Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2009 Menu/Recipes

[Updated to include 2011 photos]

Hashbrown Casserole
1 bag shredded hasbrowns, thawed
½ small block Velveeta cheese
1 c. sour cream
3 scallions, finely chopped
3 Tbsp butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
Melt Velveeta and butter in microwave in 2 minute intervals until soft. Mix all ingredients together. Put in sprayed pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Serve.

Christmas Morning Strata
1 lb. sausage
8 eggs
10 slices of bread, cubed
3 c. milk
2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
10-oz. pkg. frozen cut asparagus,
thawed and drained
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt

Begin the night before Christmas. Crumble sausage into large skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned, stirring occasionally. Drain off any drippings. Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add sausage and remaining ingredients; mix well. Spoon into a greased 13x9 baking dish. Cover; refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake 60-70 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into squares; serve hot. Makes 10-12 servings.

Christmas Morning French Toast Casserole
1 loaf French bread
6 eggs
3 c. milk
1/3-c sugar
1-2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla extract [Use vanilla butter nut flavoring and a few dashes of nutmeg to taste like Grandmother's pound cake!]

Spray a 13x9-inch pan w/Pam. Tear the bread and place it in the pan. Combine the remaining ingredients together. Pour them over the bread. Bake at 375°F for 45 min. Dust w/powdered sugar. Serve w/syrup.

Fruit Salad
1 lime (juice and some zest)
1 can chopped pineapple
1 can sliced pears
grapes, kiwi, bananas, apples, etc. (seasonal fresh fruit)
poppy seeds

To prepare sauce: Reserve 1/4 c. canned pineapple juice. Add 1 TBSP honey and the juice of ½ lime. Add 1 tsp. poppy seeds and lime zest. Pour over fruit salad.

Crockpot Grits

1 c. grits (not instant or quick grits)
5 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter

Combine all in crock pot; cook on low 6-8 hours. Season/garnish as desired.

(Shown with hasbrown casserole and a side of shredded cheese for the grits.)

(The original recipe can be found HERE.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Crockpot Sweet Potatoes

6-8 medium sweet potatoes
½ tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
20 oz can crushed pineapple, undrained
1/4 cup brown sugar (we were a little more generous)
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

Cook sweet potatoes until soft (we boiled). Peel, slice, and place in crock pot.
Combine remaining ingredients. Pour over sweet potatoes. We gave it a bit of a stir.
Cover. Cook on high for 4 hours.

Judy Clarke

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jalapeno, Garlic, Cheese Grits

2 cups grits
2 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of tabasco sauce
2 sliced jalapenos
chopped green chiles
garlic salt

Cook grits in salted water, remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Sprinkle garlic salt over cheese and stir. Grease a 9 inch casserole dish with butter, pour mixture in dish. Bake in oven @ 375 degrees for 1 hour.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Swiss Chicken and Stuffing - crockpot

4 - 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 - 6 slices Swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup milk
3 cups Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing mix (8 oz pkg)
½ cup melted butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place chicken breasts in crock pot.
Pour chicken broth over chicken breasts. Put one slice of Swiss cheese on each breast.
Combine both cans of soup and milk. Cover chicken breasts with soup mixture.

Sprinkle stuffing mix over all. Drizzle melted butter on top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Contributor's notes: You can also mix the chicken broth with the soup and you get almost the same results. If you pour the broth over the chicken, it keeps the chicken moist and tender.

Judy Clarke

Glazed Carrots and Parsnips

1 ½ lbs carrots
1 lb parsnips
1 c water
½ tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ c firmly packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp Madeira wine
½ tsp finely grated fresh ginger, fresh mint, parsley or sage (chopped or whole sprigs) for garnish

(These two vegetables complement each other nicely. They can be prepared in advance up to the point to glazing. Additional carrots may be substituted for the parsnips.)

Peel the carrots and parsnips. Cut into 3" lengths. Slice each piece in half lengthwise and slice the thick upper portions into quarters lengthwise, so the pieces are of equal size for cooking. Put them into a saucepan with the water, salt and 2 Tbsp of the butter. Cover tightly and simmer very gently over low heat until just tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a sautè pan or frying pan over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Add the sugar, wine, and ginger. Cook while stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and continue to cook until reduced and thickened, 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots and parsnips and toss until well coated. Cook until the vegetables are heated through, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish; garnish with mint, parsley or sage. Serves 8-10

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nutella Cookies

Our little one absolutely LOVES Nutella! She would eat a Nutella sandwich (Nutella and bread) every day if we would let her. She loved helping me make (and especially eat!) these cookies. Thank you, Pioneer Woman!

1 c. Nutella

1/2 c. sugar

1 c. all purpose flour

1 whole egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients. Form into 1" balls, and then smash flat with your hands (or the bottom of a cup). Bake for 7-8 min.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Slow Cooker Chocolate Pudding Cake

1 (3.9 oz) pkg chocolate instant pudding*
3 c. milk
1 pkg (2-layer size) chocolate fudge cake mix [and ingredients to make cake]
1/4 c. mini semisweet chocolate chips
2 c. thawed cook whip [or try vanilla ice cream]

Spray 3.5-4.5 qt. slow cooker with Pam. Add pudding mix and milk to slow cooker and beat with whisk for 2 minutes. Prepare cake mix as directed. [Consider substituting strong coffee for the water.] Slowly pour cake mix over pudding. Do not mix or stir. Cover.

Cook on low 2.5-3 hours or on high 1.5-2 hours or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Turn off heat and let sit for 20-30 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

*Next time I want to try this with caramel (do they make this?) or butterscotch pudding.
From Kraft Recipes

Swiss Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts [can use bone-in but may need to cook longer]
8 slices Swiss cheese
1 package stove-top stuffing mix, prepared
1/2 c. melted butter or margarine [can use less]
1 cup cream of chicken soup [just use entire can]
1/4 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350 deg. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Layer the chicken, cheese and the prepared stuffing ina 9"x13" baking pan. Drizzle with butter. Combine soup and milk and then pour over the layers. Bake, covered with foil, for 1 hour. Yield: 8 servings

(We love to serve this with cranberry sauce and fixings for a "Thanksgiving" meal year-round.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sweet and Sour Sauce

•1/3 cup white or rice vinegar (Note: rice vinegar gives better results)
•4 tablespoons brown sugar
•1 tablespoon ketchup
•1 teaspoon soy sauce
•2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 4 teaspoons water

Mix the vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce together and bring to a boil in a small pot. Mix together the cornstarch and water, add to the other ingredients and stir to thicken.

(If desired, you can add 1 green pepper, cut into chunks, and pineapple chunks as desired after adding the cornstarch. For a thicker sauce, increase the cornstarch to 4 teaspoons while keeping the water constant.)

Asian Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons sesame oil

1. Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, sesame oil in a bowl.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Creamy Caramel Apple Dip

3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. cream cheese
apple slices

Mix the first four ingredients together until creamy. Serve with apple slices.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quick Apple Turnovers

Quick Apple Turnovers

(makes 16)

2 cans crescent rolls
2 large apples (granny smith) peeled and cut into 8 pieces each
Separate dough into triangles--place apple wedges on large end and roll up
Place on a buttered 9x13 baking dish

Mix together:
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 sticks of butter melted
1 tsp vanilla

Pour over rolls:
Take 8 ounces of lemon/lime soda and pour around edges ONLY
Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 for 40 minutes

Can easily cut recipe in half and use an 8x8 baking dish. Delicious!

Joan Crooks

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pasta in Meaty Tomato Cream Sauce

Servings: 8

1 lb ground beef
3/4 lb mild and/or hot ground Italian sausage
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar (26 oz) tomato and basil pasta sauce
1 can (14.5 oz) sliced peeled tomatoes with liquid
1 ½ Tbsp dried basil
1/4 c chopped fresh basil
1 c heavy cream
fresh mushrooms
1 lb pasta of choice, cooked al dente

Brown meat and onions in a large skillet. Drain off excess fat.

Transfer to a crock pot. Stir in next 4 ingredients. Cover and cook on HIGH heat setting 4-4 ½ hours, adding fresh mushrooms toward the end of cooking time, if desired. Stir in fresh basil and cream. Spoon the sauce over the cooked pasta and toss. Serve at once.

Easy and delicious!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/2 cup applesauce
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 egg
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter

Whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, sugar and baking powder in a medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg, applesauce and vegetable oil or melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Stir in the chopped apples. Don’t worry if it's still a little lumpy.

Let the batter sit for 10 minutes while you heat the skillet. Over low-medium heat melt a tablespoon of butter. Once the skillet is hot, add about 1/3 cup scoop of batter to the pan. Let cook until bubbles begin to form on the top surface and bottom is lightly browned. Carefully flip with a spatula and cook the second side until golden brown, a couple minutes more.

adapted from my Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Friday, September 23, 2011

Feta Chicken

Easy Feta Chicken Bake
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 oz. crumbled feta
Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange chicken in 13x9-inch baking dish. Drizzle w/1 Tbsp lemon juice. Season w/salt & pepper. Top w/feta cheese; drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Bake 35-40 min. or until chicken is cooked through.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Avocado Quesadillas

Avocado Quesadillas
Makes 4 servings
Time: 10 minutes

2 avocados
4 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons butter
4 tortillas
1 cup grated white cheddar (Another cheese to try is mozzarella, whose stretchiness when melted is a great counterpoint to the creamy avocado. It’s on our list to try!)

Mash the avocados with the lemon or lime juice and the salt.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Lay the tortilla down and sprinkle the cheddar across the surface. Cook until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the tortilla is deeply golden. Quickly spread 1/4 of the avocado mixture across one half of the tortilla. Turn off the heat and fold the tortilla in half, pressing down so the melted cheese glues it together. Repeat for other tortillas.
Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Granny's Burnt Caramel Cake

From Logan's grandmother Pauline's recipe book...

The recipe for Burnt Caramel Cake is:

2 1/2 cups brown sugar, separated
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup butter
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup cold water
3 cups flour

Place 1/2 cup brown sugar in a pan on the stove until it smokes intensely and is quite dark. Then add 1/2 cup boiling water and cook until it forms a syrup, having 2/3 cup when done.

Beat 1 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2/3 cup butter together till it creams. Beat 2 egg yolks and whites separately. Add the yolks and 1 cup cold water, also the 'burnt' syrup to the batter mixture.

Sift the 3 cups flour six times. Add half to mixture, then beat. Add the other half lastly. Then add the stiffly beaten egg whites with one teaspoon vanilla, soda and baking powder.

This recipe makes a medium size cake. Bake in a hot over in layers or square tin.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Peach Upside Down Cake

Fellow Close To My Heart consultant Aaron Brown shared this delicious recipe on her blog. She is an amazingly talented artist (and baker)!

Peach Upside Down Cake
Bake: 45-50 minutes
Cool: 15 minutes
Prep: 25 minutes

•1/4 cup butter
•1/2 cup packed brown sugar
•1-1/2 to 2 cups sliced, pitted and peeled peaches or frozen unsweetened peach slices, thawed and large slices cut in half lengthwise
•1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
•1-1/4 tsp. baking powder
•1/4 tsp. salt
•1/2 cup butter, softened
•3/4 cup granulated sugar
•1 egg
•1 tsp. vanilla
•1/2 cup milk
•I added some chopped pecans as well

1. Place 1/4 cup butter in an 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Warm in a 350 degrees F oven about 5 minutes or until butter is melted. (Be sure to watch carefully to avoid over browning the butter). Remove pan from oven. Add brown sugar, stirring until sugar is completely moistened. Spread sugar mixture evenly in pan. Arrange peach slices evenly over brown sugar mixture. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in granulated sugar until well combined. Add egg and vanilla, beating until combined. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to beaten butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Spread batter evenly over the peaches in the pan.

3. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Loosen cake from sides of pan; invert onto a large serving plate. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Smoked Fish Dip

Chop in food processor: 3 Tbsp celery, 3 Tbsp onion, 3 Tbsp pickle relish

then add:

16 oz sour cream
8 oz cream cheese
2-3 Tbsp mayo
glob of mustard
dash of Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning
1 ½ lbs smoked fish
2-3 Tbsp lemon juice

Mix well. Absolutely delish!

Bertina's Pasta Salad

Boma - Flavors of Africa
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Yield: 10 servings

1 lb tri-color pasta (4 c after cooked)
3/4 c red onion, diced fine
1 c red bell pepper, diced fine
1 c green bell pepper, diced fine
1 c celery, diced
1 c mayonnaise
½ tsp granulated garlic
1 3/4 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp ground turmeric, toasted (3-4 minutes)
1 Tbsp curry powder, toasted (3-4 minutes)
S&P to taste

Cook pasta and allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the cooled pasta, and all the other ingredients. Check the seasoning, and adjust if needed. Chill.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Strawberry-Stuffed French Toast

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. powdered sugar [I used less.]
1 T. vanilla extract
1/2 t. cinnamon
8 slices bread, white or whole wheat
3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 eggs, beaten
2 T. milk
4 T. butter, optional
2 T. powdered sugar, sifted

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon; mix until smooth. Spread one side of each slice of bread evenly with the cream cheese mixture. On the cream cheese side of four slices of bread, layer with some sliced strawberries evenly over the surface of each slice. Top each slice with a remaining slice of bread, pressing the cream cheese side down onto the strawberries. Press together gently to seal berries inside sandwich.

In a shallow bowl, combine the eggs and milk; mix well and set aside.

Preheat oven to 200°F. Spray a large baking sheet lightly with cooking spray and place in oven. Spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray or melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium-high heat.

Dip strawberry sandwiches into the egg mixture, turning to soak each side. Place soaked sandwich in the hot skillet and cook on each side until browned. Remove sandwich from skillet and place on baking sheet in warm oven and repeat until all sandwiches are cooked.

Just before serving, cut each sandwich diagonally; top with remaining strawberries and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Serve with Warm Strawberry Syrup or maple syrup.

Serves four.

Source: "Simple Strawberry Sensations" by Laura York

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Easy Cheesy Potatoes

Crockpot recipe

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5-6 hours (low)
Makes: 12 servings

28 oz package frozen loose-pack diced hash brown potatoes with onion and peppers, thawed
10.75 oz can condensed cream of chicken with herbs soup
1 c finely shredded smoked Gouda cheese (4 oz)
1 c finely shredded provolone cheese (4 oz)
8 oz package cream cheese, cut into cubes
3/4 c milk
1/4 c sliced leek or thinly sliced green onions
½ tsp ground black pepper
4 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

In 4 quart slow cooker, combine thawed potatoes, soup, smoked Gouda cheese, provolone cheese, cream cheese, milk, leek, and pepper.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5-6 hours. To serve, sprinkle with bacon.

Yum, even without the bacon!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Triple Chocolate Cake

1 pkg. deep chocolate cake mix
1 sm. (3 oz.) pkg instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. strong coffee, cooled
8 oz. sour cream
4 eggs
1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips (1-1/2 c.)
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a Bundt pan with Pam. Mix all ingredients except chips and powdered sugar for 5 min. with mixer. Add chips last and stir thoroughly. Pour into pan and bake for 65 min. After cake cools and is turned onto plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chicken with Creamy Chive Sauce

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 4-5 hours (low)
Makes: 6 servings

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 ½ pounds total)
1/4 c butter
7 oz package Italian salad dressing mix
10.75 oz can condensed golden mushroom soup
½ c dry white wine
½ of an 8 oz tub cream cheese with chives and onion
Snipped fresh chives (optional)

Place chicken in 4 quart slow cooker. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the dry Italian salad dressing mix. Add mushroom soup, wine, and cream cheese, stirring until combined. Pour over the chicken.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4-5 hours. Serve chicken with sauce over pasta or rice, sprinkled with fresh snipped chives.

~~I made this for the first time last night to rave reviews from all the kids. I didn't have the fancy tub of cream cheese with chives, so I had to improvise and use dried chives and plain cream cheese, since that was all I had. I doubled the recipe for the troops, so had to use a combination of bone-in and boneless chicken. Work with what you have, but definintely use the golden mushroom soup!

Easy peasy, and great over brown rice.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Homemade Hand Sanitizer

1- cup Aloe Vera Gel (or you can make your own)
1- teaspoon rubbing alcohol
2- teaspoons vegetable glycerin
8-10- drops tea tree or lavender essential oil

Mix together and then store in small bottles or hand pumps.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Birds Nests for Easter

1 cup of butterscotch chips
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup of sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 cup chow mein noodles
2 cups chex cereal, lightly crushed
assorted candies such as malted eggs and marshmallow chicks

Combine butterscotch chips, syrup, peanut butter and sugar. Microwave in 30 second intervals till smooth. Stir mixture into noodles and cereal until coated. Quickly shape small balls into nests and add chocolate eggs. Makes about a dozen nests

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lemon Squares

This recipe came from long-time family friend and the bestest cook ever, Faye Tieche. She was Aunt Faye to our kids, Miz Tieche to Dick when he worked for her in the school cafeteria back in middle school. We miss this wonderful lady!

2 c sugar
4 Tbsp Lemon juice
½ tsp salt
1 c butter, softened
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 c flour, sifted
½ c powdered sugar
1 lemon rind, grated

Make dough of flour, powdered sugar, and butter. Knead together with salt. Spread in 9x12 ungreased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Beat remaining ingredients with wire whisk; pour over baked dough and bake again at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in fridge at least two hours. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar, then cut into squares.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Busy Day Soup

6 c water (I used beef stock)
1 lb ground beef
1 L can tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg frozen mixed vegetables
1 pkg onion soup mix
2 cubes of beef bouillon (use if cooking with water)
½ c macaroni or rice
minced garlic
salt & pepper
Italian seasonings

Brown and drain the ground beef. Add water and bring to a boil. (The original recipe called for cooking the beef in the boiling water rather than browning it.) Add remaining ingredients and simmer for one hour. Freezes well.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Key Lime or Lemon Meringue Pie

1 can sweetened condensed milk
½ c lime or lemon juice (fresh only!)
1 tsp grated peel
2 egg yolks

Put yolks in a mixing bowl. Add lime (or lemon) juice, stirring well to “cook” the yolks. Gradually add in condensed milk and peel, stirring well.

Place mixture in:
9" Graham cracker crust - recipe below

2 egg whites at room temp
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 c sugar

In small mixing bowl, whip whites with cream of tartar until they hold a soft peak. Gradually whip in sugar; continue to whip just til whites hold firm peaks. Pile onto pie filling, sealing to inside edge of pie shell. Bake in 325̊ oven til top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool.

Graham cracker crust

1 ½ c graham cracker crumbs (grind your own or use ½ box of pre-ground crumbs)
½ c melted butter

Place crumbs in medium sized bowl. Stir in melted butter until thoroughly blended. Pack mixture firmly into 9" pie pan, and press firmly to bottom and sides, bringing crumbs evenly up to the rim. Chill one hour before filling, or bake in 350̊ oven for 8 minutes, cool, chill, and fill. Makes 8 servings.

Instead of birthday cake, this is Haley's preference. I made two this year and had 13 for dinner. Yummm...not a crumb left!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Click HERE to learn how to cook "the perfect omelet."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Three Cheese-stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce

Prep time: 15 min.
Cook time: 1 ½ hrs.
Servings: 8

8 oz jumbo pasta shells
30 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
8 oz Parmesan cheese, grated, divided
½ c grated Romano cheese
1 whole egg
12 leaves basil, chiffonade
2 Tbsp minced parsley
½ whole medium onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ lbs Italian sausage
½ c red wine
29 oz can crushed tomatoes
15 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp minced parsley

Cook pasta shells for half the cooking time; make sure not to overcook. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in L skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Pour in red wine and lit cook for a minute or two. Pour in cans of crushed tomatoes and stir. Add sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check for seasonings; can add crushed red peppers if you like a little heat. In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, half the Parmesan, Romano, egg, S&P, basil and 2 Tbsp parsley. Stir till combined.

To assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Fill each half-cooked shell with the cheese mixture. Place face down on the sauce. Repeat with shells until cheese mixture is gone. Top shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on extra Parmesan.

Bake at 350̊ for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve with crusty French bread.

I got this from the fabulous Pioneer Woman ( This is easy and sooo good!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Branana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups mashed, fully ripe bananas (3 medium)
2 tablespoons fat-free milk [I used 1% because that's what we had.]
1 cup Kellogg's® All-Bran® Original cereal [I used Bran Buds.]
1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened [Butter, of course!]
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
[1 tsp. vanilla]
1/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts [I didn't have nuts so I used 1 c. chocolate chips!]

1. Stir together flour, baking powder and soda. Set aside.

2. In small mixing bowl, stir together bananas, milk and KELLOGG'S ALL-BRAN cereal. Let stand 5 minutes or until cereal softens [or while you complete the next step].

3. In large mixing bowl, beat margarine and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add eggs. [Add vanilla.] Beat well. Stir in cereal mixture and nuts [and/or chocolate chips]. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined. Spread batter evenly in 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.

4. Bake at 350° F about 50 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 1 loaf, 15 slices

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Crunchy Onion Hamburger Casserole

1 can French fried onion rings
1 lb ground beef
1 pkg onion gravy mix
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 ½ c water
1/3 c uncooked rice
1 10 oz pkg frozen peas, thawed
1 c. water chestnuts, drained and sliced

Brown beef and drain. Blend in gravy mix, garlic salt, water and rice. Bring to boil. Simmer 15 minutes. Add peas and water chestnuts and continue to simmer til rice is tender. Stir in onions. Serve with soy sauce.

This is what's for dinner tonight. Easy peasy!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Perfect Baked Potatoes

Click HERE for a tutorial for the perfect baked potato.

No kidding.

Just sayin'.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hard Boiled Eggs

OK, so you think you know how to hard boil eggs, but you can find some great instructions with a great secret step to make them so easy to peel. Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lucky Black-eyed Pea Salad

Servings: 6-8
Prep: 20 minutes

1 16 oz pkg frozen black-eyed peas (or field peas)
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c red pepper jelly
1/4 c red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 c diced red bell pepper
1/3 c diced red onion
2 large fresh peaches, peeled and diced (canned would probably work)
2 c torn watercress (or arugula)

Prepare peas according to pkg directions, simmering only until al dente; drain, and let cool 1 hour.

Whisk together cilantro and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add cooked black-eyed peas, bell pepper, and onion, tossing to coat; cover and chill 8 hours. Stir peaches into pea mixture just before serving, placing mixture on top of watercress/arugula, or dump it all together.

This is amazingly GOOD...and good for you. Lynne made it using field peas, which had a nice crunch to them, along with a tangy taste. Yum!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Greek Chicken with Couscous

Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 14 ½ oz cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic, undrained
1 ½ cups water
2 6 oz pkgs couscous with toasted pine nut mix
1 c crumbled feta cheese (4 ounces--I used 6 oz)
½ c pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

Cut chicken into ½ inch pieces. Place chicken in slow cooker. Add undrained tomatoes and 1 ½ c water.

Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or on high for 2 1/2-3 hours. Stir in couscous, cover and let stand for five minutes. Fluff couscous with fork.

To serve, spoon couscous mixture on plate. Sprinkle with feta cheese and olives.

Serve with a salad and bread.

I made this tonight for Bob and Lynne, and Mike and Jennie. Everyone said this is a keeper! Haley, these olives are not the green ones that you don't like:)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Creamy Potatoes and Kielbasa

4-6 Servings

1 package (28-ounce size) frozen hash brown potatoes
1 pound fully cooked kielbasa or polish sausage, cut into 1/4" slices [I used turkey kielbasa.]
1 can (10 3/4-ounce size) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup water [I just used 1/2 can of water.]

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the potatoes are tender.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki

■3 lbs. chicken tenders [I just used bone-in chicken]
■2 8-oz. cans crushed pineapple
■1/2 C. chicken broth
■1 C. teriyaki sauce
■3 Tbs. soy sauce
■1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Place chicken in crock pot. Pour remaining ingredients over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Original recipe HERE

Here's a link to another one to try. Mix everything and then freeze. Throw in the crockpop the morning that you want it for dinner.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Applesauce Chicken

4 frozen chicken breast halves or thighs
1 ½ c applesauce (or more)
1 Tbsp dried onion flakes, or 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

A 3-4 quart crockpot is the best size for this. If your pot cooks fast, err on the lower end of cooking time.

Put frozen chicken pieces into your crockpot. Add the onion (if you are using the dried onion, wait and add it to the applesauce). In a bowl, mix applesauce, vinegar, garlic, and spices together. Pour on top of the chicken.

Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, or on high for 3-4.

Serve over rice.

Super Bowl Dip

1 package Velveeta - (16 oz)
1 can chili - no beans
1 pound medium or spicy sausage -- browned, crumbled

You can heat this on the stove until the cheese melts and it all mixes together, or put it in the crockpot on LOW until blended and heated through --- then keep it there to serve. I serve with sturdy chips, fritos or even pita pieces. If you are trying to be healthy, serve it with celery sticks. GREAT for Super Bowl Sunday.