Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I promise...

I am not just being a slacker. We switched internet providers and since we use a router on our computer downstairs, we are having issues getting it working! (Of course that is where all of my recipes are). So blog is on hold for a bit until I nag my hubby enough that he FIXES IT!!! lol

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I have a 2 year old who just split his little lip open and I have managed to calm him down and assess him enough to know he won't get stitches since it is all lip... so I am keeping this short and sweet since he is getting my extra time today for cuddles and comfort so... if you love Red Lobsters biscuits, you will love the recipe for Garlic Cheese Biscuits - so yummy and SO FAST YOU WON'T BELIEVE HOW GOOD THEY ARE! The rest speak for themselves.

Chicken Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

2 containers (6 oz each) Yoplait Greek fat free honey vanilla yogurt
½ c. milk
3 T. fresh lemon juice
2 t. poppy seed
1 t. salt
1 t. grated lemon peel

2 c. uncooked penne or rotini pasta
2 c. diced cooked chicken
2 c. baby spinach leaves
1 c. red seedless grapes, halved
½ c. thinly sliced celery
½ c. slivered almonds, toasted
In small bowl, mix dressing ingredients using wire whisk until well blended. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Rinse with cold water; drain.In large bowl, mix cooked pasta, chicken, spinach, grapes and celery. Stir dressing; pour over salad and toss gently to coat. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Stir in almonds, reserving 2 tablespoons for garnish, if desired.
Makes 6 servings (1 1/3 cups each)

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

2 c. Bisquick mix
2/3 c. milk
½ c. grated cheddar cheese
¼ c. butter, melted
¼ t. garlic powder

Heat oven to 450. Mix bisquick, milk and cheese in med bowl until soft dough forms. Beat vigorously 30 seconds. Drop dough by HEAPING spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 min, or until golden brown. Mix butter and garlic powder in small bowl and brush over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet. Serve warm. Makes 10-12 biscuits.

Easy Meatballs

1 (12 oz) bottle chili sauce
1 (16 oz) can jellied cranberry sauce
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. brown sugar
1 (24 oz) bag precooked, seasoned Italian frozen meatballs
Cooked rice, noodles or potatoes

Heat oven to 300. Mix chili sauce, cranberry sauce, lemon juice and brown sugar in small bowl. Pour sauce over frozen meatballs in baking pan and bake, uncovered 1 ½ hours. Serve with rice, noodles or potatoes. Serves 4-6


½ c. vegetable oil, or as needed
8 corn tortillas
4 c. shredded lettuce
1 ½ c. grated queso fresco or cheddar cheese
¾ c. sour cream
1 lrg tomato, diced
2 avacados, pitted, peeled and diced
2 c. refried beans, warmed
2 c. cooked shredded chicken, warmed

Line baking sheet with paper towels. In lrg skillet, heat oil until shimmery and hot. Fry tortillas one at a time until firm, 1 minute per side. Transfer to baking sheet and cook 5 minutes.
Place toppings in separate serving bowls. Spread beans on each tortilla and sprinkle chicken over the top. Appx. 6 servings

Cabbage Roll Casserole

1 lb ground beef
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 med onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1-2 c. cooked rice (Brown or white)
2 cans/jars (14 oz) tomato sauce, or 1 of sauce and 1 of diced tomatoes
1 sm (5.5 oz) can tomato paste
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
1 T. raw honey
½ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
Dash of chili or cayenne pepper
8 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage (1/2 – 2/3 of large cabbage)

Fry ground beef with bit of oil, onions and garlic. Mix in rice. Mix in egg.
In bowl, combine tomato sauce and paste. Stir in vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and chili or cayenne. In lrg casserole dish, layer cabbage, meat mixture then drizzle with sauce. Repeat all layers a second time. End with extra layer of cabbage and sauce over the top. Cover and bake at 350 for an hour. (you can sprinkle some cheddar on the top if you like for the last 5 min). Serve with sour cream.

Chicken with Creamy Dijon Herb Sauce

½ c. chicken broth
6 T, Dijon Mustard
1/3 c. cream cheese, softened
1 T. minced herbs (parsley, basil or chives)
1 T. oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 t. minced garlic

Mix broth, mustard, cream cheese and herbs until well blended and set aside. Saute chicken in oil until browned on both sides (appx 15 minutes). Stir in mustard sauce and garlic. Simmer over med heat 3-5 minutes until sauce thickens slightly. Can also bake this recipe. (To make your chicken cook a little faster when sautéing and stretch a little farther, I always pound my chicken out with a meat mallet first).

Wicked Good Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cups

1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (heaped) semisweet chocolate chips
Whipped cream for topping
Chocolate jimmies for sprinkling
1. Into a medium saucepan, sift together the cornstarch, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder. Slowly whisk in the half-and-half, until the mixture is combined and smooth. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, until smooth.
2. Cook the pudding over medium heat, whisking continuously, until the pudding starts to thicken and large bubbles form and plop, like slowly bubbling hot lava, on the surface of the pudding. Reduce the heat to low, and continue cooking, stirring continuously for 1 minute. Check the consistency of the pudding by running your finger across the back of the stirring spoon; if it leaves a trail that does not immediately fill in, it is thick enough.
3. Remove from the heat and stir the vanilla, peanut butter, and chocolate chips into the hot pudding until thoroughly melted and combined.
4. Place eight 4-ounce custard cups or ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the pudding into the cups, using a damp paper towel to clean up any drips. Cover the custard cups with plastic wrap. Alternatively, pour the pudding into a large bowl and cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the pudding until very cold, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
5. To serve, top the chocolate–peanut butter cups with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of chocolate jimmies (also called chocolate vermicelli). If refrigerated in the larger bowl, you can scoop it into small dessert dishes and top with whipped cream and chocolate jimmies.
-For even more fun, make little chocolate bowls out of balloons. You can find the tutorial here:

Monday, May 9, 2011


Ok, so I am doing away with the whole "This Weeks Menu" part of the posts because lately I have been just cooking whichever of the 5 recipes I feel like that day (or have the time for) and that works a lot better for me. Still 5 recipes, just in no particular order!

We had a wonderful Mothers day dinner that was cooked by my husband and brother-in-laws for all the Moms and wives and I was IMPRESSED! I told them they shouldn't have done such a good job because now we are going to ask them to cook for Sunday dinner more often!

My BIL Adam made Chicken Cordon Bleu and a Snickers salad which were WONDERFUL. My hubby Dave contributed the mashed potatoes and the yummy Brownie Trifle. We also had roasted Asparagus which is always a hit in our home. I have included the recipes for the Snickers Salad and the Brownie Trifle.

I am also throwing in a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala. Dave and I ate at a wonderful Indian restaurant called "India Palace" on Friday night and I ordered my favorite - Chicken Tikka Masala. I told Dave that "I really have to try to make this" and so this week includes a untested recipe for just that. If you have one that you end up liking better, please send it!

Cheeseburger Meatloaf and Sauce – Paula Deen

1 t. seasoned salt
1 c. crushed Ritz
½ c. sour cream
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 med bell pepper, chopped
1 med onion, chopped
1 t. Paula Deen’s House Seasoning
1 1lb ground beef
2 slices white bread

Preheat oven 350. Mix all ingredients except bread well. Shape into loaf. Place on 1 ½ quart loaf pan lined with bread slices. Bake loaf for 45 min. The bread absorbs the grease and should be discarded after loaf is removed from oven.

1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 c. milk
1 ½ c. grated cheddar cheese
Chopped onions, to taste (optional)
1 bunch parsley (optional)

Heat soup and milk over med heat; add cheese. You can add chopped onions and parsley to sauce. Pour over meat loaf or pass at table. (4 servings)

Chop Suey

Tastes best if made the day before so the flavors can blend.
2 lbs round steak or stew meat, cut into small pieces
1 -2 T. oil
4 c. water
2 onions, chopped
4 cups diced or sliced celery
5 T. soy sauce
¼ c. molasses
2 beef bouillon cubes or 2 t. beef bouillon granules
2 (14 oz) cans chop suey vegetables
1 (14 oz) can bean sprouts
1 (4 oz) can mushrooms (optional)
3 -4 T. cornstarch
½ c. water
6 c. cooked rice
Chow mein noodles

Brown meat in oil. Add 4 c. water and simmer 20 min on med heat. Add onions, celery and soy and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, until meat is tender. Add molasses, bouillon, vegetables, sprouts, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Mix cornstarch in ½ c. water. Add to chop suey and continue to cook until thickened. Serve over rice and top with chow mein noodles. Have soy sauce on table. Serves 8-10

Sues Pizza Casserole

3 c penne
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1 large can of tomato sauce
1 large pepperoni stick
1 lb mozzarella cheese, grated
6 fresh mushrooms
1 can pizza sauce

Cook pasta as directed. Brown beef, onion and pepper. Mix all the ingredients together.

Put in casserole dish and bake at 350 F for 1 hour.

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 c yogurt, plain
1 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh
4 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces.
1 Tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped and seeded
2 tsp paprika
1- 8oz. can(s) tomato sauce
1 c heavy cream
1/4 c chopped cilantro
salt to taste
1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 tsp cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger and salt. Stir in chicken pieces, cover and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thread marinated chicken onto skewers and discard marinade. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. (Chicken will finish off on the stovetop.)
3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 tsp cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add chicken and simmer for another 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

ground beef, 1lb
½ c. brown or white rice, uncooked
tomato sauce, 15oz can
diced tomatoes, 15oz can
1 package pre-diced green peppers, onions and celery
1 15oz can low-sodium chicken broth
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Add water as desired

Cook rice separately in saucepan or rice cooker. Brown ground beef. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth and water (if desired). Add the pepper, onion and celery. Add the spices and cook approximately 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, add the rice and cook 2-3 more minutes. Makes approximately 10 1-cup servings.

Snickers Salad

3 Granny Smith apples – chopped into bite size pieces
2 red apples – chopped into bite size pieces
1 pint yogurt (vanilla or raspberry)
6 snickers bars – chopped
1 pint whipping cream

Combine yogurt and cream. Fold in apples and snickers reserving some of the snickers to sprinkle on the top.

Brownie Trifle

1 (19.8 oz) pkg brownie mix
1 (3.5 oz) pkg instant chocolate mousse
8 (1.4 oz) Heath bars, crushed (or the bag of Heath bits)
1 (12 oz) carton Cool Whip, thawed

Prepare brownie mix and bake according to package in 9x13 inch pan. Cool and crumble (I like to cut mine into small chunks). Prepare chocolate mousse according to pkg directions, but do not chill.

Place half of brownie bites in 3 qt. trifle dish or large glass bowl. Top with half of mousse, half of Heath bits, and half of cool whip. Repeat layers ending with cool whip. Garnish with chocolate curls if desired. Chill 8 hrs (for best results. I have chilled for only a couple hours and it is still super yummy!). Serves 16-18

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Night Dessert

Retro or not - my family (especially my father-in-law) loves a good Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. This is my favorite recipe.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

½ c. melted butter
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
1 (20 oz) can sliced pineapple
1 jar, maraschino cherries
1 pkg supreme pineapple cake mix (Duncan Hines – if you can’t find this you can use yellow)
1 (5 oz) pkg instant vanilla pudding
1 c. pineapple juice (juice from can w/ water added to make 1 cup)
½ c. vegetable oil
4 lrg eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Pour butter into 9x13 pan and sprinkle brown sugar on top. Place pineapple slices and cherries. Combine other ingredients and mix on slow speed for 30 seconds then beat on med for 2 minutes. Pour batter into pan being careful not to disturb pattern. Bake for 45-55 min. Cool for 5 minutes then run a knife around edges and turn onto serving platter (I use a baking sheet).

Friday, April 29, 2011

WEEK 15 MENU - +++

So, I have some extra delicious recipes to make up for my lack of recipes in the last couple weeks! Instead of a weekly menu, I am posting a few that would work wonderfully as a yummy Mothers Day dinner (hand them to your hubby!); Herb Chicken with Honey Butter Recipe, Beef Burgundy or Pear Chicken Salad. For a side, try the Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale or Curried Creamed Onions. And how about a dessert of Almond Pear Cream Cheese Torte or Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes? Ok, now I am officially hungry...

Enjoy a couple other recipes from some friends of mine and Happy Mothers Day!

Pan-Seared Cheddar BBQ Pork Chops – From Susan Campbell
serve with mashed potatoes or oven fries and steamed green vegetables.

4 bonless pork loin chops
Salt and Pepper
2 tsp (10mL) butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup (125mL) barbecue sauce
1/4 cup (50 mL) water
2 oz (60 g) Canadian Cheddar, Swiss or Havarti cheese, cut into thin slices (I use the deli cheese slices and split in half)

1. Preheat broiler
2. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large ovenproof skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Brown pork chops, turning once, for about 1 min per side; transfer to a plate. Add garlic and onion to pan and saute for about 2 min or until starting to brown. Add barbecue sauce and water and bring to a boil, scraping up bits stuck to pan.
3. Return pork chops to pan and turn to coat in sauce; reduce heat and simmer for 3 to 5 mins or until just a hint of pink remains in pork. Place cheese slices evenly on top of each pork chop. Broil for about 2 min or until cheese is bubbling.
Tip: Use pork chops that are about 3/4 inch (2 cm) think and be sure not to overcook them for the best taste and texture.

Beef Taco Casserole – From Bri Smith

1lb - ground beef
1 - can of tomato soup
1 - cup of Chunky Salsa ( I used extra chunky)
1/2 - cup of milk
1/2 - cup of UNCOOKED white rice
1/2 - cup of shredded cheddar
tortilla chips

Brown the beef and drain the fat
Stir in soup, salsa, milk and rice into skillet
Spoon mixture into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish and COVER
Bake at 400F for 25 min
Sprinkle with cheese
This recipe says to break up tortilla chips and arrange around the side when it's done, but my kids liked to dunk them instead. It was filling and taste amazing. Plus fun for kids.

Herb Chicken with Honey Butter Recipe

1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
Place egg in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and seasonings. Dip chicken in egg, then coat with bread crumb mixture.
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken in butter for 4-5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170°. Meanwhile, combine butter and honey. Serve with chicken. Yield: 4 servings.

Speedy Minestrone

2 cans (14.5 oz) beef broth
1 pkg (24 oz) frozen vegetable and pasta medley in garlic sauce
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into ½ inch slices
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
¼ c. chopped onion
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried parsley flakes
Shredded parmesan cheese

In lrg saucepan, combine the first seven ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with Parm. Yields 6 servings.

Beef Burgundy

1 ½ lbs beef stew meat cut into 1 inch cubes
½ lb whole fresh mushrooms, halved
4 med carrots, chopped
1 can (10 ¾ oz) condensed golden mushroom soup, undiluted
1 lrg onion, cut into thin wedges
½ cup Burgundy wine or beef broth
¼ c. quick cooking tapioca
½ t. salt
¼ t. dried thyme
¼ t. pepper
Hot cooked egg noodles

In 5 qt. slow cooker, combine first 10 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 5 ½ to 6 ½ hours or until meat is tender. Serve over noodles. Yield 6 servings.

Pear Chicken Salad

6 c. spring mix salad greens
1 med ripe pear, sliced
1 ½ c. cooked chicken strips
¼ c. crumbled feta cheese
¼ c. dried cranberries
¼ chopped walnuts OR pecans

¼ c. olive oil
2 T. orange juice
2 T. white wine vinegar
1 ½ t. sugar
½ t. grated orange peel
1/8 t. salt
Dash pepper

On four salad plates, arrange the greens, pear, chicken, feta cheese, cranberries and nuts. In a sm bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients; drizzle over salads. Serve immediately.

Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered (about 14 mushrooms)
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and slice into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup white wine or chicken stock or apple juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale (1/2 pound), rinsed, stemmed, and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan

Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, green beans, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking until the green beans are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and the kale and continue cooking until the kale has wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and the Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Curried Creamed Onions
Serves 4 to 6

Kosher salt
2 lbs. white pearl onions, unpeeled
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour (called for 3 tbsp but it turned out a little too thick for my taste)
1 tsp curry powder
1 cup half-and-half (traditionally it’s cream)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
a dash of Tabasco sauce
freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add onions. Cook until just tender, about 15 minutes. Reserve ¾ cup of liquid and place onions in a bowl. Peel the onions with a knife and set aside. This will take a little time. Don’t make any plans for a while.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and curry, stirring constantly, until golden and thick, about a minute. Whisk slowly the half-and-half, the reserved liquid and mustard then bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, a dash of Tabasco sauce, a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the onions soften, stirring occasionally, about 10 more minutes. Transfer immediately to a platter or bowl for serving.

Almond Pear Cream Cheese Torte
Makes: 12 servings

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
1 cup flour
1 pkg. (250g) brick cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups sliced peeled pears (about 4 medium pears – I only used 3)
1/4 cup sliced almonds

1.Preheat oven to 425°F. Beat butter and 1/3 cup of the sugar in small bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add flour; mix well. Spread firmly onto bottom and 1 in. up side of 9-in. springform pan.
2.Beat cream cheese and 1/3 cup of the remaining sugar in same bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Spread evenly over crust. Combine remaining 1/3 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Add to pears in large bowl; toss to coat. Arrange over cream cheese layer; sprinkle with almonds.
3.Bake 10 min. Reduce temperature to 375°F; continue baking 25 min. or until centre is set. Cool on wire rack. Loosen torte from rim of pan. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours before serving. Store leftover torte in refrigerator.

Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes

1 Box yellow cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups water
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

I box (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding
1 1/4 cups milk
Approx 4 oz cool whip

Whisk together box of pudding and milk until thickened and smooth. Add in cool whip until well combined.

Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 bags (16 oz total) of milk chocolate chips

Heat cream in small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles start to appear around the edges. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Place ganache in refrigerator until thick enough to frost cupcakes.

Once cupcakes are fully cooled place the filling mixture into a pastry bag with a Bismarck (or any long, thin tip). Insert tip into middle of cupcake and squeeze out filling, backing out tip as you go. Once cupcakes are filled, use a spoon or knife to frost with the ganache.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Ok, so I know this weeks recipe are MIA and I have been slacking on the blog but for GOOD REASON - the stomach flu has hit our home with a vengeance and we are doing the rounds. Dealing with sick kiddos has just cut my free time, but I promise I will make up for it soon! I just haven't been doing as much cooking as of late!

But, we did have a yummy Easter dinner featuring these two favorites of mine:

Mom’s Cheese and Carrot Casserole

12 med carrots, sliced
Butter or margarine ( I always use butter )
1 sm onion, chopped
¼ c. flour
2 c. milk
1 t. salt
¼ t. dried mustard
¼ t. celery salt
Dash pepper
1 c. fresh bread crumbs (I use a few pieces of white bread torn up)
1 8oz pkg American cheese slices (appx 8)

Just cover carrots in water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and turn down heat to med-low and cook for 10-20 minutes until tender-crisp; drain.
In another saucepan over low heat, melt ¼ butter and add onion. Saute 5 min until tender. Stir in four until smooth. Stir in milk and next 4 ingredients. Cook; stirring constantly, until thickened. Preheat oven to 350.
In sm saucepan over med heat, melt 3 t. butter. Add bread crumbs and toss to coat.
Lightly grease 2 qt. casserole dish. Spread ½ of carrots, then ½ of cheese and repeat. Pour sauce over all and sprinkle top with bread crumbs. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes until bubbly.

Cherry Delight

Graham cracker crust:
1/3 c. melted butter
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
½ c. brown sugar
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1 c. icing (or powdered) sugar
¾ container of cool whip
Can of pie filling (strawberry, cherry, etc.)
Spread graham cracker crust in bottom of 9x13 pan and pat down. Beat cream cheese and icing sugar together. Beat in cool whip. Spread mixture over crust and spread pie filling over top (I like cherry). Chill for a few hours.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I totally dropped to ball on the last two recipes for spring break so I promise a couple extras during this week!

This week features a double duty dinner - Cook the meat one night and reserve half for the next dish the second night with Crispy Pork Chops that turn into Pork Lettuce Wraps night #2 (I LOVE MEALS LIKE THAT!). There is also my go-to recipe for Feta Chicken bake that is SUPER easy, and low-fat! As well as my mothers comfort food at its best - Little Pieces of Meat and Potatoes.

I am also including a recipe for a Caramel Cake from Paula Dean that is super yummy. Be sure to read the notes I added at the end because this cake CAN be tricky! There are definitely a few tweaks needed to make it smooth sailing.

This Weeks Menu

Monday - Crispy Pork Chops & Rice
Tuesday - Pork Lettuce Wraps with Warm Peanut Sauce
Wednesday - Easy Feta Chicken Bake w/ Creamy Cauliflower
Thursday - Mom's Little Pieces of Meat and Potatoes
Friday - Chicken with Leek Sauce and salad

BONUS - Bobby's Caramel Cake

Crispy Pork Chops (Leftovers for Pork Lettuce Wraps the next night)

2 pkgs Shake n’ Bake Original Pork Seasoned Coating Mix
2 T. sesame seeds
1 t. ground ginger
8 boneless pork loin chops

Preheat oven to 400. Combine coating mix, sesame seeds and ginger. Coat chops with coating mixture, place in baking dish. Bake 20 – 25 min. or until cooked through.

Serve chops with cooked rice and cashews and veggies. Refrigerate remaining pork chops to serve tomorrow.

Pork Lettuce Wraps with Warm Peanut Sauce

¼ c. each miracle whip dressing and peanut butter
2 T. each water, honey and soy sauce
1 t. ground ginger
4 reserved pork chops
12 lrg. lettuce leaves
¾ c. grated carrot
¼ c. chopped green onions

Cook dressing, pb, water, honey, soy sauce and ginger in sm saucepan on med heat until heated through. Pour into sm bowl and place in center of lrg platter. Slice reserved pork chops and arrange lettuce, carrot, onions and sliced chops around sauce on platter. Roll your own wrap and serve with dipping sauce.

Easy Feta Chicken Bake

6 Boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 T. lemon juice, divided
¼ t. salt
¼ t. black pepper
1 pkg Athenos crumbled Feta Cheese with tomato and basil (or any feta)
¼ c. chopped red pepper
¼ finely chopped fresh parsley

Oven to 350. Arrange chicken in 9x13 pan and drizzle with 1 T. of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Top with feta cheese and drizzle with remaining lemon juice. Bake 35 – 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with red pepper and parsley. (220 calories per serving)

Creamy Cauliflower

1 med. Head of cauliflower (2lbs) cut into florets
3 T. light cream cheese spread
½ t. dill weed
3 T. grated parm

Cook cauliflower in boiling water 10 min or until tender; drain and place in food processor add cream cheese and dill weed; cover and process until smooth. Top with parm cheese.

Chicken with Leek Sauce

½ c. flour
1/8 t. paprika
1/8 t. pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 T. vegetable oil
3 T. leek soup mix
1 c. water
½ c. sour cream
1 ½ t. minced chives

In lrg resealable plastic bag, combine flour, paprika and pepper. Add chicken, two pieces at a time and shake to coat. Using a skillet, cook chicken in oil over med heat for 6-7 min on each side until juice run clear. Meanwhile, in sm saucepan, bring soup mix and water to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and chives and serve over chicken.

Mom’s Little Pieces of Meat and Potatoes

1 lb ground beef
Beef bouillon
Montreal Steak Seasoning or other steak seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste

Peas (prepared)
Mashed Potatoes (prepared)

Brown ground beef in large saucepan and season with steak seasoning. Add enough water to pot to just cover meat. Add beef bouillon (1 cube for every cup of water you added and maybe 1 or two extra). Simmer for an hour over low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste (you want it to be a LITTLE bit salty). When finished, add a little cold water to a few tablespoons of flour to make a thickener. Slowly stir or whisk into meat mixture to thicken (like a gravy). Serve over mashed potatoes and add peas to the top.

Bobby's Caramel Cake - Paula Deen

For the cake:
1-cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
3 cups sifted self-rising flour
1-cup milk
1-teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling:
1-cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4-cup milk
1-teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:
1/2-cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3-cup heavy cream, or more if needed
1 (16-ounce) box confectioners’ sugar
1-teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans. Using electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add granulated sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4-inches above counter dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

For the filling:

While cake is baking, in a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Remove cake layers from oven and allow cake to remain in pans as you prepare to stack and fill. Remove first layer and invert onto cake plate. Pierce cake layer with a toothpick over entire surface. Spread 1/3 of filling mixture on cake layer. Top with second layer, repeat process. Top with last layer and repeat process again.

* Cook’s Note: As I stack layers together, I stick them with toothpicks to prevent cake from shifting.

For the frosting:

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer until it reaches a spreading consistency. At this time it may be necessary to add a tablespoon of heavy cream, or more, if frosting gets too thick. Just be sure to add cream is small amounts because you can always “add to”, but you can’t take away. Frost cake and sprinkle top with chopped nuts, if desired.

*NOTES - Really whisk the filling while cooking - this turned out a bit grainy and so be sure to stir and whisk the entire cooking time and hopefully that helps!

*Make sure the frosting is a bit on the runny side because it cools VERY quickly and will set on your cake before you are done frosting it. My first attempt was SUPER ugly because of this so I will definitely make sure it is a lot runnier the second time I make it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dying to Try These!

chicken hand pies or chicken pasties

1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2 large carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 14 ounce (400mL) can low sodium chicken stock
1 bouillon cube (I actually prefer Better than Bouillon–just use a tablespoon)
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
pastry dough (recipe follows)
1 egg, plus a teaspoon of water, beaten

1. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until potatoes are tender to the point of a knife. Drain and set aside. While the potatoes cook, set a large skillet over medium low heat and add in the olive oil, onion, celery, and carrots. Cook until onions are very tender, about 12-15 minutes.

2. Melt butter into the mixture and stir in flour. Let cook for 2 minutes or so, just to let the flour taste cook out. Pour in about half of the can of chicken stock. Add the bouillon and potatoes. Let simmer a few minutes and taste for flavor. Add salt and pepper if needed. Add in chicken and simmer until cooked through. The mixture should be thick, but not too dry. Add more chicken stock until you achieve the desired consistency (I used the whole can). Store mixture in refrigerator until ready to use (the pies are easier to make if the filling is cold).

3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (220 degrees celsius). Place a piece of parchment paper in a baking sheet and set aside. Roll out the pastry dough on a floured board into an 18×22 inch rectangle (don’t measure! just guess). Cut in half, and then cut each half in thirds, to make 6 equal smaller rectangles.

4. Spoon 1/4 cup (about 4 tablespoons) of the chicken mixture onto one of the rectangles of dough, placing it slightly off center. Wet the edges of the dough with a pastry brush and water, and fold the longer end of the pastry up and over the filling. Press the dough down to seal it, and then crimp with the edges of a fork. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Make two incisions in the top of the pastry with a sharp knife, and brush with the beaten egg and water. Repeat with remaining 5 pastries. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and puffed.

pastry dough

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 stick (112g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup ice cold water

1. In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add in the butter, and pulse a few times until the mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse meal. Combine the egg and water in a container (remove all ice pieces). While the processor is running, pour the water/egg mixture in and pulse until mixture just comes together.

2. Pour mixture out onto a floured board and knead a few times to bring all the ingredients together. Dough can be rolled out immediately, or it can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I did not name these.

Better-Than-Crack Brownies

1 batch brownies (boxed mix or oooey gooey brownies)
1/2 cup salted peanuts (if don’t have salted, add sea salt)
1 cup chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups
1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies Cereal

Mix brownies according to directions, and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Remove and top with peanuts and peanut butter cups, and bake for 4-6 minutes more.

While they are finishing baking, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Stir in cereal. Remove brownies from oven and evenly pour chocolate mixture over top.

Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Well, my kids are out for Spring Break this week and wouldn't you know my husband is spending the whole week in Texas on business! Because of this, I have decided that this week I AM NOT COOKING. Let's face it, he eats most of the food I cook and the kids aren't super impressed with food - they just want to get meal time over with so they can get back to playing (and the baby is eating my arm as we speak). Instead, I have decided to post a recipe a day for Spring Break. One's that I either have been wanting to try, or absolutely love. So here you go!

Creamy Chicken Florentine Recipe

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup halved red pepper strips
1 pkg. (6 oz.) baby spinach leaves
1 tub (10 oz.) Philadelphia® Savory Garlic Cooking Creme (you could substitute cream cheese and some minced garlic for this one - I would throw in the garlic a few minutes before your chicken is done cooking)
2 cups hot cooked penne pasta
2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts

Cook chicken and peppers in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 5 to 6 min. or until chicken is done. Add spinach; cook and stir 2 to 3 min. or until wilted. Drain all but 1 Tbsp. liquid.
Add cooking creme; cook and stir 3 min.
Stir in pasta; top with nuts. Yield: 4 servings, 1-1/4 cups each.

Variation: Substitute uncooked deveined peeled medium shrimp for the chicken; cook and stir 2 to 3 min. or until shrimp turn pink. Continue as directed.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


My internet, and blogger are not getting along. OK, my internet is just awful and probably won't be any better until we move this summer. Sorry the recipes are so late - don't ever use Qwest for your internet service!

This weeks bonus recipe features a heavenly dessert not for the faint of heart: Over-The-Top Blueberry Bread Pudding. A tip I learned from a wonderful cooking class I took - use day old croissants instead of bread for an even buttery, yummy texture to your bread puddings. Mmmmmm. As for the ritz/pb/marshmallow combo - I know it sounds weird, but just trust me and try it.

This Weeks Menu

Monday - Roasted Pepper Chicken Penne and Ritz Peanut Butter Gooeys for a family night treat!
Tuesday - Broiled Pork Chops with Mango Sauce & Green Beans
Wednesday - Chicken Caesar Salad
Thursday - Sausage and Bean Soup & breadsticks
Friday - Garlic Roast Beef Sandwiches

*BONUS - Over-The-Top Blueberry Bread Pudding

Roasted Pepper Chicken Penne Recipe

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
1 medium onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 cup julienned roasted sweet red peppers
1 cup chicken broth
3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag; add vinegar. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil for 1 minute. Drain and discard vinegar. Add chicken to skillet; cook for 4-5 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
Stir in the tomatoes, red peppers, broth, Italian seasoning and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 4-5 minutes or until heated through. Drain pasta; toss with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 8 servings.

Broiled Pork Chops with Mango Sauce

3 med mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
¼ c. chicken broth
2 T. apricot preserves
½ t. ground coriander
4 boneless butterflied pork chops (8 oz each)
2 t. lemon-pepper seasonings

In blender, combine the mangoes and broth; cover and process until smooth. In sm saucepan, combine the mango puree, preserves and coriander. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, sprinkle chops with lemon-pepper. Broil chops 3-4 inches from heat for 5-6 minutes on each side until meat juices run clear. Serve with mango sauce. (4 servings)

Chicken Caesar Salad

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb or so)
½ c. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. minced garlic
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
¼ t. ground mustard
1/8 t. pepper
¼ c. olive oil
8 cups hearts of roman lettuce
2 hard cooked eggs sliced
1 c. Caesar salad croutons

Broil chicken on greased broiler 6 inches from heat for 7-10 minutes on each side or until juices run clear (or grill). Cut into strips and set aside. In blender, combine ¼ c. parmesan cheese, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire, mustard and pepper. Cover and process until blended. While processing, gradually add oil in stead stream. Place lettuce in large boil, add parm cheese mixture; toss to coat. Top with chicken, eggs, croutons and remaining parm. (4 servings)

Sausage and Bean Soup

2 bacon strips, diced
½ c. chopped onion
1 c. thinly sliced halved fresh carrots
1 c. cubed peeled potatoes
3 c. water
8 oz. smoked Polish sausage, halved and thinly sliced
2 c. frozen cut green beans, thawed
1 can (15 oz) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
½ c. fresh, minced parsley
¾ t. salt
½ t. pepper
½ t. minced fresh marjoram or 1/8 t. dried marjoram

In lrg saucepan, cook bacon over med heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels and drain. Saute onion in drippings until tender. Stir in carrots and potatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add water; bring to boil, reduce heat; cover and simmer for 9-12 minutes or until veggies are tender. Stir in sausage, green beans, kidney beans, parsley, salt, pepper and marjoram; heat through. Sprinkle with reserved bacon. (5 servings)

Garlic Roast Beef Sandwiches

1 loaf (10 oz) frozen garlic bread
½ lb sliced fresh mushrooms
2/3 c. sliced onion
1 t. minced ginger
4 t. butter
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 lb shaved deli roast beef
6 slices Colby Cheese

Bake bread according to directions. In lrg skillet, sauté mushrooms, onion and garlic in butter until veggies are tender. Stir in Worcestershire sauce.
Layer each half of garlic bread with roast beef, mushroom mixture and cheese. Return to oven; bake 1-2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Slice and serve immediately (6 servings)

Over-The-Top Blueberry Bread Pudding

3 eggs
4 c. heavy whipping cream
2 c. sugar
3 t. vanilla extract
2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
1 pck Hershey's white chips
1 loaf frech bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (or day old croissants torn up)

1 pck. white chips
1 c. heavy whipping cream

- In a lrg bowl, combine eggs, cream, sugar and vanilla. Stir in blueberries and baking chips.
Stir in bread cubes; let stand 15 min or until bread is softened

- Transfer to a greased 13x9 baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 50-60 min or until knife
inserted near ceneter comes out clean. Let stand for 5 min before serving

- For sauce, place ships in sm bowl. In sm saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over baking
chips; whisk until smooth. Serve with bread pudding

Yield 12 servings

Ritz Peanut Butter Gooeys

Ritz crackers
Peanut butter
Large marshmallows

Spread cracker with some pb then put marshmallow on top and heat under broiler until marshmallow is browned and gooey.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I am starting to get low on recipes I have actually tried (ok, there are still a lot left but I would have to go through all of my magazines to find them all and that would also require REMEMBERING which ones I have tried) SO SEND ME YOUR BEST!

This week features a couple favorites. Salt & Vinegar potato chip fish - I haven't actually tried this one yet but clipped it from the paper because it looked easy and delicious. I love fish and I LOVE salt and vinegar chips! One I have tried, and enjoyed many, many times because it was one my Mum made quite frequently is the Paprika Pork Stew (or pork & noodles as she used to call it). This is comfort food for me at it's best and I love the leftovers for lunch the next day.

The third is the Chicken Chili Sandwiches. This one was a hit with my hubby and my sister-in-law Jenny loves them as well.

Happy Eating!

This Weeks Menu

Monday - Salt and Vinegar Potato Chip Fish with mashed yams
Tuesday - Savory Chicken Tacos
Wednesday - Paprika Pork Stew and Peas
Thursday - Chicken Chili Sandwiches
Friday - Coney Dogs and fresh veggies

*BONUS - Cookie Fruit Salad

Salt -and-Vinegar Potato Chip Fish
*Note - use thick, kettle-cooked chips for best results

4 cod fillets or other white fish
½ t. kosher salt
4 t. mayo
1 c. coarsely crushed kettle-cooked salt and vinegar chips

Preheat oven to 400. Arrange fish on small parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Smear mayo over top of each fillet. Cover completely with crushed chips, patting gently. Bake 12-15 min, depending on thickness of fish, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serves 4

Savory Chicken Tacos

1 rotisserie chicken, deboned and shredded (or just a lb of shredded cooked chicken)
1 ½ c. white or brown rice, cooked (the bag of frozen, steamable rice in the 12oz. pkg is really quick for this)
1 c. shredded Quesadilla cheese (or your favorite Mexican blend)
1 can diced, salsa style fire roasted tomatoes (I know this comes in a Kroger brand – you could probably just used diced with good results)
½ t. salt
1 c. frozen sweet corn
1 (16 0z) jar green enchilada sauce (substitute red if you can’t find green)
1 pkg hard taco shells
Avacado & sour cream

Preheat oven to 450 and pam spray 9x13 inch baking dish. Mix all ingredients except taco shells and spread into baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling. Let stand 5 minutes. Spoon into taco shells, top with avocado and sour cream and enjoy!

Mom’s Paprika Pork Stew
Appx. 6 servings

3 T. oil
2 med onions, chopped
1 minced clove garlic
3 lbs pork cubes (cut into 1 inch chunks – can use pork tenderloin, pork chops, etc.)
1 c. sour cream
2 t. salt
1 t. paprika
2 T. flour
1 pkg spinach noodles or egg noodles (I use these) cooked

In dutch oven over med high heat, cook onions and garlic in oil until golden (sometimes I just throw them in at the same time as the mean with good result). Push to side & add pork and cook until browned. In bowl (a drink pitcher can be handy for this) combine sour cream, salt, paprika & 1 c. water. Pour over meat and heat to simmering. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 ½ hrs.
In a measuring cup, blend flour with ¼ c. water till smooth. Gradually stir into hot mixture. Cook over med heat stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Serve over noodles.
*Note – I often double the sauce on this recipe (not the meat part) with good results to make it stretch further. Just be sure to add a little more onion and garlic to the meat mixture when you start.

Chili Chicken Sandwiches

1 pkg cream cheese, softened
2 c. cooked, cubed chicken
1 ½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
3 T. chopped green onions
1 t. ground cumin
¼ t. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ t. chili powder
4 hard rolls
2 T. minced fresh cilantro

In sm bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Stir in chicken, cheese, chilies, onions and seasonings. Cut top fourth off rolls; carefully hollow out bottoms leaving ¼ inch shells (discard removed bread or save for another use). Fill bottom portions with chicken mixture; replace the tops.
Place on baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 5-7 min or until golden brown. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Coney Dogs

1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
8 hot dogs
8 hot dog buns, split

Shredded cheddar cheese, relish and chopped onion, optional toppings
In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce, onion and spices.
Place hot dogs in a 3-qt. slow cooker; top with beef mixture. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through. Serve on buns with cheese, relish and onion if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

Cookie Fruit Salad

1 pint buttermilk (2 small cartons)
1 lrg thawed coolwhip (16 oz)
2 oz. instant vanilla pudding
1 pkg fudge striped cookies
Grapes, strawberries, mandarin oranges, bananas

Stir buttermilk, coolwhip & vanilla pudding and add fruit. Crust cookies (into bigger bits) and add just before you serve. Put a few whole cookies on the top for garnish.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


UG! Massive internet issues this week. Sorry this is so late... let's just get to it!

This Weeks Menu

Monday - Heary Sausage Skillet, Orage Dream Pie for a family night treat
Tuesday - Mom's Cream of Carrot Soup and breadsticks
Wednesday - Crock Pot Creamy Southwestern Chicken
Thursday - Mandarin Chicken
Friday - Thin Crust Cheese Pizza

*BONUS* - Fried Pickle Spears

Hearty Sausage Skillet

½ lb smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, sliced
1 can (14 ½ oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 c. water
1 t. Italian seasoning
1 pkg. (12 oz.) Velveeta Shells and Cheese Dinner
2 c. broccoli florets

Brown sausage in lrg skillet on med-high heat for 5 min; drain. Stir in tomatoes, water and Italian seasoning. Bring to boil. Add Shells. Reduce heat to med-low; cover. Simmer 7 min, stirring twice. Add broccoli, cook an additional 5 min or until tender. Stir in cheese sauce until well blended. (serves 4)

Moms Cream of Carrot Soup

¼ c. melted butter
1 med onion chopped
1 chopped garlic clove
3 c. (6 med) sliced carrots
1 diced potato
1 can chicken broth
1 soup can of water
¾ t. salt
½ t. dried tarragon leaves
¼ t. pepper
1 c. milk

In lrg saucepan, sauté onion & garlic in butter 5 for 5 minutes. Add carrots & potatoes; stir to coat w/ butter. Add broth, water, salt, tarragon & pepper. Simmer, covered over med heat 15 mins until veggies are soft. Puree soup in batches in blender until smooth. Pour back into saucepan & stir in milk. Heat and Serve.

Crock pot Creamy Southwestern Chicken Nachos

1 small bag frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 large frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 16-oz jar medium salsa (Medium salsa is a must, mild isn’t flavorful enough)
1 8 oz package of cream cheese
tortilla chips
Any other additional toppings you desire such as chopped cilantro, diced avocado, diced green onion, sliced olives, etc.

Pour bag of frozen corn in bottom of crock pot. (Can corn can be used in place of the frozen. Just drain it and put the chicken in first followed by the corn)
Place frozen chicken breasts on top of corn and cover with rinsed and drained black beans and jar of medium salsa.
Cook on high for 1 hour, and then on low for 4 hours.
Shred chicken with forks and mix in cream cheese until melted and creamy.
Serve with tortilla chips and add toppings to individual servings.

Mandarin Chicken

¼ c. soy sauce
¼ c. honey
¼ c. lemon juice
½ c. ketchup
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2-3 c. cooked rice
Preheat oven to 350. In sm bowl, mix soy sauce, honey, lemon juice and ketchup. Place chicken in 8 inch square pan. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover and marinate 24 hrs in fridge. Bake, covered, 45 min and additional 10-15 min uncovered. Serve w/ rice. May also be grilled med heat 20-25 min.

Thin Crust Cheese Pizza

Yield: 2 13-inch pizzas

For the crust:
3 cups (16½ oz.) bread flour
2 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. instant yeast
1 1/3 cups ice water
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1½ tsp. salt

For the sauce:
1 (28 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
¼ tsp. ground black pepper

For topping:
Olive oil, for brushing
½ cup (1 oz.) finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded whole-milk mozzarella

To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a food processor* fitted with the metal blade. Pulse just to combine. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube and process just until the dough is combined and all dry ingredients are incorporated, about 10 seconds.
Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Add the oil and salt to the dough. Process until the dough forms a smooth, tacky ball that clears the sides of the bowl, about 30-60 seconds. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead briefly on a lightly oiled work surface, about 1 minute. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days. (After the period of refrigeration, the dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen for later use.)

To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl or container and refrigerate until ready to use.

One hour before baking the pizza, adjust an oven rack to the second highest position and place a baking stone on the rack to preheat. Preheat the oven to 500° F. Remove the pizza dough from the refrigerator and divide in half. (If you plan to freeze a portion of the dough, this is the time to wrap in plastic, place in a freezer bag and freeze for later use.) Form each half into a ball and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Spray the dough balls lightly with cookies spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
To assemble the pizza, transfer a dough ball to a well floured work surface. Flatten into an 8-inch disk, leaving a slightly thicker edge around the rim. Using your hands, gently stretch the dough to a 12-inch circle. (I needed to use the rolling pin a bit to get my crust thin enough.) Transfer the dough to a well floured pizza peel and stretch to a 13-inch circle. Lightly brush the thicker edge of the disk with olive oil. Spread ½ cup of the pizza sauce over the dough. Sprinkle evenly with the grated Parmesan and the shredded mozzarella. Carefully transfer the pizza to the preheated baking stone. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and slightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

*This dough can also be made in a stand mixer or by hand. Keep in mind, the idea is to avoid warming the dough, so a food processor or mixer is optimal.

Orange Dream Pie

1 graham cracker crust
2/3 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) orange gelatine
1 package (8 oz) Cream Cheese
1 tub (8 oz) Whipped Topping
Heat water to boiling. Pour into a bowl. Add gelatin mix. Stir 2 minutes. until completely dissolved. Cool for 5 minutes. Pour into blender. (You must use a blender. A mixer will cause mixture to splatter. Place softened cream cheese in blender, and blend well. Pour into large bowl. Slowly add whipped topping. Stir together well. Pour into pie crust. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Texas Fried Pickle Spears
-Adapted From Homesick Texan

24 oz. (680g) (weight includes liquid) baby dill whole pickles, quartered lengthwise into spears
1 cup flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 egg
½ cup buttermilk, well shaken
2 cups panko breadcrumbs (I used Dutch paneermeel)
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp dried dill weed

Place the flour, salt and pepper in a large zip-lock bag, seal and shake to combine. Throw the pickle spears in, re-seal and shake to coat well. Set aside.
Whisk the egg and buttermilk together in a bowl. Set aside.
Combine the breadcrumbs, cayenne and dill in a wide shallow dish. Set aside.
Dip the floured pickle spears in the egg mixture and then in the breadcrumbs, coating well. (I use a fork so the mixture doesn’t stick to my fingers. Keep a small bowl nearby to scrape the fork off now and then.) Set the coated pickles on a large tray or cutting board.
Heat about ½” of vegetable oil up to 350°F (180°C) in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Fry the pickles in about 4 batches until golden brown on both sides. Make sure the oil heats back up to the proper temperature between batches. Drain on paper towels or paper bags.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


This week holds a fun dinner for my family - Our St. Patrick's Day Dinner. My grandmother Alice was born in Ireland and so we can't let the day go by without a little celebration of our Irish roots! This year we will eat the traditional corned beef and cabbage and I am going to try my hand at Irish soda bread. I will also make our traditional rainbow cake except that this year, I will add (chocolate) coins at the end of it. I just use a mix to make it easy and skittles for the 'rainbow'. My kids love it. Wouldn't you know those sneaky leperchauns also manage to play a few tricks on us while I cook dinner. They turn our food green and leave little green treats by everyones plate. What a fun evening!

This week also features one of my favorites - Chicken Pillows and Baked Ziti. I am also including a recipe for Portobello Fajitas from my sister. They are low-fat and healthy. Save them for a day when the weather is good and you can use your outdoor grill (or you can just broil them on a broiling rack in your oven). I am also including a childhood favorite - GORPS. My mom used to make these all the time when we were kids. They are a healthier, filling snack that are so easy to whip up and my kids LOVE them.

And I will leave you with an Irish saying: "May you get all your wishes but one, So you always have something to strive for."

This Weeks Menu

Monday - Chicken Pillows w/ Green Beans
Tuesday - Marinated, Grilled Portobello Mushroom Fajitas
Wednesday - Baked Ziti & Garlic Bread
Thursday - Corned Beef & Cabbage and Irish Soda Bread
Friday - Chicken & Rice Casserole


Chicken Pillows

*ADDED NOTE* there are different variations of this recipe. My favorite version mixes a few tablespoons of butter with the cream cheese and then some fresh or dried chives that have been minced, mix in chicken (which I chop small). Put this mixture into the crescent rolls, and pinch the dough around them to cover. I then mix the sage with plain bread crumbs, dip the roll into melted butter and then roll into bread crumb/sage mixture to coat. I don't usually use a sauce but will serve it on the side for those who like it. :) I don't know exact measurements which is why I include the recipe below. Try both and see which you like better.

3 pkg pillsbury crescent rolls
4 chicken breasts
1 cube margarine
1 pkg cream cheese
1 tsp sage
1 can cream of chicken soup

Cook chicken. Cut up chicken. Mix margarine, cream cheese, sage and chicken together. Flatten out crescent and put spoonful of chicken mixture into crescent. Fold crescent. Bake at 350˚for 10-12 mins or until golden brown. Take out of oven. Pour a spoonful or two of soup over each crescent then serve.

Marinated, Grilled Portabello Mushroom Fajitas – From “Eat, Shrink & Be Merry”

1/2 c light balsamic vinaigrette dressing
2T steak spice rub (Montreal steak seasoning is what it is called in Canada)
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t dried oregano
4 large Portobello mushrooms (about 6 inch in diameter)
1T olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 T lime juice
1T fresh cilantro
8 - 6" whole wheat flour tortillas
Fajita Fixin's: light sour cream, salsa, chopped lettuce, cheese, guacamole, etc

To make marinade, combine dressing, steak rub, cumin, chili poweder and oregano in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush marinade over both sides of mushrooms. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat grill to high setting. Spray grill rack with cooking spray or brush lightly with oil. Grill mushrooms for about 3 mins per side, until tender with nice grill marks. Remove from heat. Cut each mushroom into 6 slices. Cover with foil and keep warm. (I use the broiler function in my oven for this in the winter)
Heat olive oil in large , non stick wok or skillet over medium high heat. Add onion slices and peppers. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender crisp, about 5 mins. Add lime juice, cilantro and reserved mushrooms. Stir gently and cook just until mushrooms are hot.
To serve, layer your favourite fajita fixin's on warm tortilla followed by cooked vegetables. Wrap up and enjoy!

Baked Ziti

1lb. dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1lb. ground beef
2 (26oz) jars spaghetti sauce
6oz. provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2C. sour cream
6oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
2T grated parmesan cheese

Cook ziti pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes, drain. In large skillet, brown onion and beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 and butter 9x13 pan. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated parmesan cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until cheeses are melted.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet
10 small red potatoes
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges

Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender. Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes. Place vegetables in a bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven or large pot) as you want. Slice meat across the grain. Serve with mustard or horse radish.

Chicken & Rice Casserole

3-4 chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 16 oz sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, or similar crackers
2 TBSP butter melted

Cook the chicken and cut into cubes. Mix cream of chicken soup, sour cream, chicken,
salt, and pepper together and spread in 9x13 pan. Crush the Ritz crackers and sprinkle crushed crackers over the top of the casserole. Spread the butter over top of crackers. Bake 350 for 30-40 minutes or until itʼs bubbling on the sides and itʼs heated through in the middle. While the casserole is baking, cook the rice separately. Serve the rice with casserole on top.

Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

GORPS - Good ol’ fashioned raisins and peanuts

1 c. corn syrup
½ c. peanut butter
¾ c. milk powder
1 c. oats
½ c. raisins
¼ c. wheat germ
½ c. chocolate chips (we like ours without)

Mix peanut butter and corn syrup. Add milk powder, wheat germ, then oats and raisins (and chocolate chips). Roll into balls (it helps if you keep your hands slightly damp with water so that the mix doesn’t stick – I keep a wet paper towel nearby to do this) and refrigerate until firm. Store in fridge in tightly closed container for up to a week.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cooking Tip

This week is all about advance prep. Spend a little time on Monday chopping all your onions and other veggies that will keep and bake and chop up all your chicken at once. Your meals will come together SO fast yet taste like you spent all day cooking!


*UPDATE* tweaked the Chicken Coconut Curry Soup recipe quite a bit. It was much too salty and spicy and didn't have enough sweetness. Make sure you copy the REVISED version!

This week features a couple recipes that some friends of mine swear by, a really easy chicken melt recipe that is super fast and even though it may sound weird - taste approved by my whole family (grandma, picky grandpa and kids included), a biscuit recipe that is a tried and true favorite of reader Rachel, and a peanut butter pie that is so decadent and Heavenly... I love all things peanut butter! Goood eating this week!

The "Weekley" Menu

Monday - Honey Lime Enchiladas w/ Peanut Butter Pie for a family night treat
Tuesday - Chicken Coconut Curry Soup and Sky-High Biscuits
Wednesday - Bowtie Pasta w/ Cream Cheese and Shrimp
Thursday - Mulligatawny
Friday - Chicken Melts & Fruit

*BONUS - Apple Streusel Muffins

Chicken Coconut Curry Soup

3 T. butter
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 onion, chopped
4 T. flour
5 potatoes; peeled, cooked and chopped
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup cooked chicken, small cubes
3 T. red or yellow curry powder, or mixture of both, or more to taste
2 t. salt, or more to taste
1T. garlic powder, or more to taste
2 t. pepper, or more to taste
6 T. sugar, or more to taste
2 cans coconut milk, found in the Asian aisle
2 cans chicken broth, or water and chicken base (about 4 cups)

In a saucepan heat butter, onions, and carrots and sauté until tender. Once cooked add in the flour. Stir around until the flour covers the cooked vegetables, this will cook out the flour flavor. Slowly stir in the chicken broth. Make sure to do this slowly so the flour doesn’t clump. Once the chicken broth is added bring it to a slight boil so the flour will thicken the mixture. Turn down the heat and add the rice, potatoes, chicken, coconut milk and seasonings. If the soup isn’t thick enough for your taste you can add a little more water/flour paste into the soup and return to a boil to thicken. Once thickened and seasoned to your liking, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

Mulligatawny (from Yvette)

4 T. butter (or 2 T. olive oil)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 apple, cored, peeled and chopped
1 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped
½ c. flour
2-3 t. curry powder
5 c. chicken broth
1 (14/5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
Salt and pepper
2 c. hot cooked rice

Melt butter, or heat oil in lrg pot over med heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, green pepper, apple and chicken and sauté for about 15 minutes. Turn heat to low.
In sm bowl, mix flour and curry powder. Add mixture to pot then stir and cook for 3-5 min. Add chicken broth and tomatoes. Partially cover pot and simmer soup for an hour, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice. Makes about 8 cups.

Bow Tie Pasta with cream cheese

3 C tomatoes, chopped
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed
3/4 C good olive oil
1/3 C fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 T red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 lb box bow tie pasta
1/2 C pine nuts, toasted

Mix 1st 8 ingredients. Refrigerate for 2 hrs. (I usually just mix this up in the morning-then
it's ready to go later). Boil pasta, toast pine nuts. Mix altogether (the heat from the pasta
will melt cream cheese). Yum!
*Can add grilled or sautéed shrimp.

Honey Lime Enchiladas (from Adrianne)

6 T Honey
5 T lime juice
1 T chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 can diced green chilis (drained)

1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded
8-10 flour tortillas
1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded (I use M. Jack cheese with jalapenos)
2-10 oz cans green enchilada sauce
1 cup heavy cream

Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let marinate in fridge for 1/2 hour or so. Pour one can enchilada sauce on bottom of 9x13 baking pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese for later. Mix the other can of enchilada sauce with heavy cream. Pour over top of rolled enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Chicken Melts

Cinnamon-raisin bread
2 T. jalapeno pepper jelly (or green pepper jelly if you can’t find Jalapeno-but use regular bread if you make this substitution)
Deli sliced smoked chicken breast or turkey breast
Havarti cheese (this is key!)

Spread two slices of bread with jelly. Layer with chicken and cheese; top with remaining bread. Butter outsides of sandwich and grill like a grill cheese sandwich (2-3 min on each side until cheese is melted).

Sky-High Biscuits by Vicki Layton Submitted by Rachel Bruner

3+ c. flour
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 c. margarine or butter
1 egg
1 c. milk

Combine first 5 ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add egg and milk, stirring quickly and briefly. If dough is sticky continue to add flour. Lightly kneed dough on floured surface. Roll or pat gently to 1 inch thickness. Cut into biscuits (a floured glass works well). Bake at 450° for 12 to 15 minutes.

Sometimes I substitute 1/2 of the flour with wheat flour, although I usually need to add a more flour so the dough isn't sticky.

Apple Streusel Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups chopped peeled tart apples

1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sour cream and butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
For topping, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle a rounded teaspoonful over each muffin.
Bake at 400° for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm. Yield: 16 muffins.

Peanut Butter Pie

1 chocolate cookie pie crust
1 c. creamy peanut butter
8 oz room temp cream cheese
12 oz container of non-dairy whipped topping (cool whip)
1 (11 oz) jar smuckers hot fudge
½ c. sugar

Beat together peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar. Fold in approx. 3 cups cool whip and put mixture into pie crust. Warm (not hot) fudge and pour over top (approx ¾ of jar). Refrigerate a couple of hours to set . If desired, garnish before serving by spreading remainder of whipped topping on top and create a criss cross rippled peanut butter and hot fudge pattern over the top. Or garnish with peanuts.

Friday, February 25, 2011


I have really been enjoying the positive feedback I have been getting from friends, family and followers so keep it coming (as well as those yummy recipes!). It makes it all worth while!

This weeks menu features a new favorite of mine: African peanut soup. I know it sounds weird but try it - I love a good soup and I love peanut butter AND I love to try different dishes from other cultures. Everyone in the family seemed to enjoy this one! If you have a special dish that has been handed down from a relative or something that you just love to cook that comes from somewhere other than good old North America, please send it to me along with the story behind it (if it has one) and I would love to feature it on this blog!

We also have Mexican Lasagna. Kind of like the tortilla casserole I included a few menus back but I like this one even more. It doesn't hurt that it is lower in fat and higher in fiber.

And enjoy TWO bonuses this week: homemade granola and Cookies and Cream COOKIES! YUMMMMM!!!

Our Menu

Monday - African peanut soup and homemade bread and butter w/ Cookies 'n' Cream Cookies for dessert!
Tuesday - Mexican Lasagna
Wednesday - BBQ Pork & Penne Skillet & salad
Thursday - Chicken Artichoke bake (& some fun jello - recipe later)
Friday - Breakfast for dinner! Best Buttermilk Pancakes, sausage and OJ

African Peanut Soup

2 T. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
2 large sweet potatoes, red or russet potatoes (I used 1 large sweet potato and 3 small red potatoes)
2-3 chicken breasts, cut into cubes (or use 2-3 c. of precooked chicken)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar (16oz.) salsa
6 c. chicken broth (or 6 c. water + 6 t. chicken base or bouillon)
1 can evaporated milk
2 T. brown sugar (optional--I liked a layer of sweetness to my soup)
1 t. chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. crunchy or smooth peanut butter ( I like smooth)
1/2 c. uncooked brown or white rice

Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Cook onions, chicken cubes, potatoes/sweet potatoes, and bell peppers until lightly browned and tender, stirring in garlic and ginger when almost done to prevent burning. (If using pre-cooked chicken, add the chicken at the end with the rice) Stir in canned tomatoes, salsa, stock, pepper, and chili powder. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Stir in rice, cover, and simmer another twenty minutes, or until rice is tender. Stir in peanut butter and milk and mix together until smooth. Serve with crushed peanuts on top (optional).

Chicken Artichoke Bake – good for company

2 cans condensed cream of celery soup
1 c. mayo
3 c. cubed, cooked chicken
1 can (14 oz) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
1 can (8oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 pkg (6oz) long grain and wild rice mix
1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 med onion, finely chopped
1 jar (2 oz) diced pimientos, drained
¼ t. pepper
1 cup seasoned stuffing cubes

In lrg bowl, combine soup and mayo. Stir in chicken, artichokes, water chestnuts, rice mix with contents of seasoning packet, mushrooms, onion, pimientos and pepper.
Spoon into greased 2 ½ qt baking dish. Sprinkle with stuffing cubes. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 55-65 min or until edges are bubbly and rice is tender.

Barbecue Pork and Penne Skillet

1 package (16 ounces) penne pasta
1 cup chopped sweet red pepper
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 carton (18 ounces) refrigerated fully cooked barbecued shredded pork
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained
1/2 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute red pepper and onion in butter and oil until tender. Add garlic; saute 1 minute longer. Stir in the pork, tomatoes, broth, cumin, pepper and salt; heat through. Drain pasta. Add pasta and cheese to pork mixture. Sprinkle with green onions. 8 servings.

Mexican Lasagna - only 340 calories per serving which isn’t bad for a complete meal, 5g fiber, 30g protein, 60% vitamin A, 20% vitamin C, 20% calcium, 20% iron

1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)
1 large carrot, shredded (about 1 cup)
One 16-ounce jar salsa
One 15 1/2-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
One 10-ounce bag or box frozen corn kernels, thawed (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Five 8-inch flour tortillas, cut in half (to up the fiber even more, use corn! I like the taste better with corn)
One 16-ounce container lowfat cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups pre-shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

Cook the meat and carrot in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up the large pieces, until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain excess fat.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Add the salsa, black beans, corn, chili powder, and cumin to the skillet and stir to combine.
To assemble the lasagna, arrange a third (about 2 cups) of the meat mixture in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish. Layer half the tortillas over the meat, allowing them to overlap. Spoon half of the cottage cheese and 1/2 cup of the Cheddar cheese over the tortillas and spread evenly.
Place 2 more cups of meat mixture over the cottage cheese. Layer with the remaining tortillas and cottage cheese. End with the meat mixture.
Top with the remaining Cheddar cheese and bake uncovered until the cheese melts and the lasagna is heated through, about 25 minutes.

Best Buttermilk Pancakes
Yield: Sixteen 4-inch pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
¼ cup sour cream
2 eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 to 2 teaspoon vegetable oil, for greasing the pan

1. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. In a second medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, eggs and melted butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients; gently stir until just combined (batter should remain lumpy with a few streaks of flour). Do not overmix. Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes before cooking.
2. Heat 1 teaspoon of the vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Using a paper towel, carefully wipe out oil, leaving a thin film of oil on the bottom of the pan. Using ¼ cup measure, portion batter into pan in 4 places. Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown, and bubbles on surface are just beginning to break, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve pancakes immediately. Repeat with remaining batter, using remaining oil as needed.
*Note 1: This recipe was formulated using lower-protein flour such as Pillsbury and Gold Medal. If you use flour with a little higher protein content like King Arthur, you will need to add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of buttermilk. I forgot about this at first, and when I mixed the batter I saw how thick it was. I added 1½ more tablespoons of buttermilk and the batter was perfect.
*Note 2: If you make these on an electric griddle, preheat it to 350 degrees F.

Granola Bars - Adapted from Ina Garten
Makes 12 to 16 granola bars

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed (I used unsweetened)
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 T. melted butter
2/3 cup honey
¼ c. brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cup dried fruit, or a mix of dried fruit (dates, chopped apricots, cranberries, raisins)

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter an 8×12-inch baking dish (lacking this, I used a 9×13-inch) and line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the fruit and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.
You can store these in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or two, as you would cookies, however, I prefer to store mine in the freezer. I find that they stay the most crisp this way as all granola tends to soften at room temperature after a day or more.

Cookies 'n' Cream Cookies - Makes 2 1/2 dozen
Adapted from Alton Brown

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chopped Oreos
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat (or the microwave, which I think is quicker). Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the cookies.
Chill the dough for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (or overnight if you want), then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
To make chocolate cookies: Use only 2 cups of flour and add 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Mix in a 1/2 cup chocolate chips along with the cookies.

Friday, February 18, 2011


This week seems to be about some comfort food. Not sure what that says, but it will be good eats! I am going to make homemade perogies - a labor of love. I have Ukrainian roots and these were a big part of my life growing up. I serve them with a link of Kielbasa that I cut up and saute. I wish I were home (in Canada), then I could buy some REAL Kielbasa from a polish butcher. So divine! We are also going to enjoy another favorite: Lemon bars. I searched high and low for a recipe that I liked. I am VERY picky about my lemon bars. Bakerella's recipe does it for me. I adore these. Send me some of your very favorites!

This Weeks Menu:

Monday - Creamy Pork Pot Pie & Lemon bars
Tuesday - Kansas City Sue's Chicken, vegetables and rolls
Wednesday - Fettucini Alfredo, peas & salad
Thursday - Perogies & Kielbasa
Friday - Creamy Taco Mac

BONUS - Congo bars

Creamy Taco Mac

1¼ lbs. ground turkey
8 oz. dry pasta shapes
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
4 tbsp. taco seasoning
3 oz. cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
Salt and pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup of pasta water. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet or sauté pan, cook the ground turkey over medium-high heat until no longer pink. A few minutes before the turkey is cooked through, add the chopped onion to the skillet. Once the turkey is cooked through, mix in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Mix in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit. Remove from the heat and top with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.

Fettuccini Alfredo

12 oz pck Fettuccini noodles
1 c. heavy whipping cream
½ stick butter
¼ t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/3 Grated parmesan cheese + more for topping

Prepare pasta, drain and return to pot. Over med-low heat, heat noodles, cream, butter, salt and pepper & parm. Toss well and serve with extra cheese.

Kansas City Sue’s Chicken {Slow Cooker}

(this note is from the author of the recipe - I wish I had noted where I got it from!) *Note: The chicken cooks up with quite a lot of juicy sauce. I prefer lightly draining the sauce and serving it on the side so that it isn’t so “soupy” as we are dishing it up over our rice. Serve it as you please! *Serves 6-ish

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup low-sodium beef broth

In a large skillet, heat the butter/olive oil. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and cook them for 1-2 minutes on each side, until nicely browned but not cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken to the slow cooker. In a large bowl, combine all the other ingredients. Whisk well. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. Serve with rice or noodles.

Creamy Pork Potpie

¼ c. butter, cubed
½ c. flour
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
¾ c. milk
2 ½ c. cooked, cubed pork
2 ½ c. frozen broccoli-cauliflower blend
1 ½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
½ t. seasoned salt
Dash Pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten

In lrg saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the pork, vegetables, cheese, seasoned salt and pepper. Heat through.
Transfer to greased 11x7 inch baking dish. On lightly flour surface, roll pastry into an 11x7 inch rectangle Place over pork mixture. Brush with egg.
Bake, uncovered, at 425 for 18-22 min or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 min before cutting.

Perogies – Makes 40

4 c. flour
1 c. warm water
2 T. vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 t. salt

Filling – mashed potatoes with cheddar cheese (make them as cheesy as you want), butter, salt and pepper to taste. Beat eggs and add to water & oil. Add flour & salt, knead until smooth and soft. Cover & let sit for 30 minutes, then roll out and cut into circles (I use a large glass). Put filling on one half and fold over and pinch sides of half-circle closed. Freeze on cookie sheet covered with wax paper individually. When frozen, put into bag and keep in freezer until ready to use!

To cook: boil in water with a little oil, wait until they float and then take out and serve! You may also want to melt some butter and sauté some chopped onion until caramelized, then add boiled perogies and brown a bit. Serve with the onions and sour cream.

Lemon Bars – Bakerella – One of my favorites!

Crust – 1 c. butter
1 ¾ c. flour
2/3 c. confectioners sugar

Topping: 1 ½ c. sugar
¼ c. flour
1 t. baking powder
4 eggs, slightly beaten
½ c. lemon juice

Preheat oven 350. Grease and flour 9x13 pan. To make crust: in med bowl whisk flour and powdered sugar. Cut in butter until combine and crumbly. Press mixture into bottom of pan and bake for 20 min. Meanwhile, in a larger bowl, combine sugar, flour and baking powder. Add eggs and lemon juice. Mix well and pour over warm crust. Bake 20-25 min. When cool, dust with powdered sugar and refrigerate. Cut into bars when cold.

Congo Bars1 3/4 c flour

1/2 tsp salt
1 cube of margarine
almost 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
2 1/2 tsp of baking powder
3 eggs
1 box (2 and 1/3 cups) of brown sugar
1 package of chocolate chips
Melt margarine and add sugar and oil. Cool a little before adding eggs, one at a time. Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips. Bake in a 10x15" pan for 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


This week features a delicious homemade Sour Cream Pound cake - a recipe sent to me from my sister-in-law Jenny that will make a perfect valentines day dessert for the family. Also, I am making Sydney's very favorite: Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Not low-fat, but SOOOOOO yummy. Happy Valentines Day everyone! (Get out for dinner with your love sometime this week will yah!).

This Week's Menu

Monday - We are GOING OUT FOR DINNER! (It has been awhile!)
Tuesday - Bri's Sloppy Joe Squares and corn
Wednesday - Crock Pot Ranch Chicken over rice
Thursday - Syd's Fave Baked Mac & Cheese, Roasted Asparagus and salad
Friday - Sweet Pork Tacos

BONUS RECIPE - Basil Tomato Soup & Sour Cream Pound Cake

Bri's Sloppy Joe Squares

1lb ground beef
1 small onion minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cups of ketchup
2 pkgs of Pillsbury crescent rolls
Shredded mozzarella

Cook beef onion and spices until meat is brown. Drain. Blend in flour. Add 1 1/4 cups of water, ketchup and sauce. Simmer 15-20 minutes. Line a 9x13 baking pan with 1 pkg of crescent rolls.
Spread beef mixture over layer of rolls. Sprinkle cheese over beef and place second package of rolls over cheese (make sure dough touches edges of pan). Bake at 350F until rolls are browned.

Crock Pot Ranch Chicken

Chicken (frozen is fine)
1 pkg cream cheese
1 pkg ranch dressing mix
1 can cream mushroom soup
Frozen broccoli (optional)

Throw everything into crock pot. Turn on high and cook for 5 hours or low for 8 hours. Put broccoli in halfway through. Serve on top of mashed potatoes, rice or even pasts. You can also substitute a pkg of Italian dressing mix for ranch.

Katie’s Sweet Pork Tacos

1 (4-5 lb) pork roast
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T. salt
1 can green chili enchilada sauce
1 c. brown sugar
Taco toppings

Place roast in crock pot, sprinkle with crushed garlic and salt. Cook on high for 6-8hrs. Remove roast from pot, drain juices and shred. Place back in pot. In a bowl, combine green chili enchilada sauce and brown sugar. Pour over shredded meat. Stir, then continue cooking for one hour on high.
Serve with flour tortillas or taco shells, shredded lettuce, black beans, cheese, tomatoes and sour cream.

Sydney’s Favorite Baked Mac N' Cheese

2 c. uncooked elbow macaroni noodles
1/2 c butter, cubed
1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c milk
1c sour cream
8 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed
1/4 c parmesan cheese
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground mustard
1/2 t pepper
2c cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Cook mac noodles. In a large saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to boil, cook & stir for 2 mins.
2. Reduce heat. Stir in sour cream, Velveeta, parmesan & seasonings.
3. Drain mac, toss with cheddar cheese. Transfer to greased 3qt dish. Add cream sauce. Mix well.
4. Bake uncovered 350 for 35-40 mins or until golden brown and bubbly.

Basil Tomato Soup

2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
18 fresh basil leaves, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup butter or margarine

In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes and broth to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add basil and sugar. Reduce heat to low; stir in cream and butter. Cook until butter is melted.

Sour Cream Pound Cake (Paula Deen)

1 stick butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Sift the baking soda and flour together. Add to the creamed mixture alternating with eggs, beating in each egg 1 at a time. Add vanilla.
Pour the mixture into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Top with anything – caramel sauce, strawberries and whipped cream, etc.