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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Haloween-Candied Apples

This is a fun, seasonal recipe that the whole family can enjoy! If they are old enough to be careful, let the kids help dip the apples into the coating.

1 1/2 C. sugar
2 tsp. vinegar
2/3-C. water
1 package cherry Kool-aid
10 apples

Mix sugar, vinegar and water. Boil until mixture reaches 300-degrees; cool. Stir in Kool-Aid. Put apples on sticks and dip into mixture quickly. 10 Servings.

Roasted Pumpkin Sead

Don't waste the seeds after cooking your pie or making jack-o-lanterns. Instead, roast and salt the seeds for a delicious and nutritious snack. Let the children slosh through the fibers in pursuit of the slippery seeds. It is so much fun.

1 qt. water
2 Tbs. salt
2 C. pumpkin seeds
1 Tbs. vegetable oil or melted, unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 250°F. Pick through seeds and remove any cut seeds. Remove as much of the stringy fibers as possible. Bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the seeds and boil for 10 minutes. Drain, spread on kitchen towel or paper towel and pat dry. Place the seeds in a bowl and toss with oil or melted butter. Spread evenly on a large cookie sheet or roasting pan. Place pan in a preheated oven and roast the seeds for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir about every 10 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Cool the seeds, then shell and eat or pack in air-tight containers or zip closure bags and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Popcorn Balls

1/4 C. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering hands
1 ten oz. bag miniature marshmallows
1/4 C. light-brown sugar, firmly packed
3 qt. popped popcorn
1 C. M&Ms (optional)

Melt butter in a large heavy pot over low heat. Add marshmallows and brown sugar, and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Pour popcorn and M&Ms into pot; toss well. With buttered hands, shape into 2 1/2-inch balls. Set on parchment-lined baking sheet to dry slightly.

Yield: about 12

Spooky Cup Cake Delight

2/3 C. butter, softened
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 C. all purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. milk

12 oz. whipped topping, thawed
1/4 C. confectectors' sugar
red decorator gel, or desired color

Gummy googly eyes
Halloween sprinkles
Colored sugar


In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating after each addition. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake in 350-degree oven for 25 minutes. Let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all three ingredients and mix well. Cut the center chunk out of each cupcake and set aside. Fill cavity in cupcake with a large dollop of frosting. In the front of the cavity, stand a gummy eyeball. Decorate with halloween sprinkles and colored sugar. Cover leftovers loosely and refrigerate.

More Like This:
Halloween Crispy Marshmallow Ghosts
Halloween Rocky Road Brownies
Halloween Worms

Preparation Time
10 minutes

Cooking Time
25 minutes

Heaven and Hell Cake with Chocolate Garnache

This is a fantastically elaborate cake that everyone is sure to love! So sticky sweet and delicious and perfect for a Halloween theme party like "Angels and Devils."

Angel Food Cake:

2/3 C. cake flour
1 C. powdered sugar
1 C. egg white (about seven or eight)
Pinch salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar
2/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Devils Food Cake:
1/2 C. cocoa powder
1 C. strong coffee
1/2 C. shortening
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 C. cake flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Peanut Butter Mousse:
12 oz. cream cheese
1 3/4 C. powdered sugar
2 C. peanut butter, at room temperature
3/4 C. heavy cream

Ganache (Frosting):
2 lb. milk chocolate, chopped
2 C. cream

Angel Food Cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut a circle of parchment paper or wax paper to fit the bottom of a 9" cake pan. Do not grease the pan or paper. Sift together the flour and powdered sugar and set aside. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer. Beat slowly while adding the salt and cream of tartar and continue beating for 1 minute or until soft peaks form. Increase speed to medium, add sugar into whites by Tbs. until all is incorporated, then beat about 1-1/2 minutes longer. When egg whites have stiff peaks, add vanilla and almond extract.

Remove bowl from mixer and sprinkle half of the powdered sugar-flour mixture and fold in again, using a minimum number of strokes so the egg whites do not deflate. Gently spoon the mixture into the pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown. Do not over bake or the cake will sink in the center.

Devil's Food Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil and flour a round 9" cake pan. Sift the cocoa powder into the mixing bowl, then drizzle in the coffee while whisking to make a smooth paste. Set aside. (Might be more liquid than paste.)

Combine shortening, sugar, vanilla, and eggs and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Alternately add the cocoa-coffee mixture and the flour mixture to the sugar-egg mixture and continue beating until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Test for doneness.

Peanut Butter Mousse: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese until light and creamy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar, then the peanut butter. If mixture looks lumpy, add 2 Tbs. of heavy cream. Continue beating until thoroughly incorporated and fluffy. Transfer mixture to another bowl and set aside. Place heavy cream in the electric mixer bowl and whip until stiff. Carefully, but thoroughly, combine both mixtures. Set aside.

Ganache (Frosting):
In a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil and stir in the chocolate. Remove from heat, cover pan and let the chocolate melt. Whisk to combine thoroughly then let cool to room temperature.

When both cakes have cooled, carefully slice them in half horizontally with a long, serrated knife so that you now have four layers. Place one layer of the devil's food cake on a cake plate and spoon 1/3 of the peanut butter mousse on the top. Place a layer of the angel food on top of the mousse and spread with another 1/3 of the peanut butter. Continue layering until you have four layers of cake and three layers of mousse. Whisk the ganache and spread with a spatula over the top and sides to frost generously. Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. Serve chilled; slice with a warm, wet knife.

Tip: Slice thinly! It's rich!

Haloween-Spider Cake

When this cake is cut into, it spurts green goop, just like a real spider when stepped on.

1 pkg. yellow cake mix (plus ingredients required)
1 pkg. green Jell-O
1 container chocolate frosting (or black if you can find it)
8 black licorice sticks
2 big green gumdrops
6 little gumdrops

Prepare cake mix according to box instructions. Bake it up in 2 metal bowls, 1 bigger than the other. Meanwhile, prepare green Jell-O according to box instructions. Once unmolded, cut the bigger one (the "body") in half, horizontally. Carefully, scoop out an adequate cavity in each half and fill with well-whipped set green Jell-O. Reattach the halves. Frost black, arrange on serving platter. Use licorice stix as legs. Use 2 BIG green gumdrops and 6 little ones as eyes.

Halloween-Grave Diggers Cake

1 4 oz. box instant chocolate pudding
2 C. milk
6 oz. whipped topping, thawed
1 box cake mix, any flavor

Gummy skeletons
Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies
Candy corn
Jelly pumpkins
Ghosts, spiders and bats Peeps


In medium bowl, blend pudding mix, milk, and whipped topping for 2 minutes. Let chill. Make cake according to package directions. Cool for 2 hours. Frost and decorate as desired, using ingredients as suggestions.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Budget-Hamburger Cabbage Casserole

This versatile dish can be cooked in the crockpot or the oven for maximum flexibility!

2 lb. ground turkey
2 medium onion chopped
1 C. uncooked instant rice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 10 oz. cans tomato soup
1 C. water
6-8 C. shredded cabbage
1 large bell pepper
1 C. celery chopped
3 garlic cloves crushed

Cook meat and onion over medium heat 8-10 minutes until it is brown, then drain and stir in remaining ingredients. Put in Crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hours. You can also spoon into ungreased 22 qt. casserole dishes. Cover, then bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Budget-Hamburger Pie

This is always a favorite at my dinner table. This is especially good for children.

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 10 oz. can condensed tomato soup
1 15 oz. can cut green beans
4-6 servings of mashed potatoes
1 C. shredded cheese (Colby, cheddar, American, etc.)


Cook ground beef and onion until beef is browned and onion is tender. Drain off fat. Combine soup and green beans with cooked meat. Heat on medium/low for 10 minutes. Pour beef mixture into very large pie pan. Top with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees until cheese is melted.

Budget- Four Layer Hamburger And Marcoroni Casserole

Frozen macaroni and cheese, ground beef and taco seasoning mix make a surprise-filled casserole enhanced with sour cream, crushed tortilla chips and shredded cheddar cheese. Each layer packs lots of zesty flavor.

2 12 oz. pkg. Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese, defrosted, divided
8 oz. lean ground beef
2 Tbs. Ortega Taco Seasoning Mix
2 Tbs. sour cream
1/2 C. diced tomato
1/3 C. crushed potato or tortilla chips
1/2 C. 2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine beef and seasoning mix in large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until beef is no longer pink. Combine one package macaroni and cheese and sour cream in medium bowl; spread over bottom of 8-inch-square baking dish. Top with beef mixture. Spread remaining package macaroni and cheese over beef mixture; top with tomato, potato chips and cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly around edges.

Budget Meal-Hamburger Rice Casserole

Special Budget Recipe
I make this hamburger rice casserole recipe on a cold wintry night; the kids love it!

1 lb. hamburger meat, cooked and drained ($3.29)
1 C. rice, uncooked ($0.70)
1 10 oz. can cream of mushroom soup ($1.00)
1 medium onion, chopped ($1.39)
6 Tbs. soy sauce ($0.72)
2 Tbs. brown sugar*
4 C. boiling water*
Salt and pepper to taste*


Brown hamburger meat and chopped onion until hamburger is no longer pink and set aside. Pour boiling water over uncooked rice in a 2-3 qt. casserole dish. Add in cream of mushroom soup; stir until it is dissolved into water and rice. Next add soy sauce and brown sugar. Finally, add hamburger meat and onion and mix well. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Halloween Fun Popcorn Crunch

Take a break from the candy bars for this fabulously different snack.

8 C. popcorn
1/2 C. salted pumpkin seeds
1/2 C. dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 C. banana chips, broken into pieces
1 1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. corn syrup
1/4 C. water
1/4 C. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

In large buttered bowl, combine first 4 ingredients; set aside. In medium saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and water; bring to a boil. Cook, covered 3 minutes. Uncover and cook, without stirring, until mixture reaches a hard, ball stage, 4-5 minutes. Add butter and vanilla; cook, stirring 1 minute. Pour over popcorn mixture; toss quickly to coat. Turn mixture out onto greased baking sheet and spread using buttered hands. Cool and break into pieces.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

GroundBeef Stroganoff with Noodles

A hearty meal for a hungry family.

1/2 C. minced onion (optional)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can (8 oz.) mushroom pieces with 1/2 of liquid reserved
1 lb. ground beef
2 Tbs. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tall can evaporated milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 (8 oz.) packages uncooked wide egg noodles
4 C. sour cream
1 C. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. chopped chive
1 tsp. salt (optional)
1/4 tsp. pepper (optional)
2 large cloves of garlic crushed, or equivalent dried garlic
4 Tbs. margarine or butter

Cook onion and meat until browned. Add flour, salt, pepper, mushrooms, and reserved liquid. Cook 5 minutes. Add soup and simmer 10 minutes. Add evaporated milk and heat, stirring, until heated through. Serve over plain Noodles Romanoff. Cook egg noodles as directed on package. Drain. Mix sour cream, half of Parmesan cheese, chives, salt, pepper, and garlic together in bowl and set aside. Stir margarine into noodles. Stir in sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Serve from pan or platter.

Beef Storganoff Casserole

This savory beef dish has been a family favorite for many years…and with good reason!

1 lb. Ground beef
1 can Cream of mushroom soup; condensed
8 oz. Sour cream
1 can (small) black olives; sliced
1 can (small) mushroom stems and pieces
12 oz. Egg noodles

Cook egg noodles according to directions and set aside. Cook ground beef until it is no longer pink. Drain off grease. Add soup, sour cream, olives, mushrooms, and noodles and cook until heated through.

ThymeBeef Stroganoff

This easy, crockpot beef is creamy and flavorful.

2 lb. beef round steak, trimmed fat
1/2 lb. fresh white mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch scallions, choped
1 medium onion, sliced
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
3/4 C. dry sherry
3/4 C. homemade or canned beef broth
3/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp garlic pepper
1 1/2 C. sour cream
1/2 C. quick-mixing flour, such as Wondra

Cut the beef into thin slices across the grain. Place in your electric slow cooker. Add the mushrooms, scallions, onion, thyme, sherry, broth, dry mustard, and garlic pepper. Mix well. Cover and cook on the low heat setting about 8 hrs, or until the beef is tender, stirring once, if possible. Increase the heat setting to high. Mix together the sour cream and flour until thoroughly blended. Stir a little of the hot liquid from the slow cooker into the sour cream mixture; then stir the sour cream mixture into the slow cooker, mixing well. Cover and cook on high 30 to 40 mins, or until thickened slightly

Friday, October 10, 2008

Florentine Ravioli

1 20-ounce package frozen cheese ravioli or tortellini (4 cups)
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 16-ounce bag frozen chopped or whole-leaf spinach
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; cook ravioli (or tortellini) according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add salt, crushed red pepper to taste, spinach and water. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach has thawed, wilted and heated through, 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Divide among 4 bowls, top with the pasta and drizzle 1 teaspoon of the remaining oil over each portion. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmesan.


Fettuccinne with Shitake Mushroom and Basil

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (1 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
8 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine or spaghetti
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, divided

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil for cooking pasta.

2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

3. Meanwhile, cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 9 to 11 minutes or according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

4. Add the pasta, the reserved cooking liquid, Parmesan and 1/4 cup basil to the mushrooms in the skillet; toss to coat well. Serve immediately, garnished with remaining basil.


Athenian Pasta Primavera

2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 medium zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound whole-wheat penne
1 1/2 cups baby peas (if frozen, rinse under warm water and drain)
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (4 ounces)
1 pack of penne noodles

1. Put a large pot of water on to boil.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Add bell pepper and zucchini to the onion. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just beginning to soften, 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, 1 minute more. Stir in wine and pepper; simmer until most of the wine has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, cook penne in the boiling water according to the package directions, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot.

5. Stir the reserved cooking liquid and the vegetables into the pasta along with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, peas, mint and feta.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

White Chicken Chilli

This dish uses hot pepper sauce made from jalapeƱos; it's milder than the red hot pepper varieties. Stirring frequently toward the end of cooking time prevents the bean-thickened broth from sticking to the bottom and scorching.

2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 C. chopped onion, about 1 large
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 C. fat-free, less-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
5 tsp. green hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/4 lb. ground chicken or turkey
2 Tbs. stone-ground cornmeal
1 19 oz. can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained


Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic to pan; cook 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth, hot pepper sauce, salt, and chicken/turkey to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes. Add cornmeal and beans to broth mixture, stirring with a whisk; simmer 15 minutes. Mash about 1/4 cup beans against side of pan; simmer 5 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring frequently.

Spicy Chicken Chilli

Easy delicious chili with only a few ingredients.

1 48-oz. jar Great Northern Beans
1 16-oz. jar salsa (mild, medium, or hot depending on taste)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1 8-oz. pkg. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 8-oz. pkg. jalapeƱo cheese, cubed
1 C. water


Add all ingredients to a large pot, heat over low heat until cheeses melt. Stir in water for desired consistency (no more than 1 cup); heat until warmed through.

Chipotle Steak Chilli

1 1/2 lbs. beef shoulder top boneless blade steaks or flat iron steaks (I use top sirloin)
1 Tbs. canola oil
2 C. chopped onions
1 C. chopped green sweet peppers
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 15 oz. cans kidney beans or pinto beans or black beans, rinsed and drained (I mixed kidney and pintos)
1-2 tsp. chopped chipotle chilies in adobo
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 C. water
4 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. dried basil, crushed
12 tsp. black pepper
shredded cheddar cheese optional
sour cream optional
chopped onions or scallions optional
avocados, slices optional


Cut beef into 34 cubes. In a 4 quart Dutch oven, brown meat, half at a time, in 1 Tbs. hot cooking oil. Remove meat, reserving drippings in pan. Cook onion, sweet pepper and garlic in drippings until tender drain fat. Return meat to Dutch oven. Stir in chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce. Stir in beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, chili powder, basil and black pepper. Bring to boiling reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 1 hour or until the meat is tender.

Cincinnati Chilli

2 lb. ground beef cooked, seasoned with onions and garlic to taste
2 (15 oz.) cans tomatoes or tomato sauce (I use tomatoes)
5 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. red pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
up to 4 Tbs. chili powder (to taste)
1/2 oz. bitter chocolate
2 Tbs. vinegar
1 bay leaf
5 pieces of cloves
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
optional: kidney beans

Throw it all in the crock pot and cook all day. Easy!

Crockpot Chunky Pork And Sausage Chilli

This hearty southwestern stew is chunky with pork, sausage, and beans.

1 lb. boneless pork country-style ribs, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 lb. fully cooked smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 C. chopped onion
1 C. chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 C. beer (room temperature), or water
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in 4-qt. slow cooker; mix gently. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8-10 hours until pork is tender.

Tips: Serve from the slow cooker directly over hot cooked rice, with cornbread or with corn tortillas, and accompany with celery and carrot sticks. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Crockpot Stuff Apples

A great way to use up apples in the fall after a visit to the apple orchard, this recipe is yummy for dessert or a snack.

6 medium tart red apples
1 C. light brown sugar
1/4 C. golden seedless raisins
1/4 C. soft butter
2 C. very hot water
3 Tbs. orange juice, concentrate

Wash, core and stem the apples, but don't peel them. Stand them in a buttered mold and stuff them with 2/3 C. of the brown sugar, and the raisins. Fill the tops of the core cavities with butter and sprinkle the remaining sugar over the tops. Place the mold in the slow cooker and pour the hot water into the cooker (not in the mold). Sprinkle the orange juice concentrate over the apples. Cover and cook on low for 3-5 hours, or until the apples are tender.

Fruity Chicken Salad

This is a yummy and healthy salad.

3 C. chopped cooked chicken breast
3/4 C. chopped celery
l/3 C. seedless red grapes, halved
l 20-oz. can pineapple chunks in juice, drained
l/4 C. chopped pecans
l/2 C. reduced-fat mayonnaise type salad dressing
l/4 tsp. salt
lettuce leaves (optional)
freshly ground pepper (optional)

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, tossing well. Add salad dressing and salt, stirring gently until well-blended. Cover and chill. If desired, serve on lettuce-lined plates and sprinkle with pepper.

Sweet and Chunky Chicken Salad

A sweet, but healthy chicken salad. The sweet secret is dried cranberries. Awesome on homemade bread or on crackers simply spread cream cheese on the bread or crackers, and top with chicken salad.

1 10 oz. can chunk chicken, drained
2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1/8 C. chopped dill pickle
1/8 C. chopped onion
2 Tbs. sunflower seeds
1/4 C. dried cranberries

Without breaking up large chicken pieces, empty canned chicken into medium bowl. Stir in mayonnaise, pickle, onion, sunflower seeds, and cranberries; mix until well blended and very large chicken chunks are broken up.