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Rigatoni

This is the version we like best. It has shortcuts, but it is still as good as my all day simmered version. In a large skillet, brown 1 pound ground beef and 2 links of Mild Italian sausage with casings removed. Drain after the meat is brown.

On a cookie sheet, arrange a single layer of sliced pepperoni. I used about a third of a 16 ounce package. Cook at 350° for 12 minutes. Remove pepperoni from pan and allow to cool. Drain the oil from the pan and add 6-8 ounces of fresh, sliced mushrooms. DO NOT SALT! Bake 20-25 minutes until crisp. Let them cool in the pan.

In your large skillet with the browned and drained meats, add 1 can of petite, diced tomatoes (I prefer low sodium) and 1 can of Hunt’s Zesty & Spicy pasta sauce

To the mixture, add:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbls onion powder
  • 1 Tbls garlic powder
  • 1 Tbls dried oregano
  • 1 Tbls + 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

In seperate pan, add 12 ounces of Rigatoni noodles to rapidly boiling water that has been seasoned with 1 tsp salt. Cook until noodles are al dente. Drain and immediately fold into sauce.

Add 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese. Crumble the crisp pepperoni and mushrooms and add to the mix. Top with 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella, and pour into a pan prepared with cooking spray.

Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Note: it really should have sliced black olives, but I don’t like them, so I omit them.

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Slow Cooker Pork Loin

I have to be frugal. It isn’t a choice. When meal planning, I have to look at ads (LOVE the Flip app!) compare prices and match coupons with sales. I try to keep my proteins below $2.50 per pound. Luckily, in my area there are fantastic stores that do a great job of competing for our business. Instead of paying $5.99 and up for center cut pork chops, I buy a whole pork loin when it goes on sale for $1.89 per pound, and cut them myself. I also pick up one for roasting in my slow cooker. This is what I cooked for dinner tonight. I normally cut my pork loins in thirds for the slow cooker. It is just the two of us, plus I like to cook for my mother. On average, I pay $10 for a whole loin on sale. Cut into thirds, I pay about $3.33 total for meat for dinner. This feeds 3 people a VERY generous portion, plus 2 large pulled pork sandwiches. Recipe: 1/2 cup water in the bottom of the crock. Place loin, fat side down Halve 3 small apples (I prefer Granny Smith but had Gala on hand) Halve 2 onions Place around the loin. Generously salt and pepper the loin. Sprinkle on:

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Dried thyme leaves
  • Pinch of ground sage
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Cook on high for 4 hours, or on low 8 hours. Remove and discard the apples. Add carrots and potatoes and cook an additional 90 minutes on high, or 2.5 hours on low. Sometimes I assemble and season the night before, refrigerate, and set it on low the following morning. To my followers, I haven’t abandoned this blog. I’ve just had a very difficult two years. I will be posting more and more as time goes on. Thank you for the emails and messages asking if I’m ok. Thank you for the thoughts and prayers you have sent me. They are much appreciated, as are you!

Home Made Italian Sausage

With the price of beef so high, I am exploring ways to cut costs on other meats. I’m trying to keep the total cost of all meats at a 2.50 per pound average.

Just a 20 minute drive away is the neatest meat shop. Ozark Meats in Grandin, MO. It is clean as a pin! By far, the cleanest butcher store/meat processor I’ve ever visited.

I called them about a week ago and asked for fresh, never frozen ground pork. They called me when they ground my 10 pound order. Today we picked it up, along with 25 pounds of ground beef, frozen in 1# packages. It was on sale for $3.99 per pound. Their ground beef is like ground sirloin. You never need to drain it because it is so lean. That is a huge savings in itself with no product lost.

We came home and started the spicing and mixing process. We mixed two pound at a time, so if you are trying this recipe with only one pound of ground pork, please reduce the spices by one half.

2 pounds ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of sage

Combine well and divide in half, and place each half in a freezer bag.

For the HOT version, adjust to 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon cayenne.

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Christmas Ringtones

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I have a new phone and lost all my ringtones. Since I like all kinds of music, and I think outside of the proverbial box. I got busy making some new ringtones. I thought I’d share them with all of you.

If you like the ringtones, you’ll love the complete songs, and in most cases, the entire albums.

Here are some links to their music:

Pentatonix

Celtic Thunder

Bob Rivers Comedy

Bing Crosby

Gaither Homecoming

Mariah Carey

Here is the list of ringtones:

  • 12 Pains of Christmas
  • Angels We Have Heard On High
  • Carol of the Bells
  • Hershey’s Kisses – We Wish You A Merry Christmas
  • I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ For Christmas
  • Joy To The World
  • Little Drummer Boy
  • All I Want For Christmas Is You
  • Mary Did You Know
  • Sleigh Ride
  • The True Meaning Of Christmas (Linus from Charlie Brown Christmas)
  • White Christmas

These ringtones are ready to load on Android devices. If you have an iPhone, you will need to download and convert them in iTunes before they will play on your iPhone.

You can download these ringtones at this link.

“See Ya Later” Mama Ruth

A dear family friend passed away this morning.  The tears I shed are selfish ones, because the suffering for her is over.

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“Mama Ruth” Maahs is on the right, my own mama is on the left.

About 10 years ago, I accidentally wrote a song when I found out my brother had terminal cancer. The composition is courtesy of one of my dearest friends, Tony Baggett and is appropriate now for Mama Ruth.

The lyrics are below, and the MP3 file can be found here.

Our time together is soon to be no more
But you see, it’s only temporary.
Because Jesus is our Savior, of that we are sure
We’ll meet again, you and me
 
And we when again get together
The angels will hush their singing
Shouts of joy forever will have Heaven’s walls ringing
 
I can’t say goodbye because it won’t be forever.
Wait for me at Jesus’ feet until we are together.
Show me ’round that city, the paradise you’ve found
Tell me of the glory as we walk around.
No more tears where eternity begins
Your journey here is over
But your memory never, ever ends
And while our hearts are heavy
It’s not goodbye we say, but
We’ll see you later.
 
While together here we traveled a road
We laughed, we cried
We shared life’s loads.
Someday soon, we will hurt no more
In the presence of perfection
There’s glory in store
 
Sing with angels, we’ll worship together
Around His throne, forever and ever
The world behind us, then perfectly complete
Pain and sorrows gone, no more grief.
 
I can’t say goodbye because it won’t be forever.
Wait for me at Jesus’ feet until we are together.
Show me ’round that city, the paradise you’ve found
Tell me of the glory as we walk around.
No more tears where eternity begins
Your journey here is over
But your memory never, ever ends
And while our hearts are heavy
It’s not goodbye we say, but
We’ll see you later.
 
See you later…….
 
See you later.

Country Ranch Potato Salad

Country Ranch Potato Salad

This recipe is the easiest potato salad you’ll ever make! It can be served warm or cold, but we prefer it warm. I make it ahead of time and keep it warm in a slow cooker. It’s a crowd pleaser and you probably won’t have leftovers. When you guests ask for the recipe, you can point them to Kim’s Random Life where they can bookmark or print it for themselves.

Because this is such a loved recipe, I usually start with 5 pounds of potatoes. Use your favorites: Russet, Yukon Gold, Redskin, just whatever you like or have on hand.  Just remember if you leave the peeling on the potatoes, please scrub them well.

Boil 5 pounds of large (bite size) potatoes and drain.

To drained, still hot potatoes add:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup sour cream (depending on your preference for sour cream)
  • 1 package (3 ounce) of real bacon bits.  Not the ones in a jar, the ones in a bag
  • tops of 2 green onions or chopped chives
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp cheddar, but have used mild cheddar often)
  • Black pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients together, but don’t over mix. Some of the potatoes will cream, but leave as many chunks as you can.

The next step is really a matter of personal liking and taste. Add 1/2 of a packet of your favorite Ranch dressing or dip mix. I use the Aldi store brand for $.59. Stir and taste. If you prefer more ranch flavoring, add as much as you want. Just be very careful because you can make it too salty. Notice that there is no salt in this recipe. That’s because the dressing powder mix offers plenty.

Happy Memorial Day grilling, my fellow foodies! Let me know how you like this recipe after you try it. Be safe!

 

Heavenly Hamburger! (I’m revealing my secret ingredient)

In the St. Louis area visiting our daughter and future son-in-law, and I decided it’s a comfort food kind of long weekend. Tonight we had my Heavenly Hamburgers with oven-roasted steak fries and baked beans. (I cheated on those and opened a can. Yeah, ugh.) Tomorrow night we’re having my mom’s world’s best chicken pot pie. Saturday is a toss-up between Belly Bombers or another St. Louis specialty, Imo’s Pizza.

I’m about to divulge a secret for the delicious burgers that have become an envied staple among family and friends. It comes from a small bottle, it is extremely hard to find, and we went without this seasoning for about 10 years until we FINALLY found it online again about 3 years ago. It’s a little bottle of miracle flavoring called Grill In, Grill Out

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Whether you’re broiling burgers in the oven, pan searing them on the stove top, cooking on an outdoor grill (we never use gas grills, only charcoal or hardwood) or firing up the Foreman indoor grill, this is your ticket to the best burger you’ll ever eat. It works with ground beef, ground turkey and even ground chicken. (More on the other meats in future posts). Tonight we had beef.

2013-03-21_18-54-33_817I made five HUGE burgers tonight, using 2.2 pounds of ground sirloin. I prefer chuck for flavor in the burger, but we are at our daughter’s house, and she prefers sirloin.  In a large mixing bowl I combined the following:

  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp Grill In Grill Out
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash – Original Blend
  • Large pinch black pepper

Mix well, and divide into about 8 servings (Trust me, 5 huge burgers were WAY too much out of this much meat!)  Pat the ground beef in to burgers, and liberally sprinkle both sides with Grill In Grill Out.  Tonight I cooked them on the stove top, so I preheated 2 large skillets, added about a tablespoon of olive oil to each pan and quickly seared both sides of the hamburger patties. Reduce the heat to low, and allow the burgers to cook slowly in the pan until desired level of doneness is achieved.

Tonight we topped the burgers with a slice of Provolone cheese, and another slice of Monterrey Jack cheese. Maple flavored bacon and the usual lettuce, tomato, dill pickle chips and thinly sliced onions made this burger delectable!

Note: I did not add salt to this recipe. Grill In Grill Out has salt in it, and I have made the mistake in the past of adding salt, only to have my burgers turn out not so tasty from over-salting.

You can forego the other ingredients and just add a little extra Grill In Grill Out. It’s that little something extra that has our guests at grilling parties asking, “What’s your secret?” Until now, very few knew. Order some today, and you’ll have it in your pantry inventory just in time for the beginning of the grilling season. Just wait until you get my bratwurst recipe & technique with this amazing seasoning! Stay tuned…..

DISCLAIMER: I am not paid to endorse Grill In Grill out. It is a product I believe in, and highly recommend.