Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Enchilada Soup on a not so cold day

I live in Texas and if you listen to the complainers on facebook, it's a million degrees too hot outside. Personally I am enjoying it. I got to wear a polo today and didn't need my jacket, perfect weather. It's not really soup weather, but ever since I saw the Enchilada Soup Mix I have wanted to try it. I LOVE enchiladas and any way to get that flavor in my mouth makes me a happy girl. I also thought this would be a soup my hubby would like. He was not a fan of the Taco Soup made for the open house, because it had beans and corn in it. The enchilada soup has tomatoes, but he will get over it. So the recipe was 7tbsp of the mix, some milk, water, a can of tomatoes and some pre-cooked chicken, simple like everything else! I threw it together in the pot gave it a couple stirs and left it to heat up then simmer 20 minutes. I love it!! My husband approved of it, and my daughter didn't try it. The tomatoes I used I think took away from the actual soup texture and flavor. I think I will try some rotel next time! I think this soup really captured the enchilada flavor without being too much of anything. I also think I would have liked some cheese on top of it, because every enchilada needs cheese! In all I was a happy camper and will gladly have more for lunch tomorrow even if it is 80 outside!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Skillet Chicken and Rice

I received my package from the Christmas Open House to find that one of the products had spilled. Now I can't give that to a customer so I did a damage report to get a new one. It had not spilled so bad that I would deem it unusable though so I had to sacrifice myself and my family to try it out. This was a good idea, except that it's a Skillet chicken and rice and my husband recently discovered that my skillet's coating was coming off, so it's not going to be used again (don't worry my sister bought me a new one at her job for a great discount!). So luckily right on the Homemade Gourmet package they had an alternative recipe for casserole Chicken and rice! Awesome, even better I had all the ingredients on hand! It called for a cream of soup (I had chicken it asks for mushroom) and some water and some chicken. I mixed the water and the soup and the rice together put them in the 9x13 pyrex, then placed some frozen chicken on top. Now the recipe just said chicken and I am lazy so I tried the frozen, can't hurt right? I do believe it would be better to go ahead and take the 5-10 min while the oven preheats to thaw the chicken, so lesson learned. I put this all in the oven for the required 40 minutes (I am doing this from memory so forgive me if I am wrong!) When I checked it at the time it said the chicken was almost done, but the rice was still fairly raw, so I threw it back in for 20 minutes. That did the trick.
The opinions of my family on this new meal: My daughter liked it with some hesitation, so not real sure if she really liked it or was just wanting us to be happy she was eating it. My husband thought the rice was over cooked. I can blame this on my extra 20 minutes (maybe should have been less) or the loss of some rice in the original spillage. I loved it, and have had most of the leftovers myself! I did like the flavor of the rice more than the chicken, but since the chicken just laid on top it didn't really get much flavor. We both agree we will try it again, but attempt the skillet version with my new skillet when it gets to me! All in all it was a success! Go ahead try some yourself!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Open House

I have a friend who sells Scentsy and she decided to do an Open House at her home for Christmas and invited myself, Jillybeans Treats, Avon and Pampered Chef to come set up a table and sell our stuff. So I got to try a couple more recipes!
I decided my menu on Friday for the Saturday Open House. I decided to go with things I had the stuff for and would not be opening new containers more inventory in hopes of selling that instead of taste testing it all! So the menu for my table became the Garlic Lemon Chicken and Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Ball. The menu for stuff to go on the food table with everyone else's stuff was Garlic Basil Dip and BLT Dip.
Friday night I put together the 2 dips and mixed the cheesecake ball. Now I know from experience you can cheat with cream cheese and "soften" it in the mixer. I learned you can't cheat with butter this same way, but if you mix and find it doesn't work just leave it on the counter to soften the long way and mix again and all is well. This was thankfully my only snag in making my foods for the open house. The cheesecake ball was super simple cream cheese, butter (softened) and the mix. If you really soften the butter and cream cheese first it would take only the time it takes your mixer to mix these 3 things. If you try and cheat like I did it takes about an hour cause you have to let the butter soften. The two dips were equally as simple, and since I have the pantry staples for both it was measure mix and done!
The hardest part was that the open house started at 9am. First I had to decide if I should even bother with something like chicken or if it would be wiser to just do the dips. I went with the chicken hoping it would inspire more in sales. I did get one comment from Jillybeans treats about the smell of garlic at 8am (while we were setting up), and not everyone tasted the chicken, but that was a risk I took, not sure if I would have done better with different choices or if it was a mute point. Anyway the chicken I chose was the Garlic Lemon chicken. I partly chose this because it was my only pantry staple I had not yet used, and in case I didn't like it I could give it away to my host or one of the other ladies there. I was worried about my liking this one because I don't like lemon as a primary flavor. Thankfully it's not an overpowering lemon flavor. If you like lemon the 4 meals in 4 minutes recipe you can use margarita mix which I am sure will accent the lemon flavor. Back to what I actually did. I used 2tablespoons of butter a quarter cup of water some of the seasoning and then 3lbs of chicken. I went ahead Friday night and put the butter, water and seasoning in the crockpot, then set my alarm for 5am to wake up dump the frozen chicken in the pot and go back to bed. That is exactly what I did, and I think it turned out well. If I were doing it again I would have put water, butter and seasoning in on top of the chicken so it would maybe get more of the seasoning flavor, but when I am thinking about doing something in the middle of the night the less I have to do the better!
In all the open house went well, I got a few orders and possibly a few new customers that may or may not become regulars. I also decided I would "trade parties" with the Scentsy consultant to possibly help both of us out, and I want some Scentsy, but can't think about spending money on it right now.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Spaghetti even my husband likes!

One of the problems in our marriage is the food I like and the food my husband likes aren't the same. I am okay with veggies (although my mom wasn't great at feeding them to us because she doesn't love them) and I am okay with odd foods (Spam is yummy!). He likes things spicy and the fewer veggies the better. One of my favorites from childhood is my mother's spaghetti sauce. It's great and it's what I grew up with so I love it. The problem is it's very tomato heavy. This is not okay for my tomato hating hubby. So I make it he tolerates it and I have a week of leftovers. Sometimes this is great, sometimes this is not so great. Now for the Homemade Gourmet solution. When I got the Pantry Staples for myself I was excited about two (the two I already tried) and could go either way on the other two. The Homestyle Spaghetti Seasoning is one of the ones I wasn't sure of. I love my current recipe for Spaghetti sauce why mess with it? Well I will try for my husband this new recipe. So yesterday about 3 hours before dinner I know it's too late to do some chicken (not to mention we didn't have any). The dinner choice then becomes Spaghetti Sauce. I decide to try the new seasoning for dinner tonight, worse case I don't like it and I eat plain spaghetti it would not be a first. I read the recipe 15oz tomato sauce 6oz paste and 2 cups of water with some of the Homestyle Spaghetti Seasoning. Easy dumped it all in the slow cooker (too early for the stove and although it says 4 hours I know it will not hurt us to eat it in 3). I did ask my husband if he needed meat in the sauce and he did so a run to the store was in order. The sauce cooked up easily and about 5:00 I cooked the ground meat, threw some water on to boil. I added the cooked meat to the crock pot and when the pasta was ready made some garlic bread (butter, garlic powder and bread) then we ate. The result a husband happy with the spaghetti sauce! My personal opinion it's not my mom's but nothing ever lives up to mom's! My daughter also was not a fan, but she eats the plain pasta so that's okay!
On another note Monday I received my free Homemade Gourmet cooler for having $1000 in sales my first month!! Thanks to my customers! I can't wait to show it off at an Open house this Saturday. If you are in the Houston Area I would love to see you there!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving and the Day After

I am not a huge fan of the whole Thanksgiving meal, it's something I could easily (and have in the past) missed. I don't like turkey and I can make my own mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes anytime I want and well I want them like I want them, so it's easier to make them on my own. So Thanksgiving is my sister's holiday to host. This works out well for me so I don't have to fuss over a meal I don't care to eat. I also decided this year that Thanksgiving to me is allot like Valentine's Day for some people. Why am I being told to be thankful this one day shouldn't I always be thankful? I am a glass half full type of person, and I believe God takes care of His own. He won't let me down, and if He does it's something I just don't see at this time. So Thanksgiving is a non-holiday holiday for me. All this said (sorry I ramble) I was told this year to make an appetizer. Great! My Homemade Gourmet dips are on sale this month (you have 4 more days) and I ordered a bunch with my first order to have on hand. I asked my husband which he would like and he picked the Gusto Garlic Pesto Cheese Ball. It was super simple I left 2 cream cheeses (one 1/3 fat and one full fat) out to soften and then dumped them and the mix in the mixer beat for 1-2 minutes and dumped in a container. I was done! I got some wheat thins to go with it and cut up some broccoli (for my sister the health nut). It did not pair well with the broccoli after it set it was too hard to eat with the broccoli, and really I had that to appease my sister. The dip was what it's name says it's GUSTO! I could easily have made it into a cheese ball, but since I had to travel with it both to and from the dinner I chose to just leave it in the bowl. It had set nicely in the fridge overnight and would not have been too difficult to make a ball out of. So that was my Thanksgiving contribution.
Today (Black Friday) I actually thought ahead for dinner around 9am! I was looking in the freezer and saw some pot roast I had bought on sale. I decided that was what was for dinner tonight! So I pulled it out (frozen) dumped it in the crock pot added 4 Tablespoons of the Sunday Roast Seasoning and 2 cups of water and set it for 8 hours on high. This is not the exact recipe from the recipe cards or from the Keys 2 the Kitchen website. This was my rendition of what I had and what I wanted. I didn't have any root veggies so they could not go in. The pot roast itself was small so I didn't want to use the recipe for the 4lb one. So I improvised. Now if you know me you know that's not always smart, but this time it was great! Seven and a half hours later we had the pot roast with some Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and rolls. I asked my husband truthfully what did he think of this roast vs the ones I had done before (I used bullion cubes and a cup of water) and he was in favor of the new Sunday Roast Seasoning over the bullion cubes. I also preferred this as it had more flavors but did not overpower the roast itself. In all tonight's dinner was truly our family Thanksgiving dinner. My hardest critic my 4 year old child actually admitted to liking the meat! Now if you have a picky eater you are thinking no way, me too! I can't believe it she liked and wanted more meat and more of the potatoes! I know even picky kids like mashed potatoes, not mine! This was a breakthrough meal, if she will eat a meat that isn't processed, flattened, breaded and deep fried I am happy! That was the true success of the meal. I was told even picky kids will eat Homemade Gourmet, I am now a believer!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

First Family Meal

When I did my first order for $400. I made sure to get a Pantry Basics Collection. This is both so I can taste many meals without purchasing the items individually, and because it's the base for the 4 meals in 4 minutes. I can showcase these meals at your home party so you and your friends can learn more! The Pantry Basics comes with four Pantry Staples, the cute little containers, scoops and recipe cards. You save almost $20 when you buy the collection instead of buying the items individually.
The recipe I decided to try first was the Garlic Basil Seasoning meal which is one of the 4 meals in 4 minutes. The intention of the 4 meals in 4 minutes is to have meals in your freezer, but they can also be cooked immediately. I decided to do mine immediately. The recipe was Garlic Basil Seasoning, 3 pounds of Chicken and a can of tomatoes. I dumped the frozen chicken in the slow cooker (one bag from the grocery store) the can of tomatoes and the seasoning. Done. Cook 4 hours and enjoy!
My daughter is not a fan of new foods so I try and always have something on the table she will eat. That night I decided to make spaghetti with the chicken. The reasoning behind this is i figured it would make a good match, and my daughter would eat it. We ate and it was pretty good. I think I would have preferred it if the chicken had been thawed and the seasoning could get more into the chicken, but for a meal that literally took less than a minute to throw together it was great!
You might have noticed I did say I used 3 pounds of chicken. This is what the recipe calls for so that is what I did. I will probably go ahead and cut recipes in half in the future because we ate on this all week! Here were the leftover meals:
1. I took a piece of chicken and mixed it with the leftover spaghetti. This was okay, but dry. My husband doesn't like tomatoes so in saving the chicken leftovers I did not save many tomatoes.
2. I cut the chicken (mashed it really it was very tender) and heated it along with some Orzo pasta on the stove. This was a good pairing. The orzo is a small pasta and so unlike the spaghetti it was not as overwhelming and since it was fresh it wasn't too dry. I also added a little chicken broth to the chicken as I re-heated it. This was good but a little bland. Don't worry we had lots of leftovers!
3. I put the chicken and the orzo together to save and this was still enough to get another meal out of! The third (and final) meal I made was the saved chicken and orzo plus some velveeta cheese. I put in about 4oz of the cheese and melted it while heating the leftovers in the oven. When I went to stir it I made a bad) decision that it needed more cheese. I added another 3-4 oz and stirred that in also putting it back in the oven to melt the cheese and heat the chicken and pasta. I should have stopped with the first 4oz. We did eat the cheese chicken and orzo, but it was a little more cheese than it should have been. I don't mind the taste of velveeta, but I would have liked to taste the chicken and orzo also. The leftovers from this (about one more meal worth) went down the drain no way to save it from the cheese.
To recap: The Garlic Basil Chicken made 4 meals for a family of 3 and could have done one more if not for the invasion of too much cheese. I would say we liked the chicken and will most likely repeat this meal in the future, but with less cheese on the last rendition.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Open House cooking!

I will start my chronicles of my cooking Homemade Gourmet with my first experience and that is my Open House. I made a menu of Taco Soup, Dip made with the Taco Soup mix, Texas Cornbread, and Cinnamon Sopapillas. I made these selections based on what I got in my starter kit (Taco Soup), what looked good paired with it (cornbread) and what I have been told is a great seller and just looked yummy (cinnamon sopapilla).
What I did not realize when I scheduled my open house is I would be busy until noon that same day. So this became a real test of the simplicity of the products! I started with gathering the ingredients to be sure I would not have a last minute run to the store (did I mention I was also busy the whole day before the party, and half the day before that). Once I knew I had everything together (Thursday night) I made my game plan. I decided I would do the Taco Soup (literally a dump and heat) the hour before the party started. The cornbread and the dip would somehow be made before I went to bed on Friday. Last the Cinnamon Sopapilla was put together the day before and cooked literally minutes before the party.
The cornbread was my actual first product I made. It was a very simple put the ingredients (eggs, milk, butter and the HG mix) in a bowl stir portion into the pan. I used mini muffin pans since this was for a tasting. Then cook. Simple! I will admit I overfilled the muffin cups, but that is no fault of the product just me. The mini muffin tins actually belong to my mother and grandmother and I don't borrow them too often so I don't know what "full" looks like on them. The cornbread still turned out great. I am not a huge cornbread fan, but these were moist and the right amount of sweet. I had no problem eating the leftovers!
Next on the list was the taco dip made out of the HG Taco Soup Mix. This was also very simple and I used the recipe on the back of the box. This calls for Taco Soup Mix (half a packet) Sour Cream, Salsa, Mayo and Cream Cheese. I dumped it all in a bowl and stirred. I then left it in the fridge overnight to set. I don't know about you, but I have a couple of dips that when I find them I can't stop eating them, this was one of mine! I am so excited to now have the recipe and it's simple!
I then prepared part of the Cinnamon Sopapillas. I lined my 9x13 with crescent rolls, mixed the HG Cinnamon Sopapilla Dessert Mix with one brick of cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat) and then topped with another tube of crescent rolls. I refrigerated this overnight.
When I got home at 12:15 (Open House starts at 1:00!) I started my taco soup. I dumped one can of corn, one can of tomatoes, one can of green chilies, one can of pinto beans and one can of water along with some precooked chicken I had sitting in the fridge and of course the HG Taco Soup Mix into the crock-pot and turned it on high. I did realize this would not heat it fast enough so I took a little more than half out to heat on the stove which took less than 15 minutes to a good warm temperature.
After dumping the taco soup together I melted some butter and mixed with the second packet from the HG Cinnamon Sopapilla Dessert Mix. I poured this on top of the 9x13 I had prepared the night before stuck it in the oven for 30 minutes and waited for the result.
Now if you aren't already impressed with the ease of making these things, I will tell you in my humble and honest opinion it was all really good! The Taco soup, which I am not typically a fan of was just right. I might add more beans next time and less chicken, but that's my preference. The cornbread as I stated before was just the right amount of sweet and moist. The dip was my problem all day I had to control my staying away from it! The cinnamon Sopapillas, well let my sales of that product speak for itself - of the 12 people who came to the open house 10 ordered some, the total order for the Sopapillas including 1 order that came from a friend at a Bible study the next day totaled 15. I would say they were a hit!
Are you interested yet? Check out all the above mentioned products and more at my website

Homemade Gourmet

Well you have learned I am not the best at keeping up with the blog. Could be cause my only readers are my family. I am actually going to take a little different turn to the blog now and tell you more about my new home based business. Now if you know me you know I have tried and failed at the home based business route before. I attribute this to picking a product that my friend sold and going under her. It's a great product and I still use it, but it's just a saturated market at this point. Now I have started fresh with something I don't actually know anyone who sells it. It's a consumable product so if you like it you will come back to me for more. Now if you don't already know I am selling Homemade Gourmet. It is food based and basically meant to make your time in the kitchen less while still getting a great meal on the table for your family! Yes I have a website where you can find out more You will need to sign up as my customer and make your orders with that account to give me your business. Thanks in advance!
Now for my story...
I went to a friend's Mary Kay open house and she had a food product there for sale. I was wanting to try hard this year not to return to my seasonal job which overworks and underpays me, so I had a far fetched idea about starting up a new home based business for extra cash. The food product she had was pretty good and we talked about it some and I liked the idea of selling a food based product. I looked into this company and it didn't sit right so I dropped the subject. I did tell my friend and she said try a different food based one called Homemade Gourmet. Immediately I liked Homemade Gourmet! The mission statement is "With God's help, Homemade Gourmet strives to bring families back to the dinner table by providing quality, affordable, easy to prepare meals, education, and direct sales business opportunities." First thing I loved is the second word is God! The next thing is getting families to the dinner table. I don't know about your family, but we had breakfast and dinner at the table every day I liked it, and hope for my family to do the same. Next I had to look at the start up cost, $39! I can afford that! I then called the company found someone to be my upline and asked a million questions and decided to jump in with both feet!
At this point, you may or may not realize I had never tasted anything Homemade Gourmet and my upline is a stranger in another city (Waco). That's okay I am ready.
My friend (the same from above the Mary Kay consultant. Already had a party for another product planned and she agreed to be a test host for me. So I gave her my host kit from the starter kit and she cooked it that day for her party. It was delicious, (phew!) I got no sales that night, but some interest. I then planned an Open House for a Saturday afternoon. I realized when I went to order a few extra dishes, bags, order forms and catalogs I had to make a $400 order to qualify and make any order. So I went ahead spent more money I did not have and jumped into this now with both feet! The open house was a success! I have now qualified for my first prize as a consultant and feel this is a successful start!
What I plan to do now with this blog is to follow my tastings of the various things I make with my Homemade Gourmet products. Stay tuned!