Thursday, December 24, 2009

Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast Casserole
adapted from


  • 1 (2 pound) package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed or 3 medium potatoes, skinned, shredded in a food processor, and browned in a skillet with butter
  • 1/2 pound pork sausage
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 2 quart baking dish. Place the hash brown potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook and stir the sausage until the sausage is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink; drain.
  3. Heat 4 slices of bacon in a skillet and brown on both sides. Let cool then chop into 1/2 inch pieces.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, milk, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and pour over the potatoes. Layer with half the Cheddar cheese, the sausage and bacon, and the remaining Cheddar cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove cover; return casserole to the oven and bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cookie Bouquet

One of my 12 Days of Christmas Treats items was a Cookie Pop. Each Cookie Pop can be given away individually or as a Cookie Bouquet. Here is a picture of one of my Cookie Bouquets.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 12

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt (I often use a half teaspoon, but I like more salt in my baked goods)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts, if using them.

At this point you can either chill the dough for a bit in the fridge and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking them. You could also bake them right away, if you’re impatient, but I do find that they end up slighly less thick.

The cookies should be two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

See's Fudge

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 11

See's Fudge
A friend gave me this recipe that was passed down to her through several generations in her family. Supposedly this is the original fudge recipe used by the See's Chocolate Company.

1 12 oz can evaporated milk
4 cups sugar
18 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 stick butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups walnuts (optional)
28 mini marshmallows

Mix and cook milk and sugar. Bring to a boil (will be frothy). Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Add and melt chocolate and butter. Add all marshmallows last. Continue to simmer on low and stir constantly until all marshmallows melt (this can take a while). Pour into tins. Allow to set and cool.

Cut into small squares and package in a box for a nice homemade Christmas gift.

This recipe is labor intensive and requires a lot of time. If you prefer a simpler fudge recipe try Jell-o Chocolate Pudding Fudge.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Peanut Brittle

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 10

Peanut Brittle



  • 1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 pinch salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Grease a baking sheet, and set aside. In a glass bowl, combine peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cook in microwave for 6 to 7 minutes on High (700 W); mixture should be bubbly and peanuts browned. Stir in butter and vanilla; cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  2. Quickly stir in baking soda, just until mixture is foamy. Pour immediately onto greased baking sheet. Let cool 15 minutes, or until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

Note: this recipe is for a 700 watt microwave. If you are not sure the wattage of your microwave then heat a cup of water in your microwave and note the time it takes for the water to boil. Use this chart to determine the wattage.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Cupcakes

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 9

Holiday Cupcakes

24 prepared cupcakes
white, red, and green fondant
buttercream icing
3 inch round biscuit cutter
leaf cutter
fondant veining tool
rolling pin
small red candies such as red hots

Roll out white fondant and cut out circles with biscuit cutter. Attach white circles to cupcakes with icing. Roll out green fondant and cut out leaves. Use the veining tool to create leaf veins. Arrange leaves on cupcakes and attach with icing. Attach red candies to leaves with a tiny dab of icing. Roll out red fondant and cut out circles with biscuit cutter. Divide circles into 6 wedges. Place 3 wedges on each cupcake and attach with icing. Roll red and white fondant into 4 inch long pieces. Wrap the pieces around each other. Form into a candy cane and attach to cupcake with icing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 8

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Your favorite chocolate cake recipe (enough for 18-24 cupcakes)
Your favorite chocolate frosting (enough for 18-24 cupcakes)
5 regular size candy canes

Prepare and bake your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe. Allow cupcakes to cool completely. Prepare a pastry decorating bag with Wilton tip 1M and fill with your favorite chocolate frosting. Chop candy canes in a food processor. Frost cupcakes and immediately sprinkle with candy cane pieces.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

White Candy Fantasy Clusters

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 7

White Candy Fantasy Clusters


4 cups Rice Chex® cereal
2 cups pretzel sticks, coarsely broken
1 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
1/2 package (16-oz size) vanilla-flavored candy coating (almond bark)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1.Spray with cooking spray or grease 13x9-inch pan. In large bowl, mix cereal, pretzels and cashews.
2.In 2-quart saucepan, melt candy coating over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated. Press in pan; cool slightly.
3.In microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on High about 1 minute or until chocolate can be stirred smooth (bowl will be hot). Drizzle chocolate over snack. Let stand about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set. Break into clusters. Store in airtight container.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 6

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

For the Dough (this is the same dough used in this recipe):
1 pkg yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm later
1 tsp salt
1 cup scalded milk
2/3 cup shortening (Crisco)
6 to 8 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup potatoes, mashed

For Filling and Topping:
1 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp water

Add shortening, sugar, salt and eggs to potatoes. Cream well. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water, add to lukewarm milk, and add to potato mixture. Add sifted flour to make stiff dough. Toss on floured board and knead well. Put in large bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk. Turn out on floured board and kneaded slightly. Rub over top with melted butter. Place in a bowl. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Roll out dough. Mix brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon together. Spread over dough. Roll dough into a log. Cut log into 1 inch slices. Place rolls on a baking sheet and let rise 1 hour before baking time. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until edges start to brown.

Mix powdered sugar and water into a flowing but thick icing (add more water if needed). Spread over cinnamon rolls and enjoy.

Makes approximately 24 rolls.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Candy Melts

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 5

Christmas Candy Melts

Wilton Candy Molds and Red, White, Brown, and Blue Candy Melts

1. Place Candy Melts in disposable bags. use one bag for each color.
2. Microwave at 40% power for 30 seconds. Knead bag.
3. Continue to microwave and knead at 15 second intervals until smooth and completely melted.
(You can use microwave safe bowls instead of bags. Stir between heating intervals)
4. To fill in the details of the mold, Squeeze melted candy onto a plate. Dip a paint brush in candy and "paint" in detail areas of mold.
5. Refrigerate until firm.
6. Carefully spoon in candy to fill remainder of mold.
7. Lightly tap to remove air bubbles.
8. Refrigerate until firm.
9. Candy will easily tap out of mold when done.
10. Place in small plastic bags and secure with ribbon to present as a party favor or set out on a plate.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 4

Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
(or you can substitute the above ingredients for a store bought graham cracker crust to save time)

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (omitted)


  1. In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, cracker crumbs, sugar and spices; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 10-in. tart pan with a removable bottom.

  2. For filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Add pumpkin and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour into crust; sprinkle with walnuts and remaining cinnamon. Place pan on a baking sheet.

  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 1-1/2 hours. Store in the refrigerator.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cookie Pops

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 3

Cookie Pops
A Wilton Project Idea

Wilton Comfort Grip Tree cookie cutter
Wilton Comfort Grip candy cane cookie cutter
8" cookie sticks
Red Cookie icing
White Cookie icing
Green Cookie icing
Primary fondant multi-pack
Piping gel
White nonpareils
Parchment paper
Rolling pin
Container to display cookie bouquet

Sugar Cookie Recipe

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in egg and vanilla. Sift baking powder with flour. Add flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. The dough will be very stiff. Blend in the last of the flour by hand. Do not chill dough. Roll and cut out shapes. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. remove cookies to cooling grid to cool completely.

1. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Roll dough to a thickness of 3/8" on the parchment paper.
3. Dust cookie cutters with flour to prevent sticking. Cut out on parchment paper lined cookie sheet to eliminate transferring. Remove excess dough.
4. Leave 1" space between cookies because they will spread slightly when cooking.
5. Bake small batches of 3 to 4 cookies at a time.
6. To insert cookie sticks
-Place hand on top of cookie to hold in place
-Insert cookie stick by twisting and pushing stick into cookie
-Insert cookie stick all the way to within 1/2" to top of cookie

Decorate cookie pops as desired. Present cookie bouquet in a festive container decorated with curling ribbon, tissue paper, and tinsel. Or wrap individual pops in plastic and give as favors.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Banana Pumpkin Bread

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 2

Christmas Banana Pumpkin Bread
adapted from: Taste of Home

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
  • 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the bananas and pumpkin puree just until combined.Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

  • Pour into a greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 70-80 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).

Wrap bread in cellophane and tie with a bow to make a great gift or turn recipe into four mini loaves and arrange in a bread basket.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Kris Kringle Snack Mix

12 days of Christmas Treats: Day 1

Kris Kringle Snack Mix
adapted from:

8 cups Chex cereal
1 7-ounce jar of marshmallow creme
red and green sprinkles

First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

On a large cookie sheet, spray cooking spray to cover. Empty your jar of marshmallow creme into a bowl you can use in the microwave.

Microwave the marshmellow creme uncovered on high for 1 minute, pause, then stir the creme and continue microwaving for another minute or until it is melted.

Gently pour the Chex cereal into the marshmallow creme. Gently stir the cereal until mixed and coated.

Next, spread the Chex out on a cookie sheet. Once you have a fairly even layer, sprinkle the Chex with the red and green candies. All you need to do now is bake it for about 10 minutes, stirring just a little after 5 minutes or until the marshmallow coating is dry.

Cool completely on cookie sheet placed on top of a wire rack. At this point it will all be one mass of coated Chex. Once it is cooled, you can break it up into large pieces and serve. Delicious!

This recipe for serves/makes 8 cups.

Package in a holiday themed plastic pail to make a great gift.

Monday, November 30, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Treats

Some of you may remember my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies last year. This year I am going to do a similar challenge. Each of the first 12 days of December I am going to make a different Christmas treat. If you want to join me in this challenge feel free to use this logo.
I am really looking forward to this year's challenge. I have a few treats in mind already. Stay tuned because I think you will enjoy these. Many of them will make easy and great Christmas gifts.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grandnina's Birthday Rolls

Grandnina's Birthday Rolls
This is my grandmother's recipe. She would make these for every holiday and our birthdays. I would always look forward to these rolls.

1 pkg yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm later
1 tsp salt
1 cup scalded milk
2/3 cup shortening (Crisco)
6 to 8 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup potatoes, mashed

Add shortening, sugar, salt and eggs to potatoes. Cream well. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water, add to lukewarm milk, and add to potato mixture. Add sifted flour to make stiff dough. Toss on floured board and knead well. Put in large bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk. Turn out on floured board and kneaded slightly. Rub over top with melted butter. Place in a bowl. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator until ready to use. Shape and let rise 1 hour before baking time. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until edges start to brown.

Beer Can Turkey

I know this sounds strange but this makes an amazing turkey. The outside is crispy and the inside is tender and moist. I think I might even like this method better than the brining method.

Beer Can Turkey

10-12 lb whole turkey, defrosted and neck, giblets, and gravy removed.
1 stick butter, melted
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 - 12 oz can beer

Arrange oven rack to the lowest level. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix butter, garlic salt, black pepper, paprika, and cayenne in a small bowl. Baste turkey with the butter and spice mixture. Pour out half the beer. Add the remaining butter and spice mixture to beer can. Place can in the turkey's center cavity and prop upright in a roasting pan. Place in oven and bake uncovered for 3.5 to 4 hours or until turkey is medium brown all over.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce


  • 12 ounces cranberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice


  1. In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the orange juice. Stir in the cranberries and cook until the cranberries start to pop (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beef and Hatch Chilies

Beef and Hatch Chilies
by Me

2 cloved garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs sirloin steak, trimmed and sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/2 lb roasted hatch chilies, skin removed
2 large tomatoes, skin removed
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
Lime juice (optional)

Heat garlic and onions in a large sauce pan over medium heat for 3 minutes or until slightly brown. Add steak and brown for about 10 minutes. Add chilies, tomatoes, cilantro, and water. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mexican Sour Cream Rice

Mexican Sour Cream Rice

adapted from ...and a Cookie for Dessert and A Taste of Home Cooking

1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
3 roasted hatch chilies, skin removed and chopped
1 (8.75 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
salt and ground black pepper to taste

In a large pot, bring the rice and chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. In the pot with the cooked rice, mix the sour cream, hatch chilies, corn, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Southern Peach Cobbler

Southern Peach Cobbler

8 fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water

For the topping:
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined. Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them.

Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cafe Sua Da - Vietnamese Ice Coffee

Cafe Sua Da (Vietnamese Ice Coffee)

2 Tbsp strong French roast coffee such as Cafe Du Monde, ground
2 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups boiling water
ice cubes

Pour sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of a coffee mug. Unscrew coffee filter strainer. Add ground coffee to the bottom on the filter. Screw coffee filter strainer back on until it fits snug. Place coffee filter over mug. Add about 1/2 inch of boiling water over strainer. Wait about 30 seconds to allow coffee grounds to expand. Loosen filter by unscrewing two turns. Pour additional water over filter. When water has filtered through pour additional water over filter. Continue until all water has filtered through. Stir coffee in mug until the condensed milk has combined with coffee. Fill a class with ice. Pour coffee over ice. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Peanut Butter Crisscrosses

Peanut Butter Crisscrosses
from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
pinch of grated nutmeg
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups chopped salted peanuts (I omitted this since I used crunchy peanut butter)
about ½ cup sugar, for rolling

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.

Working with a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for a minute or two, until smooth and creamy. Add the peanut butter and beat for another minute. Add the sugars and beat for 3 minutes more. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl and, on low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they just disappear. Mix in the chopped peanuts. You’ll have a soft, pliable (mushable, actually) dough.

Pour the ½ cup of sugar into a small bowl. Working with a level tablespoonful of dough for each cookie, roll the dough between your palms into balls and drop the balls, a couple at a time, into the sugar. Roll the balls around in the sugar to coat them, then place on the baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between them. Dip the tines of a fork in sugar and press the tines against each ball first in one direction and then in a perpendicular direction – you should have a flattened round of dough with crisscross indentations.

Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. When done, the cookies will be lightly colored and still a little soft. Let the cookies sit on the sheets for a minute before transferring them to cooling racks with a wide metal spatula. Cool to room temperature.

Repeat with the remaining dough, making sure to cool the baking sheets between batches.

The cookies will keep for at least 5 days in the cookie jar. Wrapped airtight, they can be frozen for up to 2 months.

These were perfect peanut butter cookies - crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. I highly recommend this recipe.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chocolate Fudge Jr Mint Centered Cupcakes

Chocolate Fudge Jr Mint Centered Cupcakes
adapted from

1 box chocolate cake mix plus the ingredients to prepare per package directions
3-4 oz boxes Jr Mints
Favorite vanilla or chocolate frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cake mix per package directions. Scoop into 24 lined muffin cups. Press 3 JR mints into the center of each cupcake. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until toothpick comes mostly clean from center. Let cool completely and frost with your favorite vanilla or chocolate frosting. Press a JR mint on top of each cupcake. Makes 24 cupcakes

Friday, September 11, 2009

Crockpot Coconut Curry Beef

Crockpot Coconut Curry Beef
adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking

1 13.5-oz can coconut milk
1 T brown sugar
1 T soy sauce

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 yellow onion, quartered
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 potato, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 celery stalk cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 1/2 lbs of lean beef (such as top round), cut into 1 inch pieces

Add all ingredients into a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or low 8 to 10 hours. Serve over rice.

Personally I wasn't a fan of this meal but my husband loved it. I guess it is just personal taste.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake
Adapted from

4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with liners and spray each one with cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, apple sauce, white sugar, brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Pour into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely.

To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cupcakes.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Banana Crumb Muffins

Banana Crumb Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

I followed the directions exactly as listed on The muffins were perfect. I wouldn't change a thing. This is a great way to use up bananas before they turn bad.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Baked Lemon Pasta

Baked Lemon Pasta


1 pound thin spaghetti
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste if desired
Plenty of grated Parmesan cheese
Flat leaf parsley, chopped
Extra lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti until al dente.
In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over LOW HEAT.
When butter is melted, add minced garlic.
Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat.
Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary.
Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish.
Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don’t bake too long or the pasta will dry out.)
When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top.
Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley.
Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Roasted Cauliflower and Penne

Roasted Cauliflower with Penne
adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray

1 lb penne pasta
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce or homemade sauce
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), stemmed and chopped
¾ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (a few handfuls)
Freshly ground pepper
Season salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over the stove top. Add the penne to the water and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile coat the cauliflower pieces in EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking pan in a single layer and roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until edges start turning brown. When the penne is done cooking drain the water and toss with spaghetti sauce and cheese. Place in a 9 inch baking dish. Top with roasted cauliflower and place in oven for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Shish Kabobs

Shish Kabobs
by Me

1 lb top sirloin steak
2 green bell peppers
1 pineapple cut into pieces

Soak shish kabob skewers in water. Season meat with salt and pepper. Cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Cut bell pepper in 1 1/2 inch pieces. Alternate meat, bell pepper, and pineapple pieces on skewers. Grill over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side or until meat is cooked to desired temperature.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mini Quiches

Mini Quiches
makes 15 to 18

Crust: Good For Almost Everything Pie Dough - Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) very cold (frozen is fine) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces2
1/2 tablespoons very cold (frozen is even better) vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
About 1/4 cup ice water

Quiche Mixture

1 1/2 cups of any combination of chopped cooked spinach, chopped cooked broccoli, chopped cooked artichoke hearts, chopped cooked bacon
4 eggs
1/8 cup feta cheese, crumbled,
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 dash paprika
a few sprinkles of your favorite herbs (thyme, basil, parsley, dill, etc.)

additional shredded cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top

Put the flour, sugar and salt into a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don't overdo the mixing -- what you're aiming for is to have some pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley. Pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add about 6 tablespoons of the water if making a double crust, 3 tablespoons if making a singe crust -- add a little water and pulse once, add some more water, pulse again and keep going that way. Then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If, after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn't look evenly moistened of form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water as necessary, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. Big pieces of butter are fine. Scrape the dough out of the work bowl and onto a work surface.

Roll out dough and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile mix the quiche mixture together in a medium bowl. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator. Use a 5 inch diameter round cutter to cut out 15 to 18 circles. Place dough in a greased muffin pan. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Fill each crust with the quiche mixture to the top edge of the crusts (about 2 Tbsp. in each). Place back in oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle additional cheese on top of each quiche. Place back in oven for one minute to melt cheese. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool use a plastic knife to cut around the edges of each quiche and remove from the muffin pan.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits Copy Cat

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits Copy Cat

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix bisquick, milk and cheese until a soft dough forms. Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Mix butter or margarine and garlic powder. Brush mixture over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bisquick Coffee Cake

Bisquick Coffee Cake

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup water or milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup Bisquick
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a deep pie plate, 8"x8" square pan, or 9"x9" square pan. Mix dough ingredients and put in baking dish. Mix topping ingredients with a fork or pastry mixer until crumbly. Spread topping mix over dough and drag a butter knife across like you were making a tic-tac-toe board several times. Bake for 25 minutes.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Creamy Buttermilk Coleslaw

Creamy Buttermilk Coleslaw
from Cooks Illustrated July 2002 and The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Serves 4

CI note: If you are planning to serve the coleslaw immediately, rinse the salted cabbage in a large bowl of ice water, drain it in a colander, pick out any ice cubes, then pat the cabbage dry before dressing.

1 pound cabbage (about ½ medium head), red or green, shredded fine (6 cups)
table salt
1 medium carrot, shredded on box grater
½ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
½ teaspoon cider vinegar
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Toss shredded cabbage and 1 teaspoon salt in colander or large mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Let stand until cabbage wilts, at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Rinse cabbage under cold running water. Press, but do not squeeze, to drain; pat dry with paper towels. Place wilted cabbage and carrot in large bowl.

2. Stir buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, shallot, parsley, vinegar, sugar, mustard, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper together in small bowl. Pour dressing over cabbage and toss to combine; refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. (Coleslaw can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pan-Fried Dumplings

Pan-Fried Dumplings
adapted from World Foodie Guide

48 round dumpling wrappers
1 lb bag cabbage & carrots slaw mix
3 Tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 serrano pepper, finely diced
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 pork
1/4 cup Kikoman soy sauce
Vegetable oil

I made half vegetable dumplings and half a combination of pork and vegetable.

1. Remove the dumpling wrappers from the freezer and let defrost while cooking the vegetables.

2. For the vegetable mixture add the slaw mix, cilantro, pepper, ginger, garlic, and half of the soy sauce to a frying pan. Heat over medium until the vegetables soften (about 8 minutes). Set aside in a bowl and let cool.

3. Fill a small bowl with water. Dip your finger in the water and outline a dumpling wrapper to moisten around the edge. Place about 1 teaspoon of vegetable mixture in the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over and seal. Repeat this for 24 dumplings.

4. Heat about 3 Tbs oil in the frying pan over medium heat. Add 12 dumplings to the pan. Let fry until brown on one side (about 4 minutes). Add a cup of water to the pan and continue to cook for 1 minute. Strain the dumplings from the liquid and set aside in a single layer to cool. Repeat this step for the other 12 dumplings.

5. Cook pork in a pan over medium heat until brown. Set aside to cool. Mix the pork with the remaining vegetable mixture.

6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the pork/vegetable dumplings.

7. Serve with soy sauce or create your own dipping sauce.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

BBQ Bean Soup

I saw a recipe on A Year of Slow Cooking Blog for a baked bean soup that tasted like pork and beans but better. It sounded great but I didn't have all the ingredients and I wanted to mix it up a bit. I also didn't feel like dragging out my crockpot so I just made this on the stove top. This is a very versatile recipe. If you want to make this as a side dish to take to a BBQ just reduce the water.

BBQ Bean Soup
Inspired by A Year of Slow Cooking

1 lb dry pinto beans or 2 cans pinto beans
2 cans tomato sauce
6 cups water
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp garlic
1/2 onion
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
3 strips thick bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 Tbs yellow mustard
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Serrano pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup Kraft Honey BBQ sauce

If using dry beans then rinse, boil, and let soak over night or use the quick method from the back of the bean package.

Toss all of the ingredients into a large stock pot and bring to a low boil for 2 hours. Stir occasionally. Or put all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low 10 hours or high 5 hours.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Chip Scones
From Joy of Baking

2 cups (280 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (113 grams) (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

1/2 cup (90 grams) milk or semi sweet chocolate chips or chunks

1/2 cup (75 grams) dried cherries or cranberries *I omitted these

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup (160 ml) buttermilk

Egg mixture for brushing tops of scones:

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon milk

Cinnamon Sugar:

2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Powdered Sugar:

Dust on top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chunks (or chips) and dried cherries. In a small measuring cup whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla extract and then add to the flour mixture. Stir just until the dough comes together (add more buttermilk if necessary). Do not over mix the dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches (18 cm) round and about 11/2 inches (3.75 cm) thick. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 4 pie-shaped wedges (triangles). Place the scones on the baking sheet. Make an egg wash of one well-beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk and brush the tops of the scones with this mixture. To make the Cinnamon Sugar, mix together the sugar and ground cinnamon. Sprinkle the tops of the scones with a little of the cinnamon sugar.

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and then turn your broiler on high. Sift the confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar heavily over the tops of the scones and place them under the broiler. Broil for just a few seconds, turning the pan as necessary, until the sugar has melted and turns golden brown. Make sure to watch the scones carefully as the sugar will burn very quickly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 8 scones or 16 to 18 biscuits

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta Cheese

Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta Cheese
adapted from:
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 lb thin spaghetti, cooked

In a large saucepan, saute the chopped garlic in the olive oil until golden. Add jalapeno peppers; saute about 3 minutes.

Mix in the chopped tomatoes and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat.

In a medium saute pan, toss the shrimp with the olive oil. Cook over medium heat until shrimp become pink. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the tomato sauce.

Serve tomato and shrimp over spaghetti. Sprinkle feta cheese on top.

Crockpot Jambalaya

Crockpot Jambalaya
adapted from:

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound frozen cooked shrimp without tails

In a slow cooker, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, green bell pepper, and broth. Season with Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper.
Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low, or 3 to 4 hours on High. Stir in the shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Graham Streusel Coffee Cake

Graham Streusel Coffee Cake

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk

Combine the first five ingredients; set aside. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour half of the batter into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Sprinkle with half of the graham cracker mixture. Carefully spoon the remaining batter on top. Sprinkle with the remaining graham cracker mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Combine confectioners' sugar and milk; drizzle over cake.

Apple and Brown Sugar Corned Beef

Apple and Brown Sugar Corned Beef
adapted from Crockpot Tuesdays

3 lbs. corned beef
3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp spicy mustard
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp peppercorns


Place meat, potatoes, and apples in crockpot. Combine the water, brown sugar, mustard, garlic and black pepper and pour into crockpot. Sprinkle peppercorns on top. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 12 hours. Remove meat and veggies from juice and serve.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg

Powdered Sugar Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
Spiced Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.

Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 14–16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

TO MAKE THE PLAIN GLAZE: Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth. When scones are cool, use a brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone.

TO MAKE THE SPICED ICING: Combine the ingredient for the spiced icing together. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least 1 hour).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Super Mario Brothers Cake

Here is the Super Mario Brothers cake I made for a 30th birthday party.

Bacon Wrapped Grilled Asparagus

Bacon Wrapped Grilled Aparagus
By: Me

1 lb asparagus
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
sliced bacon

Wash and trim asparagus. Place asparagus in a pan and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Bundle 3 asparagus together and wrap bacon around them. Secure with toothpicks. Repeat with remaining asparagus. Place on grill and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until bacon is cooked through and asparagus are tender.