Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pumpkin Chili

I made this on Halloween, and it was the best chili I have ever made.  The pumpkin taste is not overwhelming, and the spices gave it a unique fall flavor.

2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
2 15oz cans black beans
2 15oz cans tomato sauce
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 15oz can pumpkin puree
1 T pumpkin pie spice OR 1 1/2 tsp cinn., 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 Tbl sugar

Brown and drain the ground beef.
Add the onion and peppers and saute 5 minutes
Add remaining ingredients and simmer at least an hour.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Crock pot "ravioli"

This sauce and cheeses in the crock pot makes this one very tasty!

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed (optional)

16 oz. bowtie pasta, cooked
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded

*Brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Put in crock-pot and add sauce, tomatoes and seasonings. Cook for 6-7 hours on low. Add the last 4 ingredients during the last 30 minutes of cooking and turn crock-pot to high. I added the fresh spinach, pasta, parmesan and 1 cup of the mozzarella and I mixed it all up really well. Then I added the last 1/2 cup of mozzarella to melt on the top.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Quesadilla Casserole

I thought this one would be yet another mexican casserole, but it was REALLY good and I will definitely make it again.  It could also be frozen and eaten later.

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried minced garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
16 oz tomato sauce
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (8 3/4 oz) whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can (4 1/2 oz) green chilies, undrained
6 flour tortillas (8 inch size)
2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese

1. Brown beef and onion in a large skillet on medium-high. Add tomato sauce, beans, corn and green chilies. Mix well. Stir in all of the spices except the red pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat low and simmer 5 minutes. Add red pepper to taste if desired.
2. Spread 1/2 cup of the beef mixture on bottom of 9X13 pan (sprayed with pam). I like to use the foil pans for freezer meals. Top with 3 of the tortillas, overlapping as needed. Layer with 1/2 of the remaining beef mixture and 1/2 of the cheese. Repeat with remaining tortillas, beef and cheese.
3.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Cheese Manicotti

This one was delicious, not too difficult, and a great affordable vegetarian option.

You will need:
8-10 manicotti shells
1 lb cottage cheese
1 T parsley
1 egg beaten
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 cup parmesan
1/2 cup mozzarella
1 jar spaghetti sauce
extra parm and mozz to sprinkle on top

Cook pasta shells until al dente and cool.  Mix filling ingredients together and spoon into shells.  Place in baking dish and cover with sauce and extra cheeses.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 min until hot and bubbly.

Pumpkin Bread

Makes 2 loaves!


1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8.5 x 4 x 2.5 inch loaf pans.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, vanilla and sugar until well blended.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.
4. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour batter into the prepared pans.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Muffins

Chocolate Muffins:

1/2 cup  unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour

2/3 cup (60 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups (265 grams) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter, or line with paper liners, 12 - 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch muffin cups.

In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the melted butter, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.

In another large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter (the muffin cups will be full), using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Pumpkin Muffins

Mix together 1 box yellow cake mix, 1-15oz can pumpkin, 1 egg, 1/2 cup water, 1 T pumpkin pie spice. 
Pour into muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes at 350.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sugar Donut Muffins

Sugar Donut Muffins

3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking power
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk (low fat is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or vegetable oil.

In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg until light in color.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Pour into egg mixture and stir to combine. Pour in vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract.

Divide batter evenly into 10 muffin cups or ~24 mini-muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.

Bake for 15-18 minutes for standard-sized muffins or 11-12 minutes for mini-muffins, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

While muffins are baking, melt butter and pour sugar into a small bowl.

When muffins are done, lightly brush the top of each with some melted butter, remove from the pan and roll in sugar. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: ~10 standard muffins or ~24 mini-muffins

Pasta w/ Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Homemade Garlic Bread

You will need:
1/2 onion finely chopped
2 T chopped garlic
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
chicken stock
heavy cream
Heat up a pan and saute mushrooms, onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil until the mushroom starts to golden and the onion is soft.
Add 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1 1/2 cup cream and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill.
Let it simmer for 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper.  Toss with hot pasta.

You will need:

  • 1 cup warm water (70° to 80°)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast


  • In bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select basic bread setting. Choose crust color and loaf size if available.
  • Bake according to bread machine directions (check the dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). Yield: 1 loaf, 16 slices (about 1-1/2 pounds).

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pumpkin Dump Cake

I made this for Nathanael's birthday proper, since we were having a chocolate cake the next day at his party.  Notice the 34 pecans for his 34th birthday?  :)  The cake is perfect for the fall.  It is so very rich and filling, so small pieces do the trick.

6 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 cups pumpkin
2 cups evap milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

1 cake mix or equivilant
1 cup butter - softened

Mix the top 7 ingredients and pour into a greased 9x13.  Cut butter into the cake mix and sprinkle by spoonfuls onto the pumpkin mixture.  Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.  Sprinkle with pecans and bake another 10 minutes.

Italian Meatball Pie

We have been eating a lot of spaghetti recently.  It is fast for those crazy evenings, plus all the kids will inhale it.  This is just a fancier pile of spaghetti, but fun to have something different now and then.  The recipe called for 9oz cooked spaghetti, however much that is!  I had some extra cooked spaghetti noodles from the week before which I had frozen, and just thawed them for the recipe.

9oz cooked spaghetti
1 egg
1 Tbl butter
6oz shredded mozzeralla
1 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce
32 meatballs (I used frozen, thawed)

Heat oven to 350.  Spray a 9" pie plate

Beat egg and butter in a large bowl.  Stir in spaghetti and 1 cup of the cheese.  Spoon into the pie plate.  Press evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the the pie plate.

Mix the spaghetti sauce and meatballs together, and spoon into the spaghetti "crust."

Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Royal Thai Chicken

You will need:
3 lbs chicken, thighs are recommended
3 scallions chopped
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup (or less) soy sauce
2 T lemon juice
2 T toasted sesame oil
3 t minced garlic
3 t minced ginger

Mix sauce and pour over chicken. Bake at 375 for approx 45 minutes.

Friday, August 31, 2012

PW's Baked French Toast

  • Butter, For Greasing
  • 1 loaf Crusty Sourdough Or French Bread
  • 8 whole Eggs
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  • Topping
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/2 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Grated Nutmeg, Optional
  • 1 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces
  • Warm Syrup, For Serving
  • Butter, For Serving
  • 1 cup Fresh Blueberries, For Serving

Preparation Instructions

For the French toast: Grease the baking pan with butter. Tear the bread into chunks, or cut into cubes, and evenly distribute in the pan. Crack the eggs in a big bowl. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover the pan tightly and store in the fridge until needed (overnight preferably). Or you can make it and bake it right away---delicious no matter what!
For the topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and some nutmeg in a separate bowl. Stir together using a fork. Add the butter and with a pastry cutter, and mix it all together until the mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.
When you're ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the casserole from the fridge and sprinkle the topping over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture or for 1 hour-plus or more for a firmer, crisper texture.
Scoop out individual portions. Top with butter and drizzle with warm pancake syrup and sprinkle with blueberries.

Summery Corn salad


  • 4 ears Corn
  • 4 slices Bacon
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Chives Or Green Onions
  • 2 Tablespoons Good Quality Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar, Or More To Taste
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Or Really Good Quality Sweet Smoked Paprika
  • 1 bunch Arugula or one container cherry tomatoes
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350
I roast the corn in the shucks on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes.
While corn is roasting, cook bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels and roughly chop.
Remove husks and silks and cut kernels off the ears. I cut the kernels off directly into the bowl I will be serving the salad in.
Add the bacon and chopped green onion or chives (I prefer chives, but I usually don’t have them in my fridge. I think the green onions work just fine) to the corn kernels.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Add in the cumin or paprika if using. Pour over salad. Adjust to taste.
Roughly chop the arugula or slice tomatoes and add at the last minute. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Quick Cobbler

I forgot to get a finished product picture of this one, because we munched it up. But here is the pretty summer fruit:
This is such a simple recipe.  Take 32 oz frozen fruit (or enough to cover a 9x13), top with 1 box cake mix (or substitute), top with one can of sprite/7-up/fizzy drink, bake at 350 covered for 20 minutes, and then uncovered for 40 more.  Simple and summer yummy!

Cake Mix substitute

If you have a recipe that calls for white or yellow cake mix, and don't have one on hand, here is a quick substitute.  You can either just make enough for one batch, or make several directly into big baggies, to have ready for next time.  I use this in recipes like Applesauce Cake or Quick Cobbler.

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tbl baking powder
1/2 cup dry milk
1 tsp vanilla (Only add if using right away, otherwise add the vanilla when preparing recipe.)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cinnamon Coffee

To your normal coffee grounds in a standard coffee pot add:
1.  A few "dashes" of ground cinnamon
2.  One "dash" of salt
Brew coffe as usual.  This will make a sweet and flavorful coffee.  The cinnamon adds the flavor and the salt cuts the acidity of the coffee. You could also try using the ingredients separately.  I probably won't make this every morning, but it is a nice treat occasionally.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Baked Beans

This recipe is from the Pioneer Woman.  I'm usually on the fence about baked beans, taking some to be polite, and pushing them around a bit.  But these were so, so good. 

8 slices bacon, halved
1 medium onion, cut into small dice
1/2 medium green pepper, cut into small dice
3 large cans (28 ounces each) pork and beans
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup distilled or cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dry mustard or 2 tablespoons Dijon

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

Fry bacon in large, deep sauté pan skillet until bacon has partially cooked and released about 1/4 cup drippings.

Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels.

Add onions and peppers to drippings in pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add beans and remaining ingredients bring to a simmer. (If skillet is not large enough, add beans and heat to a simmer then transfer to a large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients).

Pour flavored beans into a greased 13-by 9-inch (or similar size) ovenproof pan.

Top with bacon, then bake until beans are bubbly and sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours.

 Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

CookBook Review

This is one of my all-time favorite recipe books.  The first half is money saving tips and the second half contains tons of great recipes.  This is the book that gave me Parmesan chicken strips, West african peanut chicken, and several other recipes that I make monthly!  Just last week I decided to re-read part #1, money saving tips.  I came up with a whole list of things to try.  Amazing what happens when you read a book twice!  Here was my action list:
-Try using cabbage instead of or in addition to lettuce in a salad.  Cabbage is cheap and lasts a long time.  Try a cabbage and shredded carrot salad with asian dressing, for example.
-Use cloth napkins!
-Check out the bulk section in the grocery store
-Get a bread machine
-Try harder to make cookies, rolls, biscuits, and breads at home
-Compare the prices of ground turkey and ground beef
-Re-do my master price list every year
-Compare prices of frozen chicken pieces vs. fresh
-Compare prices of bagged grated cheese vs. block
-Buy dry beans instead of canned and cook them in the slow cooker
-Try overnight or all-day roasts in the slow cooker, such as a pork roast
-Add veg oil to sesame oil for same flavor but lower cost
-Pre-cook whole fryers in slow cooker, then pull apart and freeze shredded chicken for future use, such as casseroles
-Post a list of seasonal fruits and veggies on the fridge for grocery list ideas
-Try oatmeal with ice cream at the chance picky eaters might like it!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mint chocolate shortbread

Abigail picked this one out of a cookie cookbook and made them (mostly) all by herself.  They are so, so good.

3 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powered sugar
2 tsp mint extract
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup York peppermint patty bites (In the big bag.  This was Abigail's touch.) Mmmm
1 container frosting (or half a batch of frosting from your favorite recipe) --  Dyed green

  • Preheat oven to 325.  Grease a 9x13.
  • In large mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar.  And mint and mix again.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour and cocoa.   Blend into butter mixture.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.  Dough will be stiff.
  • Press into pan and back 18-20 minutes.  (It will start to look matte, and not shiny as it is done.)
  • Cool completely
  • Frost and sprinkle mint candy on top.

Oatmeal chocolate chip muffins

Abigail helped make these muffins last week.  We ate them while they were still gooey warm, and a dozen disappeared in one sitting.

1 1/3 cup flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Generous handful of chocolate chips (we used mini)

1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup oil

This is a standard muffin recipe.  Mix the wet. Mix the dry.  Combine.  Pour into greased muffin tins.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, or until golden.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PW's Easy Potatoes Au Gratin

  • 4 whole Russet Potatoes, Scrubbed Clean
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Freshly Grated

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Smear softened butter all over the bottom of a baking dish.
Slice potatoes, then cut slices into fourths.
In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes.
Repeat this two more times, ending with the cream mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and really bubbling. Add grated cheese to the top of the potatoes and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Yellow Split Pea Soup

 Zachary made this project for his 100th day of school.  Each of the 10 characters has 10 of a different type of dried bean or pea, so that when you count by 10's they add up to 100.  We went to the bulk bins at Winco to get a small sample of each type of bean.  Most of them I have eaten before, but I'd never tried yellow split peas, so we bought extra and I made some soup.  (The yellow peas are on the 2nd '0'.)  The resulting soup had such a mild and yummy flavor.  I've made it several times since.  I didn't take a picture, though, as it looks like a bowl of yellow sludgy soup, and I'd rather look at that cute little face any time!

2 Tbl butter
1 onion, sliced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
8 cups chicken stock (Make your own!)
2 cups dried yellow split peas
1 ham hock (Instead I bought a bone-in ham steak.  I cut off all the meat for another meal, and used the bone and the rough edge around the steak.).

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot.  Cook onion, celery, carrots, and S+P until onion is soft, about 7-10 minutes.  Add the turmeric, stock, peas, potatoes and pork.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer, covered, about 1 hour, or until peas are soft.  Remove the pork pieces.  Puree.  (I have an immersion blender that works perfectly, but you could also do it in batches in the blender.)  Adjust S+P to taste.

Banana "ice cream"

I read about making banana "ice cream" several places in a week, and wanted to try it out.  The only ingredient is ripened bananas, which you need to freeze.  So week after week I bought double batches of bananas, hoping to freeze 3 or 4 when they got ripe.  And week after week they all got eaten before they made it to the freezer.  I suppose there are worse things than banana lovin' kids.  So one week I bought three bunches of bananas, and finally got 4 into the freezer.

So all you need are frozen bananas.  You want them a tiny bit thawed, though, so either pull them out 15 minutes or so beforehand, or microwave them a tiny bit.  Then just break them into 2" chunks (or so) and put them in the food processor and blend, blend, blend.  They turn mushy, then suddenly transform into a creamy ice cream texture.  It was a huge hit with all the kids.  We just topped them with a few M&M's, but it would be good with peanut butter, or Quik powder, or caramel sauce, or ......

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pioneer Woman's Pot Roast

  • 1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 whole Onions
  • 6 whole Carrots (Up To 8 Carrots)
  • Salt To Taste
  • Pepper To Taste
  • 1 cup Red Wine (optional, You Can Use Beef Broth Instead)
  • 2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, or more to taste
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste

Preparation Instructions

First and foremost, choose a nicely marbled piece of meat. This will enhance the flavor of your pot roast like nothing else. Generously salt and pepper your chuck roast.
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).
Cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.
Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.
If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up.
When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.
Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.

Pioneer Woman's Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 3/4 cups Butter
  • 1 package (8 Oz.) Cream Cheese, Softened
  • 1/2 cup (to 3/4 Cups) Half-and-Half
  • 1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Black Pepper

Preparation Instructions

Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. When they’re cooked through, the fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.
Drain the potatoes in a large colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients.
Turn off the stove and add 1 ½ sticks of butter, an 8-ounce package of cream cheese and about ½ cup of half-and-half. Mash, mash, mash! Next, add about ½ teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and ½ a teaspoon of black pepper.
Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish. Throw a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350-degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.
Note: When making this dish a day or two in advance, take it out of the fridge about 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until warmed through.

Crispy Chicken Burritos

 In a large bowl, combine 2 cups cooked white rice, 1 cup shredded cooked chicken, 1 can rinsed black beans (optional), 1/2 cup finely diced onion, 1/2 cup finely diced red peppers, 1 chopped avocado, 1 t chili power, 1 t cumin, 1 t garlic powder, chopped cilantro to taste.
 One by one, spread a thin layer of sour cream on a large tortilla, followed by shredded cheese.  Place a large scoop of the filling inside and wrap tightly.  Then in a large skillet, brown all sides of burrito in 2 T of cooking oil.  Bake in the oven for 15 min at 350 until hot throughout.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Simple Berry Cobbler

I love it when I try a new recipe and know it is going to be a new staple in our household. This cobbler was so simple to throw together and so delicious with vanilla ice cream and whipped topping!

1 stick melted butter
1 - 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup bisquick
1 cup milk
1-2 cups berries

Preparation Instructions

Melt butter in a microwavable dish. Pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk. Mix well. Then, pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together. Butter a baking dish.
Now rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly. If you desire, sprinkle an additional teaspoon of sugar over the cobbler 10 minutes before it’s done.

Crock Pot Clam Chowder

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and diced

1 (6.5-ounce) can minced clams, drained

5 small red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 cup sliced celery

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups half-and-half (or you could use heavy cream)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (to add later)


Use a 4-quart slow cooker. Brown the bacon on the stovetop, and drain the accumulated grease (I saved bacon from breakfast-- about 6 4 slices (I accidentally ate a few...)

Put the bacon into your crockpot, and add clams. Add all the vegetables and spices and pour in the broth. Cover, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the onion is translucent and the potatoes squish easily with a fork.

Use a hand-held stick blender and pulse a few times to naturally thicken the soup. Stir in half and half and shredded cheese. Ladle into wide-mouthed bowls or bread bowls.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Steak Sandwiches


  • 1 whole Large (or 2 Small) Onions
  • 2 sticks Butter (lots And Lots Of Butter)
  • 2 pounds (to 3 Pounds) Cube Steak (tenderized Round Steak That's Been Extra Tenderized)
  • Lawry's Seasoned Salt (or Similar Seasoned Salt)
  • 1/2 cup (approximately) Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tabasco Sauce, To Taste
  • 4 whole French/deli Rolls

Preparation Instructions

Slice onions and cook in 1/4 stick butter until soft and light brown. Remove and set aside.
Slice cube steak against the grain. Season with Lawry’s.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter over high heat (in same skillet) until melted and beginning to brown. Add meat in single layer. Cook one side until brown, then flip and cook until brown, about a minute on both sides.
Add 1/2 cup (at least) Worcestershire sauce, 5 to 6 shakes Tabasco, and 2 tablespoons butter. Add cooked onions. Stir to combine.
Butter halved French rolls and brown in skillet.
To assemble, lay bottom half of French roll on plate. Place meat mixture, followed by a spoonful of juice from the pan. Top with other half of roll, cut in half, and devour!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Eggs Benedict

Don't be scared of Eggs Benedict.  It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought.  We had this with breakfast potatoes for dinner the other night.  Yum!


  • 3 whole English Muffins
  • 3 slices Canadian Bacon
  • 3 whole Eggs (plus 3 Egg Yolks)
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1 whole Lemon, Juiced
  • Cayenne Pepper To Taste

Preparation Instructions

First, bring a pot of water to a boil. While the water’s boiling, place a few English muffins halves and an equal number of Canadian bacon slices on a cookie sheet. Lightly butter the English muffins and place them under the broiler for just a few minutes, or until the English muffins are very lightly golden. Be careful not to dry out the Canadian bacon.
Now if you do not have an egg poacher you can poach your eggs by doing the following: With a spoon, begin stirring the boiling water in a large, circular motion. When the tornado’s really twisting crack in an egg. Or two. Or three. The reason for the swirling is so the egg will wrap around itself as it cook, keeping it together. Cook for about 2 ½ to 3 minutes.
In a small saucepan, melt 2 sticks of butter until sizzling. But don’t let it burn! Separate three eggs and place the yolks into a blender. Turn the blender on low to allow the yolks to combine, then begin pouring the very hot butter in a then stream into the blender. The blender should remain on the whole time, and you should be careful to pour in the butter very slowly. Keep pouring butter until it’s all gone, then immediately begin squeezing lemon juice into the blender. If you are going to add Cayenne pepper this is the point at which you would do that.
Place the English muffins on the plate, face up. Next, place a slice of Canadian bacon on each half. Vegetarian variation: you can omit the Canadian bacon altogether, or you can wilt fresh spinach and place it on the muffins for Eggs Florentine, which is divine in its own right. Place the egg on top of the bacon and then top with a generous helping of Hollandaise sauce.
Note: To ensure that everything is hot at the time when it’s ready to serve plunge the poached eggs back into the hot water just before serving, and make the Hollandaise at the very last minute.

Breakfast Potatoes


  • 4 whole (to 5) Large Potatoes
  • 1 whole Onion
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Or Canola Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Bacon Fat
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Red And Green Bell Peppers, Diced (optional)

Preparation Instructions

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover entirely with water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork tender. You can also bake them in the oven at 375 for about an hour.
When they are ready, place the potatoes on a cutting board and dice them into 1-inch pieces.
Next cut up an onion into a large, rough dice.
In a large skillet heat oil and bacon fat over medium-low heat. Put the onions in the skillet and sauté until they start to turn brown. (You can also use red and green bell peppers diced up. If you do, throw them in at this point).

Next, throw in the diced potatoes. Stir well and then slightly press/pack then. Now you will cook them without stirring for several minutes. You want the pan to be hot enough to crisp the potatoes but not hot enough to char them. (Optional step: sprinkle a bit of flour over potatoes as they cook). Cook for several minutes and then flip them with a spatula. Salt and Pepper them as they cook. Cook until desired brownness.

Alfredo Pasta w/ chicken and broccoli


  • 1 pound pasta (I used penne)
  • 1 stick Butter
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 small bunch of fresh broccoli
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded or cubed chicken

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta according to package directions.  When it's almost done, add the broccoli.  Cook until desired tenderness.
In a saucepan or skillet, warm butter and cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Grate Parmesan cheese and place half of it into a large serving bowl. Pour warm butter/cream mixture over the top.
Drain pasta and broccoli and immediately pour it into the bowl.  Add chicken.
Toss a couple of times, then sprinkle in the other half of the Parmesan.
Toss to combine, thinning with pasta water if necessary.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 small can pineapple tidbits, including juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 T soy sauce
3/4 cup ketchup
dash of salt and pepper
5 froz chicken thighs

I mixed the sauce together and cooked in crockpot on low for 8 hours. You can also bake at 350 for 1 hour. Delicious!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Another one from the Pioneer Woman. It was SO delicious and all 5 of us scarfed it up. Despite the long list of ingredients it was very quick and easy to mak e. Here's the recipe:


  • 3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Cubes
  • 3 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, More To Taste
  • 1 pound Fettuccine
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
  • 1/2 whole Large Red Onion, Sliced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
  • 2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • Cayenne Pepper To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • Salt To Taste
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley, To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when pasta is still al dente; do not overcook!

Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun spice over chicken pieces. Toss around to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add half the chicken in a single layer; do not stir. Allow chicken to brown on one side, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and cook an additional minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate.

Repeat with remaining chicken. Remove chicken, leaving pan on high heat.

Add remaining olive oil and butter. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over very high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove all vegetables from the pan.

With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in cream, stirring/whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or salt to taste. Sauce should be spicy!

Finally, add chicken and vegetables to sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.

Top with chopped fresh parsley and chow down!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oprah's Roast Chicken

This one was juicy, flavorful, and delicious! And since whole chickens are often cheaper per lb than pieces, why don't I cook this more often??

•1 (4- to 5-pound) whole chicken
•Kosher salt and ground black pepper
•2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
•2 cups milk
•Zest of 2 lemons
•10 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
•½ cinnamon stick
•5 to 8 large sage leaves or dried chopped sage about 1 T
•2 (3") sprigs rosemary or about 1 T dried


Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 2 hours

Preheat oven to 375°. Discard chicken neck and any included giblets. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt and black pepper, including inside the cavity.

Place a 4-quart (or larger) Dutch oven or heavy oven-safe pot or pan over high heat. Add butter; when it melts and foams, add chicken. Brown chicken over high heat 10 minutes, using tongs to turn over. When chicken is evenly golden brown, turn it breast side down in pot and pour in milk. Bring to a simmer, then turn off heat.

Add to milk the lemon zest, garlic cloves, cinnamon, sage, and rosemary. Cover pot with a lid or foil and roast 45 minutes. Remove lid and roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°, 30 to 45 minutes more. Remove from oven and carve or shred chicken (it should pull off the bone easily). If needed, add salt to sauce to taste. Serve, spooning sauce from pan over meat.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stir Fry 911

I need a Stir Fry rescue-- please help! I love stir fry but am not very good at making it. What are your tricks? Sauce recipes? Cooking techniques?
Here is what I made last week: I chopped chicken breasts, onion, and carrots (carrots always seem to need more cooking time) and fried them up with sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Then in a bowl, I mixed a sauce of soy sauce, brown sugar, and more garlic. I poured the sauce over the cooked chicken and added whatever veggies I had on hand. I tried to only cook it enough to soften not wilt the veggies. It turned out pretty well, but I still feel like I need help with stir fry. Any tips?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chicken Korma in the slow cooker

A delicous Indian meal in the slow cooker!

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut in chunks (about 3 small thighs)
1 large potato, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch chunks
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes and juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (to add later)
cooked white or brown long grain rice for serving

Put the chicken into the bottom of your pot. Add potato and onion. Pour in the tomatoes, and add garlic and all spices. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3 to 4. Discard the cinnamon stick, and stir in the sour cream or yogurt. Serve over rice.

Ranch dressing powder

I had a giant container of Dan's Ranch from Costco that I really liked, and finally finished it.  I used it for ranch chicken, and recently I've been adding some to taco soup for extra fun flavor.  It is great stirred into some greek yogurt for a veggie dip.  I'm sure there are plenty of good uses for ranch!  Costco doesn't carry it anymore, so I looked up a recipe to make my own.  Ingredients cost barely over $1, and made about 25 servings.

10 saltines
3/4 cup dried parsley flakes
1/4 dried onion
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup garlic powder
1 T dried dillweed

Pules saltines in the food processor until a powder.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until blended.  Keep in an airtight container.  1 tablespoon = 1 packet of ranch powder.

(This recipe isn't salted, and ranch seasoning is usually pretty salty, so salt recipes as needed.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Creamy Tomato Pasta w/ Shrimp

Below is the recipe from the website. I changed from penne to bowtie pasta. I also added sliced bell peppers, which was a great addition!

¾ pounds Penne Pasta
1 pound Shrimp
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 whole Onion (small)
2 cloves Garlic
½ cups White Wine, Or To Taste
1 can Tomato Sauce (8 Oz)
1 cup Heavy Cream
Fresh Parsley, to taste
Fresh Basil - To Taste
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste

Preparation Instructions
Cook the penne pasta until tender-firm, also known as al dente.
Peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) 1 pound of extra large shrimp. Heat about 1 tbsp. butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Do not overcook them. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Now, put the cooked shrimp on the cutting board and pull off the tails. Chop the shrimp into bite –sized pieces and set aside.
Finely dice one small onion. Mince two cloves of garlic.In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally. After the garlic and onions have cooked a bit add your white wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. If you would rather not use wine, you can use low-sodium chicken broth instead (about ½ cup).
Now add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce. Stir well until combined. Then add 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.
Now chop your herbs, about a tablespoon of chopped parsley and about the same amount of chopped basil, or if you’re feeling very proper, chiffonaded.
Now add your chopped shrimp back into the tomato cream sauce. Give it a stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in your herbs and stir until combined. Finally add your cooked penne pasta and give it a good stir.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Garlic buttered noodles

I served this as a side dish, but it stole the show.  So simple, but garlicy buttery cheesy good.

2 1/4 cups uncooked egg noodles
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
2 Tbl butter, melted
2 Tbl grated parmesan
2 tsp minced fresh parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic (I was pretty generous with this measurement)
1/8 tsp pepper

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain.  Transfer to a serving bowl.  Immediately add other ingredients and toss to coat.


Chicken Chimichangas

These were really flavorful, and came together really fast.  They aren't spicy at all, the kids all enjoyed them. Nathanael just added more hot sauce as he ate.  We had them along with Spanish Rice.

3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 cup refried beans
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
6 (or more) 8" flour tortillas, warmed
3/4 cup shredded cheddar

Combine first 6 ingredients and microwave 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, or until heated through.  Scoop 1/3 cup of filling into a tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, fold bottom, side, side, then roll up.  Repeat until your filling is gone.

Heat some oil in a big skillet (we have a deep sided electric skillet that worked perfectly.)  Cook chimichangas until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

Serve over lettuce.  Top with cheese and sour cream.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cream Cheese Chicken

The above are photos of the chicken and sauce separately, before they are combined in the crock pot to cook.

Cream Cheese Crockpot Chicken Recipe

1 frying chicken, cut up (I used about 4 pounds of breast and rib chicken pieces)

2 tbsp melted butter

dash of pepper

1/2 package of dry Italian seasoning mix

1 can cream of chicken soup1

8 oz brick of cream cheese, cut up in cubes

1/2 C chicken broth1 large onion

crushed garlic to taste

Brush chicken with butter and sprinkle with the dry Italian seasoning mix (I did two layers in my crockpot to make sure that the Italian seasoning got on all the chicken and not just those peices on top.) Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours. About 45 minutes before done, brown the onion in the butter and then add the cream cheese, soup, and chicken broth to the saucepan. Add the crushed garlic and stir all ingredients until smooth. Add pepper to taste. Pour sauce mixture over chicken in crockpot and cook an additional 30-45 minutes.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Baked Spaghetti

We just had this one at a friend's house and it was SO delicious! The sauce was amazing. Here's the recipe. I'll have to try making it myself soon:

2 cups canned diced tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 small bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
1 cup grated cheddar
1 cup grated Monterey Jack or mozz

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a stockpot, combine the tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, onions, peppers, garlic, parsley, seasoning mixtures, sugar, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat and let simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Crumble the ground beef in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until fully cooked, with no pink color remaining. Drain the fat from the meat, and then add the ground beef to the stockpot. Simmer for 20 more minutes. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Cover the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan with sauce. Add a layer of pasta and then a little less than 1/2 of each cheese; repeat the layers, ending with the sauce. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Top the casserole with the remaining cheese, return it to the oven, and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 more minutes. Cut into squares before serving.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.