Sunday, January 31, 2010

Giveaway Winner for Alouette Cheese Coupons

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway. Even with only one entry per person this time, there were close to 200 entries!

And now, chosen by, the winner is:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2010-02-01 01:28:26 UTC

#113 is Jennifer from Jennai's Corner of the World!

I'll be notifying Jennifer by email and getting her coupons to her--hopefully just in time for Super Bowl snacking!

Thanks again to everyone who entered, I appreciate the interest!

Until next time, good cooking and good eating!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Alouette Cheese Review and Giveaway

Giveaway is now closed!

I love cheese.

All kinds of cheese from American and Provolone slices for sandwiches, to feta crumbles on a cracker smeared with hummus, to fresh mozzarella stringing from a slice of pizza or steaming plate of pasta bake.

I remember talking with a sweet lady at a women's ministry social over our plates of finger foods and telling her that I'd never met a cheese I didn't like (this to her bemused observation at some cheese tidbits that "her daughters like all kinds of cheeses that she'd never heard of, but she usually just bought the sliced yellow kind".)

I'm not a gourmet by any stretch of the imagination, so I know there are cheese's out there that I might turn up my nose and oh-so-uneducated-palate at, but so far we have not been introduced.

So, when I got a chance to try some of Alouette spreadable cheeses, I jumped at the chance.

I received a box with several packages of their new Sweet & Spicy Pepper Medley, and their seasonal Berries & Cream flavor.

The first thing I did was grab two packages and head to my mother's house (we were home in Louisiana at the time) and we broke out one of each of these and tried them spread on crackers. Oh, my. Really good. Really, really good. In my opinion, one of the tests of a really good tasting cheese is how it tastes all by itself, and how it tastes served very simply, like on a cracker. (or on your finger. Shhhh.)

I later tried some of the Berries & Cream as a spread on toast--it would be excellent to spread on a toasted bagel, or a rice cake. Or on a piece of cardboard. What amazes me about this is that the main "berry" in this is raspberry, which I am normally not a big fan of, but it's mixed with cranberries and with blueberry juice, and it has just the right taste and texture. My only complaint is that it's not available year-round, but is considered seasonal.

The Sweet & Savory Pepper Medley I ate on crackers, and I confess, about half a container I scooped out and ate all by myself with corn chips. I used some of this in a quesadilla I made for lunch one day, as well as some party pinwheels. I liked this flavor every way I used it.

In the information packet I received some coupons good for several varieties of FREE Alouette cheese, some to keep for myself and some to share--for their Baby Brie, Spreadable Cheese, and Cheese Crumbles. Now, so far I haven't been able to find the cheese crumbles, but I've only looked at two stores so far, and it's quite possible I overlooked them--I found some of their cheeses in the deli area, and some also in the dairy section at Publix, so look both places.

I chose the Garlic & Herbs and the Sundried Tomato & Basil to try on my own.

The Sundried Tomato & Basil was, once again, wonderful--good on a cracker, and good also in the party pinwheels I made. This kind would be good on a toasted bagel crisp, or those little toasted bread rounds that are served with bruschetta.

The Garlic & Herb I was eager to try after I found a recipe at the Alouette site for garlic bread. I have to say, we were disappointed in this--I'm not sure what I expected, and maybe I spread the cheese on too thick, but it was hot and kind of gunky, and not that garlic-y, if you know what I mean. I ended up stirring the rest of this into some pasta sauce where it added a nice creaminess, but I probably won't be buying this one again.

My conclusion--Alouette cheeses are definitely well worth the try--it all depends on the variety and on your personal taste.

Berries & Cream, Sundried Tomato & Basil, and Sweet & Savory Pepper Medley are definite keepers. Garlic & Herbs, not so much. Okay, I've been told in a couple of the giveaway comments that the problem may have been that I bought the Light Garlic & Herbs, but that the regular is delicious--so I'll keep an open mind on that one!

There are lots of really good sounding recipes as their site, several of which I'm looking forward to making. The Baby Brie in puff pastry or baked with brown sugar and nuts, along with the stuffed mushroom caps all look like something I'd like to try.

And now for the giveaway--are you ready?

The prize is a simple one, one winner will receive five coupons for FREE Alouette Cheese--1 for Baby Brie, and 2 each for Soft Spreadable cheese and cheese Crumbles, any flavor or variety.

To enter, just leave your name, email address, and comment on the giveaway form. This giveaway will be open until Sunday night, January 31st at 6:00 pm Eastern Time.

Just one entry per person this time, please!

The Giveaway is now closed!

(Disclosure: I received 6 tubs of spreadable cheese and 5 coupons for free cheese so that I could taste and review the product. I did not receive any further compensation for doing the review or the giveaway, and the opinions stated are those of my own.)

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

Party Pinwheels

As part of a review I was doing for Alouette Cheese, I decided to make these quick and easy pinwheels for us to munch on one rainy afternoon.

I used Alouette Pepper Medley and Tomato & Basil spreadable cheeses and flour tortillas.

I spread one of the cheeses over a flour tortilla, all the way to the edges. You could also add a slice or two of thin sliced ham or smoked turkey or other deli meat.

Starting at one edge, roll fairly tightly

I thought I would need to use toothpicks to hold it closed, and I probably would have if I'd added meat or anything else inside, but with just the cheese inside I didn't need them. Roll in waxed paper or foil and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to firm up.

Slice anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick slices. I should have refrigerated mine a bit longer, they flattened a bit as I sliced them--an easy fix to reshape slightly, though, if I were serving these to someone else. (I don't think they would have "squished" so easily if I'd had deli meat or chopped fresh vegetables or any additional ingredients inside.)

These were a big hit! My husband liked the pepper medley flavor, not so much the tomato basil, I think because I spread the cheese a bit too thick on that one for his taste, but I absolutely loved both of these!

I could so see adding some thin sliced salami or other Italian deli meat to the ones with the tomato basil flavor, and ham or turkey to the pepper medley, but as far as I'm concerned, these will be a keeper for me, with or without the added ingredients.

If you'd like to try these or other Alouette cheese, be sure to enter the giveaway I'm running this week for coupons for free Alouette cheese.
This post is linked to:

Tempty My Tummy Tuesday
at Blessed with Grace
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff

(Disclosure--I received the cheese I used in this recipe for free as part of a review I did for Alouette cheese, however I received addiontal compensation and the opinion stated is that of my own.)

Until next time, good (un)cooking, and good eating!

Hillshire Farms Giveaway Winners

Wow, what a response! Ya'll like your Hillshire Farms Lit'l Smokies, there were 300 entries in this giveaway! I appreciate each and everyone who entered, tweeted, followed, fanned on facebook, and commented.

And without further ado, the three winners are:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

168 172 49

Timestamp: 2010-01-24 23:23:14 UTC

#49 is Terri L

#168 is Tara

#172 is Susan B

I'll be notifying each winner by email.

If you weren't a winner, please stay tuned, I have another giveaway running this next week, starting as soon as I can get the post ready!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hillshire Farms "Go Meat!" Review and Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed--the winners will be announed soon!

The PR company that handled my last review and giveaway contacted me to see it I wanted to do another one, this time for a new Hillshire Farms product, Turkey Lit'l Smokies.

In my review package, I received a package of the Turkey Lit'l Smokies, a bbq apron with the Hillshire Farms "Go Meat!" slogan on it, and a Hillshire Farms 75th Anniversary Cookbook. (I tried to get my husband to model the apron and hold up the cookbook and sausages, but he refused!) The cookbook is 64 pages of recipes and cooking tips, and covers everything from grilling to making kabobs, and has recipes for all kinds of dishes, from soup to pizza to pasta, all made with Hillshire Farms products.

Hillshire Farms is also sponsoring a giveaway in which three lucky readers will receive a prize package with the same items--Turkey Lit'l Smokies, apron, and cookbook.

I cooked these today, and we enjoyed them while watching tv on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Since it was just my husband and me, I asked him earlier how he'd like to try these, and he requested pigs-in-a-blanket and some done "plain"--he is not a big fan of the cocktail wieners in sauce that most of us know and love.

For the pigs-in-blanket, since it was just the two of us, I used one the small cans of crescent rolls, and cut each triangle in 4 pieces.

Wrapped the dough around the sausages...

...and baked at 350 for about 10-15 minutes. (The picture above is how they are supposed to look. I didn't take new pictures of the step-by-step because I knew I had some from when I'd posted this "recipe" before. I did intend to take a new "after" picture, but you will see in a moment what happens when you forget to turn your million-year-old oven down 50 degrees below the temperature you really want it. They were saved in the nick of time, but just barely)

When I was a little girl, I can remember my mother hosting a bridge party where cubes of Velveeta and chunks of pineapple on toothpicks featured heavily in the refreshments. I thought it was so sophisticated to watch these ladies play bridge and eat their bites of food oh-so-delicately from their party picks. Ever since then, anything on a toothpick has always seemed to be the ultimate in Sophisticated Party Food.

So when my husband requested that I do some "plain" (in other words, without the sauce that I usually use), I just knew that sausage-on-a-toothpick would be on our menu.

For the "plain" ones requested by husband, I took the rest of the package and put them on a plate and microwaved them for about 3 minutes, then spread them out on some paper towels to drain while I cut some sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheeses into little cubes, and made a simple party platter. I picked up a pack of party picks at the store to use with these, but you can just as well use pretzel sticks--then you could just eat the evidence of how many of these you've eaten.

We really enjoyed our snack--despite the almost accident with the pigs-in-a-blanket. (They were still delicious, just a tad brown.) My husband thought these were the best little smokies he's ever eaten, he said they weren't as greasy as most cocktail wieners. I would definitely buy these and fix again.

For information on other Hillshire Farm products you can go to , where you can find more recipes, and see how to get a cookbook of your own when you purchase three Hillshire Farms smoked sausage products.

And now to the fun part---remember, there will be three winners, and each will receive a package with the same items--Hillshire Farms Turkey Lit'l Smokies, apron, and cookbook.

To enter, leave your name and email address in my giveaway form--the information will go straight into a spreadsheet that's for my eyes only, and will not be used for any purpose other than this giveaway. The winners will be chosen at random, and notified by email. Once you receive your notification, you'll need to reply with your name and address, which will be passed to a Hillshire Farms representative for the sole purpose of shipping you your prize package.

Would you like to have more than one chance to win?

  1. For entry number one, just leave your name, email address, and a comment telling me which recipe you'd like to try, or what you think you might like to make with your prize package goodies.
  2. For an additional entry, follow, or subscribe either by email or in a reader; then leave an additional entry telling me so in the comment section. If you already follow or subscribe, just tell me that in the 2nd entry comment.
  3. Tweet about or mention this giveaway on your blog for a third entry--just be sure to leave a comment (on the form) telling me so.

This giveaway will be open until next Sunday night, January 24th, at 6:00 pm. If all goes well, you'll be able to get your package in time for Super Bowl snacking!

Are you ready?

Giveaway Now Closed

(Disclosure: I received the articles I listed above for free, but have not received any additional compensation for this review. The opinions stated are those of my own.)

Until next time...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Taco Soup

I've shared my basic recipe for taco soup before, but I didn't have any pictures with it the first go around, so I thought I'd post it again, this time with visual aids.

This is my favorite soup to make, to honest I make it year round, but with the recent cold weather, it was perfect.

I browned 1 1/2 pounds of lean ground meat--this is "homegrown" meat, so lean that most of the time I don't even have to drain it--just brown and go!

Once the meat is browned (and drained if needed), add the beans, corn, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. I wanted to make a big pot this time, so I used two of everything.

Bring to good bubble, then lower the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

You can serve this like traditional soup, with crackers, or with corn chips. Garnish it for sure with cheese, and if you like, add a dollop of sour cream. Have I mentioned how much I love this soup?

As always, you can vary the beans--I've used every kind of bean from pintos to red beans to ranch style to plain old pork and beans. I know a lot of people who use chunk tomatoes, as well. Once in a pinch I used a can of tomato soup and a can of cheddar cheese soup, and it was good then, too.

What's you favorite soup to make?

Note: Be sure to enter the Hillshire Farms prize package giveaway that I'm running this week

This post is linked to:

Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace

Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff

Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom

Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Quick and Easy Peach Cobbler

I already have a really good, simple recipe for peach cobbler that I love, but I was looking for something just a bit different to make, using ingredients I already had on hand. I came across a couple of different versions of peach cobbler made with cake mix and decided to give it a try.

  • 2 regular or 1 large can of peaches
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) of butter or margarine, melted
  • chopped pecans
  • cinnamon

Grease or spray a baking dish--I didn't have a lot of peaches, so I used an 8 1/2 x 11 inch dish. Pour in the peaches, juice and all. Add the whole package of dry cake mix on top, smoothing to the edges and into the corners. Sprinkle with cinnamon and chopped nuts.

Pour melted butter all over the top. (some versions of this recipe state to cut the butter up and dot it all over. I chose melt and pour.)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Cool for just a bit, if you can stand to wait. It smells wonderful, and tastes just as good!

I'll be honest, I have a peach cobbler recipe that I love already, and I was a bit hesitant about the cinnamon and nuts, which I don't usually associate with peaches. But I have to say, the taste on this just blew me away. It's a whole different taste and texture from the one I usually make, but it's every bit as good. The nuts added texture and taste that set this apart from the ordinary.

I'll definitely be making this again--this one is a keeper!

This post is linked to:

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
at Blessed with Grace

Tuesdays at the Table
at All the Small Stuff

Tasty Tuesday
at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Meatless Monday at Sweet and Savory

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Slow-cooked Oven Baked Brisket

This weekend I cooked what has to be one of, if not The Best Tasting hunks of meat I've ever made.

It was a 7 pound brisket and it was wonderful.

After all of the holiday goodies and sweets and snacks and chips, I was ready for some Regular Food. The last time we were home I had bought a brisket on sale and froze it when we ran out of time to grill/bbq/smoke it. I had intended to get it out this time and have my husband smoke it, but time and weather didn't co-operate (again) so I decided to do it in the oven.

Once I had it thawed, I put it in a cooking sprayed pan, fat side down. I stabbed it all over with a fork, then poured about 3/4 of a bottle of Italian salad dressing all over it. I used whatever is cheapest--brand name on sale and with a coupon, or store brand, it all works. I also sprinkled it lightly all over with Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (any good season-all type of spice mix would do) and some Worchestershire sauce. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

When I got ready to cook it, I turned it over so that the fat side was up, and spooned a little of marinade from the pan over the top. Cover with foil, and put in the oven at about 325 degrees.
After a couple of hours, I sprinkled about a tablespoon of liquid smoke, re-covered with foil, turned the oven down to 275-300, and went shopping.

After a total of about 8 hours in the oven, this is what I had. It smelled so good, I only wish you could have been there to see it and smell it--and yes, taste it, too!

(A good general rule is 40 minutes per pound, but as long as it's well-covered and the oven is turned low, any extra time just makes it that much more tender.)

I let it rest in the pan juices for 20-30 minutes while it cooled enough to handle, but I couldn't resist forking just a bit off the end--doesn't this look good?

Once it cooled enough to handle well, we lifted it out onto the cutting board, and I cut away most of the fat, and scraped off the rest--I think I could have literally scraped it off with a butter knife, it was so soft.

Unfortunately, after it was sliced my hands were dirty and I forgot to take pictures after I washed them.

The first night, we chopped up some and heated it with a bbq sauce and a little of the pan juices and made bbq sandwiches.

The rest I put in a container and poured the pan juices over it and refrigerated it. The next day, I heated it all up in the juices, and we had sandwiches again--some with bbq sauce and some without.

By Sunday night it was falling apart and I scooped some up in a bowl and ate it with a spoon. Yes, it was that good.

Brisket makes the best bbq sandwiches; french dip style sandwiches; sliced bbq to eat with baked beans and potato salad; or eat it like a roast, with the juices over rice or mashed potatoes. It can be inexpensive if you catch one on sale--around home that's usually during bbq season, but they freeze well and can be cooked in other ways. I've even cooked a small one in the crock-pot, similar to the way I do slow cooker pot roast. I usually try to find the "market-trimmed" briskets, but you want the big slab of fat on one side, it makes the meat really tender and flavor-ful--and will make your puppy dog happy if you feed it the scraps!

What have you been cooking lately?

This post is linked to:

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
at Blessed with Grace

Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff

Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom

Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum

Welcome to Our Krazy Kitchen

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Coming and Going...

It's hard to believe that the holidays have come and (almost) gone.

It was my intent to do at least a couple more blog posts on easy gifts from the kitchen, but alas, life got in the way. We left Georgia on the 18th to come home to Louisiana; between packing, unpacking, shopping, decorating, and spending time with family and friends, I felt like I did a fair amount of cooking, but the majority of it was old favorites.

Our son had requested three things while I was home--lasagna, sweet potato casserole, and bean pie. I managed to do all three, plus three kinds of fudge--the two microwaved versions I shared in December, plus the one from the marshmallow creme jar; Ro-tel cheese dip, cocktail smokies in sauce, and pigs-in-a-blanket--even homemade biscuits one morning.

Today we had the traditional black eyed peas and cabbage (black-eyed peas for luck, and cabbage for wealth, or so "they" say!), as well as a family tradition of Mexican cornbread (just 'cause it goes good with peas and with cabbage, too!) and all of the little finger food leftovers from last night and goodies left from Christmas.

Tomorrow I'm cooking a brisket, and coming next week I'll have a yummy review and a giveaway from Alouette cheese.

I'm looking forward to getting back to some simple, basic, healthy eating, how about you?

Hoping you and yours had a wonderful holiday, and best wishes from more blessings to come in the New Year!