Monday, December 22, 2008

Gingerbread House Fun!

If you love to torture yourself, you'll love this! :) The roof was the hardest, I recommend to reinforce underneath it with whatever cookie material you are using! When Placing the cookies together you want to have the frosting on every edge so it stays together, the frosting is what makes it work! It is a Royal Icing and drys quickly and really hard! This is what you need to make it...

A good size round frosting tip and accessories to make it work!

3 Tbsp Meringue Powder (I found at Michael's in the cake/baking aisle)
4 cups Powdered Sugar
6 Tbsp Water

If using a stand mixer(you are lucky!) mix it for 7-10 minutes at a low speed and if you only have a hand mixer like me, you'll need to mix for 10-12 minutes at a higher speed! You want it to be creating good size peaks by the end and it should get bigger. I doubled the recipe for the size house I made, see pictures above.

I went easy with Graham crackers - about 3 boxes for that size house. And get a good amount of candy to decorate how you would like, just glue on with the frosting! Use any extra frosting to cover up any mistakes and to make look extra snowy around the edges!

Chewy Peppermint Kiss Cookies

Really chewy pepermint cookies, this is a variation of the cake mix cookies. This is what you need to make...

1 package White Cake Mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup crushed peppermint candy cane
Peppermint Hershey Kisses unwrapped - about 30

Mix together all ingredients except the Hershey kisses, scoop into 1 1/2 inch balls onto a cookie sheet(make sure you spray before, these get stuck even with the spray!) at least 1 1/2 inches apart - they flatten out! Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until slightly golden brown around the edges! Transfer to wax paper as soon as they are out of the oven and add the hershey kiss in the middle!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mint Thins

Compliments of the Kraft Food and Family these!

Prep Time:
20 min
Total Time:
20 min
3 doz. or 12 servings, three coated crackers each

What You Need
1 pkg. (8 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
1 sleeve RITZ Crackers (36 crackers)
1 peppermint candy cane (6 inch), crushed

Make It
MICROWAVE chocolate in small microwaveable bowl as directed on package. Stir until completely melted. Blend in extract.

DIP crackers in melted chocolate, completely coating crackers with chocolate. Carefully scrape off excess chocolate. Place on waxed paper-covered baking sheets; sprinkle with crushed candy.

REFRIGERATE 30 min. or until chocolate is firm.
Kraft Kitchens Tips

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies
Omit peppermint extract and candy cane. Spread each cracker with a thin layer of peanut butter before dipping into the melted chocolate.

Neiman Marcus Bars

This is a standard around our house when it comes to Christmas baking...they are rich, but GOOD!!!

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 c. melted butter (1 stick)
3 eggs
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 (1 lb.) box powdered sugar
1/2 c. flake coconut
1/2 c. chopped pecans (I usually use walnuts)
Beat 1 egg and butter. Add cake mix. Pat into 9 x 13 inch pan. Mix cream cheese, 2 eggs and powdered sugar. Add coconut and pecans. Spread over cake. Bake in preheated oven at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Cut when cool.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Easy Cream Cheese Cookies

2 stick butter

3 oz. cream cheese

1 egg yolk

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 and ½ cups flour

Chocolate, butterscotch or white chocolate chips

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add egg yolk, sugar, and vanilla. Mix in flour. VERY IMPORTANT-MUST CHILL ONE HOUR. Form into small balls about 1 inch. Press a few chocolate chips into the ball. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Do not over bake (bottom should be tan not brown). This dough freezes well.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Cracker Cookies

Ritz Crackers

Peanut Butter

Almond Bark, Milk Chocolate, or round chocolate melts

Colored Candy Sprinkles

1. Spread peanut butter between two crackers to make "sandwiches".

2. Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water. Reduce heat and keep chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water.

3. Dip each cracker "sandwich" in chocolate, allowing excess to drain back into pot.

4. Place coated crackers on wax paper and add sprinkles. Allow coating to completely set, placing in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Recipe Assignment:

Treasured Thanksgiving Recipes

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cranberry Mold

1- 3 oz pkg raspberry or cherry jello
1 small can crushed pineapple
1 can whole cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped celery

Drain pineapple, save juice. Add water to juice to make 1 1/2 cups. Heat and pour over jello, cool slightly. Add can of cranberries, then pineapple-stir until mixed. Add walnuts and celery, refrigerate several hours until firm.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Turkey with Brown Sugar Brine

This turkey benefits from a technique called brining—soaking the bird in a seasoned saltwater solution, which draws moisture and flavorings into the meat. Brining helps keep the meat juicy without giving it a salty taste.

2 1/2 cups kosher salt
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 Tbs. peppercorns
1 gallon water
1 1/2 gallons ice water
1 turkey, 16 to 18 lb., rinsed

In a large pot over high heat, combine the salt, brown sugar, peppercorns and the 1 gallon water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Let cool to lukewarm, about 1 hour. Stir 1/2 gallon of the ice water into the brine. Place the turkey in the brining bag. Pour in the brine and the remaining 1 gallon ice water. Using the sealing clip, seal the bag securely and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours. For added stability, place the bag in a pot or on a baking sheet. Remove the turkey from the brine. Rinse the turkey thoroughly with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brining bag. Brush the turkey with 4 tbsp melted butter.
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

I use a lot less water--only as much as my biggest pot holds.
I cook the turkey in an oven roasting bag according to the directions for the bag.
I think this is the most simple way to ensure a moist turkey.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Aunt Marilyn's Sweet Potato Souffle

My Aunt Marilyn always makes this at Thanksgiving and I always look forward to it when we are spending the holidays with her family.

1 casserole dish
9 or 10 yams
½ cup butter (melted)
2 eggs
½ to ¾ cup orange juice frozen concentrate
¾ to 1 cup of brown sugar
Marshmallows for the top
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

I usually start making this early in the morning, because I cook the yams in the microwave and they need time to cool before you are able to handle them.

1. Wash the yams, prick them with a fork, microwave them for about 5minutes, then turn them, and continue to microwave them until they are soft and ready to eat. They should be soft enough that you will be able to mash them easily. It usually takes 20 minutes for 5 yams.
2. Once yams have cooled. Peel the skin off and smash them in a bowl. They will be somewhat chunky.
3. Now add orange juice and mix with a mixer. This should make them fluffy. Also add a 1/2 cup of brown sugar and ¼ cup of butter.
4. Slightly beat the eggs and fold them into mixture.
5. Spray casserole dish with Pam.
6. Fold the mixture into the casserole dish.
7. Drizzle the rest of the butter on top and then sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar on top.
8. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. The last five minutes sprinkle with marshmallows and turn the oven to broil.
9. Once marshmallows are golden brown remove from the oven.
10. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pumpkin Cake/Cobbler

My grandma makes this and I absolutely love it! I finally got the recipe from her. She calls it Pumpkin Cake, but I think its more like a Pumpkin Cobbler. If your a pumpkin pie fan you'll love this, I like it better than pumpkin pie, enjoy!

1 pkg. Yellow Cake Mix
1 egg
½ c. + 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 lb 13 oz. can Libby’s Ready Mix Pumpkin mix (for pumpkin pie, not the plain can of pumpkin)
1/3 c. + ¼ c. sugar
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take 1 cup of cake mix and set aside. Mix together remaining cake mix, 1 egg, and ½ c. melted butter (that is cooled so it’s not really hot) and then spread in the bottom of a 9x13 ungreased dish.

In another bowl mix pumpkin mix, 1/3 c. sugar and 2/3 c. evaporated milk (the small can) and then pour over the cake mixture.

Take the 1 c. cake mix that you set aside and mix with ¼ c. sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 2 Tbsp. softened butter and mix until crumbly. Then sprinkle that over the pumpkin mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Serve with whip cream on top!

Sweet Potato Dish

We had this for a friend Thanksgiving dinner last year (Meagan Hacker brought it). I loved it and had to get the recipe from her. I made it at our family Thanksgiving dinner and it was a hit. I wasn't sure if she would post it or not, so I decided to take the liberty.

Bake 10 med sweet potatoes.
Remove Peelings and Mash (no lumps)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. butter
4 eggs slightly beaten
2 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. sugar
4 T. milk

Put in casserole dish and top with :

1/2 c. butter
6 T. Flour
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 t. nutmeg
1 c. chopped pecans

Bake at 350 for 25- 30 minutes

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sausage Dressing

This is the best dressing I have ever had! It's a recipe from a friend that has now become a tradition in our family. (Note: It can be halved)
Sausage Dressing recipe:

1-1/2 bags of seasoned croutons
1 box of Uncle Ben's Wild Rice Mix (cooked)
2 eggs
1 large chopped onion
1 bunch of celery
1 can of sliced waterchestnuts (chop slightly)
1 lb. of Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cans of chicken broth
1/4 lb. of butter
1 clove of garlic (optional)

Soak the croutons in the chicken broth. Saute the sausage and remove from heat. Saute onion in the butter. Mince and add garlic to that mixture. Add that mixture to the sausage. Chop and saute celery and add to that mixture. Add waterchestnuts and mix. Add beaten eggs and cooked wild rice mix. Combine this mixture to the croutons and either stuff your turkey with it or put it in a casserole dish and cook for 30-45 minutes.

Recipe From: Brandon Barnett

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Luscious Four-Layer Pumpkin Cake

This is a Kraft Recipe (Stolen from Amanda) and is as yummy as it is beautiful!!!

What You Need
1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
4 eggs
1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup PLANTERS Chopped Pecans
Make It

HEAT oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round baking pans. Beat cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, oil, eggs and 1 tsp. spice in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Pour into prepared pans.

BAKE 28 to 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely. Beat cream cheese in small bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar, remaining pumpkin and spice; mix well. Gently stir in COOL WHIP.

CUT each cake layer horizontally in half with serrated knife; stack on serving plate, spreading cream cheese filling between layers. (Do not frost top layer.) Drizzle with caramel topping just before serving; sprinkle with nuts. Refrigerate leftovers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cranberry Cream Cheese appetizer


  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest


Mix cranberries, walnuts, honey and orange zest. Place top of chunks of cream cheese. Serve with cracks.


Cranberry Salsa over cream cheese, cranberry jam over cream cheese.

Recipe Assignment:

Crock Pot Wonders

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I don't think that broccoli cheddar soup could be any easier and it only uses a few ingredients.

2 Cans Cream of Celery Soup
1 Pint Half and Half

1 Bag Chopped or cut broccoli

1 Jar of Cheez Whiz

Put all ingredients in crock pot, cook on low for seven hours. Serve in bread bowls, and garnish with grated cheddar to jazz it up.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


This recipe may seem too simple to be true, but it is so flavorful and the chicken is super moist, definitely a favorite around here.


1lb. chicken breast, cut into small strips

1 cup coleslaw dressing (I used Marie's in refrigerated veggie section)

Garlic powder sprinkled over the top


Cook in slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours.

Serve with or over hot rice, a nice green salad and some hot French or Italian bread. So simple to fix and so delicious to eat.

***Originally posted by Cherie in April 2008

Recipe Assignment:

Recipe Assignment:

Fun Halloween Recipes

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Frankenstein's Monster's Toes

1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
7 drops neon green food color
36 whole blanched almonds
1/2 tsp red food color

Stir cookie mix, flour, melted butter, egg, almond extract & green food color until soft dough forms. Cover; refrigerate for 1 hour
Place almonds & red food color in resealable plastic bag; shake bag until almonds are evenly coated with food color. Place on paper plate & waxed paper to dry. Set aside
Heat oven to 375, for each cookie, roll heaping tsp of dough into 2 1/2-inch finger shape, place on cookie sheet
Press almond, colored side up, into one end of each "toe" to look like toenail. About 1 inch from each end of "toe", squeeze dough slightly with knife, gently make lines in dough to look like knuckles.
Bake 6-8 min (cookies should not brown on edges)

Super cute and fun!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pumpkin Cupcakes

· 3 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
· 2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 3/4 teaspoon salt
· 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
· 3/4 cup vegetable oil
· 1/2 cup buttermilk
· 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
· 4 eggs
· Frosting:
· 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
· 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
· 1 box (16 ounces) confectioner's sugar
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed
· Orange food coloring
· Fine and coarse orange decorating sugar
· Pretzel sticks or rods
· Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12 mini cupcake pan indents and 12 regular indents with foil or paper liners. Line 6 jumbo cupcake indents with foil or paper liners.
· For cupcakes: In a medium-size bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt together until well blended; set aside.
· Beat sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, pumpkin puree and eggs in a large bowl on low speed for 2 minutes or until combined. Add flour mixture and beat for 2 more minutes or until just combined.
· Divide among liners, filling each about 2/3 full.
· Bake at 350°F for about 12 minutes for the minis, 18 minutes for the regulars and 26 minutes for the jumbos, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
· For frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl on high for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioner's sugar, vanilla and milk and beat until smooth and a good spreading consistency, 2 minutes. Add an additional tablespoon of milk if mixture is too thick.
· Divide the frosting into two bowls and tint to different shades of orange with food coloring. Mound the frosting on top of cupcakes and make rounded. Roll the entire cupcake in the sugar to coat or roll just edges in sugar, alternating between fine and corase sugars as desired. To make indentations, press a wooden skewer on top of the sugared cupcake. Add pretzel sticks or rods as stems.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Easy Doughnuts!

Grands Biscuits (I used Home style)
Powdered sugar frosting (1tsp butter, 1 TBL milk, 2 cups powdered sugar)
Halloween or Fall Sprinkles

Heat oil on stove top. Cut out center of Grands Biscuits with a water bottle lid. Fry dough in oil. DECORATE!
My kids loved to make these...super yummy and easy!

Worlds Easiest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 box of Spice Cake Mix (do NOT add oil, eggs, and water)
1 can of pumpkin (small can)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix cake mix and pumpkin together and fold in chocolate chips. Scoop on to cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes...doesn't get much easier than that. Come on 3 ingredients! And they are super delicious!

Posted by Kyle originally in April '08

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Chewy Spider Sandwich Cookies

1 Pkg Devils food cake mix

1/4 C. Flour

2 Eggs

1/2 C. Oil

Mix and form into balls, bake @ 350 for 9-11 minutes.

Drop pan on counter to flatten cookies,

Once cooled, frost with orange frosting between 2 cookies. Put licorice strings between for legs and add mini m&m's, red hots or frosting dots for eyes. You can also use Oreo's (but these are so much more yummy)

Pumpkin Cookies

4 cups flour
2 cups oats (quick or old fashioned)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 c butter
or margarine, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 can (16 oz) pumpkin
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Combine first 5 ingredients, set aside. Cream butter and sugars together, beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Alternate additions of dry ingredients and pumpkin, mixing well after each addition. Stir in choc. chips. For each cookie, drop by 1/4 cup onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. Cool completely. Decorate with icing (I like cream cheese frosting!) and assorted candies. Makes approx. 3 dozen large cookies (great for visiting teaching or to "boo" friends!)

Posted by Amy Gray

Recipe Assignment:

Everyday Italian-

Authentic or not… as long as it’s delicious.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Meatball Sandwiches

I got this recipe from Melissa Gargalis, and love it!

2 slightly beaten eggs
3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 lb ground beef

1/2 lb. bulk Italian pork sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup water
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 8-oz can tomato paste

2 tsp sugar
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/4 tsp parsley flakes, crushed
8 french rolls

Combine eggs, milk, bread crumbs, salt and pepper; add ground beef and mix well. Form into twenty-four 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Brown in hot skillet.

Remove meatballs from skillet. Add sausage, onion, and green pepper; cook till sausage is browned. Drain off excess fat.

Add water, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, garlic salt, oregano, and parsley flakes. Return meatballs to skillet. Cover. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Remove top crust from rolls; hollow out, leaving a 1/4 inch wall. To serve, fill rolls with 3 meatballs each and some sauce. Makes 8 sandwiches.


16 oz container ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten (add salt/pepper to taste)
2 cups grated jack cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use Prego)
1 box manicotti shells (quantity 14)

Boil manicotti shells per package directions until al dente. Spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 13X 9 pan. Mix cheeses and egg together, stuff mixture into manicotti shells. Place side by side in dish, cover with remaining spaghetti sauce. Cover with foil, bake 30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

**Better for you version (tastes pretty much the same)
Reduce cheese by 1 cup, mix in one 10 oz package of frozen spinach (thawed and drained) instead.

Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion
1 can tomato sauce
½ can or small can tomato juice
1 small can tomato paste
1 fresh tomato or ½ canned tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
½ c. ketchup
1 ½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Chop the onion and tomato (I skin the tomato and then chop). Brown hamburger with onion and then add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Simmer for 30 min. or longer. Serve with spaghetti noodles. (we prefer angel hair pasta and serve it with that). This sauce is super nummy. We take what sauce and noodles are leftover and mix them to have as leftovers, it makes great leftovers. So if your feeling like you want something better than good old prego or ragu you have to try this, we love it!

Giada De Laurentiis's Lasagna Rolls

I saw Giada make this recipe on Everyday Italian a few years back and thought it looked good. So, I went to and printed up the recipe and made it. We loved it! I just wanted to give credit where credit is due, I tried to put a link to the recipe, but it no longer is on the food network website. So, here it is.

Béchamel Sauce:
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 ¼ c. whole milk
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg

1 (15 oz.) container whole milk ricotta cheese (I use skim all the time, the whole milk ricotta is hard to find)
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, beaten
¾ tsp. salt, plus more for salting water
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups marina sauce (I use Giada’s homemade marinara sauce, which I’ll include in the recipe below, and I use more than 2 cups because I like more marinara in it)
1 c. shredded mozzarella (about 4 oz.)

To make béchamel sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the salt, pepper and nutmeg into the béchamel sauce.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Butter a 9x13 pan and pour the béchamel sauce all over the bottom.

Whisk (or stir, I just stir with a wooden spoon) the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but sill firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking. Spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Start at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna roll seam side down, without touching the other rolls, atop the béchamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marina sauce (I use more) over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 Tbsp. of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.

Giada De Laurentiis’s Homemade Marina Sauce

½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 (32 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large casserole pot (or any large pot, I don’t have a casserole pot), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots and salt and pepper. Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leafs. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (Sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using. Can also be frozen.)

Penne Pasta with Chicken

Penne Pasta with Chicken
½ to 1 sliced bacon
½ c. sliced almonds, toasted
4 c. uncooked penne pasta
2-6 cloves garlic
1 lb fresh spinach
½ c. chopped fresh basil
1 ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 c. grated monterey jack cheese
3 cooked chicken breasts, cubed

Fry bacon until crisp, then crumble & set aside.
Cook the pasta.
Add garlic, spinach, & basil to bacon fat, cook until tender.
In a separate bowl, mix the mustard & vinegar.
Put the pasta in a large serving bowl, add the cheese and toss until it melts. Add spinach mixture, bacon, & chicken. Pour on the vinegar & mustard, toss & top with almonds.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Spinach-and-Cheese Casserole

Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 75 minutes
Serves: 8
Cooking spray
4 eggs
2/3 cup flour
Two 10-oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (you can dump the spinach into a dish cloth and twist it to quickly squeeze out all the water)
24-oz container low-fat cottage cheese
3 cups grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese
Salt, to taste (I used garlic salt and pepper. Nutmeg is also a nice addition.)

1. Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with flour until smooth. (I beat the eggs until they were light and frothy before adding the flour.)
2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to blend. Spoon into prepared dish and bake, or cover and refrigerate.
3. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 75 minutes.

TIP: To prep and bake the day before, shorten oven time by 10 minutes. Cool, wrap, and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave, checking at 10-minute intervals, until heated through.

Tortellini Soup

This is a recipe from Parenting Magazine a few years back... we all like it, and I feel like it has some much needed nutritional value to it.

Cooking spray
½ large sweet red pepper, chopped
½ cup diced baby carrots (about 8)
4 cups chicken broth
¼ tsp. garlic powder
9 oz package cheese tortellini, fresh or frozen
3 cups baby spinach (about half a 5 oz bag), stems removed

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven coated with cooking spray, sauté chopped pepper and carrots over medium high heat for 5 minutes, or until tender.
2. Add broth and garlic powder; raise heat and boil about 5 minutes; add tortellini. Reduce heat to low; simmer about 7 minutes (9 or 10 if using frozen pasta), or until tender. Add spinach, stir until wilted, and serve.

Crock Pot Chicken Alfredo

3-4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 Cube Butter
1 envelope Good Seasonings Italian Dressing Mix

Place above ingredients in crock pot for 3-4 hours on low setting.

Shred chicken, replace.

1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
8 oz chream cheese
Optional: Add 1 can of mushrooms

Cook until melted, serve over angel hair pasta

Baked Ziti

Your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 box ziti pasta, cooked
1 lb. Ground sausage, or beef
1 Can diced tomatoes
8 oz. ricotta cheese
8 oz. sliced mozzarella cheese
Season to taste with basil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, Rosemary

Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Brown meat, and then add onion to sauté. Mix pasta, meat, onions, tomatoes, spices and ricotta cheese in a medium bowl. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In 8 x 12 baking dish, prepare bottom with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce. Dump contents of bowl over sauce. Lay mozzarella cheese on top, drizzle with 2 T. spaghetti sauce to keep cheese from burning. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, remove foil and bake 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Kid Friendly Chicken Pizzas

These are so easy and my kids actually eat them, which is miraculous.

Breaded chicken patties
Favorite Spaghetti Sauce
Fresh, Gourmet Mozzarella, sliced in small chunks

Cook according to package, remove halfway, flip, then add sauce and cheese. (You can substitute with shredded mozz. cheese).

For kids cut into four "pizza slices." For adults serve alongside a salad.

Recipe Assignment:

Recipe Assignment:

Homemade Pizza… sure it’s a lot of work, and Papa Johns is only seven digits away from delivery, but the process is so much more fun, especially when the kids are involved.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Easy Pizza

We eat pizza pretty frequently in our house, but we go the easy route :>) For the crust we use Bridgeford bread dough. You can buy it in a 3-pack in the freezer section. Just take one loaf out in the morning, and levae it covered on the counter all day. We roll it out and press to fit in a 9X13 pan. Put on your toppings, then bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. A lot of times we will do the traditional pepperoni pizza, but here are a couple variations that we like!

BBQ chicken pizza:
Cook one chicken breast. Shred and mix with small amount bbq sauce. Spread thin layer of your favorite bbq sauce on prepared dough. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese, chicken, and sliced red onion if desired. I like to put a little minced cilantro on after cooking if I have it around!

Buffalo chicken pizza:
Cook one chicken breast. Shred and mix with small amount buffalo sauce (we like the Ken's brand!). Spread thin layer of buffalo sauce on prepared dough. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese, chicken, and sliced green onion. It's also good to put a little minced celery on. Serve with ranch or bleu cheese dressing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Aloha Pizza- pampered chef

2 green onions- sliced thin
2 packages refrigerated bread loaf
1 T. olive oil
½ c. BBQ sauce, divided
2 c. mozzarella cheese
2 c. diced cooked chicken
1 medium pineapple- (or ½ can)
½ red bell pepper

Form circle with thawed bread dough and place on cookie sheet or pizza pan. Brush olive oil on dough. Spread ½ BBQ sauce on crust and baste remaining over chicken. Spread chicken and cheese over crust. Place green onions, pineapple and pepper on top. Bake 20-25 min at 400 degrees. or until crust is golden brown.

* This is sort of cheating because the crust is already made- but I can't do the dough thing for some reason, so this works for me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sweet Crust Dough

2 T. yeast
4 cups flour or to desired texture
2 T. Olive Oil

Combine, then mix with above ingredients.
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup sugar

Let dough rise according to yeast directions.

Roll out and place on a preheated pizza stone or 18 x 18 ceramic tile.
Add sauce, cheese, and toppings, then bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes

Recipe Assignment: Super Soups

Super Soups:

Okay, so in Sunny Southern California it is still a little toasty for soups, but it’s September and I am getting the itch for a change of season. Soup seems to be the nostalgic remedy I have been looking for. Now I can cuddle up with hot bowl of soup as I am sitting out by the pool… perfect!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spinach Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can unsalted crushed tomatoes
4 c chicken broth
2 Tbsp tomato paste (I usually use a bit more)
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
4 oz sea shell pasta (tiny shells)
2 c packed baby spinach leaves
fresh shredded parmesan cheese

Saute onions in olive oil for 4-5 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Add pasta, cover, and cook over low-med heat for 8 minutes. Add spinach, simmer 1-2 minutes or until pasta is al dente and spinach is wilted. Ladle soup into bowls and top w/Parmesan cheese.

Clam Chowder

1 c diced onion
1 c chopped celery
2 c. chopped potatoes

3/4 c butter/marg
3/4 c flour
4 c milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp red wine vinegar
pinch sugar
2- 6 1/2 oz cans minced clams

Put vegetables in pan, add in juice from both cans of clams and enough water to barely cover the vegetables. Simmer until tender. Meanwhile, in another pan melt butter and mix in flour and salt. Slowly blend in milk, cook over medium heat until bubbly and starts to thicken. Mix in clams, veggies, sugar, and red wine vinegar. If too thick for your taste, add additional water.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Taco Soup

Brown 1 pound ground beef along with 1 large chopped onion.

You can cook the following ingredients in a crock-pot all day on low or you can heat on the stovetop (bring to a boil, and then let simmer for at least 30 minutes).

1 large can chopped tomatoes

2 cans of kidney beans

1 package Taco Seasoning

2 small cans tomato sauce

2-4 cups of water, depending on desired thickness… I use 2 cups

Add Browned beef and sautéed onion,

*Serve along with sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, and tortilla chips.

(This recipe is flexible, feel free to substitute kind of beans, or add anything you like… I have heard corn is good in it, but haven’t tried it. We love tomatoes, but aren’t crazy about beans, so I use one can of Kidney beans and two large cans of tomatoes.

(Recipe from Kate McEuen)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken breasts cooked and cubed
(or whole chicken cooked and shredded)

1 large can of chicken broth
1 small can chopped mild green chiles
1 onion-chopped
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
one dozen raw corn tortillas-cut into small squares

Combine ingredients (except tortilla shells), simmer. Add tortilla squares last, allow just enough time for them to soften. Serve.
Kim Metcalf

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Granny Apple Cheddar Cheese Soup

This soup is delicious and reminiscent of something I have tried at Melting Pot. Just to warn you, it is a little different, but it has become a favorite of mine.

3 T. Unsalted Butter
1 Large onion (diced)
1/3 c. flour
2 t. Dry mustard
4 c. chicken broth
2-3 Granny Smith apples
1 c. apple cider or apple juice
10 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 3 cups)
Hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper to taste

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender and aromatic. (5-7 minutes)

Sprinkle flour and dried mustard over onion and stir evenly to coat. Continue cooking, stirring often for 1-2 minutes.

Peel and core one of the apples and chop it. Add apples to the soup, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the soup has thickened and the apples are tender, about ten minutes.

Stir in cider and grated cheese, and cook for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

Puree the soup in a blender, add a few drops of hot pepper sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

Quarter the remaining 1-2 apples, remove the core and cut into 1/2 inch dices.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, sprinkle with diced apples and serve immediately.

Makes 4-6.

Recipe Assignment:

Perfect Party Pleasers-

Tempting recipes to make for showers and other parties.

Artichoke and Spinach Dip

1 can of artichokes
6oz frozen chopped spinach
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup mayo
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
pinch of rosemary
minced garlic
crushed pepper flakes-optional
tobasco sauce to taste-optional

Combine all ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees until edges are brown, about 30-45 minutes. What is great about this dish-you can make it ahead of time then bake it just before your guests arrive, or you serve family dinner. Even my little kids like the flavor of this dip!

Posted By: Kim Metcalf

Easy Cheese Ball

2 bricks cream cheese, room temperature
1 jar Old English Cheese, or any similar cheesed jar
1/2 cup grated Sharp Cheese
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp chopped onion
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp mayonnaise

Cream all together, then roll in nuts (optional) and more grated cheese.
Serve with your favorite crackers, or tortilla chips.

Posted By: Kim Metcalf

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hot Bean Dip

1 1b velvetta cheese
2 cans refried beans
1 cup salsa (of your choice)

Put all of the ingredients in your crockpot on low for several hours (until cheese in melted). Serve with chips!

Fruit Dip

1 package 8 oz. strawberry cream cheese
1 bottle marshmallow cream

Mix ingredients! Serve with strawberries and bananas!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Fruit Dip

Serves: 1 large party

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup whipping cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 lemon, juiced and zested
Pineapple juice

· Whip softened cream cheese with powdered sugar
· Whip cream and sugar together until it forms nice peaks
· Combine 2 mixtures together with lemon juice and zest; continue to beat adding pineapple juice to desired taste and consistency.
· Serve with fresh fruit tray

Fruit Tray Suggestions:
2 whole pineapples
2 large clusters of grapes
6 oranges
1 honeydew
2 cantaloupes

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Strawberry Whipped Sensation

I tried to just put the picture on here, but somehow it is playing the whole video...a little cheesy, but YUMMY!
Prep Time:

20 min
Total Time:
6 hr 20 min
12 servings
4 cups fresh strawberries, divided
1 can (14 oz.) EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
8 OREO Cookies, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. butter, melted

LINE 9x5-inch loaf pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Mash 2 cups of the strawberries in large bowl. Add condensed milk, juice and 2 cups of the whipped topping; mix well. Pour into prepared pan.

MIX chopped cookies and butter. Spoon over whipped topping mixture. Cover with ends of foil and gently press cookie mixture into whipped topping mixture. Freeze 6 hours or until firm.

INVERT dessert onto serving plate when ready to serve; remove pan and foil. Spread remaining whipped topping onto top and sides of dessert. Slice remaining 2 cups strawberries; arrange over dessert. Store leftovers in freezer

Thursday, July 31, 2008


1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed (do not use fresh)
1 1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. mayonnaise
1 (4 oz.) pkg. Knorr vegetable soup mix
1 (8 oz.) can water chestnuts, finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped

Squeeze spinach until dry. In medium bowl, stir together spinach, sour cream and soup mix. Add finely chopped water chestnuts and green onions. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Hollow out round loaf of sourdough bread, serve with pieces of bread, crackers, veggies, or chips.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Greek Cheese Torta

This savory layered cheese spread is a welcome addition to any gathering.

1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and pressed dry

2 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened

2 tbsp Greek Rub (If you don't have greek rub, you can substitute by using greek flavored feta cheese)

2 pkg (4 oz each) crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and patted dry

3 tbsp shelled pistachios

Line colander with paper towels. Place spinach into Colander; wrap paper towels around spinach and press until almost dry. Soften cream cheese in microwave on HIGH 30 seconds. Stir in spinach and rub; mix well. Add feta cheese; stir until well blended.

Finely dice sun-dried tomatoes. Line small mixing bowl with plastic wrap. Spoon one-third of the cheese mixture into bottom of bowl, spreading evenly. Top with tomatoes, forming an even layer. Spread remaining cheese mixture over tomatoes.

To serve, invert torta onto serving platter. Remove plastic wrap. Coarsely chop pistachios, press onto top of torta. Serve with toasted baguette slices, pita chips or wheat thins.

To make toasted baguette slices

Garlic Oil or olive oil

1 loaf (16 oz) French baguette

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut baguette into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange bread slices in a single layer on cookie sheet. Spray with oil. Bake 10-12 minutes or until bread is golden brown. Remove from oven, cool completely.

This is a pampered chef recipe, if you are inerested in purchasing the Greek Rub or other pampered Chef supplies, you can contact my friend Heather at:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Recipe Assignment:

Favorite Salads: Pasta Salads, Green Salads, Fruit Salads…

Pistachio Fluff Fruit Salad

  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 large bananas, sliced
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can fruit cocktail, drained
  • 1 (3 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice

Dump instant pudding into a large mixing bowl. Add pineapple, and mix well. Mix in whipped topping. Stir in bananas, marshmallows, fruit cocktail, and mandarin oranges. Cover, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Favorite Pink Salad

1 box strawberry Jello
1 large container cool whip
1 package or can of frozen strawberries
1 can pineapple chunks
1 bag small marshmallows

Combine jello with strawberries and pineapple to dissolve. Add all other ingredients and refrigerate until served.

Broccoli Salad

1 bag fresh broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb. red grapes, sliced in half
1 c. raisins
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/4 c. diced red onions
8-10 slices cooked, crumbled bacon

1 c. Mayo
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. Vinegar

Combine salad ingredients, separately mix dressing ingredients, then pour over salad and mix well.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Srawberry and Spinach Salad

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 T vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp poppyseeds

1 pint strawberries, sliced
2 bunches spinach, torn to bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup red onion, sliced
1 cup sugared pecans

Toss dressing with salad ingredients and serve immediately!

The Good Salad

Sorry we don't have a better name...that is what Rich's family calls it!

1 cup mayonnaise (light works fine)
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp white vinegar

2 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
1/2 -1 bag baby spinach leaves
1/2 bag tri-colored spiral pasta (cooked per package directions)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch chopped green onion (or less if desired)
1/4 cup sugared almond slivers*

Marinate chicken in the dressing for at least one hour, then combine remaining ingredients.

*You can buy the almonds already sugared, or just cook plain almond slivers over low heat with some butter and sugar for a few minutes until they start to caramelize)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Apple Berry Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

Cinnamon Chips:
4 flour tortillas
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 medium Granny smith apples
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
1 small orange
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. apple jelly

Preheat oven 400. For chips, lightly spray tortillas with water. Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over tortillas, cut into 8 wedges and bake 8 to 10 min. Cool completely.

For salsa, peel, core and slice apples and chop into pieces. Slice strawberries and chop kiwi. Place fruit in a bowl. Zest orange and juice orange and add to fruit. Add brown sugar and jelly. Mix gently. Serve with cinnamon chips. (The Pampered Chef)

Recipe Assignment:

Refreshing Summer Dinners:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Salmon cakes

These are really good with a nice green salad!
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
dash hot sauce
dash Worcestershire sauce
2 6-oz cans salmon (or use one good size cooked fillet, shredded)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

In bowl, combine first 6 ingredients. Stir in salmon, egg, and 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (mixture will be sticky). Form into balls, roll in remaining breadcrumbs. Flatten to about 1/2 inch thick. Fry in skillet (can use butter or olive oil or cooking spray). Serve with cocktail sauce or lemon juice.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ham and Cheese Sliders

1 Pkg. (12) King’s Hawaiian Rolls
½ lb. Sliced Ham
¼ lb. Sliced Swiss Cheese

Make into sandwiches and arrange in baking dish.

1 Stick Melted Butter
2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1 t. Poppy Seeds
¼ t. Garlic Salt

Pour sauce over sandwiches cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350° until cheese melts (about 15-20 minutes.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jalapeno Steak Sandwich

This has to be one of the best steak sandwiches ever made! It is so easy and nice for summer because you can use the grill. We also do it on a stovetop grill any other time. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Prep: 25 minutes
Marinate: 4 hours
Cook: 14 minutes
· 6 cloves garlic, minced
· 3 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (don't seed)
· 1/3 cup olive oil
· 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
· 3 Tbsp. Dijon-style mustard
· 1 tsp. kosher salt or salt
· 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb. beef flank steak
· 12 slices Texas toast or other thick-cut white bread, toasted*
· 1/2 cup purchased chipotle mayonnaise or 1/2 cup mayonnaise with 1 tsp. chili powder
· 1 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
· 4 oz. queso fresco or farmer cheese, crumbled
· Fresh cilantro sprigs
· Lime wedges
1. For marinade, in a bowl whisk together garlic, jalapeno peppers, olive oil, lime juice, mustard, and salt. Marinate at least 4 hrs. Much better overnight if possible.
2. Trim fat from meat. With a sharp knife score meat on both sides at 1-inch intervals in diamond pattern. Place meat in a self-sealing plastic bag set in a shallow dish. Pour marinade over meat; seal bag. Marinate in refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours.
3. Heat a nonstick or well-seasoned grill pan on stovetop over medium heat. Drain meat; discard marinade. Place meat in hot pan. Cook for 14 to 16 minutes or until steak is medium, turning once halfway through grilling. Carve steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.
4. Meanwhile, spread one side of each toast slice with mayonnaise. Place steak, onions, cheese, and cilantro on half the toast slices. Top with remaining slices. Serve with lime wedges. Makes 6 servings.
For tabletop grill: For tabletop grill: Preheat grill according to manufacturer�s directions. Place steak on grill rack. If using a covered grill, close lid. Grill until steak is desired doneness. For covered grill, allow 7 to 9 minutes. (For open grill, allow 12 to 14 minutes for medium, turning once halfway through grilling.) Thinly slice steak diagonally across the grain. Continue as directed in Step 4 above.
To toast bread in a grill pan or an open grill, place on grill rack and allow 1 to 2 minutes per side. (Instead of a covered grill, use a toaster.)

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs

Husbands and Kids love these!

· 1/2 cup olive oil
· 1/2 cup ranch dressing
· 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
· 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
· 2 teaspoons salt
· 1 teaspoon lemon juice
· 1 teaspoon white vinegar
· 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
· 1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste (optional)
· 5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes

In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Place chicken in the bowl, and stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear.

**All of the marinade ingredients sound a little frightening together, but they taste GREAT! My kids couldn't get enough of the chicken, they ate more than I did. Really great with grilled veggies.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Caprese Salad

So simple and delicious! I fell in love with this while in France and I can’t get enough of it! I use fresh tomatoes from our garden, gourmet mozzarella cheese (we use Costco’s) and fresh basil leaves (my kids are not crazy about basil leaves, so I use baby spinach leaves). Top it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. To make it a meal, I serve it with thinly sliced bread, and layer the Caprese Salad on top of it.

Recipe Assignment:

Mexican Food Theme Night:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hot Bean Dip

2 cans refried beans
1 lb velveeta cheese
1 cup salsa

Put all the ingredients in a crockpot. Cook on low 2-3 hours (or until cheese melts) stirring occasionally. Serve with chips!



3 quarts water
garlic, chopped to your liking - I usually use 1 1/2 heads divided 3 ways
4-6 pound chuck roast
juice of 2 limes
1/3 cup oil
1 cup chopped fresh roasted Anaheim chiles - I have never used canned but I'm sure it would be ok
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 white onion sliced or chopped - however you prefer it
2 tomatoes, chopped - my family is not big on tomatoes so I sometimes don't put that much. It's all about your preference

To cook the meat, in an 8 quart stockpot bring the water to a boil. Add 1/2 garlic and meat and return to boil. Skim off the froth, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 2 hrs or until the meat is tender. Remove the froth as needed. Drain and reserve juices. You will need them when get to the frying stage. When the meat is cool enough to handle shred.

To brown and dry the meat, combine the lime juice and another 1/2 of the garlic. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the shredded meat in a single layer on a large cookie sheet and sprinkle with the lime juice/garlic mixture. Roast the meat until brown and as dry as you choose, at least 15 minutes, and up to an hour, stirring occasionally. (For Jayden's party I did for 20 minutes, stirred and then left in for another 20 minutes)

Note: At this point you may cool, cover and refrigerate or freeze the meat for later use.

To fry the meat, heat the oil in a large skillet. Sauté the chile peppers with the salt and pepper. Add the onion and tomatoes and sauté briefly; the add the remaining 1/2 garlic. Add the meat, stirring over medium heat to brown. If too dry, add some reserved juices. If you add too much of the reserved juice it will be too greasy so add some water too if you can't get it right.

Makes 12 servings

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas

A little messy to make, but they taste good! I always leave the onion out because my hubby is not a fan :<(

Large can green chile enchilada sauce
8 oz sour cream
14 oz chicken broth
1 small chopped onion
4-5 chicken breasts
mexi-blend cheese

Cook chicken with lemon juice, salt and pepper, shred and set aside. Saute onion, cook with enchilada sauce, sour cream and chicken broth until sour cream is melted. Take 1/2 the sauce and mix with 1 cup shredded cheese and chicken. Dip flour tortillas in remaining sauce, then fill with above mix. Roll and put into 9X13 pan. Pour remaining sauce over top, sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Makes 6-8 enchiladas depending on how you fill them!

Mexican lasagna

Super easy for when all you feel like doing is opening a few cans :>)

1 can black beans, drained
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 1/2 cups salsa
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
10 6 inch corn tortillas
3 cups cottage cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Mix corn, beans, salsa and chili powder in a medium bowl. Layer in 13X9 baking dish: tortillas, veggie mixture, cottage cheese. Repeat to make 2 layers. Top with cheddar cheese, bake at 375 for 30 minutes (I usually make it in a 9X9 pan with 3 layers instead of 2)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fried Ice Cream

Easy Fried Ice Cream

Not really authentic, but this recipe is so easy and super yummy, it is the perfect finale for your fiesta.

1 pint vanilla bean ice cream
1 loaf sliced white bread
6 to 8 cups oil, for frying
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Using an ice cream scoop, make balls of ice cream and place them on a cookie sheet. Freeze for about 1 hour.
Using kitchen shears, cut the crusts off the sliced bread. Using 2 slices per ice cream ball, form the bread around the ice cream using your hands to pack it like a snow ball. Once it's completely covered return it to the freezer. In a medium saucepan, heat 3 inches of canola oil to 365 degrees F. Drop the covered ice cream balls, one at a time, into the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally so they color evenly, until golden brown on all sides. Remove from oil and briefly drain on paper towels. Stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Coat fried ice cream in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve immediately.

Recipe Assignment:

Great Camping Recipes:

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ziploc Omlets

-Have campers write their name on a quart-size
Ziploc freezer bag with a permanent marker.
-Crack 2 eggs (large or extra-large) into the bag
(not more than 2). Shake to combine them.

-Put out a variety of ingredients such as: cheeses,
ham, onion, green pepper, tomato, hash browns,
salsa, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms etc.

-Each camper adds prepared ingredients of choice
to their bag and shake
(not too full, or it won’t fully cook).

-Make sure to get the air out of the bag and zip
it up.

-Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly
13 minutes. You can usually cook 6-8 omelets in a
large pot.
-Open the bags and the omelet will roll out easily. Be
prepared for everyone to be amazed.

Recipe Assignment

Favorite Secret Recipes from Publish PostRestaurants:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cheesecake Factory's Avacado Egg Rolls

Super yummy recipe... I have never actually made the dipping sauce, we dip ours in a balsamic vinegarette.

2-4 servings

30 mins prep time

Egg Rolls
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, & diced
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onions
1/2 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 dash salt
4 egg roll wraps (can also use won ton wraps)
1 egg, beaten
Oil for deep-frying

Egg Rolls
1. Stir together avocado, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and salt.
2. Distribute filling evenly on the center of each egg roll wrapper.
3. Fold one corner up, 1/4 of the way over the filling.
4. Brush the remaining corners and edges with beaten egg, roll up the left and right side, then fold top corner over all and press to seal.
5. Repeat with the remaining wrappers.
6. Deep-fry the egg rolls in 375 degree oil for 3-4 minutes, or until browned.
7. Drain on paper towels.
8. Slice egg rolls diagonally in half and serve with the prepared dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon tamarind pulp
1/2 cup honey (I use slightly less)
1 pinch turmeric
1/2 cup chopped cashews
2/3 cup fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves
2 green onions
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Dipping Sauce
1. Combine vinegars, honey, tamarind, and saffron in a microwave safe bowl. Stir until tamarind is dissolved completely.
2. Microwave for 1 minute.
3. Using a blender, Puree tamarind mixture, cashews, cilantro, garlic, onions, sugar, pepper, and cumin.
4. Pour mixture into a bowl and stir in oil.
5. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Olive Gardens Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip

1 cup chopped artichoke hearts (canned or frozen and thawed)
1/2 cup spinach chopped
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
dash of pepper

Boil the spinach and artichoke hearts in a cup of water in a small saucepan for 10 minutes. Drain water in colander. Heat the cream cheese in a small bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Add the spinach and artichoke hearts and stir well. Add the other ingredients to cream cheese mixture and stir. Serve with toasted bread

Cheesecake Factory's Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 TBL melted butter
1 cup and 1 TBL sugar
3 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust by combining the graham crackers, butter, and 1 tsp sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well enough to coat the graham cracker crumbs but keep it crumbly. Press crumbs to bottom and 2/3 the way up the sides of spring form pan. Bake the crust for 5 minutes then set aside.
In a large bowl combine cream cheese, vanilla, and 1 cup sugar. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and continue to mix until creamy.
Pour the filling into spring form pan and bake for 60-70 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cake to cool to room temperature then put it in the refrigerator. When the cheesecake is chilled you can remove the sides of the spring form pan and serve with LOTS of whipped cream!

Cinnabon Rolls

1/2 cup warm water
2 packages dry yeast
2 Tbl. sugar
3 1/2 oz. pkg. vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup margarine −− melted
2 eggs
1 teas. salt
6 cups flour

8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup margarine
1 teas. vanilla
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 Tbl. milk

To make frosting, mix all ingredients until smooth.
In a bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside.
In large bowl, take pudding mix and prepare according to package
directions. Add margarine, eggs and salt. Mix well. Then add yeast
mixture. Blend.
Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Place in a greased
bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled.
Punch down dough and let rise again.
Then roll out on floured board to 34 x 21" size. Take 1
cup soft butter and spread over surface. In bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar
and 4 teas. cinnamon. Sprinkle over top. Roll up very tightly.
With knife, put a notch every 2". Cut with thread or knife.
Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 2" apart.
Take hand and lightly press down on each roll.
Cover and let rise until double
again. Bake at 350 15−20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden.
Frost warm rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
Cinnabon Rolls 125

Olive Garden Alfredo

8 ounces Cream cheese −− cut in bits
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese −− grated
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Milk or heavy cream
8 ounces Fettuccine or favorite pasta; cook −− drain

In large saucepan combine cream cheese, Parmesan, butter and
milk, stirring constantly until smooth. Toss pasta lightly with
sauce, coating well.

Tastes great with saute'ed mushrooms.

Recipe Assignment:

Kid Friendly Meals

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. salad oil
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (16 oz.) can pineapple chunks
Fresh Green Pepper, sliced into 1 inch pieces
Grape tomatoes (optional)

Cut chicken into 1 inch chunks. Prepare marinade: Combine brown sugar, soy sauce, lemon juice, oil, ginger and garlic. Stir in chicken. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or more, stirring often.

30 minutes before serving: Thread meat, pineapple chunks, and green peppers alternately on 12 inch skewer. Broil or grill for 15 minutes or longer, depending on taste and doneness. Basting occasionally, turning once.

****(If you want to simplify, I use the Teriyaki breasts from Costco... It tastes great and they are precooked.)

Strawberry Spinach Salad

The wonderful taste of strawberries, poppy seeds, and spinach all come together in this lovely salad dressed with a sweet, poppy seed dressing.

Prep Time:15m
Ready in:15m


1 bunch spinach, rinsed
10 large strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  1. In a large bowl, mix the spinach and strawberries.
  2. In a blender, place the sugar, salt, vinegar, and oil, and blend until smooth. Stir in the poppy seeds. Pour over the spinach and strawberries, and toss to coat.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chicken Nuggets

This is from Jessica Seinfield's cookbook "Deceptively Delicious". A good way to sneak some veggies in!

- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
- 1 Tbsp grated parmesan
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 cup pureed broccoli OR spinach OR sweet potato OR beets
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast or tenders, rinsed, dried, and cut into small chunks
- 1/2 tsp salt
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 Tbsp olive oil

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl, mix well
2. In a shallow bowl, mix the vegetable puree and egg with a fork and set the bowl next to the breadcrumb mixture
3. Sprinkle the chicken chunks with the salt. Dip into egg mixture and then toss them into the bread crumbs until completely coated
4. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Place the chicken nuggets in the skillet in a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3-4 minutes. Then turn and cook until the chicken is cooked through, golden brown, and crisp all over (4-5 minutes longer). Serve warm.

Baked Ziti

Your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 box ziti pasta, cooked
1 lb. Ground sausage, or beef
1 Can diced tomatoes
8 oz. ricotta cheese
8 oz. sliced mozzarella cheese
Season to taste with basil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, Rosemary

Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Brown meat, and then add onion to sauté. Mix pasta, meat, onions, tomatoes, spices and ricotta cheese in a medium bowl. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In 8 x 12 baking dish, prepare bottom with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce. Dump contents of bowl over sauce. Lay mozzarella cheese on top, drizzle with 2 T. spaghetti sauce to keep cheese from burning. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, remove foil and bake 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Poppy Seed Chicken

3 or 4 pre-cooked chicken breasts, sliced into small chunks, you can you the canned kind, but fresh is better
-Lay on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan

2 cans Cream of chicken soup
-layer on top of chicken

1 package crushed ritz crackers
-sprinkle on top of soup layer

Poppy Seeds
-Sprinkle desired amount evenly on top of crackers

3/4 cube of butter
-melt and pour on top

Bake 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes. This recipe halves easily.