Saturday, December 29, 2012

Creamy Cauliflower soup

I love finding a good deal... I found heads of cauliflower for just .99 cents a head (which normal runs about $2.50 a head) so I got 2 heads of cauliflower for less than what I usually buy just one head for...a good deal in my book... I also found celery for .99cents a bunch which also is usually double that amount..and half and half for .99 cents as well... you can tell these things were on sale cause of the Christmas holiday...:)  so I was thinking what to do with all this newfound cauliflower & other onto I want to roast it in the oven with olive oil & herbs..nah... I wanted something yummy and delicious cause it is cold, snowy & blowing here in December in Michigan...Soup that's what I want... yummy creamy, delicious hot soup.... I used carrots, celery & onion, along with chicken/vegetable stock for the base... use what you have on hand...all veggie stock, or all chicken stock whatever will work... as always use what you have and what you like...that's what's wonderful about cooking....use what works for you....There is a couple of steps to make this soup but it is well worth it... I serve this with shredded co-jack cheese and croutons..but plain is also wonderful...
I made roux to thicken the soup at the end, I first used an immersion blender (cause it is much, much easier than blending this in a blender, but you can do that instead of an immersion blender)..

Creamy Cauliflower soup

10 cups veggie/chicken stock
2 heads cauliflower
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots ,chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
2 T sour cream
1 T white wine
co-jack cheese & croutons for serving (Optional)

**seasonings of your choice, I used kosher salt,pepper, seasoned salt, parsley flakes,onion powder, couple of pinches of nutmeg & cayenne pepper)

5 T EACH butter & flour
2 cups half & half
pinch of onion & garlic powder, cracked pepper and a pinch of salt

In large pot put olive oil in pan over medium heat.  When hot add onion, carrots & celery.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Stir to coat with the oil.  Cook for 4-5 minutes until veggies are halfway done.  While the veggies are cooking, wash the cauliflower & cut the outer leaves off .  Cut in half and remove tough core.  Cut into pieces and place in pot.  Stir well and sprinkle with a little more salt & pepper.  Add veggie/chicken stock (this should cover the veggies completely).  Place lid on pan and bring to a boil.  When boiling turn heat down to medium low and cook for around 10-15 minutes until vegetables are falling apart tender.  Make roux... melt butter in another pan over medium high heat, sprinkle flour over butter and whisk cooking for 2-3 minutes, add half & half and seasonings whisking together.  Continue whisking until thickened.  Back to the soup mixture, turn heat off and check veggies to make sure they are completely tender with fork.  Using your immersion blender blend soup (I blended about 90% of my mixture leaving just a few little pieces of cauliflower.  Add roux and turn heat back on...whisking mixture together until blended.  Drizzle wine over the soup, add sour cream and the last 2 T of butter whisking until sour cream is melted & butter is melted.  Taste to adjust the seasonings if necessary.  Turn off heat (you don't want the soup to boil at this point).  Serve in bowls with cheese sprinkled over the top and croutons... Enjoy

Peanut Butter and Jelly popcorn

I know, I know this sounds like a weird title for a post...but trust me.. you have got to try this stuff... It is absolutely amazing... it is gooey, sticky and downright delicious... kinda like freshly made caramel corn all sticky and amazing...but peanut buttery....and see I could go on and on and on... anyways...I used smooth peanut butter, and jelly (cause the chunks in jam would not make the sauce smooth....) I used grape jelly, but feel free to use whatever you like.....
I got this recipe from my friend Marie...thank you so much for sharing... I love it... make this for your family soon...have plenty of napkins, cause this is one messy treat... and this needs to be eaten right away cause the popcorn will get soggy if you let it sit.... Enjoy

Peanut Butter & Jelly popcorn

8 cups of popped popcorn
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup jelly
1 T butter
2 pinches of kosher salt

Place popcorn in large bowl. In saucepan add peanut butter, jelly, butter and pinch of kosher salt.  Cook over medium heat whisking till the sauce is smooth.  Drizzle mixture evenly over cooked popcorn and with big spoons mix well covering all of the popcorn evenly.  Place into serving bowls and enjoy.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Peanut Brittle

One thing of many that I love about the holidays is that I always make peanut brittle....I only like homemade peanut brittle... the store bought stuff is so not good... it just doesn't have that yummy taste... I like it with lots of peanuts, a little sweet, a dash of so good...
The equipment that you need is a heavy pan and a candy thermometer and a greased baking sheet....I put this into the holiday tins that I give out for Christmas....  Make this for your family soon... Enjoy

**NOTE** make sure that you use RAW peanuts, not roasted peanuts because they need to cook in the syrup, if they are not raw they will become too overdone and burn.  You can usually find raw peanuts next to the nuts in the produce section of your supermarket or in the baking section.

Peanut Brittle

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
Dash salt
2 cups raw peanuts
1 1/2 T butter (NOT margarine)
1 1/2 T vanilla
2 t baking soda

Butter baking sheet pan well, making sure sides get buttered too.
In heavy saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, water & salt in saucepan.  Cook over medium high heat stirring occasionally until mixture reaches 230 degrees or soft ball stage.  Add peanuts stirring well.  Continue cooking and stirring often till mixture reaches 300 degrees.  Turn off heat add, butter & vanilla stirring quickly till butter is melted.  Add baking soda (be careful the mixture really foams up) stirring well, quickly pour mixture onto baking sheet.  Let cool completely.  Then with a small hammer or back of a butter knife break brittle into small pieces.  Enjoy

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas crunch snack mix

I love trying to come up with new things at the holidays... along with our old favorites...
I was looking for something new to add to our holiday Christmas tins that I am giving out full of goodies.... and this was exactly what I was looking for...sweet, yummy and full of good things... you can switch out things or add what you like... for example: use milk chocolate instead of white, add crushed pretzels instead of coconut... use what you like and have... and thought this might be a favorite at other holidays just use the colored M & M's from that time, like pastel ones for Easter, Orange and black ones for Halloween... you get the idea.. whatever you do make this, it is delicious.. Enjoy

Christmas crunch snack mix

2 cups Rice chex cereal (or crispix, or use your favorite cereal)
1 package white chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup red & green plain M & M's

In a double boiler add white chocolate heating and stirring occasionally till smooth and melted.  While the chocolate is melting, in a large bowl add the Rice chex, coconut, & almonds  mixing to combine.  When chocolate is melted pour evenly over cereal mixture.  Fold in M & M's stirring to coat well.  Spread mixture out on waxed paper to cool.  When cool break apart and store in an airtight container.  Enjoy

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pork fried rice

I love fried rice... but I don't love it out at restaurants so much.  It seems like it is very few and far between that it is good.  Most of the time it is all rice, little to no flavoring, and just a few pieces of meat and maybe a green onion or two and greasy.  Not my idea of fried rice.  I like vegetables, meat, scrambled egg and lots of flavorings.  Healthful and delicious. 
I used instant rice, but by all means you can use regular rice.  Just make sure that it is cooled.  You can also make this vegetarian by skipping the meat and adding Tofu, and vegetables.  Also, you can use fresh ginger, but I forgot to buy it at the store, so I used dried ground ginger.  I serve this with extra Soy sauce and Siracha (chinese hot sauce) at the table.  I also sprinkle the servings with sesame seed , for a little nutty crunch but it is optional.  Enjoy

Pork Fried Rice

1 1/2 cups leftover small diced,cooked Pork (I used leftover pork roast)
1 onion, small diced
5 green onions, thinly sliced
3 cups cooked rice, cold
1 cup frozen peas
1 sweet pepper, seeded and diced (I used orange for color, but red or yellow work too)
1 cup fresh mushrooms, diced small
2 eggs,beaten
2 T Olive oil
1 T butter

Sauce: (Mix together)
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
3 T light soy sauce
1 t brown sugar
 (seasonings of your choice: I used;1/4 t each garlic & onion powder, 2 pinches of red pepper flakes, cracked pepper)

In large skillet add olive oil heat until hot and add in onion, mushrooms,and diced sweet pepper. Sprinkle with a little salt.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until vegetables soften up. Add pork and continue cooking 3-4 minutes until mixture is hot, and vegetables are almost softened.  Add peas, stirring well cook for a couple of minutes until peas thaw and add green onion & rice. Pour sauce mixture over all and stir well. Cook for 5-6 minutes over medium high heat until everything is bubbly and rice is getting a nice golden brown.  Move rice mixture to the sides of the pan making a well in the middle.  Melt butter in the well and add the eggs to the well.  Stir constantly with a spoon until eggs are scrambled and cooked about 2-3 minutes.  Stir egg into the rest of the rice mixture and cook for 3-4 more minutes until all is hot and cooked through.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.  Enjoy

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cheesy Potatoes

Who doesn't love Cheesy potatoes... ooey , gooey oh so yummy.  These are super easy to make and throw together.  Sometimes I add other kinds of cheesy in these along with the cheddar to total around 2 cups (co-jack, swiss, a little parmesan) all delicious... Make these soon... Enjoy

Cheesy Potatoes

1 pkg frozen cubed potatoes (I use the ones with peppers and onions added)
1 onion, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese ( save 1 cup for top)
1 stick of butter melted
 1/2 teaspoon each (seasoned salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder)
1/4 tsp pepper

1 can french fried onion(Optional)

Preheat oven to 375,
In a large bowl place all ingredients (using only 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese)and mix well.   Place in a sprayed baking dish (making sure there is at least around 1 " around the top of the dish cause the dish will be bubbly and you don't want it to bubble over the side).  Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 30 minutes or until all is bubbly and center is bubbly and hot.  Add remaining 1 cup shredded cheese over the top and sprinkle with french fried onions, bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

Texas sheetcake

I love this cake!  It is chocolatey and rich... and oh sooo good.... I am thinking that because this cake is made in a sheetpan and is about the size of Texas is where it got it's name.. just kidding.. I have absolutely no idea where the name came from but it sure makes alot of cake and it is so incredibly chocolatey and good..YUM.  I use a 1/4 sheetpan but you can also use a jelly roll pan... you might just have to adjust the baking time... make this cake is so good... Enjoy
** NOTE ***sometimes I make the frosting in a couple of different ways.. I sometimes add 1/4 cup sour cream to the other ingredients... or sometimes I skip the sour cream and melt 1/4 cup peanut butter in the microwave and add that to the frosting ingredients before whisking... both ways are equally delicious...also you can sprinkle the top of the icing with chopped pecans...

Texas sheetcake

1 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 16 oz can Hershey's syrup
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup water
1 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon

Frosting :
1 stick butter
1/4 plus 2-3 T milk
3 T cocoa
3 3/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt & cinnamon
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a sheetpan with nonstick cooking spray.
In saucepan place butter, water & cocoa powder heat on medium low until butter is melted.   Let mixture cool a couple of minutes.  In large bowl add remaining ingredients, and pour in the melted butter mixture.  Whisk mixture with a large whisk just until smooth and combined. Pour into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.  Bake for around 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. Let cool 15-20 minutes.

While cake is cooling, melt stick of butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Add remaining ingredients to butter & whisk until smooth.  Pour over warm cake and spread out to an even layer.  Let cool, cut into squares and eat... Enjoy

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Layered Mexican tortilla casserole

This was a creation of mine that kinda came about after wanting something mexican, looking around my cupboards and fridge and then taking what I had and creating something different and keeping my fingers crossed that it turned out decent, so I didn't have to throw the entire thing away (ask me how I know this...LOL). Anyways...  I have heard about layered mexican casseroles before but had never made them or had them.  So this is my take on it.  Easy, breezy..YUMMY... my stepson (who hates everything ate 2 helpings).  I serve this with sour cream on the side, and I crush up tortilla chips to sprinkle on each serving to give it a little extra something on top.  Also, I like black olives sprinkled over the top too..but it is optional and I served them on the side, so those that like them can take them and those that don't can just skip them all together.  Enjoy
**NOTE***I used leftover cooked pork loin shredded, in my casserole (cause that's what I had on hand) but you can add crumbled cooked ground beef, just brown it in with the onion and drain off any fat. 

Layered Mexican tortilla casserole

1 onion, small diced
2 cups cooked pork loin, shredded (Or ground beef see note if using ground beef)
1 t olive oil
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups water
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup (I used Campbell's)
1 packet of dry enchilada seasoning mix
1 small package of frozen corn, thawed
1 can chili beans
splash of white wine, worchester sauce
1/4 cup salsa
2 T. brown sugar
2 cups mild cheddar cheese
1 pkg. 8 count torillas, cut into approx. 2" pieces
1/4 tsp each (cumin, paprika, onion & garlic powder)
1 clove garlic minced

Optional items:
Sour cream
sliced black olives
Crushed tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray a 9x9 baking dish with nonstick spray.
In large skillet add olive oil, add onion season with salt & pepper.  Cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add pork loin and cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is softened, add garlic and stir to cook garlic.  Add worhcester sauce, cheddar cheese soup, wine, tomato sauce, water, enchilada seasoning packet,corn, brown sugar,chili beans, salsa and seasonings.  Mix well and combine until bubbly and heated completely through. Spoon enough sauce to cover the bottom of the baking dish.  Layer tortilla pieces over sauce, layer more sauce mixture, sprinkle with cheese, and continue (I did 3 layers) ending with sauce and sprinkle cheese over the top.  Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes, uncover and bake another 5-10 minutes until mixture is bubbly and cheese is melted.  Remove from oven .  Serve with sour cream on the side,black olives and crushed tortilla chips on each serving. Enjoy

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blackberry crisp

They had blackberries on sale at our local grocery store and they looked so first thought was blackberry crisp... all that buttery/sugary goodness warm and delicious out of the oven.  I used fresh berries, but you can substitute frozen fruit as well.  This recipe can also be used with other fruit, peaches, blueberries, raspberries ...I would suggest that you taste your fruit to check it's sweetness.  If the fruit really sweet then reduce the amount of sugar that you mix with it.  These blackberries were really on the tart side so I used quite a bit of sugar to sweeten them up.  Make this to warm your family up from the inside... I serve this with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, but it is equally delicious just as it is.. Enjoy

Blackberry crisp

3 pints blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 t lemon juice

for the crisp:

3 T cornstarch
1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup each regular sugar & brown sugar
1 t vanilla
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375 and spray your baking dish (I used an 8x8 dish) with nonstick spray.  Pour the blackberries in a colander and rinse well shaking off the excess water.  In a bowl place the blackberries, sugar & lemon juice.  Stir well being careful to not break up the berries.  Pour into an even layer in the baking dish.  In the bowl used for the blackberries place all of the ingredients for the crisp.  With a fork mix the ingredients well, breaking the mixture up until it is crumbly.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the blackberries.  Place in oven and bake for around 30-35 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly (check after 30 minutes and if not quite done cook an additional 5 minutes) until the crisp looks slightly golden.  Remove from oven and serve with whipped cream/vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy

Friday, November 30, 2012

Lasagna soup & crusty garlic bread

This is such a good tasting soup, absolutely delicious....  YUM YUM YUM is all I can say :) My recipe is an adaption from a recipe I saw on Pinterest.  I chose to do things just a little differently.. as always... I thought it needed some adjustments and this turned out oh so good.... The house smelled good and I could not wait to eat this soup...I served this with crusty garlic bread.. (recipe follows)...

And don't let the long list of ingredients scare you.. you are like me and probably have the majority of these things already in your pantry.  If you don't have something leave it out.. or substitute another kind of  pasta what you have and what you like.  My family loves mushrooms, so I use them, also with the green pepper, if you don't like it substitute it for say a yellow or red pepper or just leave it out entirely. Whatever you do... make this soup soon, you will love it... Enjoy

Lasagna soup

1 T olive oil
1 lb ground beef (use very lean meat so no excess fat has to be drained)
1/3  of a roll of sausage ( I use Bob Evans)
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 of a green pepper finely chopped
1/4 cup red wine
2 boxes beef stock, divided
4 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 can mushrooms, drained (optional)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 T worchester sauce
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 spaghetti sauce jar of water
16 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 4 oz can tomato paste
1 lb. package of campanella or any ruffled pasta
3 beef bouillon cubes

seasonings of your choice ( I used Italian seasoning,garlic & onion powder, dried thyme leaves, salt & pepper, paprika, basil, parsley flakes, rosemary, Mrs. Dash, dash of cinnamon and a pinch of red pepper flakes)

Cheese mixture
1 container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozerella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1 t Italian seasoning
1/4 t each garlic & onion powder
pinch of salt & pepper
Mix cheese mixture well in bowl.  Place in fridge to let flavors mix.

In large soup pot, add olive oil, green pepper, onion, carrot, & celery.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables start softening. Add ground beef & raw sausage.  Cook breaking up with a spoon until no longer pink and vegetables are soft.  Add minced garlic clove and cook for a couple of minutes until garlic is fragrant.  Add wine and stir for a few minutes or until wine is cooked into the meat mixture. Add tomato paste stirring well into the meat mixture cooking for a couple of minutes. Add 1 box of  stock, tomatoes, water, mushrooms, spaghetti sauce, worchester sauce, brown sugar & seasonings, stirring well to incorporate the ingredients making sure to mix well.  Bring to a boil turn down heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Turn heat up to medium high & add pasta to boiling soup mixture stirring well to separate pasta noodles.  Cook according to package directions to slightly aldente. Taste seasonings and adjust if necessary. Remove cheese mixture from fridge.  In bowls place a scoop of the ricotta cheese mixture and ladle the lasagna soup over the top, stirring slightly.  Top with additional shredded parmesan & a little mozerella.  Serve with crusty bread and enjoy.
**Note** When this soup sits the pasta keeps absorbing the liquid.  So I added 1 additional box of beef stock to make this a little more "soupy".  You can just add a little more water as well. 

Crusty garlic bread

1 stick of butter
1/4 t garlic, onion powder
1/4 t Italian seasoning
1 loaf french bread cut lengthwise down the center

Preheat oven to 400. In pan melt butter, add seasonings stirring well.   With a  pastry brush spread butter mixture over the bread and place the 2 halves of the bread together.  Wrap bread in aluminum foil & place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until hot.  Open foil and seperate bread and place butter side up in the pan and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until crusty.  Remove from oven and serve with soup.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sugar Cookie bars

I have seen a sugar cookie bar recipe floating around online for quite some time and I have been wanting to try it... until I read the reviews... they were not very good...not only did the reviewers say that the cookie bars not taste so good they didn't cook up correctly..the edges were overdone the middle of the cookie bars were needless to say I didn't use the recipe that I saw online.. thank goodness for online reviews... so I modified a basic sugar cookie recipe and kept my fingers crossed to see it if would turn out okay.. .and this one did ..yeah..not always the case but worked out... you can make your own buttercream icing or use a canned one... or just skip the icing altogether..but why would you... delicious... but my mom doesn't like her sugar cookies iced so I am thinking if I make these for her I would just sprinkle the raw dough with coarse sugar crystals (sprinkles) before baking the bars.  It would make it pretty and taste good too... however you make these cookies.... Enjoy

Sugar Cookie Bars

1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
8 oz softened cream cheese, I used the spreadable kind
1 t vanilla
1/2 t almond extract
3 cups flour
1 1/4 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl with electric mixer, mix together the butter, cream cheese & shortening.  Add the eggs, sour cream, sugar, vanilla & almond extract, mix well until combined and smooth.  In small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda & salt.  Add slowly in 1/3's mixing with mixer after each addition.  Spray a 1/2 sheet pan with nonstick spray. Place dough onto sprayed pan and with a rubber spatula spread cookie mixture to an even layer.  Bake for 22-25 minutes. Start checking the cookies at 22 minutes, mine were puffed and the middle was just slightly underdone, so I cooked for a few more minutes and they ended up a light golden brown and the edges were golden and pulled away from the pan.  Let cool completely.  Frost with your favorite frosting. Enjoy. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Leftover Shepherds pie

Well it is the day after Thanksgiving and we survived!!! With leftovers...lots and lots of leftovers...ok..not so many leftovers but enough to think what on earth am I going to do with them???? Soup...yes... pot pie, ahh don't feel like making the crust (am still battling being sick with a sinus/ear infection) so thought ah yes... shepherds pie...using up turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, some bacon I had laying around... so this came together quickly and really deliciously :)  which is a good thing..especially when I didn't feel like doing much today... use what you have... the leftover green bean casserole was just a throw in, not a necessity, you can add whatever cooked/frozen/canned veggies you have, and you can use any "cream" soup (etc. mushroom, celery, chicken...)  Enjoy

Leftover Shepherds pie

2 cups cooked turkey or chicken, shredded
2 cups mashed potatoes
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups frozen,mixed veggies
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 chopped red onion
1 cup leftover green bean casserole
bacon, (I had 1/2 of a chunk of slab bacon, but it equals about 4 slices, diced)
1/3 cup milk
seasonings of your choice, I used (seasoned salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder, thyme,dried parsley flakes, poultry seasoning)
2-3 T. half & half

In a skillet brown the bacon for 2-3 minutes stirring until halfway cooked, add onion.  Stir until bacon is done and onion is soft.  Remove from pain and drain grease.  Add frozen veggies, turkey , bacon/onion mixture, soup, sour cream, green bean casserole, milk & seasonings stirring until mixed, cook over medium heat until mixture is hot and bubbly.  Pour into a greased oven safe dish (use a deep enough dish to be able to add the mashed potatoes over the top and it will be bubbling so it doesn't run over the top of the dish).  Heat potatoes (if using cold leftover) adding 1/2 cup parmesan and 2-3 tablespoonfuls of half and half.  Mix potatoes mixture well and it should be spreadable. Spoon potatoes over turkey mixture and flatten out to an even layer.  Place in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly.  Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over the top and place back in oven for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted...Remove from oven... Enjoy

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ribbon Jello Salad

This was my Grandma (who just passed away) famous holiday Ribbon Jello salad recipe. She made this for the holiday's and my family absolutely loved this... Enjoy

Ribbon Jello Salad
1 large pkg. lime Jello (prepared according to pkg directions)
1 small pkg. lemon Jello
1 c. hot water
1/2 c. marshmallows
8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/2 c. mayonnaise

1 c. cool whip
1 large pkg. cherry Jello (prepared according to pkg directions)

Prepare lime Jello according to package directions. Pour into 9 x 13 inch pan (a clear glass pan is really pretty with this cause you can see the layers). Chill until almost set.

Dissolve lemon Jello in the 1 cup hot water in top of double boiler. Add marshmallows and melt. Remove from heat. Add the crushed pineapple and cream cheese. Beat with rotary beater until blended. Cool fold in mayonnaise and cool whip. Chill until thickened. Pour over lime Jello. Prepare cherry Jello according to directions.Chill until almost set. Pour over pineapple layer. Chill till firm several hours. Cut into squares and serve..

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Chocolate Breakfast Bread Pudding casserole

I love breakfast casseroles... things you can just throw together and bake in the oven... no muss no fuss... I always make a couple for Christmas morning...usually a savory & a sweet one... the savory one has meat, veggies ( bell peppers, mushrooms, onions etc.) and lots of cheese, and the savory one has cinnamon sugar custardy goodness...yum.. makes me hungry just thinking about them... I usually assemble them the night before cover them with foil place in the fridge and let them soak overnight.  It usually takes a little extra time to cook cause they are cold, but with all that present unwrapping on Christmas morning nobody seems to notice.

 I also make the same casserole and let it soak only for a couple of minutes before baking in the oven and it is just as easy.  I decided when discovering the sausage that I had cooked for the savory breakfast casserole had been eaten (imagine that with 3 boys in the house:)  LOL, that I needed a plan B for this mornings breakfast.  I was going to do the cinnamon custardy one but thought I am in the mood for chocolate... which btw.. I am always in the mood for... :) so outta necessity and cravings this casserole was born... my family said this was the best breakfast on the I am thinking it turned out good... shew :)  Make this for your family and enjoy :)

Chocolate Breakfast Bread Pudding Casserole

2/3 of a loaf of sliced bread torn into small pieces
8 eggs
1 cup mini chocolate chips
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup milk + 1 more cup milk divided
3 T cocoa powder
Maple syrup & Powdered sugar (optional)for serving

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease a baking dish (I used a white oval Pyrex dish).  Place 1/2 the bread in the bottom of the casserole dish.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the bread.  Cover the chips with the other 1/2 of the bread mixture.  In a large bowl or Pyrex measuring cup add the eggs, cocoa powder,pinch of salt, sugar, cinnamon and the 2/3 cup of milk.  Beat mixture with a fork mixing very well.   Pour mixture evenly over bread in pan.  Pour slowly the remaining milk over the mixture.  With your hands press the bread down soaking it into the chocolate custard mixture making sure all the bread is soaked.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 15-30 minutes, start checking the casserole at 45 minutes.  It should be puffed up and the center set being careful not to burn it.  I usually take it out after about 50-55 minutes.  Serve with maple syrup and or powdered sugar.  Enjoy

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Peanut butter granola

I love granola... it is good so many different ways....sprinkled over yogurt, put into parfaits with yogurt & fruit, with a little milk poured over it...or just it that way... lots of different ingredients to add.... I like it with dried cranberries, blueberries...different kinds of nuts..all kinds of things.... I am developing several granola recipes... wanting to include bags of granola with my holiday goodie baskets...yum...
I used smooth peanut butter, but crunchy would work just fine too...maybe add 1/4 cup more. Also thinking of adding honey roasted peanuts next time instead of the trail mix...also the trail mix that I used has nuts and dried fruit in chocolate chips which would melt in the cooking process.  You can add 1 cup of chocolate chips (or whatever flavor chips you like ex: white, peanut butter etc.) to the cooled mixture.    Whatever you do make this soon... Enjoy

Just a note that this does not have a strong peanut buttery taste.  It just has a slight peanut butter taste.

Peanut butter granola

4 cups old fashioned oats
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 t salt
1/4 t vanilla
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
1/3 + 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided
3/4 t cinnamon
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup whole raw almonds  (can use other kinds of nuts too)
1/2 cup trail mix

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place oats, coconut & almonds on a large baking sheet (with sides on it), mix well.  In saucepan add peanut butter, maple syrup, light corn syrup,cinnamon, salt, vanilla, water, oil and honey.  Melt mixture till bubbly stirring constantly.  Pour over oat mixture and stir with spoons well until all is well coated.  Spread mixture to an even layer and place into oven and bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and stir well then spread back out to an even layer.  Bake for 10 more minutes, remove from oven, add trail mix and stir mixture well.  Spread mixture back into an even layer and bake for 8-10 more minutes or until mixture looks lightly toasted.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  With spoon break mixture apart into large chunks.  Store in an airtight container.  Enjoy

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Caramel corn

Who doesn't love Caramel corn with all  it's sweet goodness.  It's a little sweet, a little salty, and just delicious.  You can add peanuts to this, or pecan, or almonds would be good... this is a basic recipe and certainly very easy.  This would be good for goodie bags for the holiday....
Just a note, when making the caramel syrup to pour over the popcorn when adding the baking soda it will bubbly up alot so make sure that the  pan that you are using is big enough so you don't get burned when stirring the mixture. Also I like my caramel corn sprinkled with just the tiniest bit of salt (just a slight pinch) before placing in the oven to bake.  Also, I pop my popcorn in a small amount of oil on the stove, but you can use air popped or plain microwave corn..use what you have. Make this soon you will love it...Enjoy

Caramel corn

10 cups popped popcorn
1 stick butter/margarine
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 t salt (plus a slight pinch more for topping)
1/3 t baking soda

Preheat oven to 300. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl place popcorn (making sure to remove any unpopped kernels).  In heavy saucepan add butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, & salt stirring until butter is melted and mixture is fully bubbling.  Boil for 3 minutes constantly stirring.  Add baking soda (be careful mixture will foam up) and stir well.  Pour over popcorn and with 2 large spoons mix in bowl until all popcorn is covered in caramel syrup. Pour popcorn mixture into the pan spreading into an even layer. Sprinkle with the pinch of salt. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and stir well making sure popcorn is down into an even layer place baking sheet back in oven for 10-15 minutes longer.  Remove from oven and let cool.   Place any leftovers in an airtight container.  Enjoy

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ham & pineapple fried rice and Rice pudding for dessert

Today was a day that  needed a quick and easy dinner... With our very busy schedules I only had about 30 minutes total for dinner a quick dessert.  All it took was a little bit of preplanning.... let me explain...  I have been trying to do meal planning for the week.. to help in keeping our food budget down and to be prepared and less likely to grab some take-out food.  There were bell peppers on sale this week (red, yellow & orange & green peppers) which I love cause they are a wonderful way to get the "rainbow" (you know colorful foods into our families).  When I bring them home from the store I wash them, and get out the cutting board out and then my Rubbermaid containers (you know the ones with the lids to store stuff in the fridge) and get to work slicing.  I core them and take the ribs out, then I slice half the peppers (1 each red, yellow, orange & green) and place them in a container I use these for fajitas cooked with sliced red onion.  The the half of the other peppers I dice kinda small dice and place in the other container.  Then with my hands I mix the small diced peppers up.  I use half of the small diced peppers for stir fry, and the other half for a frittata (egg, veggies and cheese)  so with 4 peppers I get 3 meals out of them... Sometimes I use the colored slices not for fajitas but dipped in hummus or veggie dip.  I also cut up several small red onions after I slice the peppers and place the slices in another container for cooking with the peppers for fajitas.  Also I dice up small a red onion to cook with the stir fry.  See one chop sessions and lots of prep work for other meals during the week.  I then place post it notes on top of the containers and place them in the fridge so they don't get eaten up...

You can use whatever you like in this fried rice it is yummy and super easy with all this prep work. Also I cook the instant rice the day before and place it in the fridge.  I use 3 cups water to 3 cups of rice. I just one cup of rice for the rice pudding.  Enjoy

Ham & Pineapple Fried Rice

2 cups cooked cold white rice
1 cup diced ham
1/4 cup crushed pineapple (with juice)
1 small diced small red onion
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 each, red, yellow, green, & orange pepper) diced small
2 eggs, beaten
1-2 T oil
2 T Teryikai & soy sauce
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 t minced ginger
1 T brown sugar

In large skillet add oil.  Add onions, and peppers cooking over medium high for a couple of minutes until beginning to soften.  Add ham and rice.  Mix the Teryikai sauce, soy sauce, pineapple, garlic, ginger & brown sugar together.  Pour over ham & rice mixture.  Cook for 4-5 minutes until mixture is hot and bubbly.  Spread mixture to outside of pan leaving a well in the middle place a little oil then add eggs to center of well.  Using spoon scramble eggs until almost done mixing eggs into the rice mixture until all is combined. Add peas & cook for 2-3 more minutes.  Remove from heat and serve.

Rice pudding
1 cup white rice
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 T half and half
1 t vanilla
1/2 t butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins

Cool whip or whipped cream to serve over the top  (optional)

In a saucepan over medium heat mix all ingredients together and bring to a boil stirring very often.  Turn off heat and let mixture sit until slightly cooled. Serve(adding whipped cream over the top) or place in fridge to get fully cold if desired.  Store any leftovers in fridge.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Beef short ribs & homemade noodles & roasted butternut squash

It's been a sad week at our house this week... My 94 year old grandma passed away.... She lived a long and wonderful life and we have sooo many wonderful memories of her... she was an amazing cook and she shared her love of food with us grandkids... she never made all this fancy stuff, just regular old everyday stuff...that's why I think that I cook like I do... I am not one for a big old fancy restaurant or exotic hard to find ingredients I am just a regular everyday cook who likes good homey food...nothing fancy but just yummy..... I had a package of Beef short ribs in the freezer and immediately though of her when I was thinking about how with this whole week of funeral preparations and everything else crazy going on that I just wanted a homecooked meal today.... so I am sharing this with love from my grandma...with just a little Joelle spin on it :) grandma never cooked with wine or spices but I a little of her and a little of me... I did get named after her after middle name is ya and will forever miss ya...  make this for your family they will love it...

Also just a note sometimes short ribs can be really expensive (when did that happen they used to be very inexpensive??) and my grandma who grew up in the depression taught us all about being frugal even before it became if short ribs are too expensive use a beef roast, or stew meat or what ever you have on will all be delicious.. Enjoy

Beef Short Ribs & Homemade noodles

2 lbs Beef Short Ribs
1 medium onion, peeled and small diced
2 carrots, peeled and small diced
1 stalk celery, washed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine
8 cups water
3-4 beef bouillon cubes
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
1 T. worchester sauce
1 t brown sugar

seasonings of your choice ( I used dried parsley flakes, seasoned salt (just a little cause the bouillon cubes are salty) & pepper, Mrs. Dash & a pinch each of red pepper flakes & thyme)

In large stock pot place all of the ingredients and bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat.  Reduce to low and simmer (making sure the liquid is bubbling) and cook for 3-4 hours our until the meat is tender and falling off of the bone...Remove meat to a bowl (to catch any liquid) and remove bones, and cut away the fat leaving large meat pieces.)  Pour any liquid from the bowl back into the pot. Remove garlic clove & bay leaves. Simmer while making the noodles. 


3 cups flour (plus more for rolling out)
1 T baking powder
1 egg
pinch of salt & sugar
1 T. olive oil
cold water

In large bowl whisk together the flour,salt, baking powder, & sugar.  Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, add egg, oil and 1/4 cup water.  With a fork mix together the dough, adding a tablespoonful at a time to make a stiff dough.  On a floured surface knead dough a few minutes and with a rolling pin dusted with flour roll into to about a 1/4" thickness.   With a pizza cutter or a knife cut dough into squares. Turn broth to medium high and when fully boiling, take a spatula and remove the squares of dough and drop individually into the soup mixture.  Cook until the noodles float about 4-5 minutes  (or maybe shorter time depending on how small or large the noodles are).  Take any remaining noodle scraps and flour on the surface and sprinkle it across the pot immediately after adding the raw noodle dough to help thicken the broth.  Serve immediately and refrigerate any leftovers. Enjoy

Roasted Butternut squash with butter & brown sugar

2 whole Butternut squash
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (more or less depending on how sweet you like it)
1/2 stick butter
(seasonings of your choice I used salt & pepper, a pinch of cinnamon & nutmeg)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash the butternut squash and dry.  Cut each squash length wise in half.  Scoop out and discard seeds.  On aluminum foil lined baking sheet turn squash cut side down & bake for 45-60 minutes or until for tender.  Remove from oven turn over (be careful cause they are hot) and with a spoon remove all of the squash from the shell and place in a large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well with a fork mashing up.  Serve with beef short ribs and noodles...  Enjoy

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tropical Banana Bread

I love banana any way shape or form... I make it with all kinds of add ins... with chocolate chips, nuts, strawberries or blueberries in the summer...and to lower the fat content sometimes I add yogurt or applesauce instead of oil....all kinds of ways equal delicious.......and I don't know if your like me I always have bananas that need using up... sometimes I slice them up and put them on a tray and place them in the freezer for making smoothies thick and yummy.... but mostly I make banana bread.  I also have made banana muffins and sprinkle granola over the top of them and bake them...easy, portable and yummy...however you make banana bread as always use what you have and love... Enjoy

Tropical Banana Bread

4 bananas peeled and mashed
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 T oil
1 cup shredded coconut
1 8oz can crushed pineapple
2 t baking powder
pinch of salt
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 2 loaf pans with nonstick spray. In large bowl mash 4 bananas with a fork.  Add egg, milk, both sugars, oil, pineapple, coconut, nuts & vanilla mixing well.  Add baking soda, salt & flour mixing just until combined.  Divide mixture into 2 baking pans and bake for 45-50 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let pans cool for 5 minutes then remove loaves from pan.  Enjoy

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Toffee Saltine Squares

Toffee.... just the word sounds utterly delicious!!! I love toffee...and have tried to make it before...and it is alot of work and it doesn't always turn out the best....due to lots of varying factors...humidity..or not cooking to a high enough heat.... it's no fun to throw an entire pan of toffee away....

I have seen Toffee Saltine squares around for a long time and had a nibble of one several years ago when I was pregnant with my youngest son... and when I say nibble I mean just the slightest taste..because when I was pregnant both times I was extremely sick all the way through night and day both pregnancies..and it was awful!! The last pregnancy I was so sick that they put me on anti-nausea cancer medication cause I just couldn't eat... thank God that the baby and me got through that just heart goes out to other ladies who are sick... anyway enough of that yuck and onto this..the nibble of the toffee square that I did have I made a note to myself (if even at the time I was gaggy because of it..LOL) I thought one day when you are not pregnant and sick you should make this yummy stuff... and today was the day and I am glad I did... although after I made this today...I made a note to myself to NEVER make this unless either a) your having a party, or b) you are giving this away as gifts... because man alive you can keep nibbling and nibbling this stuff and before you know if you've eaten 1/4 of a pan.. NOT GOOD :(  anyway that's how good this stuff is...addicting and delicious..:)

Anyway I have seen various recipes for this but none of them just did it for me... some called for a pound of butter, some called for white sugar, some called for non salted butter, or non salted crackers... I was like good grief..this doesn't have to be this difficult... so I just winged it and came up with my own variation and recipe... I used 1 cup of each milk chocolate & semi sweet chocolate chips (I mixed them together and sprinkled them over the top) but use what you like..white chocolate chips would be delicious can also skip adding the nuts over the top too... This recipe is so easy and good...make it for your family soon... and use what you like... Enjoy

Toffee Saltine Squares

1 1/4 sleeves of Saltine crackers
1 stick of butter
2 cups chocolate chips (I used a mixture of milk & semi sweet chips)
1 cup brown sugar packed
3/4 cups finely chopped pecans (optional)

 Preheat oven to 350.
Line a baking sheet (I used a 1/4 sheet pan) with aluminum foil making sure that the foil comes up over the sides of the pan.  Spray foil well with nonstick spray.  Lay in a single layer in pan the saltine crackers. In saucepan over medium high heat add brown sugar and butter.  Stir often until up to a rolling boil.  Boil for 2 minutes.  With large spoon (being careful cause sugar mixture is very hot) drizzle sugar mixture over saltines, trying to cover as much of the crackers as possible, (don't worry if you don't get all of the crackers cause the mixture will bubble and coat the crackers in the oven) Place pan into oven and bake for 6-8 minutes watching the crackers after 5 minutes making sure they don't burn.  Remove pan carefully from the oven & sprinkle the chocolate chips in a layer (the entire surface won't be covered) and place back into oven for 2-3 minutes or until chips start to melt.  Remove from oven and with an offset spatula or butter knife spread chips into an even layer over crackers.  Sprinkle immediately with pecans if using.  Let crackers cool completely and harden about 5 -6 hours.  Break apart and serve toffee squares... Enjoy

Sunday, September 30, 2012

White Chicken chili

I love white chicken chili... It is so tasty and delicious and easy...and super fast...great things in my book... this recipe is so versatile you can add or delete things your family doesn't like... I used frozen corn, but you can add drained canned corn, or leftover corn from last nights dinner... I used mild salsa, but you can add what you like, medium, hot or super hot... you can add a small can of green chilis, or some diced jalapenos to spice it up.. anything works... I also use drained canned navy beans & chickpeans, but you can certainly soak & cook some dried ones (but it is certainly not as fast to get it to the table) & lately I am all about quick and yummy with me going back to college with 3 kiddos...geesh... also if you don't like green pepper, you can add any kind of sweet pepper ex: red, orange, yellow... and the V8 juice just gives it a little extra yummy... I used a small 5.5 oz can but you can add about a 1/2 cup if you have a big bottle in the fridge already...also the wine is optional but I think it adds more flavor...

**NOTE** I serve this with crushed cheese Doritos & crushed tortilla chips for the top, along with shredded co-jack cheese & sour cream, and sliced green onions.. but these are all optional... I also made cheddar cornbread   (see 9/29/2012 date post for the recipe)

White chicken chili
2 T oil
1 lb. ground chicken breast (or turkey breast)
1/2 green pepper, small diced (about 1/2 cup)
1onion, small diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cans navy beans,(15 oz) drained
1 can chick peas (15 oz) drained
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup salsa
3 cups chicken stock (from a box)
2 T brown sugar
Seasonings of your choice I used (1 T each cumin,paprika,chili powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper & red pepper flakes, pinch of seasoned salt & pepper, 1/4 t Italian seasoning)

Toppings of your choice
cheddar cornbread

In large pot over medium heat add oil, add onion & green pepper sprinkle salt & pepper saute for 3-4 minutes stirring often, Add chicken breast season with additional salt & pepper.  Cook breaking meat up until meat is completely white & no longer pink.  Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Add white wine and stir to loosen up browned bits.  Add remaining ingredients stirring well. Bring to a simmer and turn down heat to medium low stirring often cooking for about 15-20 minutes to combine flavors.  Taste soup and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Turn off heat and serve in bowls with toppings of your choice & cheddar cornbread.. Enjoy

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cheddar corn bread

I love cornbread... all different kinds..plain, cheddar, with corn added both regular canned or frozen & cream style... it doesn't's just so yummy.. I prefer yellow cornmeal but use what you like... you can also add a finely diced jalapeno pepper to this recipe for a little extra spice. making sure you remove the seeds, stem & membranes...I know your going to look at this recipe and say mayo in cornbread.... I am telling you it makes all the difference.  I learned this trick a long time ago and I never have dry old cornbread since then... both mayo or Miracle whip work...that's most peoples complaint about cornbread is it's too dry...not with mayo added :)  you can't taste it btw.... I also like my cornbread a little on the sweet side so I add a little sugar to it...If you don't like yours sweet skip the added sugar... Also if you have a little bacon grease in the fridge needing to be used up, you can grease your pan with that...the added bacon fat makes this cornbread oh so yummy.... I added a mixture of co-jack & cheddar always use what you have and like.. I serve this with chili, or soups, with beans & rice...all different things...

**NOTE Also sometimes I sprinkle over the top of the bread batter before baking another 1/2 cup of shredded cheese totally optional but extra yummy....Enjoy

Cheddar Cornbread

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2-3 T mayo/miracle whip
2 t baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 T oil
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup frozen corn (I use it straight from the freezer)
1 cup shredded cheese (I use co-jack & cheddar cheese)+ 1/2 cup for topping (optional * see note)

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray a 13x9 baking sheet with cooking spray (or can use bacon grease :) Add everything to a large bowl and stir well until combined.  Pour into prepared pan and spread out to a smooth layer (if using the additional cheese on top add that now.  Bake for around 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into pan comes out clean.  Cut into squares and serve...

Friday, September 28, 2012

"Layered" stuffed cabbage

I so love stuffed cabbage rolls... you know the ones filled with yummy meat, rice, tomatoes and seasonings all rolled inside a cabbage leaf, then with a tomato sauce poured over the top and baked... can you say heavenly :)  but it is soooo much work.. and I swear I always end up burning my fingers peeling the cabbage leaves away cause you have to pour boiling water on them and let them soak to make them pliable enough to roll up... forget about it.. I love to cook but just end up getting aggreviated doing maybe I need to take a class on learning how to do them... LOL or talk to someone's grandma to teach me.... anyway this is a much easier version that tastes the same but is lots less work.. a double win in my book... These also can cook on the stovetop or can cook in the crockpot (which I usually do unless I am in a hurry) cause it is nice to dump the stuff in and go... I will include both versions.  I serve these over cooked white rice (can be regular or instant) and buttered bread... I also say to cut the cabbage thin, I am not meaning coleslaw thin, but actual slices...and you have to add the pinch of red pepper flakes and the sprinkle of cinnamon.. it is what makes the dish :)   Enjoy

Layered Stuffed Cabbage

1 lb ground beef
1-2 onions, small diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small head cabbage halved, cored and sliced in thin slices
2 cans tomato soup
2 cans diced tomatoes (I use the ones with green peppers,celery & onions added)
1 can beef broth
1/2 cup water
1 t worchester sauce
1 T sugar
2 T red wine
1/4 t hot pepper sauce (I use Franks Red hot) optional
seasonings of your choice ( I use a sprinkle of cinnamon, pinch of red pepper flakes, 1/4 t of celery salt,1/4 t seasoned salt & pepper, dried parsley flakes)

White rice (cooked according to package directions) I add a little salt, pepper and a pat of butter when it is done stirring to mix.
Bread & butter optional

Crockpot method:

In skillet brown ground beef, onions and salt & pepper until meat is done & no longer pink breaking up meat.  Add garlic and saute a few minutes until fragrant.  Pour meat mixture into crockpot.  Add soup, tomatoes, beef broth water, worchester sauce, sugar, wine, hot sauce and seasonings.  Turn crockpot on high and cook for a couple of hours until mixture is hot.  Place cabbage over the top of the meat mixture stirring slightly to coat the cabbage with the tomato mixture.  Cook on high for 5-6 more hours or until cabbage is done.  Check seasonings.  Serve in bowls over scoops of white rice.  Serve with bread and butter.. Enjoy

Stove top method
In large pot brown over medium high heat add ground beef, onions and salt & pepper until meat is done & no longer pink breaking up meat.  Add garlic and saute a few minutes until fragrant. Add soup, tomatoes, beef broth water, worchester sauce, sugar, wine, hot sauce and seasonings. Bring to a simmer cover and turn down simmering for around 20 minutes.  Add cabbage and stir to combine.  Simmer on medium low heat for 1-2 hours checking liquid adding a little more water if necessary.  When cabbage is soft it is done. Check seasonings.  Serve over scoops of white rice. Serve with bread & butter... Enjoy

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shrimp Scampi

I love shrimp scampi!!!  It is buttery, garlicky... and oh so very yummy... I serve this over pasta (linguini) but you can serve this over any type of pasta... I like this with a little white wine added to the sauce and a little red pepper flakes but both of those things are optional...but they both really jazz up the flavor...which I love:) I serve this with a salad and crusty bread...  Enjoy

Shrimp Scampi

1/2 lb. linguini pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 package raw frozen shrimp, thawed & rinsed,tails removed (pat dry with paper towels)
1/2 stick butter (Plus 1 T for the end of the sauce)
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
shredded parmesan cheese
sprinkle of fresh lemon juice
2 T white wine
seasonings of your choice; I used (1/4 t of dried parsley flakes, couple of pinches of red pepper flakes, pinch of salt & pepper)

While pasta cooks, in skillet over medium high to high heat add butter and olive oil.  When foam subsides a little add garlic cooking for 1 minute until fragrant. Add wine, then add seasonings and shrimp stirring to mix.  Cook for about 2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink   Turn off heat. Add remaining T of butter & sprinkle of lemon juice mixing to melt butter. After draining pasta immediately put back in pan & add the shrimp and scampi sauce to pasta using tongs to mix the sauce, shrimp & pasta together.  Serve immediately topping each serving with shredded parmesan. Enjoy

Pumpkin Dump Cake

I got the inspiration from this from Pinterest... but the recipe I saw there I wasn't thrilled with...way too much sugar and butter....and other stuff... so needless to say like always I get inspired and invent my own recipe hoping it will turn out....not always does it (thinking the Thai peanut noodles and the polish kielbasa,cabbage, potatoes, onion & green pepper casserole) that I have thrown away this week alone...sigh...I just hate throwing food away don't you..but sometimes your ideas work and unfortunately they don't...but you know the old saying... you won't know if you don't try... that's my motto..anyway this cake is soooo yummy...your house smells amazing....and it's super easy..who doesn't like easy... Enjoy

Pumpkin Dump Cake

1 12oz can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
3 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
2 t pumpkin pie spice (plus more for sprinkling on top)
1/4 t cinnamon
1 stick butter, melted
1/3 cup water
1 yellow or white cake mix
Whipped cream for serving/ or vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 13 X 9 pan with nonstick spray.  In bowl place eggs, sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, evaporated milk, pumpkin pie spice & cinnamon.  Whisk together mixing well the mixture will be really wet.  Pour mixture into pan.  With your hand sprinkle the entire box of cake mix over the top of the pumpkin mixture.  Mix melted butter with the water and drizzle over the top of the cake.  The butter will sink a little into the pumpkin mixture... it is okay.  Sprinkle a little additional pumpkin pie spice over the top of the cake mix.  Bake for 50-55 minutes until light brown and bubbly.  Remove from oven. Let cool about 5 minutes and serve... Can be served topped with whipped cream or ice cream..YUM

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chocolate chip cookie bars

I love cookies... and cookie bars...warm chocolatey goodness coming from the oven...can you say YUM... your house smells good and your family is happy...a double bonus :)  you can add different kinds of chips in here... white chocolate...or mix say peanut butter chip and regular chocolate chips..anything goes... I added nuts but you can skip them.. and add say 1/3 cup of chunky peanut butter...YUM... or add a little oatmeal.... These cookies are little gooey in the middle but oh so yummy....Enjoy

Chocolate chip cookie bars

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 t baking soda
1/3 cup chopped nuts
1 cup chocolate chips
1 stick butter/margarine softened
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 8x8 pan.
In large bowl add softened butter, brown & white sugar, vanilla & egg.  Mix with a wooden spoon creaming mixture until creamy and well combined. Add to butter mixture flour, baking soda, salt,nuts, water and chocolate chips mixing just until combined (mixture will be thick and kinda crumbly. ) Press cookie dough into pan with hands into an even layer.  Bake for 32-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Stick a toothpick into the center and make sure it comes out clean (there might be a little chocolate from a chip on the toothpick that will be okay).  Remove from oven let cool and cut into squares... enjoy

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Twice baked potatoes

Now who doesn't love Twice baked potatoes... they are so darn good... potatoes, sour cream, bacon and lots of other can basically put whatever you want in them... mix the potatoes with a little chopped up ham, green onion, cheese & cooked chopped up broccoli.... or mix the potato mixture with a little chili, cheese & green onions...the possibilities are endless.... use your imagination... I use Russet potatoes (the red or yukon gold) potatoes just don't hold up because the skins are too thin... Enjoy

Twice baked potatoes

6 Russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 T. oil
kosher salt

for filling:

1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Co-Jack cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
2 T shredded Parmesan cheese
2 green onions, washed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup bacon bits
1/4 stick butter,softened

seasonings of your choice (I used seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder & a pinch of regular salt)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a pan with aluminum foil.  Place potatoes on baking pan and poke a couple of times with a sharp knife.  Drizzle the tops of the potatoes with oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.  Bake for a hour.  They should be fork tender when done.

Cut potatoes in half long ways.  With a clean dish towel scoop out the insides of the potatoes leaving a small border of potato, placing the insides of the potatoes in a bowl & continue until they are all done.   Mash the insides of the potatoes with a fork.  Add the filling ingredients and mix with a fork till all combined taste mixture to make sure the seasonings are correct.  Spoon the mixture back into the potato jackets.  Place back on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with the additional 1/4 cup of cheese and place back in oven for around 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Enjoy

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

My family and I went to a town in Mid Michigan called Frankenmuth... It is a quaint little town made to look like Bavaria... They are known for all kinds of yummy goodies...stollen bread, chicken dinners, candy & fudge.... My stepson wanted some fudge cause when you are walking around the town they have lots of little quaint shops to visit along with lots of I call them "goodie shops" cause they have saltwater taffy, peanut brittle,homemade candies, & fudge and boy do they smell absolutely delicious when you are walking by. I went and checked how much a pound it was and it was $12 a lb. What are you kidding me?  I refuse to pay $12 for a pound of fudge... I mean it is NOT hard to make it & depending on what flavorings you add it cost about $2-4 a pound.  I mean do the math the savings are huge.  I came home and whipped him up a batch of Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge... it took me about 6-7 minutes tops (and I am being generous with the time) and I figured it cost me about $2 to make... so I saved my family $10 making it myself... my stepson was quite shocked that I could actually make this..he didn't know you could "make" this yourself..he thought you had to buy it..I laughed and thought kiddo I need to get you in the kitchen more often (he's only 7) so he does have a while... anyway... you could leave out the peanut butter and just make chocolate...or leave out the chocolate and make just peanut butter... it is totally up to you...his favorite anything is chocolate peanut butter that's what I sure to use fresh marshmellows, and make this on a day that is not damp or humid (the fudge won't set up if its damp or humid)....make this for your family and enjoy...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk)
1/4 cup butter (plus more for buttering the pan)
16 large marshmellows
1/4 t salt
1 T vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Butter an 8x8 square pan with butter... In large nonstick pan add sugar, milk, butter, marshmellows & salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring very often until marshemellows are melted.  Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes stirring mixture CONSTANTLY.  Add peanut butter, chocolate chips & vanilla.  Turn off heat and stir until all is melted and smooth.  Pour immediately into greased pan using a rubber spatula to get mixture off of sides and bottom of pan being careful of splashing cause mixture is very hot.  Let cool completely.  Cut into small squares and serve. Store any leftovers in fridge...allowing to come back to room temperature before serving.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Butterfinger cake

Today is my 46th birthday :)  Happy birthday to me...LOL  anyway I just couldn't decide what kind of cake that I wanted.  So many cakes out there.. did I want a store bought one ( NO) did I want an ice cream cake (maybe)... chocolate, yellow, vanilla, pistachio... & so many choices.... Then it hit me... Butterfinger cake... I love this and I haven't had it in a long time....

I like it made with yellow cake, but it can also be made with chocolate cake can also use a boxed cake mix to save yourself some time...  Some people just put caramel over the top, or sweetened condensed milk over the top instead of caramel.. but I like them mixed together...and I love salted caramel... that is my absolute favorite way to have caramel.. the sweet & salty kinda thing going on... love love love it... but you can just buy caramel ice cream topping & mix a can of sweetened condensed milk with it and it will be just fine.  Also I use cool whip to top the cake... whipped cream breaks down on this cake...and turns into a watery mess...I also chop 4-5 butterfinger candy bars to put over the top... I have seen this cake with a very light sprinkling of candy bars over the top like about 1or 2 candy bars worth, but I like lots of butterfingers on it....
I use the Betty Crocker starlight yellow cake mix (it's my favorite yellow cake recipe cause you literally dump everything all at once in a mixing bowl and mix it for 2-3 minutes with an electric mixer..much better than a mix cause you know what's in things you can't pronounce ) if you have a good one..use that...whatever you will get rave reviews....Store any leftovers in the fridge....Enjoy

Butterfinger cake

 Yellow cake mix from Betty Crocker cookbook )recipe follows
1 recipe salted carmel (recipe follows)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 container of Cool whip, unthawed 8 oz
4-5 full size Butterfinger candy bars, chopped fine

Starlight yellow cake

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup butter,softened
1 t vanilla
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 inch pan with non-stick spray. Dump all ingredients into a mixing bowl and with electric mixer beat mixture for 2-3 minutes scraping bowl down frequently. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven & check the cake for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the cake and it is done with it  comes out clean.  Cool cake.

While cake is baking make salted caramel,

Salted caramel sauce

1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 t kosher salt
1 can sweetened condensed milk

In saucepan over medium heat melt butter, add brown sugar & salt.  Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly until mixture is to a rapid boil, boiling for about 2 minutes until mixture thickens up.  Turn off heat and add condensed milk stirring to combine.  Let cool completely. 

With the end of a wooden spoon or tip of a knife poke hole over the top of the cake.  Spoon the caramel sauce over the cake.  Place in fridge for 20 minutes.  Frost cake with cool whip and sprinkle with Butterfinger candy bars.  Place cake back into the fridge for around 30 minutes.  Take it out cut it into squares & enjoy.  Wrap any leftovers and place in fridge for storage... Enjoy

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rice... lots of ways...and a quick marinara

I have been on this rice kick lately... Risotto (can you say YUM love it:)  plain regular rice,  rice cooked in chicken or beef stock, creamy chicken rice, broccoli cheesy rice casserole.. the list goes on and on..also I have been a little carried away when making said rices... I usually always have leftovers and being one NOT to throw things away I have been experimenting with rice cakes.... not the cardboard type rice cakes (which I love btw LOL ) but flat cakes made out of leftover rice (kinda like salmon patties minus the salmon)... the Italian culture (which likes to waste nothing) have been making Risotto cakes forever outta the leftover risotto and polenta cakes out of leftover polenta...both delicious...
I usually sprinkle the rice cakes with grated Parmesan cheese when they are done.  For the risotto cakes, I make a quick couple minute marinara and then sprinkle with Parmesan... (I have included the quick marinara recipe..
I am posting 2 easy rice dishes that you can make as side dishes for tonights dinner.. (just double the recipe if you have a large family so you will have plenty of leftovers for rice cakes...I usually use instant rice (except for making Risotto or if I have lots of time to make regular rice...easy and quick for the family who when they are hungry..have NO patience for waiting till dinners done...
LOL  Enjoy

Creamy chicken rice

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can milk
2 T. butter (divided)
pinch of seasoned salt & pepper
2 soup cans Instant rice

I saucepan over medium heat whisk together chicken soup & milk.  Add 1 T. butter and seasonings.  Bring to a boil stirring often stir in the rice turn off heat and cover pan with lid.  Let sit for 6-7 minutes or until water is absorbed.  Stir and add remaining tablespoonful of butter.  Enjoy

Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

3 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups instant rice
1 square frozen package of broccoli, thawed
roux made from 1 T each of flour & butter 
1/2 cup milk
pinch of seasoned salt & pepper
sprinkle of garlic & onion powder (about 1/4 t each)
1 cup shredded cheese ( I use a mixture of 1/4 cup Parmesan, 3/4 cup Colby Jack )
2 slices American cheese

In saucepan add chicken stock and seasonings.  Add broccoli and cook for around 5 minutes.  Add roux (melt better in pan,sprinkle in flour cook for 2 minutes whisking constantly, add milk and seasonings.  Cook for a couple of minutes whisking until thickened.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Add to broccoli mixture and stir bringing to a boil. Add instant rice stirring well.  Cover and let sit for 7-8 minutes until rice has absorbed water.  Add a little extra cheese if desired.  Enjoy

 Rice cakes

 About 1 1/2 cups leftover rice
1 egg
1/2-1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

In frying pan add about a 1/4 inch of oil over medium heat.  In bowl add cold leftover rice, egg and start with 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs.  Mix together with a spoon finishing with your hands.  Mixture when pressed together in your hands needs to be dry and able to hold together in a firm  patty when mixed.  Make patties (think like hamburger) make them thin but press together firmly so they will not fall apart when cooking.  Place rice patties in the hot oil and saute till golden brown.  Turn carefully with spatula (I usually help turn them by holding the patty with the other hand when turning so the hot oil wont splash) and continue cooking till the other side is golden brown.  I keep these warm in a hot oven till they are all done.  I sprinkle these with kosher salt and a slight sprinkling of shredded parmesan when done. 

Quick Marinara

1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 T olive oil
1 t sugar
1 T red wine
1 T. worchester sauce
1 clove garlic, minced

seasonings (I used dried onion, pinch of seasoned salt & pepper, pinch of red pepper flakes,1 T. Italian seasoning blend,dried parsley flakes)

In saucepan add olive oil & garlic sauteing for a couple of minutes till it just starts to turn golden brown.  Remove from heat and add red wine.  Place back on heat and remaining ingredients and cook for 3-5 minutes until simmering and bubbly hot...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Oatmeal Sour cream triple chocolate chunk cookies

I love cookies... and was looking for something a little different from your normal chocolate chip cookies.... so I developed this recipe... super easy and yummy... you can use whatever chips you like...I used 2 different kinds plus a broken up candy bar **NOTE  (I used a Mr. Goodbar which is chocolate & peanuts) but have used broken up Hershey bars as well.  I put them in the fridge and get them cold then whack the bar in the package on the kitchen counter to break into small pieces but you can chop them up too... or you can use chocolate chunks (they are located next to the chocolate chips in the baking aisle)... or chop up leftover candy from valentines day or Halloween perfectly fine... or use peanut butter or butterscotch chips... use what you love....I bake these cookies on a silpat lined cookie sheet but it is not necessary...Enjoy

Oatmeal Sour cream triple chocolate chunk cookies

2/3 cups each, regular white & brown sugar
3/4 cup softened butter or margarine
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups oats (oatmeal uncooked)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cups each, white & chocolate chips
1 candy bar broken up into small pieces **see NOTE

In large bowl place butter, white sugar & brown sugar.  Cream (mix) with a wooden spoon until combined.  Add remaining ingredients mixing well.  Scoop out & place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes until brown. Remove immediately from cookie sheet on parchment/waxed paper lined countertop. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Yummy Pot Roast

I so love a good Pot Roast dinner... the aromas throughout the house when this is simmering away in the oven all day are heavenly :)  I like a really flavorful roast beef ... there is nothing worse than a bland, no flavor roast beef that why I don't ever order it out somewhere... usually it is either tough, bland and hard to chew, or falling apart mush with no flavor... neither is good...  I serve this with mashed potatoes (homemade of course) & carrots cooked in the broth... (I usually cook a potato or 2 scrubbed and sliced in quarters placed alongside the broth because with the leftovers I make roast beef hash....)  but it is totally up to you, you can add more potatoes and skip the mashed potatoes made separately... sometimes I also put all the stuff in a Crock-pot and let it cook all day... both ways are great... Enjoy

Yummy Pot Roast

2 stalks celery, washed and ends removed
1 onion, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and skins removed
1 beef roast
1 package dried onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup water
1 bay leaf
black pepper
1 lb. carrots (either baby or peeled and ends removed whole ones)
**Gravy see NOTE

In large roasting pan place celery arched side down  long ways down the pan about an inch apart (you are making a "rack" with the celery so you need the arched side up to hold the roast up).  Place onions, garlic and bay leaf in pan.  Pour wine & water over vegetables in bottom of pan.  Place roast on the celery.  Sprinkle the roast with the packet of dried onion soup mix and spoon the mushroom soup over the roast covering the dried onion soup mix.  Sprinkle roast with pepper.  Cover tightly with foil and bake at 325 for around 2-2 1/2 hours.  Uncover & place carrots around the roast stirring to cover with wine/juice mixture.  Turn oven to 350 & bake for an additional hour or until carrots are done.

To serve remove roast and vegetables to serving platter (discarding celery if desired).

**NOTE ...  Strain juices and make gravy... I usually bring juices to a boil and add 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water stirring until thickened.  Serve over roast & vegetables...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dorito Taco Bake

I got this recipe years ago from someone I worked with... she brought this to a potluck and it was wonderful... I saw a similiar recipe on Pinterest and it brought back the memory of that so I went to my recipe box and sure enough there it was (on the scrap paper from the business where we worked nonetheless :)  so I had to make it.... but I put my own spin on it like usual... (I can't seem to leave well enough alone..LOL ;) but it got a round of thumbs up from the family... My husband was "mad" about me never making this for him... (just kidding he wasn't mad... and I told him I only ever made this 1 time and it was about 15 years ago and I forgot I had the recipe...)  thinking maybe I should drag out the "old recipe box" and see what other treasures are in there that I have forgotten about.... I used regular cheese Doritos but was thinking what it would taste like with other flavors of chips...ranch, taco flavored or spicy cheese...lots of options but haven't tried them...maybe next time.... My husband likes this with hot sauce & sprinkled with red pepper flakes to kick up the heat... optional as well.... Enjoy

Dorito Taco Bake

1 can seamless Cresent rolls (if you can't find seamless buy the regular ones and just pat them together in the pan)
1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 onion, minced fine
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups shredded taco cheese
1 packet taco seasoning mix
1 cup sour cream (additional for serving)
1/4 cup water
3/4 of large bag of cheese Doritos, crunched up small (additional for serving)
 non stick spray
seasonings ( 1/4 tsp each cumin, chili powder & paprika)

In large skillet add ground chuck & onion.  Cook & break until meat is browned, add garlic during last few minutes of browning.  Drain grease if necessary.  Add taco seasoning packet, additional seasonings & water stirring well and bringing to a simmer over medium heat. Turn meat mixture off.  Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 13X9 pan with nonstick spray.  Place cresent rolls in bottom of pan pressing up the sides about a 1/4 inch (remember if using ones with cuts press them together).  Spoon meat mixture in an even layer over uncooked cresent rolls.  By teaspoonfuls over meat mixture drop over sour cream.  With back of spoon spread sour cream in an even layer over meat mixture (if necessary add a few more spoonfuls until completely covered).  Sprinkle cheese evenly over sour cream layer. Crush Doritos and sprinkle in an even layer over cheese.  Bake for 15-18 minutes until cresent rolls are done and casserole is warm.  Remove from oven and cut into squares.  Serve with sour cream on the side and a few extra crushed Doritos on the top  if desired (optional).  Enjoy

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Easy Banana Bread

Have you ever heard of Pintrest??? I love this website... It is a place where you pin things that look interesting to you and you create online boards... like for cooking, kids, gardening is awesome... I have tried making recipes that I have seen on there by various people and they all have been absolutely horrible... I have made like 4-5 things that I have thrown out (which I hate wasting money, ingredients & time like that....)I was like alright if this doesn't turn out I am going to quit cooking off of Pintrest...LOL this has restored my faith in Pinterest recipes...  anyway this recipe is an adaption of one that I saw on there... I took it and put my own spin on it like normal... you too can put what your family likes.... white chocolate or butterscotch chips instead of the chocolate chips... nuts or coconut can be added, remove the chocolate chips and add pineapple... chocolate cake mix instead of the white/yellow.....the varieties are endless...To bake this I used 3 mini loaf pans and 1 regular loaf pan.  I filled them all half full.    Enjoy

Adapted from Pinterest

Easy Banana Bread

1 box white or yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 T. flour
3-4 ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray pans.  In bowl add the bananas, eggs,sour cream & vanilla mix well with fork.  Add cake mix mixing well.  In small bowl mix chocolate chips & flour stirring to coat chips.  Add chocolate chip mixture to the banana mixture stir well.  Fill the pans 1/2 full and bake as follows:

Mini loaf pans took about 20-25 minutes (start checking them at 20 minutes)
The large loaf pan took about 35-40 minutes (start checking at 35 minutes)

Stick a toothpick in the middle of the pans and check to make sure the center is done.  They should be light golden brown.  Remove from pans after 5 minutes of cooling... Enjoy

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Red Beans with Bacon & Kielbasa & Rice

I have so been hungry for Red Beans with bacon & kielbasa.... This is my first attempt to make it from scratch... I usually cheat and doctor up a store bought mix (gasp.. I know...don't tell my family...LOL ) but after researching and looking at my Lousisana cookbooks I thought okay I am making my spin on red beans & rice... I saw some recipes that were completely meatless (umm...not for me thanks I think beans need a little smoky meat flavor) and some that were really spicy...(again I like a little spice but I have small children to feed so that wouldn't work for me, I always say you can add spice but you can't take it away) I always have hot sauce and red pepper blend & red pepper flakes on the table to add spiciness to those that like it a little hotter... so that takes me to the vegetables...they were all over the board..peppers (red, yellow, green), onions (green, purple & yellow or white) some added garlic & some didn't (I did)... so mine is a hodpodge of stuff that I like... add what you and your family likes... I used dried red kidney beans (just make sure that before you soak them overnight you check and make sure that their are no stones or rocks in there (my mom always told me to check when you are making beans cause she has found sticks, rocks etc in there from the processing of them good to know mom..thanks :)  also I used a thick slab of bacon and just took the rind off and cut it in  small pieces, but you can use thick sliced bacon cut into pieces, or a couple of smoked ham hocks instead...anything to give it a smoky meaty flavor... In the last 30 minutes of cooking I add a link of sliced pre-cooked Kielbasa and let it for the seasonings.. use what you like..this is just the blend that I liked...Remember to go easy on the salt... Both the bacon & Kielbasa add extra salt... I added extra seasonings then added the Kielbasa & it was way too salty.. I had to add more water to tone it down...  *** NOTE*** I serve this with rice ( I cook mine in stock (broth) to add extra flavor and when it's done I put a tablespoon of butter and an extra pinch of salt to flavor it....but again make it how your family likes it... Add additional water if necessary if the mixture gets too thick and the beans are not tender...I serve this with a big ole piece of cornbread...YUMMY  the house smells amazing when you simmer this for hours... Enjoy

Red Beans with Bacon &  Kielbasa with rice

8-10 cups water (plus up to 2-3 cups more when cooking if mixture gets too thick and beans are not done)
1 package dried red kidney beans, sorted and covered by 2"  with water and soaked overnight, drained
1/2 green pepper, small diced
1 onion, peeled and small diced
1 carrot, peeled and small diced
2 stalks of celery, washed ends removed and small diced
3 cloves of garlic, smashed skins removed
1/3 cup red wine
1 T worchester sauce
3 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 cup  V-8 vegetable juice
1 T bacon grease
1/2 package thick slab bacon piece,small diced (around a cup worth of meat) or 4-5 slices bacon sliced
1 link pre cooked Kielbasa . thinly sliced
couple of dashes of hot sauce

For Serving:
Cooked rice **see NOTE)
Cornbread  (optional)

seasonings of your choice (I used 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp of cajun seasoning blend, Mrs. Dash, seasoned salt, pinch of salt & pepper, dried parsley flakes)

In large soup pot add all of the ingredients (EXCEPT bacon grease, bacon, & Kielbasa and serving ingredients (rice & cornbread)... Stir well.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  In a saute pan, add bacon grease over medium heat add slab bacon or bacon slices stirring very often until lightly browned and cooked.  Add entire contents of pan to beans (NOTE** stand back the hot bacon into the bean mixture will make the the beans splatter and sizzle but will settle down after a minute).  Stir well to incorporate, turn heat down to medium low  and simmer for a couple of hours until beans are tender.   I usually make the rice now.  Add the Kielbasa and simmer for an additional 30 minutes to let flavors combine.  Taste mixture to adjust any seasonings if necessary. Serve mixture over rice and with cornbread... Enjoy

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Salmon patties

I am always looking for new ways to add more fish into my diet.... and what better way than yummy salmon patties... using canned salmon makes these super easy to whip up and on the table in no time at all.  Sometimes I saute a little finely minced onion & green pepper in butter & olive oil to add to these but most of the time I don't...they are good either way...I use the small cans of skinless, boneless salmon, drained but you can use just one large can, drained well, just make sure you take any grey skin off & remove the bones as well..... Enjoy

Salmon patties

2 cans salmon, drained  (skinless & boneless kinds) you can find them right next to the canned tuna fish
1 egg
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs (plus more for coating the patties)
1/4 cup each finely diced green pepper & onion, sauteed in olive oil & butter, cooled (optional)
1 T. white wine
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup milk
 3 dashes hot sauce
1 T worchester sauce
seasonings of your choice ( I used garlic & onion powder, parsley flakes & no salt seasoning, a pinch of seasoned salt & pepper)
Parmesan cheese
Lemon wedges (optional)

In large bowl place all of the ingredients mixing very well with a fork. Place 1/4" of oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Shape salmon mixture into patties & place on a plate.  Sprinkle patties with breadcrumbs on each side.  Place patties in the hot oil and saute until golden brown.  Turn patties over and saute until golden brown on the other side.  Sprinkle patties with a little parmesan cheese while hot and serve with lemon wedges to sprinkle over them.  Enjoy

Sunday, July 29, 2012

7 layer Mexican dip

I love, love, love this dip!!  It is so incredibly yummy & easy to put together.... I always come home with an empty dish every time I make this for a get together.... You can always add other vegetables or leave out the black olives or put green ones on there too, or substitute red onion for the green onion, lots and lots of variations... I use fat free refried beans, and low fat sour cream but use what you have and like. Also you can use different kinds of cheeses as well, mexican or cheddar work fine too. I serve this with tortilla chips.... this dip needs to chill covered in the fridge for a couple of hours.   Just a FYI:  this is best eaten the day it's made... this dip doesn't sit well for days in the fridge.   Enjoy

7 layer Mexican Dip
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 packet of taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 green onions, washed and thinly sliced including tops
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
1 small can sliced black olives,drained
1 cup finely shredded lettuce
1 can refried beans

Tortilla chips for serving

In serving dish spread out in an even thin layer the refried beans.  In bowl whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, and taco seasoning mix.  Spread evenly over the beans.  Then sprinkle over the sour cream mixture in the following order: lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, cheese & the olives.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.  Let chill for a couple of hours then serve with tortilla chips.  Enjoy

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pistachio Banana bread

I so love anything pistachio.... so I thought what the heck why not make pistachio banana bread....This recipe is super easy to throw together... if you don't like pistachio leave out the almond extract & pistachio pudding mix & use vanilla pudding and vanilla extract for the pistachio...or you can use chocolate pudding mix and vanilla for the flavorings...lots of options to make what you like...all kinds of varieties.......I also used sugar free pudding mix (cause it's what I had on hand) if you have regular use that... **NOTE**  I put 4 small bananas but put what you have...if you only have a couple use them.....Enjoy

Pistachio Banana bread

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup oil
8 oz. lite vanilla yogurt
1 egg
1 small pkg. pistachio instant pudding (I used sugar free)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1t almond extract
1/2 cup chopped pistachios (optional)
4 small bananas, mashed with a fork (*see note* )

Preheat oven to 350.
In large bowl whisk together sugar, egg, oil, vanilla yogurt, salt, almond extract.  Add bananas and mix well. Add baking powder, flour and pudding mix & chopped pistachios if using.  Mix together and put in greased loaf pan.  Bake for 50-55 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes and flip out onto plate.  Enjoy