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This hearty appetite satisfying dinner will have your family asking for “more”!

1-1/2 cups small shells pasta, uncooked
2 pounds lean ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 ounce) jar pizza sauce
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1 (4 ounce) can mushroom pieces & stems
2 (2.25 ounce each) cans sliced ripe olives
1 (11 ounce) can Mexicorn
1 (15.5 ounce) can chili hot beans
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions using minimum cook time; drain. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat cook the ground beef, onion and green pepper until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender; drain.

2. Add the remaining ingredients in the order listed stirring to blend; pour into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Emily

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Cranberry Pork Tenderloin

Cranberry Pork TenderloinMy hubby and I are rather fond of lean pork tenderloin especially when it is prepared in my slow cooker. I found this recipe in an older copy of Taste of Home magazine. The cranberry sauce, orange juice and ground cloves create a sweet, nicely seasoned sauce that enhances the natural flavor of the meat.

1 (1 pound) pork tenderloin
1 (16 ounce) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons cold water

1. Place the tenderloin in a 3-quart slow cooker. Combine the cranberry sauce, orange juice, sugars, mustard and cloves; pour over pork. Cover and cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F.

2. Remove the pork and keep warm. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; gradually stir into cranberry mixture. Cover and cook on High for 15 minutes longer or until thickened. Serve with the pork. Makes 4 servings.

Emily

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Mexican Chicken Casserole

Mexican Chicken CasseroleIf you like the spicy flavor of Mexican foods, you are sure to enjoy this yummy casserole. My hubby declared it an absolute “keeper”!

2 cups radiatore (or other small) pasta
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 (10-3/4 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
1 (16 ounce) package processed cheese spread (Velveeta), cubed
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained
3 cups cubed cooked chicken

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions using minimum cook time; drain. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, cook the onion and green pepper in the butter until tender (about 4 minutes).

2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients stirring to blend well. Pour into a greased 13×9-inch baking dish . Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 to 35 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Emily

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Food For Thought

American flagWhile browsing the web yesterday, I came across this comment left by someone named Bobby in response to an article concerning the national debt and other problems facing our country. I thought it contained some pretty good “food for thought”. So, I decided to share it with my blogging friends and followers.

* Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and
then campaign against them.

* Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are
against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

* Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation
and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

* You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.

* You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on
appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

* You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

* You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

* You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

* One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme
Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are
directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the
domestic problems that plague this country.

* I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that
problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its
Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally
chartered, but private, central bank.

* I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason.
They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator,
a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t
care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The
politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the
lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine
how he votes.

* Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that
what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con
regardless of party.

* What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive
amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker,
who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The
President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to
accept it.

* The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole
responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and
approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House?
John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow
House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If
the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree
to.

* It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot
replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of
incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic
problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you
fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the
federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they
want to exist.

* If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

* If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.

* If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they
want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ….

* If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement
plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

* There are no insoluble government problems.

* Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they
hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and
advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to
regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let
them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical
forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them
from doing what they take an oath to do.

Emily

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Meat Sauce for Spaghetti

Meat Sauce for SpaghettiPut the ingredients for this thick hearty meat sauce in your slow cooker before leaving for work and all you will need to do when you arrive home is cook some spaghetti, toast some garlic bread and dinner is served!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup water
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Hot cooked spaghetti

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the beef and sausage until no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a 5-quart slow cooker.

2. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the spaghetti; cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti. Makes 8 servings.

Emily

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Chocolate Almond Cheesecake

Chocolate Almond CheesecakeWhether you are looking for an elegant dessert recipe for a special occasion or you just want to impress your family or friends, you can’t go wrong with this decadent cheesecake from Taste of Home. It is sure to become a favorite that will be requested again and again!

2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
1 cup finely chopped almonds, toasted
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter

FILLING:
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup milk
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 (11.5 ounce) package milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
Milk chocolate kisses, unblanched whole almonds and additional whipped cream

1. In a large bowl, combine the wafer crumbs, almonds and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1-3/4 inch up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. In a small saucepan, soften gelatin in milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Cook and stir over medium heat until gelatin is dissolved. Cool to room temperature, about 6 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream and almond extract until smooth. Beat in melted chocolate and gelatin mixture. Fold in whipped cream; spoon into crust. Cover and chill for 6 hours or overnight.

4. Just before serving, run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with chocolate kisses, almonds and additional whipped cream. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 12 servings.

Emily

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Turkey Chili

turkey-chili-1No matter what the weather is outside, my hubby enjoys a hearty and tasty dinner when he comes home from a strenuous day at work. This thick robust turkey chili from Taste of Home is the perfect recipe to satisfy his “hungry man” appetite!

1 pound lean ground turkey
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (26 ounce jar meatless spaghetti sauce
1 (15-1/2) ounce can hot chili beans
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce)can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
Sour cream (optional)

1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the turkey, onion, celery and green pepper until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender; drain. Transfer to a 5-quart slow cooker.

2. Stir in the tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, chili beans, water, corn and seasonings. Cover and cook on High for 1 hour.

3. Reduce the heat to Low and cook for 5 to 6 hours. Add the kidney beans and pinto beans; cook for an additional 30 minutes. Garnish with the sour cream, if desired. Makes 12 servings.

Emily

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Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

loaded-baked-potato-casseroleYour family and guests alike will enjoy this hearty and delicious casserole. And you will love how little time it takes to prepare!

1 (30 ounce) package frozen extra-spicy and crispy potato wedges
2 cups chopped fully cooked ham
8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped green onions
1 (15 ounce) jar cheese dip
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Arrange the potato wedges in the baking dish; bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until thawed and beginning to brown. Top with half each of the ham, bacon, bell pepper and green onions. Spread cheese dip on top; sprinkle with the remaining ham, bacon and bell pepper.

3. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cheese dip is melted and the potatoes are tender. Top with dollops of sour cream and the remaining green onions. Makes 8 servings.

Emily

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