Friday, July 16, 2010

Mexican Beef Dip

This hot dip has been around my family as far back as I can remember.  My mother made it regularly and all the family just love it.  This is the third and final hot dip that I made on for our Fourth of July party.  Enjoy!

This is what it looks like when I mixed everything together in the crock-pot.  The cheeses had not yet melted.  But in a relatively short amount of time everything melts together and looks yummy!

Mexican Beef Dip

3# ground beef
1 chopped onion
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1# Velveeta cheese
1 pkg taco seasoning (or homemade – see below)
1 can picante sauce (or 2 cups salsa)
Garlic salt to taste

If making in oven:
Cook beef and onion until done.  Mix cooked beef with taco seasoning.  Combine all ingredients into a casserole dish.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Serve with nacho chips.

If making in crock-pot.  Cook beef and onion until done.  Mix cooked beef with taco seasoning.  Combine all ingredients into crock-pot.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours, stirring once every hour or so.  Serve with nacho chips.

Homemade taco seasoning
2 TBSP chili powder
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp garlic powder

Suggestion - save clean-up time and use the crock-pot liners!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hot Crab Dip

Here is the second of the three hot dip recipes that I made for our Fourth of July party:

Hot Crab Dip
(from Taste of Home, Quick Cooking, 2000 Annual)

½ cup milk
1/3 cup salsa
3 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, cubed
2 pkgs (8 oz each) imitation crab meat, flaked (I like a little more)
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies

Combine milk and salsa.  Transfer to a slow cooker coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Stir in cream cheese, crab, onions and chilies.  Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.  Serve with crackers.

Yield: about 5 cups.  

Nutritional Analysis: One ¼ cup serving (prepared with skim milk and light cream cheese, calculated without crackers) equals 80 calories, 385 mg sodium, 23 mg cholesterol, 5 gm carbohydrate, 7 gm protein, 3 gm fat.  
Diabetic Exchanges: 1 lean meat, 1 vegetable

Suggestion - Use a crock-pot liner - it makes clean-up a breeze!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Meatballs in BBQ Sauce

Almost every Fourth of July we have a party in our yard.  Family and friends get together.  We eat, visit and then sit back and watch the fireworks display in downtown Cedar Rapids.  Because of the flood of 2008, the fireworks were moved out to Kirkwood Community College so we weren't able to have our annual party.  But, this year things returned to normal.  (I say that but there are many residents who are still not back to normal.  There are still many signs of the flood of '08 in many parts of the city.)  Anyways, the party was on.
Since we had not had our annual party since 2007 it seemed fitting that I should go back to some of the popular recipes that I had used throughout the years.  

The menu included three hot dips that were served in crock pots.  They were:  Hot Crab Dip, Meatballs in BBQ Sauce and Mexican Beef Dip.  They were served with a variety of chips and crackers.  Of course we had "sweets" too!  The Magic Cookies that I posted July 10th and the Salted Nut Squares that I will be posting in the next few weeks.  The Meatballs in BBQ Sauce was completely gone so I have determined it as the most popular item.  So, of the three hot dips, that is the one I'm posting first.  The fact that it is the easiest makes it even better.

Meatballs in BBQ Sauce

100-125 frozen Italian meatballs
2-3 bottles of Cookies BBQ sauce (26 oz each)

Put 2 bottles of the BBQ sauce in the crock-pot and set temp on low setting.  Bake meatballs according to package directions for 20 minutes.  (Just enough to start heating them up.  Do not bake the entire time directed on the package.)  Put the heated meatballs into the crock-pot with the BBQ sauce and mix well.  Add more sauce if needed.  Cook in crock-pot for 3-4 hours stirring every hour or so.  Serve with toothpicks.

Meatballs - I get these from Sam's Club.  The bags of Italian meatballs have around 150 meatballs in them which is too many for my crock-pot, so I save some back for future meals.
BBQ sauce - I switched to Cookies BBQ exclusively a few years back because there is no high fructose corn syrup in it.  I really try to watch for that on the food I buy and avoid it as much as I can.  Plus we really like it!!!

Suggestion - use a crock-pot liner to make clean-up a breeze!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Slow Cooker Liners by Reynolds

Where have these been hiding all these years?  I don't know when these came out but they are the greatest time-saving item for those of us who love to cook in our crock-pot!  They fit my tall and deep crock-pot just as well as my shorter oblong one.  If you haven't tried them, make sure you do.  I still forget periodically to use them and then I get mad at myself for causing extra clean-up.  Check them out!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Magic Cookies

You know those Magic Bars that appear every Christmas season?  Graham cracker base, sweetened condensed milk, with coconut, nuts and chocolate chips on top?  YUM!  What a wonderful treat!  Well, I have no idea where I got this recipe from, but I've been making them for several years now and they are always well received.  If you like Magic Bars, you'll love Magic Cookies....and the good news is...that these are a year-round treat!

Magic Cookies

1-1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup softened margarine or butter
1-1/3 cup flaked coconut
1 pkg (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts

In a small bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, flour and baking powder.  In a large mixing bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk and margarine until smooth.  Add graham crumb mixture; mix well.  Stir in coconut, chocolate chips and nuts.  Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 9 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Yield:  3 dozen.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fifth Season 5K Race 2010

Yesterday, July 4th I ran my 4th race of the season.  But the significance of it is the fact that since I just started running a year ago, this was my first repeat race.  I didn't make any great improvement over last year, but I did do better.  My time was 31:27 (10:07 pace); I finished 8th in the W50-54 age group out of 40.

What made this years race a lot of fun was that I did it with three family members.  My daughter Rachelle..i.e., the triathlete of the family, a.k.a. the ironman of the family, and the one who got me started running...raced with myself, and my two sisters, Patty and Cathy.  Last year, Patty and I ran this race together and it was our very first race ever.  Since then we've ran quite a number of races both together and separately.  This year my sister Cathy has entered the running arena and this was her second race ever.  It is really exciting to be doing this TOGETHER!  What a great way for a family to spend time together.

Back to the race - the temperature was pretty good - 75 degrees but the humidity was present.  The fortunate thing was that the rain had held off.  (We had a potential for showers for the entire day.)  Patty, Cathy & I warmed up for about 10 minutes prior to the race, made multiple potty stops and were ready to go when the starting pistol went off.  This course is a very good one.  There is one hill that is very low grade right at the beginning.  I really liked having a downhill run going into the finish line as opposed to my completely opposite experience at the Madison 1/4 Marathon that I just did on Memorial Day!  (That hill about did me in.)  My pace was pretty steady throughout the course but when I was approaching the finish line, I heard my daughter Becca yell out, "Come on Terri!" and a shot of adrenaline poured through me and I kicked it into high gear and really sprinted the rest of the way in.  Mission accomplished.

Going forward I'm going to really work on improving my speed.  Short term goal is to do a 5K in under 30 minutes.  My next race is 8/14/10 - Hobo Days 5K in Britt Iowa.  I know I need to more running in the heat so that I'm more acclimated.  (The humidity really wipes me out.)  Once a week like I've been doing it isn't enough.  So I'm going to try to run one of my weekday runs in the evening when it is warm.  I'm also going to get a running watch that will provide me with pace, heart rate and distance.  Rachelle has recommended that I get the Garmin Forerunner 110.  I'm planning on ordering it this week and I'll post my opinion on it after I get it and have had a chance to use it.  Happy running...