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Lately I've been thinking about ways I can help the people of our new community and get to know them better. One way is by taking meals to those who are housebound. This is especially important at the holidays when many are feeling lonely or can't get around because of bad roads. I like to have several easy Christmas recipes and easy dessert recipes to choose from. Earlier this week, I went to Walmart for a few ingredients to put together a casserole and dessert---something perfect to bring to someone who is shut in. You can see photos and read about my shop in my Google+ album.
I wanted to come up with things that are easy to make with items I usually already have on hand and things that could be made using our holiday leftovers. My Chicken Ranch Casserole would be just as good with leftover turkey and stuffing from a holiday dinner. Kraft makes it easy with their high quality products. I know I can whip up something delicious, and trust that it will taste good, when I use ingredients like Stove Top Stuffing, Kraft Ranch Dressing, and Kraft Shredded Cheese.
Chicken Ranch Casserole
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tb. oil
1 c. ranch dressing
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 box stuffing mix
ingredients to prepare stuffing according to package directions
Dice chicken into bite-sized pieces and cook in oil until done. Place chicken in a bowl and stir in ranch dressing until coated, pour into a 13x9 pan. Cook stuffing according to package directions. Sprinkle cheese over chicken and evenly top with stuffing. Bake at 350º for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
When I'm taking someone a meal, I always like to include a dessert and beverage. Our family really enjoys having sparkling cider or juice with our holiday desserts and Welch's Holiday Sparkling beverages are perfect to pair with a Christmas recipe. They come in several flavors---we like Red Grape the best. We always serve the kids their "fancy" drinks in these little vintage ice cream dishes that I picked up at a thrift store a few years ago. My husband and I drink ours from our wedding goblets. It's the only time we use them!
When I was picking out the ingredients for my Peanut Butter Brownies with Chocolate Ganache, I knew Kraft would have the great-tasting items I'd need to make them delicious! I like to use Cool Whip and Baker's Baking Chocolate for a super easy ganache and I prefer Cool Whip over store brands, as I feel like it retains its thick, whipped texture longer than other brands. As for the peanut butter, Planters has been a favorite family brand for years. I chose creamy, since it's my favorite---even though my kids prefer crunchy. Hey, I'm the one making these, right?!
Peanut Butter Brownies with Chocolate Ganache
1 1/2 c. peanut butter, divided
1/2 c. water
1 boxed yellow or white cake mix
4 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 c. whipped topping
2 Tb. peanut butter, optional
Heat oven to 350º and grease a 13x9 pan. Mix 1 c. peanut butter, water, and egg in a bowl until smooth. Add in cake mix and mix well. Spread into pan. Bake 20 minutes or until light golden brown and puffed up a bit. Cool completely. When brownies are cool, melt chocolate and whipped topping, stirring until smooth. Cook one minute; then, if desired, add 2 Tb. peanut butter. Either way, cook one additional minute and then pour onto brownies. Let cool completely. Ganache will thicken as it cools.
I'm glad I took the time to make these two easy recipes as I know they're ones that will really bless someone who is needing a meal. I love getting on the list for meal gifting whenever someone has a new baby or has just come home from the hospital. With my large family, it can be hard sometimes to find ways to bless people outside my home, without taking too much time away from my responsibilities here. Making a meal for a shut in can be a blessing for both the homemaker and the one receiving it!
How do you like to bless others from your kitchen? Here are some more ideas from Kraft. Let me know if you try any of them out!
Sunday Showcase Party@Under the Table and Dreaming
Craft Schooling Sunday @ Creative Jewish Mom
Sundae Scoop @ I heart nap time
The Creative Homemaker Hop
Seasonal Sundays @ The Tablescaper
One More Time
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Motivate Me Monday
Modest Monday @ The Modest Mom
Living Proverbs 31
Make the Scene Monday @ Alderberry Hill
Inspire Me Monday @ Create With Joy
Masterpiece Monday @ BoogieBoard Cottage
A Round Tuit @ Creating My Way to Success
Monday Funday @ C.R.A.F.T.
Making Your Home Sing Monday
A Return to Loveliness @ A Delightsome Life
Teach Me Tuesday @ Growing Home
Tutorial Tuesdays with Hope Studios
Women Helping Women @ Teaching What Is Good
(Titus 2)s Days @ Time Warp Wife
The Scoop @Stone Gable
Make Bake Create @ Hope In Every Season
Tasty Treats @Simply Helping Him
Winsome Wednesday @ My Daily Walk in His Grace
Whole-Hearted Home Wednesdays
Encourage One Another @ Deep Roots at Home
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Homemaking Link Up @ Raising Homemakers
Home @ Rose Chintz Cottage
Inspire Me Wednesday @ MamaBuzz
What's It Wednesday @ Ivy and Elephants
Wednesday Link up at Adorned from Above
Home Link Up at Raising Arrows