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.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Oops! Forgot the Smokies!

Lil Sugared Smokies

2 packages little smokies sausages
1 pck bacon
Brown sugar

Use your kitchen shears to cut the bacon into thirds. Wrap each smokie with bacon and put toothpick through to secure. Place on baking sheet covered with tinfoil. Once all the smokies are wrapped, sprinkle liberally with brown sugar and bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes or until bacon is cooked.


What's your beef? I realized while typing this weeks menu that we eat a LOT of meat in our home(this week ground beef seems to be the meat of choice). Right now, partly due to the fact that I am also cooking for my father-in-law who doesn't think it is a meal unless there is meat involved, partly because I don't have a lot of meatless recipes! Soooo, this week, send me your best meatless recipe!

Of course, the super bowl is tomorrow which means family and treats. I am not big into sports (although my husband sure is - much to my dismay) but his family are coming over and we are doing a pot-luck. We are providing the much loved "Lil Sugared Smokies" and I was thinking of perhaps doing these "Oh Henry Bars" for a treat since my husband adores rice krispies and these are the souped-up version.


Monday - Star burritos, salad & Blueberry scones for family night treat
Tuesday - Spaghetti Casserole & garlic bread
Wednesday - Mexican Chili & Rice
Thursday - Mock Stroganoff and green beans
Friday - Simple Sesame Noodles & Spring Rolls (bought)
Sunday Bonus - Texas Hash, Lil Sugared Smokes and OH Henry Bars


Burrito sized flour tortillas
1 can chili con carne
1 can refried beans
Shredded cheese
Salsa & Sour cream

In a small pot over medium heat, combine beans and chili and heat through. When hot, butter 1 side of tortilla (or use Pam in pan to save a little on the fat), put some of chili mixture into center of tortilla and add some cheese on top. Fold the burrito like a star (bottom up over top and then continue folding sides up (overlapping) until it makes kind of a star shape) Place folded sides down in pan and heat until burrito starts browning and then turn over and heat other side. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Spaghetti Casserole – EASY, EXTRA FREEZER MEAL!

1 pkg (16 oz) angel hair pasta
1 – 1 ½ lbs ground beef
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
1 can (10 ¾ oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 c. (8 0z) sour cream
2 c. shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in lrg skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce. Remove from heat. Drain pasta. Combine soup and sour cream. In two 8 inch square baking dishes, layer half of meat sauce, pasta, soup mixture and cheese. Repeat layers.
Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake remaining casserole at 350 for 55-65 minutes or until cheese is melted.
TO USE FROZEN CASSEROLE: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 min before baking. Bake as directed.

Mexican Chicken and Rice – QUICK & YUMMY

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into ½ inch strips
2 T. butter
1-3/4 c. salsa
1 envelope (5.4 oz) Mexican style rice and pasta mix
1 can (2-1/4 oz) sliced ripe olives, drained
2 T. lime juice
½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. (8 oz) sour cream
1 med ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
1 med tomato, chopped

In lrg skillet, brown chicken in butter. Stir in salsa, rice mix, olives and lime juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until rice is tender.

Sprinkle w/ cheese. Serve with sour cream, avocado and tomato.

Texas Hash – Easy!

1 lb. ground beef
1 c. sliced onions
½ c. rice
1 t. chili powder
2 t. salt
1 – 16 oz can tomatoes

Cook rice first as usual. Brown beef & onions together. Stir cooked rice into beef in lrg skillet, add chili powder, salt and tomatoes. Heat and simmer for 20 min. If not spicy enough add more chili powder and salt.

Mock Stroganoff – SO YUMMY and EASY!

3 c. uncooked yolk- free noodles
1 lb. ground beef
¼ c. chopped onions
¼ c. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 ½ c. water
2 envelopes brown gravy mix
2 c. sour cream

Cook noodles according to pkg directions. Meanwhile in a lrg skillet, cook the beef, onion and mushrooms over med heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
Stir in water and gravy mix. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream. Drain noodles. Serve with meat mixture.

Simple Sesame Noodles – Pioneer Woman
Servings: 8

12 ounces, fluid Thin Noodles, Cooked And Drained
¼ cups Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sugar
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Pure Sesame Oil
½ teaspoons Hot Chili Oil
4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
2 Tablespoons Hot Water
4 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin

Preparation Instructions
Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and green onions) together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.
Sprinkle with green onions and toss.
Serve in a bowl with chopsticks.


Blueberry Scones

3 cups All Purpose flour
1/3 cups sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter (chilled)
1 egg
3/4 cups heavy cream
1 pck frozen (thawed) or fresh blueberries

First, mix all dry ingredients together... flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
Then, with a fork or pastry cutter, add your chilled butter (cut in pieces) to your dry mixture and "cut" the butter in until it resembles large bread crumbs.
Mix an egg and heavy cream together and add to dry mixture.
Then add blueberries... or any other fruit/filling you'd like... and stir until it just comes together.
Turn your mixture out onto a cold surface. The mixture will be very crumbly.
Form into a circle with your hands and roll out slightly with a rolling pin. Cut into triangles.
Place scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
Bake at 350 degrees until edges are slightly browning
Let scones cool completely and then ENJOY! ;)

OH Henry Bars

1 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. chopped salted peanuts
3 c. rice krispies
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips

In heavy saucepan, bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil. Remove from heat and add peanut butter, peanuts and rice krispies. Stir well & press into a greased, 9x13 inch pan. Melt chocolate chips & butterscotch chips together in small saucepan or in microwave. Spread over top of peanut butter mixture. Cool & cut into bars. Makes 2 dozen small or 1 dozen large.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Email Address!

I have a new email address for you to send recipes, questions or comments to: Can't wait to taste what you have in store! (Rachel, I would have replied but the email I received didn't include your return address. I will look for your recipes in my inbox. Thanks a lot!)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

FOR FUN - Frosted Banana Bars

Frosted Banana Bars

½ c. butter, softened
1 ½ c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. salt
1 c. mashed ripe bananas (I used 3 ripe bananas)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan or one 9x13 and an additional 8x8 pan. In lrg bowl, cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in sour cream and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in med bowl; stir into batter. Finally, mix in mashed banana. Spread evenly into prepared pan(s). Bake 20 -25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Love these COLD!

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 c. white sugar (you can use either granulated or confectioners sugar)
1/8 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 ½ c. heavy whipping cream

In lrg bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Set aside. In another med bowl, beat whipped cream until stiff peaks form (it helps to use chilled bowl and beaters). Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Frost to your hearts delight!


So this week is super low key. My baby is being blessed in church this Sunday and I am doing a brunch afterwards for family with the Chili Egg Puff from week (2?), two Lion House Quiches, cinnamon rolls (courtesy of my sister-in-law), muffins, fresh fruit and various juices. The Lion House is a restaurant in Salt Lake City that has wonderful food. I got a recipe book years ago after Dave and I were married and it is one of my favorites. My husband is then taking off to Florida for a work conference until Wednesday leaving me with 4 kids on my own for three days... YIKES! And I mostly cook for him (and his parents but they are headed to Hawaii this week), so the key is EASY. There is also a recipe tucked in here for "Scary Chicken" from my sweet friend Susan. It sounds super yummy and I am excited to try it! I haven't decided about a Monday night treat yet... I will post it when I do!

Week's Menu

Sunday brunch - See above, recipe for Lion House Quiche below.
Monday - Parmesan Crusted Tilapia w/ baked yams (I love yams!)
Tuesday - Three Cheese Quesadillas & corn
Wednesday - Sausage, Egg and Cheese Muffins (my kids LOVE these)
Thursday - Susans Scary Chicken - THANKS SUE!
Friday - Homemade waffles & fruit
Saturday - Grilled cheese sandwiches & tomato soup (I will post the tomato soup recipe later this week)

Sue's Scary Chicken (don't worry it's not scary).

Preheat oven to 350.
In a bowl, whisk together:

1 bottle of French dressing
1 pkg of Onion Soup mix
craisins (or real cranberries could work too, I haven't used them yet). Not sure how many...whatever 'looks' right.

Set aside.

In a casserole dish place a full package of uncooked boneless/skinless chicken breasts (we use a pkg of 6). Cut each breast in half. You really can use whatever kind of chicken you want, but this is probably the best option with little ones (no bone).

Pour the French dressing mix all over the chicken breasts.
Cover the casserole with aluminum foil.
Put in the oven for 2 hours.

After the one hour mark stir 'juice' and cover chicken again. Cook for the remaining hour. At about 1 hour, 45 mins. Start boiling water for German (Spaetzle) Egg Noodles. We find these at our grocery store. Follow directions on pkg., boil for about 13 mins?? I think. 2 hours up, take out chicken.

Serve chicken over the Egg noodles. Serve with salad and garlic bread. It can be very filling.

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia – QUICK & YUMMY

4 servings
½ c. flour
1 egg, beaten
½ c. crushed ritz crackers (about 10)
¼ c. grated parmesan
½ t. salt
4 tilapia fillets (5 oz each)
2 T. olive oil
Lemon wedges

Place four and egg in separate shallow bowls. In another shallow bowl, combine the crackers, cheese and salt. Dip fillets in the flour; egg, then cracker mixture. In a large skillet, cook fillets in oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with lemon.

Three-Cheese Quesadillas – EASY!

4 servings
8 flour tortillas (8inch)
2 T. butter
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 T. thinly sliced green onion
2 T. minced fresh cilantro
4 t. chopped ripe olives (I hate olives so I leave this out)
½ c. salsa
Sour cream, optional (but sooo yummy)

Spread butter over one side of each tortilla. Spread cream cheese over unbuttered side on half the tortillas. Sprinkle with cheeses, onion, cilantro and olives. Top with remaining tortillas, buttered side up.

Cook on griddle over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side or until cheese is melted. Cut into wedges. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Classic Waffles

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar; set aside. Preheat waffle iron to desired temperature. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the milk, butter and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture; beat until blended. Ladle the batter into a preheated waffle iron. Cook the waffles until golden and crisp. Serve immediately.

Lion House Quiche

Pastry for one 9-inch pie crust
1 t. green onion, sliced
1 t. green pepper, chopped fine
¼ c. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 c. ham, cubed small
1/3 c. bay shrimp (optional)
1 c. Swiss cheese, grated
5 eggs
1 c. half & half
1/8 t. lemon peel
½ t. salt
1/3 t. dry mustard

Fill pastry into 9-inch pie pan and sprinkle with green onions, green peppers, bacon, ham, and shrimp. Sprinkle on cheese. In a medium bowl, whip eggs with half and half, lemon peel, salt, and mustard. Pour over other ingredients in crust. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6-8 servings.

Sausage, Egg & Cheese McMuffins (knock-offs or course! So easy and a favorite with the kids (especially if you call them "McMuffins"!)

English Muffins
Kraft singles cheese slices (These work the best for the "melty" factor)
Eggs scrambled and seasoned with salt and pepper (a little less than 1/2 egg per muffin, try and keep the scrambled pieces a little bigger so you can easily place them)
Pre-cooked breakfast sausage rounds of your choice. (I like the maple flavored Wal-Mart brand *gasp* because they are big around, thin and cheap!)

Cut apart and very lightly toast your muffins. Heat sausages in the microwave. Put mufins, open face side up on tinfoil lined baking sheet (for easy cleanup). Spread a little butter on one half and put sausage round over top. On the other half, place desired amount of scrambled egg and then a cheese slice over the top (the melted cheese will keep the egg in place). Broil in oven until cheese is melted. Put them together and enjoy! You can also make these quite healthy by using whole wheat English muffins and turkey sausage or vegetarian sausage rounds.

FOR FUN - Doughnut Muffins

Doughnut Muffins

3 c. flour
¾ c. sugar, plus 1/8 c. sugar
½ T. plus 1 t. baking powder
¼ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
½ t. nutmeg
½ t. ground cinnamon
½ c. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla
2 lrg eggs
¾ c. milk
¼ c. heavy cream

For Topping

¼ c. butter, melted
½ c. sugar
1 ½ t. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tin with paper cups. In lrg bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, until just mixed in. In med bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Combine the vanilla, milk and heavy cream. With spoon, mi x quarter of dry ingredients into butter mixture. Then mix in third of milk mixture. Continue alternating mixing dry and wet ending with dry ingredients. Mix until combined and smooth, but don’t over mix.

Scoop enough batter into each tin so top of batter is even with rim of cup, about ½ c. Bake muffins until firm to the touch, about 25 – 30 minutes. To finish, melt butter for topping in small bowl. Combine cinnamon and sugar and when muffins are cool enough to handle, dip tops in butter and then roll in cinnamon sugar.


I am having a lot of fun doing this. But I can see at some point (not for some time), running out of recipes so please, send me your best! Your easiest! Your most beloved so I can try them and add them to our roster!

This week includes two of Dave's (my hubbys) all time favorites. The Artichoke Chicken tastes like something you would get at an great restaurant but you will be amazed how quick and easy it is to pull together! I even make it easier and cheaper by using frozen chicken breasts, baked at 350 for around 20 minutes or so before I throw the topping over them and continue baking. Another favorite of his is the Coke Roast. SO EASY, and SO YUMMY! The sugars from the Coke really cook into the meat and make it scrumptious! The Curry Chicken is one of my long-time favorites. Again, super easy and I love anything with curry flavor! The Corn Chowder is comfort food at its finest. It is my mothers recipe and it reminds me of being a little girl whenever I eat it!

As for desserts, the oatmeal raisin cookies are really, the best I have ever had. I make them my own by adding a few other things but I have to keep some secrets, otherwise they won't be as special when brought to family and friends as a treat ;) but trust me, they are wonderful just the way the recipe is written. The Chewies are a bigtime kid (ok, and mom) pleaser. Try not to eat too many!


Monday - Creamy Onion Lasagna & PB Chewies for family night treat
Tuesday - Curry Chicken w/ Potato Smashers
Wednesday - Pork & Pineapple Casserole & Rolls
Thursday - Corn Chowder
Friday - Artichoke Chicken w/ pineapple carrots
Saturday - ORDER PIZZA!
Sunday - Coke Roast w/ carrots and potatoes & Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

Curry Chicken – YUMMY, QUICK, EASY

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 T. melted butter
½ c. honey
¼ c. Dijon mustard
1 t. salt
1 t. curry powder

Mix everything together, dip chicken place in 9x13 pan. Pour remaining sauce over top. Bake uncovered at 375 until done.


1 (15 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
¾ c. parmesan cheese
¾ c. mayo (I use half miracle whip, half mayo for more zing)
1 pinch garlic pepper (I use fresh minced garlic and pepper to taste instead)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Preheat oven to 375. In med bowl, mix together the artichoke hearts, parm cheese, mayo and garlic pepper. Place chicken in greased baking dish and cover evenly with artichoke mixture.

Bake uncovered for 30 min in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center and juices run clear.

Creamy Onion Lasagna

1 lb ground beef
1 jar (26 oz) roasted garlic parmesan spaghetti sauce
1 egg

1 c. (8 oz) 4% cottage cheese
1 carton (8 oz) french onion dip
1 jar (25.6 oz) Italian sausage & garlic spaghetti sauce
12 no-cook lasagna noodles
3 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In dutch oven, cook beef over med heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in roasted garlic parm sauce. Combine the egg, cottage cheese and onion dip.

Spread 1 c. Italian sausage and garlic sauce into greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Top with four noodles. Layer with half of cottage cheese mixture, half of the beef mixture and 1 c. mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Cover and bake at 375 for 50 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 15 min before cutting.

Pork & Pineapple Casserole – YUMMY, EASY (Cooks for 1 hour)

1 (16 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained with liquid reserved
6-8 pork chops
2-3 lrg potatoes, peeled and sliced
8-10 slices bacon
Salt & pepper to taste

Line a casserole dish with crushed pineapple. Place pork chops on top of pineapple. Season with salt and pepper. Cover chops with potato slices. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange bacon slices over potatoes. Cover with lid and bake for 1 hour at 350. Check a few times while cooking and if it starts to dry out, add some of reserved pineapple juice.

Moms Corn Chowder – YUM! (For quick prep, chop onion and dice and cook potatoes earlier)

5 slices bacon
1 med onion, chopped
2 c. cooked (frozen) or canned corn
1 c. diced cooked potatoes (don’t overcook – could use frozen cubed hash browns and cook a bit longer)
1 (10 ½ oz) can cream of mushroom soup
2 ½ c. milk
1 t. salt

Cook bacon until crisp. Keep 3 T. of drippings and add onion to drippings and sauté until lightly browned. Add rest of ingredients and a dash of pepper. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer a minute or two. 6 servings.

Coke Roast – YUMMY, SUPER EASY, Good for company!

1 (2-3 lb) beef roast
1 packet onion soup mix
1 -2 cans of coke
(optional peeled quartered potatoes and carrots)

This recipe depends on the size of the roast and slow cooker. Put the roast into your slow cooker, sprinkle onion soup mix over the top and then you want the coke to come up the roast about ¾ of the way. The top of the roast should be visible. For a complete meal, throw in potatoes and carrots on top (salt and pepper those to taste). Cook on low 6-8 hrs.

Potato Smashers

Red potatoes
Olive oil
Kosher Salt & Pepper

Boil red potatoes in skins until soft. Place on baking sheet and use potato masher to smash each one down. Drizzle each potato with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt & Pepper . Bake 20 -25 min in 400 degree oven.

Pineapple Carrots – 4 servings

3 sliced carrots
1 c. pineapple chunks, unsweetened
½ t. seasoned salt
3 T. orange juice
1 T. butter

Place carrots, pineapple, salt & oj in 1 ½ qt casserole dish. Dot with butter & cove. Bake at 375 for 45-55 minutes.

Dana’s “Better than Grandmas Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies” – SUPER YUMMY!

2 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. kosher salt
1 c. unsalted butter (regular works ok too, just makes the cookies a bit saltier but still good)
1 c. sugar
1 c. dark brown sugar (firmly packed)
2 lrg eggs
1 t. vanilla
3 c. oats (NOT instant)
1 ½ c. raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk dry ingredients together and set aside. Combine wet ingredients with mixer on low speed to combine; turn mixer speed to HIGH and cream together until color lightens and mixture is light and fluffy. Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until no flour is visible (DO NOT OVER MIX!!!). Add oats and raisins and stir to combine. Drop approx 2 T. of dough onto greased cookie sheet spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake 11-12 min (on center rack of oven) until golden, but still moist in the cracks. Cool on cookie sheet for approx 2 min before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

PB Chewies – YUMMY , EASY (Makes about 3 dozen)

1 c. sugar
1 c. corn syrup
1 jar (18 oz) peanut butter, crunchy or smooth (I like creamy)
6 c. corn flakes
3 oz. good quality chocolate of your choice

Combine sugar and corn syrup in med saucepan. Place over med-high heat and stir until mixture comes to full boil. Remove from heat and stir in whole jar of PB. Mix well. Add corn flakes to lrg bowl. Pour PB mixture over corn flakes and mix well, taking care to coat all of the corn flakes. With tablespoon or cookie scoop, scoop out and form into 1-2 inch balls, depending on your preference and place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper or parchment. Put chocolate in small bowl and melt in microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Drizzle melted chocolate over the cookies. Eat when cooled!


This week I am all about quick, easy, and lets get some veggies in there. I included 3 recipes that I regularly rotate and save for really busy nights when I don't want to have to think about cooking; Tacos, Jambalaya (the cheaters version) and Spinach Alfredo Pizza. Chicken a la King is from my mothers treasure trove of recipes and is always great when company comes over but is easy enough to be a stress free meal. To make it easier, bake a bunch of chicken at the beginning of the week and then it will be ready for Chicken salad and Chicken a la King. And the Bumpy's Carrot Cake? Well, it is the best I have ever had (check out the picture!)

Our Dinner Menu

Monday - Tacos with Peaches & Cream Dessert Pizza for our family night treat
Tuesday - Chinese Chicken Salad with Cream Cheese Wontons
Wednesday - Cheater Jambalaya
Thursday - Layered Fiesta Casserole
Friday - Turkey Fried Rice & Salad, ICE CREAM SUNDAE NIGHT!
Saturday - Spinach Alfredo Pizza
Sunday - Chicken a la King, with Bumpy's Carrot Cake for dessert

Layered Fiesta Casserole – YUMMY, QUICK, EASY

Prep time: 20 min, Total time: 50 min

1 lb ground beef
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 jar salsa (thick & chunky)
1 can (14 ½ oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen corn thawed
12 flour tortillas (6 inch)
1 ½ c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375. Brown meat and peppers stirring frequently. Drain, stir in salsa, tomatoes and corn, bring to a boil. Spoon 1 c. meat mixture onto bottom of 13x9 inch baking dish. Top with 6 tortillas overlapping as necessary. Spoon half of remaining mixture over tortillas and top with ¾ c. cheese. Top with 6 tortillas and meat mixture. Cover with foil. Bake 25 to 30 min or until heated through. Remove and uncover. Sprinkle with ¾ c. cheese and let stand 5 minutes until melted. Serve with sour cream.

Chicken a la King – YUMMY , IMPRESSIVE and EASY (Good with roasted asparagus)

Makes appx. 5 servings

¼ c. butter
1/3 c. flour
½ t. salt
1 c. chicken broth
1 c. milk
2 c. diced cooked chicken or turkey
1 3oz. can drained sliced mushrooms (or use fresh)
¼ c. chopped canned pimiento (or red pepper)
Toast points or pastry shells (I like the Pepperidge farm pastry shells)

In saucepan melt butter. Blend in flour and salt. Add chicken broth and milk all at once. Cook, stirring constantly till sauce is thick and bubbly. Add chicken, mushrooms and pimientos. Heat through. Serve over toast points or pastry shells.

Chinese Chicken Salad - FAST, EASY, LOW-FAT

Fresh Spinach
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces and sautéed in olive oil with a little salt and pepper to taste
Mandarin orange wedges
Almond slices (lightly toasted)
Chow mein noodles
Parmesan or feta cheese
Light Sesame Asian salad dressing (or any Asian salad dressing of your choice)

Toss it all together before serving and garnish with chow mein noodles. I also like to serve this with fried cream cheese wontons (see week 1 recipe).

Turkey Fried Rice – FAST, EASY, YUMMY

1 T olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
½ lb ground turkey
2 green onions
3 cups cold, cooked rice
1 c. canned bean spouts
¼ c. minced fresh cilantro
¼ c. soy sauce
2 T. chunky peanut butter
1 t. sugar
½ t. garlic powder
¼ t. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ t. ground ginger

In lrg skillet, heat oil over med high heat. Pour eggs into skillet. As eggs set, lift edges, letting uncooked portion flow underneath. When eggs are completely cooked, remove to plate and set aside.

In same skillet, cook turkey and onions over med heat until meat is no longer pink. Stir in the rice, bean sprouts and cilantro. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients until blended; stir into skillet. Chop egg into small pieces; stir into skillet and heat through.

Jambalaya – FAST, EASY, CHEAP

1 box of Zataran’s Jambalaya rice mix (I double this recipe for four adults and two children)
1 Jennie-O (or any brand you can find) kielbasa turkey sausage link

Slice up the sausage and throw it in with the rice (following the directions on the box).


1 Taco kit (I like taco bells with the hard shells)
1 lb ground beef
Garnishes: lettuce, shredded cheese, fresh chopped tomatoes, salsa, sour cream

Serve with prepared Spanish Rice (like rice-a-roni)

Spinach Alfredo Pizza – FAST, EASY, YUMMY

1 tube refrigerated pizza dough
1 container Alfredo sauce (I like the refrigerated kind for this)
1 bag spinach (4 c. chopped)
2 med tomatoes; chopped
2 c. Shredded Italian cheese blend (or shred your own mozza and add a little parm)

Spread pizza dough into pizza pan (use a round one or a small cookie sheet). Spread Alfredo over dough, add spinach and tomatoes and then sprinkle cheese over the top. Blake at 420 for 14 min or until crust is golden and cheese is melted and bubbly.


Peaches & Cream Dessert Pizza – Yummy & Easy
1 tube (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent roll dough
1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
½ c. sugar
½ t. almond extract
1 can (21 oz. ) peach pie filling
½ c. all purpose flour
¼ c. packed brown sugar
3 T. cold butter
½ c. sliced almonds

Separate crescent dough into eight triangles. Press into greased 12 inch pizza pan. Seal seams. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool slightly on a wire rack. In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and extract until smooth. Spread over crust. Top with pie filling. In a small bowl, combine flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over peaches. Top with almonds. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Cut into wedges. Refrigerate (or you can serve it warm).

Bumpy's Carrot Cake

1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. lightly packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cloves
1 t. salt
3 c. grated carrot
1 c. raisins (I think the next time I will reduce this to 3/4 c.)
2 c. cream cheese icing (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large bundt pan and set aside. In a lrg mixing bowl, beat together oil and sugars until well blended. Beat in 1 egg at a time, blending thoroughly after each. Mix dry ingredients together and add to wet, mixing well. Fold in carrots and raisins.

Pour batter into the greased bundt pan and place in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, with cake still in the pan, turn upside down on the rack to cool for about 1 hour. Remove from pan by gently running a butter knife around edges. When cake is completely cool, spread with cream cheese icing.

- Serves 12

Cream Cheese Icing

3/4 c. cream cheese (I just used a whole 8 oz brick which might be the same!), softened

6 T. salted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. icing sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter together until creamy. Add icing sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Makes about 2 cups.

For Fun - Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

I am usually not a huge fan of recipes that use a cake mix but I must say, these cookies from Paula Deen are wonderful and really easy.

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies - leave 2 hrs for chilling dough

1 t. vanilla extract
Confectioner's sugar for dusting
1 (18 oz) box moist chocolate cake mix
1 (8 oz) brick cream cheese, room temp
1 egg
1 stick butter, room temp

Preheat oven to 350. In lrg bowl, cream cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in egg. Then beat in vanilla. Then beat in cake mix. Cover and refridgerate for 2 hrs to firm up. Roll chilled batter into tablesppon sized balls then roll in powdered sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 12 min. The cookies will remain soft and gooey. Cool completely and sprinkle with more powdered sugar if desired. Makes 2 dozen.

Prepare in Advance

Dinner time is usually one of the busiest times of day if you have young or school aged children, but this doesn't mean you can't prepare a yummy meal that seems like it might be more work than you have time for. Take a tiny bit of your free time during the day to do some prep work so that dinner will come together quickly in the evening. For example, tonight we are having the Garlic Chicken Farfalle so this morning, I threw the frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot and then cooked and crumbled the bacon. Using free time in the morning or afternoon to chop veggies that will go into your dish will save you a ton of time and stress in the end. Check your recipes for later in the week and double up your chopping so that it will be done for later meals.


Every week I will post our menu with included recipes. Most of these are quick and easy and kid friendly (most). Some I wing so I have tried to include as specific measurements as possible. Let me know if you have questions. They might get healthier as the year goes on... but right now we are going for pretty well rounded (most of the time!), yummy and easy. I will also include a bonus recipe in case you want something for Sunday dinner since I only make Sunday dinner every other week. Monday night will always include a dessert since we have it for our family night.


Monday - Tater Tot Casserole, Quick Apple Dumplings
Tuesday - Garlic Chicken Farfalle & spinach salad
Wednesday - Chili Egg Puff & fruit
Thursday - Potato Soup w/ garlic bread
Friday - Thai Peanut Chicken & Rice, Ice Cream Sundaes
Saturday - Mini Pizzas
Sunday bonus - Cajun Chicken Fettuccine, Apples and apple dip


Garlic Chicken Farfalle – Start in morning - YUMMY

16 oz. farfalle pasta (bowtie)
1 c. heavy cream
3-4 chicken breasts
2-3 cloves garlic crushed
1 T. pepper
½ c. butter
1 lb bacon crumbled (bake at 400 for 30 min on rack)
½ c. shredded parm
1 12 oz. Lowry’s mesquite marinade with lime juice

Crockpot chicken and marinade on low for 6 hrs. Pull out of juices. Allow to cool a little and shred. Set aside. About ½ hr before serving – cook pasta. In sm. Saucepan melt butter, garlic, whipping cream, pepper, cheese and bacon. Whisk on low for 3-4 min. In lrg bowl put chicken and pasta and add sauce. Mix together well. Sprinkle cheese on top.

SUNDAY DINNER BONUS - Cajun Chicken Fettuccine – Uses cooked, cubed chicken (start ahead) – YUMMY

8 oz. uncooked fettuccine
1 lrg. sweet onion, halved and sliced
1 med. Green pepper cut into ¼ inch strips
1 med. Sweet red pepper
2 T. olive oil
2 c. cooked, cubed chicken
4 tsp Cajun seasoning (3 for kids)
3 t. minced garlic
1 jar Alfredo sauce
½ c. spaghetti sauce
2 c. shredded mozzarella
½ c. grated parmesan

Cook fettuccine. In lrg skillet sauté onion and peppers in oil until tender. Add chicken, Cajun seasoning and garlic; heat through. Transfer to lrg bowl, drain fettuccine; add to chicken mixture, stir in alfredo and spaghetti sauce. Transfer to greased 13x9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with cheeses, cover and bake 375 for 15 minutes. Uncover, bake 10-15 min longer until golden brown. 8 servings.

Tator Tot Casserole – QUICK - Serve with prepared fresh veggies

1 lb ground beef
1 med onion, chopped
1 c. celery, diced
1 can cream of celery or cream of mushroom soup

Brown & season: beef, onion, celery
Add 1 can cream of celery or cream of mushroom soup
Put in greased 9x13 pan. Top with tatortots. Bake @ 400 for 45 minutes.

Chili Egg Puff – QUICK, EASY & YUMMY – Serve with fruit

10 eggs
½ c. flour
1 t. baking powder
2 c. small curd cottage cheese
4 c. grated Monterey jack cheese
½ t. salt
2 – 4 oz. cans diced green chiles, drained

Beat eggs into large bowl until light in color. Add everything but chiles. Mix well. Stir in chiles. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes in 9x13 pan sprayed with Pam.

Personal Pizza’s – EASY, QUICK, AND KIDS LOVE IT!

English muffins
Can of pizza sauce
Mini pepperoni rounds (or regular ones quartered)
Mozzarella cheese or any shredded pizza cheese
Pizza toppings: green or red peppers, pineapple tidbits, etc.

Split muffins, spread pizza sauce on and top like you would pizzas. Bake or broil until cheese is melted. Fun if you let kids top their own.

Potato Soup – Serve with Garlic bread (see easy recipe below) – EASY, QUICK, MY KIDS LOVE IT

1 cube butter
1 can evaporated milk
Salt & Pepper to taste
Shredded cheddar cheese

Fill large pot (I use a stockpot but a large pot will work) and fill ½ way with cut up, peeled potatoes. Add enough water just to cover the potatoes. Add one cube butter. Bring to boil for at least 20 min. Add one can of evaporated milk and bring to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. To thicken, beat with hand mixer for minute or two. Serve with shredded cheddar sprinkled on top.

Marilyn’s Bread Sticks – SUPER QUICK, EASY & YUMMY – Ingredients in bold

Mix together: 1 ½ C. hot water, 2 T. sugar, 1 T. yeast (I let this mixture sit until yeast dissolves but you don’t have to)

Add 1 tsp salt and 3 c. flour. Knead. Dough will be VERY sticky. Spoon evenly into greased 9x13 inch pan and spreadn. Use a sharp knife to cut dough into 12 slices (it will come back together, don’t worry about it).

Mix together 1/3 c. melted butter, garlic salt (maybe 1 T.) and parmesan cheese (grated kind)
Spread butter mixture over dough and let rise 10 min – 2hrs (I usually let mine rise for about 20 min). Bake at 350 for 15-20 min until light golden brown on top.

TIPS – it is REALLY hard to mess this recipe up. A great way to get the right temperature to have dough rise is to put it in the microwave oven with the door shut but ajar so that the light heats up the microwave just enough

Thai Peanut Chicken & Rice – YUMMY, EASY, QUICK (for fun, serve w/ fried wontons)

2 chicken breasts
Red peppers sliced
Steamed snow peas (optional)
Cooked rice
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. cornstarch
½ t. garlic powder
¼ c. smooth peanut butter
Salt & pepper

In small bowl mix: 2 T soy sauce, 1 T lemon juice, 1 tsp cornstarch, 1/2 tsp garlic
powder. In saucepan, whisk 1/4 c smooth Peanut Butter with 1/2 c hot water. Stir in
soy sauce and simmer until thickens (2 minutes). Cut 2 chicken breasts in pieces, season with salt & pepper, and cook in skillet. Serve over rice & pour sauce on top.

Garnish with sliced red pepper and steamed snow peas.

Fried Wontons

1 pck. Wonton wrappers
1 jar sweet & sour sauce (for dipping)
Canola oil

Put a 1-2 inches of canola oil in deep frying pain and fry wontons. You can either fry them straight out of the package or use a dab of water to attach opposite corners for a fun shape. Cream cheese can be a fun addition. Put a little dab (maybe a tsp?) in center and seal up into little pockets before frying.


Quick Apple Dumplings
2 med. Granny Smith apples, peeled and quartered
1 (8 count) pck crescent rolls
1/8 t. cinnamon
½ c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. orange juice
1 t. vanilla
½ c. very finely chopped pecans (I omit this)

Grease 8 inch pan. Wrap each apple quarter in crescent roll. Combine remainder of ingredients (except pecans & vanilla) and bring to boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over dumplings. Sprinkle pecans and bake at 350 for 30 minutes until apples are tender when poked.

Ice cream and toppings (don’t forget the cherries!). Let kids make their own sundaes (or husbands ;))

Apple Dip

1/3 cup brown sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 bag Heath Bar Crunchies
1/3 cup sugar
Apple Wedges

Combine both sugars and cream cheese. Add vanilla and crunchies. Let it sit for a few hours. Serve with apple wedges!

The Blog

Well, due to popular demand, A Year of Recipes is now available in blog format! This should make it easier for everyone to find specific recipes and send me their own recipes. Thanks for following me over!