me I think.

Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup

As I promised here is the recipe for this wonderful soup.  Trust me that hits home on a cold night. I made it in the morning for lunch. I was all alone and it was fantastic.  My husband and children really don’t care for this very much, so I was so happy to make it just for myself.  They are not real fans of gnocchi.

I left one container in the fridge,which I enjoyed for lunch today. The rest I put in containers and froze for another time. I am an avid freezer of everything. I hate for stuff to go to waste, so if I can freeze it I do.

Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 4 cups half/half
  • 2 (14oz) cans of chicken broth
  • 1 cup carrots, finely diced or shredded
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1 pkg gnocchi
  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp parsley

In a large pot, combine oil and butter. When melted add onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent.  Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, then add the half/half.

In another pot cook gnocchi according to pkg directions.

 

Add carrots and chicken to the soup mixture.  Once the mixture thickens add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and turn to a simmer.

 

Once it thickens again add the gnocchi, spinach, and seasonings.  Simmer until heated thro

 

ughly. Before serving season to taste.

 

This is the basic recipe. I will tell you that I deviate from this every time.  I seldom cook the gnocchi in another pot. I know there is a good reason, but to me why dirty another pot, when I can throw it in with the soup and leT it cook there. So when I add the chicken and carrots, I also add the gnocchi.  I guess it is just one of my pet peeves. If it turns out okay, why mess with more dishes to clean later.

 

I also have used heavy cream instead of half and half and it turned out just fine. My reasoning was that it was in my fridge and I didn’t have that much milk to thin it out.  I guess it was just a much creamier and a much higher calorie count then the above recipe. Also it was oh, so good!

Enjoy!