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Crock Pot Cowboy Soup & A Easy Greasy Giveaway!!!

Today I have a recipe and a giveaway for y'all!!! Fall has definitely arrived here in North Texas, but with polar vortex coming through it feels a lot more like winter than fall. I always tell people that Texas has two speeds hot and cold! I hate that we only get a small taste of spring and fall around here.

When the cold rolls in I immediately turn to all my favorite fall comfort foods. Soups and stews are always at the top of my list and are big crowd-pleasers. Today's recipe for Crock Pot Cowboy Soup is a pantry staple soup that calls for basic ingredients that you usually have on hand.  I made this recipe recently when I had the chance to review a new product that I just love.   

Have you heard of Easy - Greasy? Easy Greasy is a kitchen tool that makes draining hot grease a snap. One of the worst things you can do it pour hot grease down your kitchen drain. 

I personally do not do this because I know the damage that can be done. I usually drain any grease I have from cooking into a empty can or jar, but that can be challenging at times.  

When Michelle a mom from Baton Rouge, La and the inventor of Easy-Greasy contacted me I knew this was something I needed.

I don't always have an empty can or jar on hands to drain grease especially if my recipe does not call for a canned or jarred item. I am then left wondering what do with all that grease?  

If I don't have a jar or can on hand I usually make a bowl out of foil and drain the grease into that. Once it hardens then I toss it in the trash. I was glad to see that someone finally invented an easier, safer, and hands free way of disposing unwanted grease.  

When my Easy-Greasy arrived what I noticed first was it's size. The strainer is made to accommodate up to 3 cups of food or meat which is great for me. It comes in three parts, a specially designed no clog strainer bowl, a heat resistant grease catcher container (up to 260°F), and a storage lid if you want to store any grease.  

Easy-Greasy is also dishwasher safe, made in the U.S.A. and BPA free. Since using this product I have found that not only is it great for draining grease, but it's also perfect for defrosting meats, straining and rinsing beans, pasta, fresh fruits, and vegetables. This little strainer has really made things so much easier for me in the kitchen.  

To drain cooked meat place the Easy-Greasy strainer over the heat resistant container, pour in the meat, and then lift up the strainer. Your cooked meat is in the strainer and all the unwanted hot grease is contained in the bowl below. Once the grease is cool dispose into your trash or cover with the easy-greasy lid for grease storage.    

Now your drained meat is recipe ready. Add the meat back to your skillet or a crock pot and continue with your recipe. Easy-Greasy is perfect for making chili, taco's, spaghetti, lasagna or any recipe that calls for ground meat, bacon or sausage.

I cooked my Cowboy Soup in my crock pot, so all I had to do was drain my meat, add the drained meat mixture into my crock pot and pretty much just toss in the rest of the ingredients. The full recipe for this yummy soup is listed below.  

Crock Pot Cowboy Soup

2 - lbs ground beef or turkey
1 - medium onion, chopped
1 - clove garlic, minced 
1 - green bell pepper, chopped
1 - 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 - 10 oz can mild Rotel or homemade
1 - 14.5 oz can corn or 
1 - 11 oz can of Mexicorn
1 - 15. 5 oz can bush's mild chili beans
1 3/4 - cups beef stock or water
1 1/2  - teaspoon chili powder
3 - potatoes, peeled and diced
1 - cup uncooked macaroni
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet saute ground beef or turkey for 5 minutes. Add the onions, garlic, green pepper, salt and pepper to taste. 

Saute until the meat is browned and the onion is soft and translucent in color.   

Drain the excess fat (I used my easy greasy), then transfer the meat mixture to a 6 quart crock pot.

Add the remaining ingredients except for the macaroni. Set the crock pot on low and cook for 6-8  hours or cook on high for 3-4 hours.

During the last hour of cooking add the macaroni and cook until macaroni is done. Ladle into bowls and serve with a skillet of cornbread.

servings: 6-8

Easy-Greasy is the perfect kitchen gadget for anyone that likes to cook. Draining unwanted grease has never been easier. The Easy Greasy Strainer is $19.99 plus shipping and handling at the Easy-Greasy website. You can also order it on QVCAmazon, and on LTD Commodities

Would you like to have an Easy-Greasy for yourself? Well today Michelle has graciously offered to give one lucky Mommy's Kitchen Reader the chance to win a Easy- Greasy of their own. See below on how to enter.

How to Enter: 
Just leave a comment on this post telling me what you would use the Easy-Greasy for? 

Bonus Entries: 
For a bonus entry tweet the following: Stop by @mommyskitchen for a chance to win a @Easy_Greasy grease drainer. The new safe way to drain grease. Come back and leave a separate comment telling me you did so.   

Rules & Information: This Giveaway starts today, Thursday November 20th 2014 and ends on Friday November 28th 2014.  I will choose a random winner and notify the winner via email. The winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize or new winner will be chosen. Contest is open to US residents only due to shipping charges. If you leave a anonymous comment please leave your email address so I can contact you in the event that you are the winner. 

For more information visit Easy- Greasy or follow along on Twitter and Facebook!

Disclosure: I was given an Easy-Greasy for the purpose of this review. All comments stated above are 100% entirely my own.


Quick & Easy Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls

Summer is over and fall has officially arrived here in North Texas! Down in the south our seasons tend to change a bit later than most parts. When we're enjoying fall weather most states already have snow on the ground. It doesn't seem to last very long, so I enjoy each and every cool day that comes our way.

Fall and winter are definitely my two favorite baking seasons. I usually head into the kitchen around Halloween and don't come out until New Years. This time of year goes by quickly, so I try and savor every moment. I can't believe that in just 9 short days we will be celebrating Thanksgiving.  

Hopefully everyone has their holiday menu all worked out. It can get crazy this time of year, so having a plan is a must. During the holidays I always prepare a special breakfast for my family. It's never too fancy since my time is limited, but it's always something warm and festive. In the past I've made an Overnight French Toast Casserole or an easy breakfast egg casserole.  

Most times I plan an overnight casserole since all the prep work is done the night before. This year I plan on making these festive Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls pictured above. November is my scheduled guest post on Rhodes Bake-N-Serv Blog, so I wanted to make something for an easy Thanksgiving breakfast.  

This recipe for pumpkin pie cinnamon rolls starts with Rhodes Frozen Bread dough and a few other pantry and fridge staples. I love the simplicity of using frozen bread dough, so I always keep plenty in the freezer. Since the bread dough needs to thaw I like to remove a loaf of frozen bread dough from the freezer, and place it in the refrigerator overnight so it can thaw. 

In the morning all you have to do is prepare the pumpkin pie filling, assemble the rolls, and let them rise. Before you know it your family will be enjoying piping hot pumpkin sweet rolls in no time

Click here to visit the Rhodes Bake-N-Serv Blog where I'm sharing the full
recipe, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to make these
Easy Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls.  

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Rhodes. I'm a contributing guest blogger where I share recipes and ideas using Rhodes Products. All opinions stated above are 100% my own.



Apple Cider Coffee Cake

November is here which means baking is in full swing at my house. The holidays are my favorite time of year, so you probably won't see me stepping out of my kitchen until New Years!!!! If I've learned one thing about holiday baking having a well-stocked pantry is key.

I actually keep my pantry pretty stocked throughout the year, but during the holidays it's even more important! During the holidays grocery store shelves can become quite bare rather quickly, so keeping things in stock at home is a must. I am not the type of person to run around town looking for ingredients.  

As soon as I see all the holiday baking essentials in the grocery store I immediately grab a few and stock up. Most seasonal and baking items have a long expiring date, so there's no worry about stuff going bad. 

Items I keep on hand at all times are, eggs, milk, butter, canned cooking and baking items, dry pudding mixes, flours, various sugars, pie crust, pumpkin, pie filling, canned fruit, dried fruits, chocolate chips, honey, extracts, variety of nuts, baking cocoa, oatmeal, spices, biscuit baking mix, cake mixes, muffin mixes, and I even store buttermilk in my freezer

If you have most of these items on hand you can pretty much whip up an easy dessert in no time. I always have last minute guests and get together's, so coming up with a dessert rather quickly happens quite a bit in my house. 

Some of you might remember last year I went to Nashville and attended the Martha White Southern Baking Retreat. While at the retreat we got our hands dirty and and baked up several recipes using assorted Martha White muffin mixes.  If I learned one thing on that retreat it's that you can create so much more than just muffins using those little mix packets. All it takes is a few pantry staples and a little imagination.   

Since I have your attention I want to announce that I will be a part of the official Martha White "What's in Your Pantry" Baking Campaign! What does this mean? Well, throughout the year I will be sharing a few easy recipes using Martha White muffin mixes and a few pantry staples. Today's recipe for this easy Apple Cider Coffee Cake is my first recipe in the series. 

Last week I needed something quick to send with my husband to work, so I scanned through my pantry and came up with this easy coffee cake recipe. Recently Martha White introduced two new fall inspired muffin mix flavors, Apple Cider and Pumpkin Spice  

I have to say these two new flavors are my absolute favorite! As soon as you open the packets you can smell all the spices. My kitchen smelled just like fall while my coffee cake was baking. Lets get started so I can show you how easy this coffee cake came together. 

Start by gathering all your ingredients together. You will need 2 packages of Martha White Apple Cider muffin mix, brown sugar, all purpose flour, sour cream, milk, two eggs, butter, one apple, and cinnamon. 

In a large bowl combine the muffin mix with, milk, sour cream, shredded apple and eggs. Spread half of the batter on the bottom of a 8 inch spring form pan (that has been sprayed with baking spray). Mix the topping ingredients together and add a layer of stresuel topping over the batter. Add remaining batter and topping and then bake. Let coffee cake cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing the outer ring. 

Cool completely on a baking rack and dust with powdered sugar before serving.  

Apple Cider Coffee Cake


2 - package Martha White Apple Cider muffin mix
1 - apple, shredded
1/2 - cup milk
1/2 - cup sour cream
2 - eggs, lightly beaten

Crumb Topping: 
1 1/4 cups flour

1 - cup brown sugar
1 - teaspoon cinnamon 
1 - stick (1/2) cup butter 
powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 inch spring form pan with non stick baking spray and set aside. 

Start by making the crumb topping. In a medium bowl combine, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. Using a large fork or your fingers , mix together until clumps start to form and set mixture aside.  

In a large bowl combine add the two muffin mixes, shredded apple, milk, sour cream and beaten eggs. Lightly mix using a spatula or wooden spoon (don't over mix). 

Spread half of the batter on the bottom of the spring form pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter to the edge of the pan.

Add half of the crumb topping evenly over the batter.  Add the remaining batter over the crumb mixture and spread evenly (don't worry if the topping is completely covered with batter).

Add the final layer of crumb mixture on top, and bake on the center rack of the oven for 30-35 minutes. Cake will be firm to the touch when done.  

Let cake cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing cake ring. Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar.

Cooks Note: If you are unable to locate the apple cider muffin mix you can substitute with the apple cinnamon mix. Also if you don't have a spring form pan you can use a 8 x 8 inch baking dish.

I also want to mention that my friend Brandie over at The Country Cook made this beautiful 4 ingredient Apple Surprise Cake pictured above. This recipe also features the new apple cider muffin mix. Stop by and show Brandie some ♥

If you're looking for more muffin mix ideas? Check out this video from Linda Carmen, Martha Whites Test Kitchen Director and writer for Southern Pantry! Miss Linda is the real deal folks. I instantly fell in love with her at the baking retreat and seriously wanted to take her home in my pocket!!!  She truly is a southern gem. 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of  the Martha White "Whats in Your Pantry Campaign"  All Opinions stated above are 100% entirely my own. #SouthernPantry #MarthaWhite


November Menu - Menu Plan Monthly

It's hard to believe that November is already here, but it is! Now that Halloween's over it's time to start planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Two of my favorite baking holidays by far. Today I have my November Menu Plan for y'all. We plan on going out of town the whole week of Thanksgiving, so my menu is a week short. I hope you find something you like! Recipes with {New} noted next to them will be posted as I make them. 

November Dinner Menu 

Baked Chicken Teriyaki, Brown Rice & Seasoned Broccoli
Trisha's Chicken Pot Pie 
Cheeseburger Pie & Salad {New}
Fettuccine Alfredo W/Grilled Chicken
Beef Tips W/Whole Grain Pasta & Acorn Squash
Fall Off The Bone Ribs, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Salad & Green Beans
Spaghetti Pie, Salad & Garlic Toast
Honey Barbecue Meatloaf, Potato Bundles & Peas & Carrots 
Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenderloins
Copy Cat PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps {New}
Hamburger Steaks & Gravy {New}, Roasted Veggies & Mashed Potatoes 
Taco Salad
American Goulash, Fruit Salad & Soft Honey Wheat Rolls 
Brown Sugar Smoked Sausage W/Apples, Scalloped Potatoes & Glazed Carrots
Crock Pot Northern Beans W/Ham & Cornbread
Chicken & Dumpling Casserole
Copy Cat Pizza Hut Pan Pizza
Baked Chicken Teriyaki, Steamed Broccoli & Cauliflower & Salad
Chicken Fajita Tacos W/Pineapple Salsa {New}
Creamed Turkey {Thanksgiving Leftovers}
Turkey Roll Ups {Thanksgiving Leftovers}, Mashed Potatoes & Corn 

Loaded Baked Potato Soup  
Garden Harvest Chicken Stew & Rolls
Barbecue Pork Roast Sandwiches 
White Castle Sliders & French Fries
All-In-One Pork Chop Dinner

Desserts: Pumpkin Pie Cake,  Apple Cider Coffee Cake {New}Cobbler

Thanksgiving Breakfast: 
Overnight French Toast Casserole, Bacon & Ambrosia

Appetizers: Deviled Eggs, Ranch Sausage Stars, Queso Dip & Sausage Balls

Thanksgiving Dinner: 

Oven Roasted Turkey & Gravy
Ma maw's Cornbread Dressing
Sweet & Sour Green Beans & Brown Sugar Carrots
Sweet Potato Casserole
Macaroni & Cheese 
Dinner Rolls
Cranberry Orange Sauce
Strawberry Jell-O Salad
Honey Pecan Pie, Chocolate Meringue Pie & Pumpkin Cake Roll

Pumpkin Pie Frappuccino & A Keurig 2.0 Review

Over the weekend I made a new festive Pumpkin Pie Frappuccino while playing around with the new Keurig 2.0 K500.  As a Walmart mom I had the opportunity to review the new Keurig machine and share my results with you. Stay tuned at the end of this post where I will be sharing the recipe for yummy pumpkin inspired frappuccino. 

Are you a huge coffee lover? If you are then I'm pretty sure you've heard all the hype about the new Keurig 2.0 that brews not only a single size cup of coffee, but also brews up to a 5 cup carafe. This immediately peaked my curiosity when I first heard about it. My husband and I both love our coffee and we currently own the Keurig Elite Model.

We have been really happy with our current model, so I wasn't sure if changing over to the new Keurig 2.0 was a good option or not. Well, r
ecently I had the chance to check out the new 2.0 model and share my thoughts with everyone.  Will it stand up to all the hype?

Lets find out. I can say right out of the box the new model is a lot sleeker and fancier than our current model. I love the new digital touch screen display, the larger detachable (80 oz) water tank, and it's really simple to set up and operate.

The whole reason I own a Keurig is because of it's convenience. During the week a single cup of coffee is all we need to get us out the door, so the Keurig cups are the perfect option. When it comes to the weekends that's a whole different story. I usually consume 2 or more cups of coffee and it's the same for my husband.

Having a Carafe option is a great alternative to the single k-cups. The new Keurig 2.0 comes with a plastic carafe that allows you to brew up to a 5 cup carafe with the same ease and convenience of brewing a single cup of coffee. This works out great for us on the weekends or if we have overnight guests. 

I love the new customizable night light in the water reservoir as well as on the digital screen. Choose a color selection, white, red, blue or green to match your kitchen or personalize to your taste. My kitchen is red, so I set my night night color to.......... you guessed it RED!

After setting up the coffee maker enjoying your first cup of coffee is easy! Touch the start button at the bottom right of the touch screen. This will turn the machine on and preheat up to 10 oz of water. 

Once the machine is preheated it's ready for brewing. Select your cup size (4, 6, 8 or 10 oz) by using the up and down arrows on the touch pad. You can also choose if you want a strong cup of coffee by selecting the "strong" selector.  This is great option if you like your coffee stronger, or if you want to use it in a coffee recipe like I did for the Pumpkin Pie Frappe. 

Lift up the handle place a approved Keurig K-Cup inside, close the lid, and push the black Keurig Logo to start brewing.

The machine will automatically stop when brewing is complete and has dispensed the correct amount of coffee. If coffee isn't for you the Keurig 2.0 will also dispense up to 6 ounces of hot water for tea or hot cocoa. 

If you would like to brew an entire pot of coffee just remove the bottom tray and place the carafe in the carafe slot of the machine. Select how much coffee you would like to brew (2-3 cups, 3-4 cups or 4-5 cups).  If you would like to save your settings just touch the picture on the screen and it will automatically save the carafe selection size for future uses.    

Insert one of the larger carafe sized k-cups into the machine (it will automatically adjust to accommodate the size of the carafe cup). Close the lever down and brew. The machine will automatically stop when brewing is complete. In my opinion the plastic carafe that comes with the 2.0 machine does the job, but the coffee doesn't really keep the coffee warm. 

Currently Keurig makes a vacuumed sealed Stainless Steel Carafe (sold separately) for $24.99. I think this is a much better option and a good investment. When I used the stainless steel carafe the coffee stayed warm for up to one hour.  
Another thing to keep in mind is the new Keurig 2.0 machines only accepts the K-Cups manufactured by the Keurig Company.  The K-Cups must have the white specialized logo coding around the top of the cup to work. 

What does this mean? well if you still have a stash of older Keurig K-cups or other brand k-cups they will not work with the new 2.0 machines. You also cannot use the store purchased device that holds your own coffee grounds like in the other Keurig machines. Click here for more information on the new lid technology.

If you try to use one of the non Keurig Brand K-cups the machine will not work. What you will get is an error message that pops up on the display screen stating "Oops this pack was not designed for this brewer. This is kind of a draw back for me as I use all different brands as well as store brand pods in my current Keurig machine. Since I still have so many non Keurig brand k-cups in my pantry I will be using my current machine until all the older k-cup are used up. Then I will switch over to the new machine.

My personal opinion on the new Keurig 2.0:

After using the the new 2.0 machine for over a week I can honestly say that I do like it.
  • This Keurig machine isn't for everyone and is most certainly geared towards consumers who don't mind paying a little more for a cup of coffee. 
  • If you are Keurig brand loyal and don't mind paying more when it comes to k-cups than this machine is most definitely for you. 
  • If you prefer store brand k-cups than this machine really isn't for you as it requires special k-cups.  
  • I love the new carafe and that I'm able to brew more than a single cup of coffee at a time. 
  • I like the programmable feature so I can set the machine to warm the water as soon as I wake up. 
  • I like the hot water on demand feature for hot chocolate or tea.
  • The new large water (80 oz) tank is a must.

I hope my review has helped you decide if you want to make the switch to the Keurig 2..0 series or not. 

Currently the Keurig 2.0 (K500) is priced at $169.00 at  Walmart until October 31st. After that the price will go back up to $189.99. Purchase it now or place it on layaway at your local Walmart. This would be a great gift for the coffee lover in your life. If they already have a Keurig from the 2.0 series consider purchasing the Travel Mug or the Stainless Steel Carafe.   

Here is the recipe for the Pumpkin Pie Frappuccino I promised at the beginning of this post. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Frappe

1 - cup strong brewed coffee 
½ - cup low fat or fat-free milk
2 - teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 
1 1/2-  teaspoon vanilla extract
4 - tablespoons pumpkin puree
dash of nutmeg
dash of cinnamon
⅛ cup sugar

1 - tablespoon maple syrup
about 16 ice cubes

low fat whipped cream for garnish

Add all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and top with fat free whipped cream and garnish with additional pumpkin pie spice. 

Servings: 2 

adapted from: Pure imagination


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