Saturday, February 27, 2010

Easy Lunch Ideas

I'm a homeschooling mom, so I need quick easy lunches because I'm mom, teacher, chef and janitor. And sometimes I just forget that there are other things out there than pb&j. So here's a reminder for me, and you, if you need it.

the main thing:
personal pizzas on English muffins
turkey sandwiches cut into shapes with cookie cutters
tomato soup and grilled cheese
tuna salad and crackers
corn dogs
egg salad sandwiches
cheese quesadillas
fried egg sandwiches
fish sticks
chicken nuggets
bagel sandwiches (turkey or ham on toasted bagel with melted cheese or cream cheese)
hummus and crackers with shredded carrots
pitas stuffed with leftover chicken, Parmesan cheese, dressing and lettuce
cheese sticks
boiled eggs
turkey and cheese pinwheels

carrot sticks
cucumber slices
mandarin oranges
cheese cubes
ants on a log (celery with pb and raisins)
grape tomatoes
fruit cups
baked chips
good ole apples and bananas or other fruit (grapes, peaches, strawberries, kiwi, etc.)

If you have more lunch ideas, I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Backyard Burgers

"Really good. These are really good. I really like these."

A little bit later . . . "Do you think Baby Girl will eat all of hers?"

This was my husband's reaction to this recipe. I enjoyed them too, but he REALLY liked them. It's just a burger . . . but it's not. It's a great change from your regular burger -- grilled outside or cooked on the stove top indoors. Eat up!

1 - 1/2 lb ground beef
1 package onion soup mix
2 T barbecue sauce
2 T Worcestershire sauce

Mix well and cook to desired done-ness. Serve with your choice of toppings.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bacon and Egg Salad Sandwiches

I found this recipe in the August 2008 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, and it's delish -- bacon makes everything better, right? It's extremely easy, and I just made a couple of minor changes to suit my family. Plus, it was a successful way to get my boys to eat lettuce.

6 eggs
8 (or more) slices of bacon
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 t yellow mustard
1/2 of a cucumber, chopped
lettuce leaves of your choice
8 slices bread (I use cheese bread from the bakery)

Place eggs in medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover and turn off heat. Keep in water for 10 minutes. Once done, peel and coarsely chop four eggs. Meanwhile, in 12" skillet cook bacon until crisp; drain. Also lightly toast the bread at the same time. In small bowl combine mayo and mustard.

Top 4 off the bread slices with lettuce leaves, chopped egg and cucumber. Halve the remaining two eggs and place on half on each sandwich. Top with mayo mixture, bacon and remaining bread slices. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

These are not your diet potatoes, so of course, they're yummy!

When your ingredients are these . . .

count on Comfort!

2 lbs potatoes
2/4 c evaporated milk
1/4 c butter
1 c shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Place peeled and cubed potatoes in large saucepan. Cover with water; bring to boil. Cook over medium-high heat for 15 - 20 minutes or until tender; drain. Return to saucepan; add evaporated milk and butter. Beat with mixer until smooth. Stir in cheese and season.

I found this recipe on They suggested adding green onion and/or bacon for more flavor. We topped our individual servings with green onions (well, the adults in the family did), and they were even better!

Friday, February 19, 2010

New England Pork Tenderloin

Don't let how disgusting this meat looks uncooked scare you away. The end result is appealing and appetizing. This recipe is a favorite from my mom, and if Mom makes it, it's good!

1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/4 c apple jelly
2 T lemon juice
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
2 tart red cooking apples, unpeeled, cored and thinly sliced

Heat oven to 375. In a small bowl, combine apple jelly, lemon juice and pumpkin pie spice; blend well. Place roast in a greased pan. Brush with half of jelly mixture. Roast for 20 - 30 minutes. Let stand 5 - 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place apple slices on a broiling pan; brush with remaining mixture. Broil 5 - 6" from the heat for about 5 minutes.

I usually double the recipe (which doubles the cooking time).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Anne's Chocolate Cake

Addiction Alert! This chocolate cake with chocolate icing will make you both deliciously happy and sick with its richness at the same time. I looooooooove it! My friend, Anne, made it for a church something-or-other, and I was hooked. And I don't think I shamelessly begged her to make it for my birthday, but I might have. It's wonderfully yummy and easy (it starts with a mix!). Perfect with a tall glass of milk.

1 box Super Moist Fudge Cake mix
1 c sour cream
1 c oil
1/2 c water
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
12 oz chocolate chips
1 container of chocolate icing (or make your own)

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and icing. Mix well. Stir in chips. Grease a Bundt pan and pour in batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool and turn onto a plate. Ice with chocolate icing. Yum!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chicken Fettucine Alfredo

This is a blend of various recipes I've found. I love the garlicy-ness of it. (It's a new word. Try it.) Serve it with my Olive Garden-ish Salad and pretend you're not at home.

6 oz uncooked fettuccine
1 lb chicken breasts, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ t salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1 T butter

1/2 cup butter
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 cups milk
6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in large skillet, sauté chicken, onion, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper in butter. Cook until chicken is done. At the same time in a sauce pan, begin the sauce. Melt the 1/2 c butter over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan and pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta and chicken to serve. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan if desired.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Warm Fruit

This is so easy, I can't even really call it a recipe. It's a great side to breakfast breads -- toast, pancakes, waffles, etc. . . A comforting winter dish.

Warm a can of peaches in a skillet in their juice. Add brown sugar and cinnamon to taste; simmer a few minutes. Add fresh or frozen (thawed) berries (whatever you prefer) and allow to warm through. I especially like a mix of raspberries and blueberries.

Baked French Toast

This is my favorite make-ahead breakfast. I first had this yummy dish at a women's retreat several years ago, and it's been a staple special in our home ever since.

1 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter
2 T corn syrup
1 c milk
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 loaf French bread, cut into 3/4" slices

Over medium heat in a saucepan, mix and melt brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Arrange bread slices on top. In a blender, combine the milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour over the bread. Cover and chill overnight. The next day, uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar. No syrup needed!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Easy Mac 'n Cheese

My sis and cousin get the nod for introducing me to this. It's super easy, super good and perfect for family gatherings since it makes a big dish. And who doesn't love cheese and carbs?!

Layer in a greased 9x13 pan:

2 c macaroni
1 stick butter
12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
4 - 5 c milk
salt and pepper to taste

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, covered. Uncover and bake 15 minutes more.

Mushroom Oven Rice

I LOVE mushrooms, so this is one of my favorite ways to eat rice.

1 c brown rice, uncooked
1/4 c butter
1/4 c chopped celery
1 c sliced fresh mushrooms
1 can chicken broth
1/3 c water
1-2 T soy sauce
1 T dried parsley

In a skillet, saute the rice in butter for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Add celery and onion; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook and stir until celery is tender. Transfer to a greased baking dish (1-1/2 qt.). Stir in broth, water, soy sauce and parsley. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 - 50 minutes.

Bruschetta Chicken

Mmmmm, mmmm good. Great served with my Olive Garden-ish Salad.

1/2 c flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 chicken breasts
1/4 c grated crumbs
1/4 c bread crumbs
1 T butter, melted
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 T minced fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T oil
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Place flour and eggs in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in flour, then eggs. Place in a greased 9x13 pan. Combine Parmesan, crumbs, and butter; sprinkle over chicken. Loosely cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients. Spoon over chicken and bake 5 minutes longer.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Apple Dumplings

We salivate over these. I must admit, I don't have these as perfected as my mom does, so my husband says I need to practice more. Sound familiar?

4 apples, peeled and cored
1/2 of Grandma's pie dough

1/2 c sugar
1 t cinnamon

Roll out a square of dough and and place an apple in the center. Fill apple with sugar and cinnamon mixture.

For sauce, bring to a boil:
2 c water
3 T butter
1/4 t cinnamon

Place apples in a baking dish and pour sauce over. Bake at 425 for 45 minutes.

Grandma's Pie Crust

1/2 c shortening
1/2 c butter
1 T vinegar
1 t salt
1/2 c boiling water
3 c flour

Pour the boiling water over the first 3 ingredients and stir. Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to roll a crust. For pressing into a pan for cobblers, you can handle after 1 hour.

Pork Chops and Rice

This is one of my favorite ways to eat pork chops, and I love how easy it is to throw together. If you have more than 4 - 6 pork chops, you may need more than 1 (15-oz) can of whole tomatoes. Thanks to my mom for this one!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season pork chops with salt and pepper, if desired. Brown lightly on both sides in hot oil. Cover each pork chop with sliced onion, 1 Tbsp. rice, and 1 canned whole tomato. Drizzle remaining juice/tomatoes over the pork chops. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies

My friend, Amber, introduced my to these from The Pioneer Woman, and I was hooked. I seriously wished no one else wanted them because I wanted them ALL. Super, super good!

20 whole fresh jalapenos, 2-3 inches in size
2 cubes cream cheese, softened
1 pound bacon, sliced into thirds

If you have them, slip on some latex gloves for the pepper prep. Cut jalapenos in half, length-wise. With a spoon, remove the seeds and white membrane (the source of the heat; leave a little if you like things hot). Smear softened cream cheese into each jalapeno half. Wrap jalapeno with bacon pieces (1/3 slice). Secure by sticking toothpick through the middle. (At this point, you can freeze them, uncooked, in a Ziploc bag for later use).

Bake on a pan with a rack in a 375-degree oven for 20-25 minutes. You don’t want the bacon to shrink so much it starts to the squeeze the jalapeno. If, after 20 minutes, the bacon doesn’t look brown enough, just turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes to finish it off.

Serve immediately.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Easy Breakfast Ideas

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut and find myself eating cereal every morning for two weeks. Here's a list of easy breakfast ideas to help us all start off the day with a little variety.

Oatmeal -- sprinkle with nuts and apples or bananas and chocolate chips
French Toast Slices
Vanilla Yogurt with Granola Topping
Bagels with Cream Cheese
Cinnamon Toast
Toast with Peanut Butter and Bananas
Biscuit Sandwiches filled with scrambled eggs, sausage patties, or ham & cheese

Make ahead and freeze:
Waffles -- Toast them and top with fruit and whipped cream or syrup
Pancakes -- Ditto
Muffins -- warm them in the microwave

Make the night before:
Fruit salad
Boiled egg -- serve with toast and juice

What do you do for breakfast?

Chicken Potpies

This super easy recipe makes two pies. One for now and one to freeze or share!

4 c cubed cooked chicken
4 c hash brown potatoes, thawed
16 oz frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of onion soup
1 c milk
8 oz (1 c) sour cream
2 T flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
1 package (15 oz) refrigerated pie pastry

Combine all the ingredients, except for the pastry. Divide between two 9" deep-dish pie plates. Roll out the pastry to fit top of each pie. Cut slits in the top. Place over filling; trim and seal. Cover and freeze one pie for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the other at 400 for 35 - 40 minutes.

For the frozen pie:
Cover edges loosely with foil. Bake on a sheet at 425 for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350. Remove foil and bake 50 - 55 minutes longer.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Thanks to Shelly for this one. Super easy and just as yummy!

1 package tortillas
4 c cooked chicken breasts, shredded
4 oz can green chilies
4 T sour cream
3 c shredded cheese
1 can red enchilada sauce

Mix chicken, sour cream, 2 c cheese and chilies. Fill tortillas with mixture. Put in a lightly greased 9x13 pan and top with sauce and remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Gingerbread Boys Pumpkin Dip

This comes from my friend, Lisa, and it's addictive. Serve with gingerbread cookies or gingersnaps.

3 oz cream cheese
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 c pumpkin
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmet
dast of cloves
8 oz tub Cool Whip

Beat cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Add pumpin and spices. Fold in whipped cream. Keep chilled.


This yummy recipe comes from my sis. They are enjoyable three ways: plain, with pumpkin dip, or dipped halfway in melted white chocolate after baking and allowing to cool completely.

3/4 c Crisco
1 beaten egg
1 c sugar
1/4 c molasses
2 c flour
2 t soda
1 t cloves
1/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 t ginger

Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in molasses and egg. Add dry ingredients. Roll into small balls, dip and sugar and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Slow-Cooker Veggie Soup

This is great on cold winter days. We like it with corn bread, corn muffins or best bread machine bread.

1 lb ground beef (or use beef roast), cooked
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato soup
3 c water
3 beef bouillon cubes
2 potatoes, peeled & cubed
2 onions, diced
3 celery ribs, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 t basil
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 1/2 c frozen veggies

Place all ingredients in a crock pot, cover, and cook on low 6 - 8 hours.

Chicken Provencale

Love, love, love this!

3 - 4 lbs chicken, cut up (or just use breasts)
1 1/2 c chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced (if you're in a hurry, used the jarred ones)
1 T oil
2 cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 (29-oz) can diced tomatoes
3 medium carrots, sliced 1/4" thick
1 T chicken bouillon
1 t thyme
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t pepper

Brown chicken in oil; remove and set aside. Saute onion and garlic in drippings. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon into a 3-qt dish; arrange chicken on top. Cover and bake at 350 for 65-75 minutes (a little less if you just use boneless breasts).

Chicken Quesadillas

I like these better than any other.

2 1/2 c shredded, cooked chicken
2/3 c salsa
1/3 c sliced green onions
3/4 t cumin
1/2 t salt
1/2 t dried oregano
6 (8") flour tortillas
1/4 c melted butter
2 c shredded Monterey Jack cheese
sour cream

In a skillet, combine first six ingredients. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Brush tortillas with butter. Spoon 1/3 c chicken mixture over half of unbuttered side of each tortilla. Sprinkle with 1/3 c cheese, fold. Place on a sheet sprayed with Pam. Bake at 475 for 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chicken and Noodles

This takes a little longer to fix than some of my recipes, but it makes a big dish. We especially enjoy it when it's cold out.

3 c whole chicken legs (drumstick and thighs) (about 2 lb), skinned
3 c water
2 bay leaves (optional)
1 t dried thyme
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 c sliced carrot
1 1/2 c chopped onion
1 c sliced celery
3 c dried wide noodles
1 c frozen peas
2 c milk
3 T flour

In Dutch oven, combine chicken, water, bay leaves, thyme, 1/2 t salt and the pepper. Add carrot, onion & celery. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 20 - 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Reserving broth, remove chicken; cool slightly. Remove meat from bones, chop and set aside.

Bring broth to boil. Add noodles; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in peas, 1 1/2 c milk and remaining salt. In a small bowl, stir remaining 1/2 c milk and the flour. Stir into noodle mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in chicken. Cook and stir 1 - 2 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Skillet Ravioli

My guys liked this so much they were fighting over who would get the leftovers the next day, and the way my baby girl ate it, she would have fought too if she could talk.

1 lb ground beef
3/4 c chopped green pepper
1 ounce deli ham, chopped
3 c spaghetti sauce
3/4 c water
1 (25-oz) package frozen cheese ravioli
1 c shredded mozzarella

In a large skillet, cook the beef, pepper and ham over medium heat. When done, stir in spaghetti sauce and water; bring to a boil. Add ravioli. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 7 - 9 minutes, stirring once. Sprinkle with cheese and simmer uncovered 1 - 2 minutes.

Burger-Potato Bites

We had these for our Super Bowl party. They were a big hit -- cute and tasty. I got the idea from Better Homes and Gardens e-newsletter.

16 large frozen waffle-cut French fries
1 lb ground beef
2 t grilling seasoning blend
4 slices cheese, cut into quarters (I used American)
4 cherry tomatoes, sliced
mustard, ketchup and/or dill pickles slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Evenly space potatoes on baking sheet and bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until crisp and slightly browned. Remove from oven.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine meat and seasoning. Form into sixteen mini-burgers. In a skillet, cook burgers, uncovered over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until done. Drain fat. Top each potato with a burger, cheese quarter and (optional) tomato slice. (I left off the tomatoes and allowed people to put them on afterwards.) Broil 4 - 5 inches from heat for 1 -2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with condiments.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I lost my favorite recipe awhile ago, so I was glad to find a similar one from Paula Deen. We enjoy these!

House seasoning:
1 c salt
1/4 c black pepper
1/4 c black pepper

Mix ingredients and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

olive oil, for tossing
5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4" long slices, then 1/4" wide strips
1/2 t paprika

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet tray with parchment (or spray with Pam). In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with just enough oil to coat. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of House Seasoning and the paprika. Spread potatoes in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake until they are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Best Bread Machine Bread

I'm in love with my bread machine. I found this recipe on, and it's a keeper. I've modified it a little bit.

1 c warm water (110 degrees)
3 T white sugar
2 t bread machine yeast
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 1/2 c bread flour
1/2 c wheat flour
1 1/2 t salt

Place the water, sugar and yeast in the pan of the bread machine. Let the yeast dissolve and foam for 10 minutes. Add the oil, flour and salt to the yeast. Select basic or white bread setting and press start.

Now isn't that awesome? You walk away and a few hours later . . . bread! Who'da thunk it?

Easy Vegetable Linguine

If it says "easy," I'm in! It's tasty too, and sometimes I leave out the bacon and just saute the veggies in oil.

6 slices bacon, cut into 1" pieces
1 c broccoli
1/4 c chopped onion
1/2 c cherry tomato halves
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 c sliced fresh mushrooms
3 oz cooked and drained linguine

In a skillet brown bacon. Remove bacon and reserve 2 T drippings in skillet. Add broccoli, onion and mushrooms and saute until crisp-tender (3 - 4 minutes) Add linguine, tomatoes and bacon; mix lightly. Sprinkle with cheese and serve. I like to sprinkle mine with garlic powder too.

Stuffed Shells

This is another recipe of my mom's that I love. It's great with salad and garlic bread.

16 jumbo pasta shells, cooked
1 lb ground chuck
1 c cheese, divided
1 can cream of celery soup

Brown beef, drain and rinse. Stir in half of the cheese. Dilute the cream of celery with half a can (the soup can) of milk. Pour enough of the diluted soup mix into the beef and cheese to hold together. Reserve the rest. Fill shells with beef mixture and put in a greased casserole dish. Pour remainder of soup on top and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake long enough to melt.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

This is my mom's recipe, and it's my favorite! I especially like the crumb topping.

2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c milk
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/2 c rinsed and drained fresh or frozen blueberries

Crumb topping:
3 T flour
1 t cinnamon
3 T sugar
3 T butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, oil and beaten egg. Mix just until blended. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full. Sprinkle crumb topping on muffins. Bake about 10 - 12 minutes. Makes 15 - 18 medium sized muffins.

Breakfast Rice

I make this just like my mom. It's especially good in the winter.

1 c rice
2 c cold water
1 t salt
1 T butter or margarine

Combine in a heavy 3 quart saucepan. Turn heat to high. When it begins to boil reduce heat to medium low. Stir once with a fork. Cover tightly and simmer 12 - 14 minutes. When done, add:

1 stick butter
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c milk

Cook down. Keep adding 1/2 c milk and cooking until rice is as wanted. You can add the sugar later and have less problems with sticking. Serve with cinnamon sugar and milk.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tortilla Soup

Easy and tasty!

1 pkg taco seasoning
2 1/2 c chicken, cooked and diced
14 oz can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
11 oz can mexicorn
8 oz sour cream

Combine all the ingredients, except sour cream, in a saucepan and simmer for about one hour. Remove a large bowl of soup and stir in sour cream, return this to your pan. Simmer until read to serve. Top servings with shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa and tortilla chips.

Cherry Delight

My favorite recipe for this comes from the Little Blue River Church of Christ Keepsake Recipes. It's such a great summertime dessert and pretty too!

To make the crust mix together:
2 c crushed graham crackers
1 T sugar
1 stick melted butter

Press into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350.

For the filling mix together:
2 c powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese
12 oz Cool Whip

Once the crust has cooled, spread the filling on the crust. Top with 1 can of cherry pie filling. Store in the refrigerator.

Hot Spiced Cider

My favorite winter drink that we all expect my mom to make at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

1 quart apple cider
1/2 t whole allspice
1/2 t whole cloves
1 - 3" stick cinnamon

Put spices in cheesecloth or a tea ball and put in cider. Heat in a crock pot and serve hot.

Fruit Trifle

Another good dessert from my friend, Marianne, of the Orange Push-Up Cake fame.

1 angel food cake (bought or made with a mix)
1 can pineapple chunks, well-drained
1 can fruit cocktail, well-drained
1-16 oz container Cool Whip

Cut strawberries and bananas. Mix them with blueberries and drained fruit. Cut the angel food cake in half and tear into chunks.

1/2 angel food cake pieces
1/2 fruit mixture
1/2 Cool Whip

Repeat; add fruit on top for decoration.

Sassy Salsa Burgers

A favorite of my hubby's and a super-easy change from your regular burgers.

1 lb ground chuck
2 T taco seasoning
6 T salsa, divided
4 slices Pepper Jack cheese
4 burger buns

Combine beef, 2 T salsa and seasoning. Shape into patties and cook or grill to desired "done-ness." Toast buns. Place one slice of cheese on each burger and let melt. Top each sandwich with 1 T salsa and serve.

Chocolate Wows

I LOVE these!!

1/3 c flour
6 squares semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 c cocoa
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c butter
2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 c pecans, chopped
6 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. In saucepan melt chocolate squares and butter over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat and cool. In a large bowl, mix on medium speed eggs and sugar until light lemon color (about 2 minutes). Reduce speed to low and add cooled chocolate mixture, flour mixtures and vanilla. Beat until just blended. Increase speed to medium, beat for 2 minutes. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.

Drop batter by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Spread batter into 2" rounds. Place sheets on 2 oven racks and bake 15 minutes or until tops are shiny and cracked, rotating between upper and lower racks halfway through baking time. Cool 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks. Repeat with remaining batter. (These freeze well.)

Sweet & Sour Cocktail Sausages

Mix the following in a saucepan over low heat and simmer 15 minutes:
2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 c ketchup
1/4 c mustard
1 t salt
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 t vinegar
1/2 c chopped onions
Add either cocktail sausages or sliced smoked sausage and simmer until meat is heated through. Transfer to a slow cooker to keep warm.

White Chili -- Southwest Style

One of my most-requested dishes.

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 onions, chopped and divided
4 -- 15.5 oz cans Great Northern beans
4 c chicken broth
3/4 c salsa
2 t cumin
1 t oregano
1/4 t red pepper
8 oz Chile peppers, chopped
garlic powder to taste
cooking oil

Cook chicken and one onion in oil until done. Drain and place in a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and cook 4 - 6 hours on high or 8 on low. (This may be prepared on the stove top in a much shorter time.) Serve with tortilla chips, salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beef Stroganoff Sandwich

Thanks to my sis for this one!  My family eats. it. up!

2 lbs ground beef
1/2 c chopped onion
1 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t pepper
1 loaf French bread
2 c sour cream
2 tomatoes, diced
3 c shredded cheddar cheese

Brown beef and onion. Drain excess grease. Add salt, garlic powder and pepper. Cut bread lengthwise, in half. Butter both halves and place on a baking sheet. Remove beef mixture from the heat. Stir in sour cream. Spoon onto the bread. Sprinkle with tomatoes and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted. (Bake longer for crispier bread.) Makes 8 - 10 servings. Great served with salad!

Barbeque Meatballs

We love meatballs. This recipe comes from the Little Flatrock Christian Church Cookbook.

Combine these ingredients and make into 24 meatballs. Place in a 9x13 baking dish.

2 lb ground beef
1 c milk
2 c cracker crumbs
1 1/2 t salt
dash of pepper

To make the sauce, combine the following ingredients. Pour over meatballs.

2 1/2 c ketchup
2 T Worchestershire sauce
1 T dried onions
1/2 c vinegar
1 c water
2/3 c sugar (use part brown sugar)

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour 20 minutes. Serve with rice.

Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade

This comes from Angela, a sparkling friend, and one of my sister's best. It's her special "mixed drink" that I could drink by the gallon, especially on hot summer days.

1 can of frozen lemonade juice concentrate (mostly thawed)
1 pint of strawberries, stemmed & halved
1 can of water
1 2-liter of Sprite

In a blender, combine the juice, strawberries & water. Blend until the strawberries are chopped smaller, but not pureed. (You still want 'chunks' of them! Yumm!) Then fill the rest of the blender pitcher with Sprite & stir. You DON'T want to blend carbonated soda in your blender! Add more Sprite to your glass, according to taste (or transfer to a larger pitcher & add more Sprite to the entire batch). Serve in your fanciest goblet with a halved strawberry on the side of the glass.
(I've made this without a blender and just used powdered lemonade mix and water. It just takes a little more work.)
Here is a link to her blog. While we don't see eye to eye on everything, she has a great heart for the Lord, and I appreciate her passion.

Clone of a Cinnabon

This was my first experience with yeast. (You can read about the adventure on my Sugar Tails blog.) I got the recipe from The rolls are delicious, and if you don't have a bread machine, you can visit their site and find out how to do it without one.

1 c warm milk (110 degrees F)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 c margarine, melted
4 1/2 c bread flour
1 t salt
1/2 c white sugar
2 1/2 t bread machine yeast

Place ingredients in the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle and press start.

After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine:

1 c brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 T ground cinnamon

Roll dough into a 16x21" rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 c very soft butter and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place in a lightly greased 9x13" baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly double (about 30 minutes).
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. After placing the rolls in a pan, I covered them and refrigerated them overnight. Then I pulled them out about 30 minutes before baking in a 375 degree oven for 20 - 30 minutes.

While rolls are baking, beat together:
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1/8 t salt
Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spinach Fruit Salad

My best friend's mom makes this. It's yummy and pretty!

1 egg white
1/4 c sugar
1 c sliced almonds
2 T butter
Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Add sugar, 1 T at a time, beating 2 - 4 minutes or until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves. Fold in almonds. Melt butter in a 9" square pan in a 325 degree oven. Add coated almonds and bake, stirring every 5 minutes or until lightly browned and dry. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

1 package lettuce
1 package spinach
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges (drained)
20 fresh strawberries -- thinly sliced
1 green onion -- chopped

3/4 c olive oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 t grated orange rind
1/2 T fresh orange juice
1/2 t poppy seeds
1/8 t salt
1/8 t pepper

Toss together greens, fruits and onions. Whisk together oil with remaining ingredients, drizzle over salad, tossing gently. Sprinkle with sugared almonds and serve immediately.

Monday, February 1, 2010

French Dips

My great friend, Tamara, taught me this yummy dish.

1 beef roast
3 packages Lipton Onion Soup Mix
3 beef bullion cubes
3 C water
Rolls/Buns of your choice

Brown roast in oil. Place it and the other ingredients in a slow cooker and cook for 8 - 10 hours on low. I usually do this the day before serving it. Let your meat cool, shred it, then place it back in the juices and warm it up. Serve on toasted buns with some of the broth to dip the sandwiches.

My Husband's Favorite Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 large can tomato juice
1 can chili beans
1 can chili-ready diced tomatoes
4-5 handfuls of macaroni

Brown beef. Drain excess beef and rinse. Bring tomato juice to a boil, add other ingredients. Bring back to a boil. Turn down the heat and cook macaroni for about 8 - 10 minutes. Cover and turn off the heat and let the flavors come together and the chili thicken. Serve with chili seasoning, shredded cheese and crackers.

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

My mom thrills me when she makes these.
Chocolate and marshmallow -- a favorite combination!
1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 c cocoa
1/4 c milk
18 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally (with clean scissors)
1 egg
1/3 c butter, melted
1 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
pecan halves
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla, beat until creamy. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Drop by a teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Placd 1/2 marshmallow, cut side down on each cookie. Bake an additional 2 minutes. Top each cookie with icing and a pecan half. (Sometimes it's easier to dip the cookie, marshmallow side down, into the icing because it's runny.)