Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Toasty Tip

A Toasty Tip!
(courtesy of The  Pampered Chef)
Spread bread slices on a cookie sheet and place in the middle of your oven and bake until brown. About 10-15 minutes. Take out the cookie sheet and you will be able to tell where your over is hottest, and can compensate for that by turning the cookie sheet at the halfway point, or not putting cookies in the area where they seem to burn the most, etc.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bible in 90 Days

Beginning January 3, I'll be participating in Mom's Toolbox's Bible in 90 Days program.  This opportunity was brought to my attention by The Happy Housewife.  For all of the reasons that I want to read, you can basically find them HERE.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

You may have noticed that I've been "gone" all week.  We're getting ready for Christmas, and enjoying a school-free week.  No school next week either, and I'm hoping to continue my break until after the first of the year.  I hope that you all have a blessed Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Cookie Baking Day

My Mom, sister, and I had our Christmas baking day today!  We made over 20 dozen cookies.  Thank goodness we have neighbors, newspaper delivery drivers, etc. to give them to!  Today we baked:

Oatmeal Caramelitas
Pecan Tassies
Triple Chocolate Chip cookies
Toffee Bits cookies
Chocolate Crinkle cookies

Do you have a Christmas cookie baking day every year?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Easy Hot Chocolate

I don't care for packaged hot chocolate mix at all.  I prefer creamy, smooth, rich hot chocolate.  And, I always have what I need on hand.  I also love that you can add whatever you like to this.  Vanilla, peppermint extract, cinnamon, etc.  Below is the basic, simple "recipe".  So easy, and SO good!

1-2 tablespoons chocolate chips (I use milk, but use whatever you prefer)
1 mug full of milk

Fill a mug with milk.  Pour the milk into a sauce pan, and add chocolate chips (the more you add, the richer it becomes.)  Stir constantly over medium heat until smooth and heated through.  Pour back into the mug, and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Shrimp Noodle Casserole

c uncooked macaroni 
1 egg 
1/4 c half and half
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese 
3/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese 
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt 
1/8 tsp pepper 
1/4 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped 
3/4 c fresh spinach, chopped 

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook the macaroni according to package directions.  Combine the cream, egg, and butter in a small bowl.   

Drain the pasta.  Add the cream mixture, Parmesan, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, garlic, salt and pepper to the pasta. Mix well.  Stir in the shrimp and spinach.  Pour into a greased baking dish.  Top with the remaining mozzarella.

Bake 20 minutes, or until shrimp is pink.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cookie Exchange

Are you doing a cookie exchange this year?  I am not, but my sister went to one last night.  I stopped by her house this morning, and she gave me a Nanaimo Bar that one of the other girls made.  OH MY.  What fantastic goodness!  There is a middle layer that is just delicious creaminess.  I am hoping she'll get the recipe so that I can pass it along!  Apparently there are a few different versions, but I so want the one I tried this morning!

What types of Christmas cookies do you make?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Tonight we're headed to Chick-fil-a for our weekly date.  The rest of this week we'll be having:

Steamed Shrimp
Hungry Jack Pots
Turkey Meatloaf
Breakfast for dinner
P.F. Changs!

Also this week, I hope to make Blueberry coffee cake, Cinnamon roll muffins, Cinnamon swirl bread, and Berry & Jam muffins.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I've got a cold, and have been feeling worse every day. Hope to return soon!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Livening up canned green beans

We eat a lot of canned green beans, because it's something that ALL of us like.  Take advantage where you can, right?  Dumping a can of green beans into a pan doesn't result in much flavor.  I grew up with my Mom and Grandma "livening up" the beans.  Of course it's not extremely healthy, but it's good nonetheless, and really it's not that bad when compared to, say, a piece of cake!

2 slices of bacon
2 cans green beans
2 tbsp butter

Place bacon in a saucepan over med-high heat until sizzling.  Add in green beans and butter.  Heat until boiling, then simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Grandma's Baked Chicken

My Grandma has made this for me for as long as I can remember.  It's one of my comfort foods.  Inexpensive, easy, and comforting.  Here are the ingredients, followed by the recipe, as written by my Grandma.

4 lbs. chicken wings
Greek seasoning
3 tbsp butter

Wash and pat dry chicken.  Sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper.  I also use Greek seasoning or Fried Chicken seasoning.  Sprinkle a little flour over chicken.  Cut up pieces of oleo and  put on each piece of chicken.  Cover dish and bake at 325 ° for 1-1/2 hours.  Take top off to brown, and then serve.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Up this week:

Baked ham served with scalloped potatoes, green beans, and fruit
Clam chowder
Slow cooker barbecue pork butt sandwiches, served with cole slaw and baked fries
Grandma's baked chicken served with potatoes, peas, and fruit
Leftover ham dinner
Leftover pork sandwiches
Breakfast for dinner

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Yesterday we went to a reception and dinner in honor of my Mom's retirement.  Congratulations, Mom!!
We're still in "clean out the pantry/fridge/freezer" mode, to make room for food for the holidays.  This week we're  having:

Fried Cod Sandwiches with Cole Slaw and Chips
Fried Rice
Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Potatoes and Fruit
Mommy & Daughter Date Night  :)
Spaghetti with French Bread and Salad

Monday, November 29, 2010

Running a day late

Today we are celebrating my Mom's retirement after thirty years at college here in town!  We've been celebrating at her office all day, and are headed to dinner tonight.  I'll have this week's menu plan up soon!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pumpkin Butter (Repost)

Pumpkin Butter
Photo courtesy of

I'm making Pumpkin Butter again today!  I can't wait!  This is SO much more inexpensive than store-bought pumpkin butters, and is chemical-free.  Oh, and it's yummy!!

Pumpkin Butter
15 oz can pumpkin
2/3 c packed brown sugar
¼ c honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over med-high heat; reduce heat to low. Stirring frequently, cook on low 20-25 minutes, until thickened. Refrigerate in an air-tight container up to two months. 

Makes 2 cups

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Photo courtesy of

I'm glad we didn't pin down a menu plan for this busy week, otherwise I wouldn't have found this recipe today!  Creamy and delicious, and very easy!

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
adapted from

1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 c water
1/4 c sour cream
1  4.5 oz can chopped green chiles, drained
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp hot sauce
2 c shredded cooked chicken
1 c shredded Mexican blend or Cheddar cheese
6  6-inch corn tortillas (I used flour since that's what I had on hand.)

Preheat oven to 400°.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.  In a medium bowl, combine soup, water, sour cream, chiles, oregano, chili powder, and hot sauce.  In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of the soup mixture with the shredded chicken.  Stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese.

Divide the chicken mixture evenly between the tortillas, spreading mixture down the center of each one.  Roll up tortillas, and place seam-side down in the baking dish.  Spread the remaining soup mixture over the filled tortillas, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Cover the dish, and bake for 30 minutes.

*Top with sliced black olives and/or scallions before serving, with salsa on the side.

Thanksgiving week

I didn't put up a menu plan this week, because we're really just flying by the seat of our pants this week, using up some random things in the fridge, freezer and pantry.

Tomorrow I'm going to prep the bread, celery and onion for the stuffing, bake the pecan pie, and get everything gathered for our rolls for Thanksgiving dinner.

Are you ready for Thursday?  What's on your menu?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cranberry Sauce

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving!

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 c sugar
1/2 c water
1/2 of an orange, juiced

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring ocassionally, until the cranberries burst, about 20 minutes.  Cool for at least two hours.

The Dirty Dozen

I want to be an all organic family.  It's just not my reality at this point, though.  If you're in the same boat, here's where to start going organic.  Dairy is the first thing that should be switched to organic, followed by meat.  After those two groups, it's on to produce.  Here are the 12 fruits and vegetables to buy organic.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Orzo Salad

I got this recipe from my friend Jen.  I like to eat it for lunch with a little fresh lemon juice squeezed on top.

Orzo Salad 

4 cups chicken or veg. broth
1½ cups orzo
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black olives
1½ cups grape tomatoes, halved
¾ cup finely chopped red onion
2 c fresh spinach, chopped
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
¾ c crumbled Feta Cheese
About ¾ cup Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Red Wine Vinaigrette
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pour the broth into a heavy large saucepan. Cover the pan and bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo. Cover partially and cook until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Drain the orzo through a strainer. Transfer the orzo to a large wide bowl and toss until the orzo cools slightly. Set aside to cool completely. Toss the orzo with the beans, tomatoes, spinach, onion, basil, mint, and enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve at room temperature.

For the Vinaigrette: 

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running, gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.

I don't think I've ever put the mint in this - Whatever fresh herbs you have will work (basil is really good, parsley). Add whatever fresh veggies you have on hand. Be sure to use a "good" quality red wine vinegar or else it will be to vinegary.

This post links to The Happy Housewife's Lemon Recipe post.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Scalloped Potatoes

My daughter is not a potato lover by any means.  She does gobble these up, though!  I'm thinking they may make a Thanksgiving appearance this year!

This is not a healthy dish.  It's cheesy, gooey, and good, but not healthy.

You can easily adjust this recipe for the amount of people you'll be serving.  For that reason, there are no exact measurements.  You'll need a lot more for 10 people than you will for one!

Scalloped Potatoes

Russet potatoes, one per person
All-purpose flour
Butter, diced
Cheddar cheese, sliced

Butter a baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350°.

Peel potato(es), then slice.  Place a single layer of potatoes into the buttered dish.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Dot with butter.  Place a single layer of cheese slices over top.  Sprinkle lightly with flour.

Repeat layers until you've used up all of your potatoes, ending with a layer of cheddar slices.  Do not sprinkle flour over the top layer.

Pour milk over the dish, until it comes up just below the top layer of potatoes.

Bake for at least 1 hour, until potatoes are tender.  (A serving for one takes about an hour, a serving for six takes about an hour and a half.)

Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Classic Stuffing

I just cannot believe that Thanksgiving is next week!  I guess it's time to share some holiday recipes!  I like to do everything from scratch on Thanksgiving.  Well, most days, but especially on Thanksgiving.  :)  This stuffing is very easy, but tastes like you slaved.  To lessen the work on Thanksgiving day, I usually take care of the celery and onion the day before, and just heat it for a few seconds in the microwave on Thanksgiving day, to loosen it up when adding it to the bread.  Love it!

Classic Stuffing

1 lb. loaf wheat bread
3 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
4 tbsp butter
3 tsp  poultry seasoning
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4-1/2 chicken broth (vegetarian broth if you prefer)

On Wednesday:
Take the loaf of bread out of the bag, and let sit out at least 8 hours, preferably 12 or more.
Saute the celery and onion in butter until soft.  Let cool, then place into a container in the refrigerator.

On Thursday:
Cut the bread into cubes.  Place in a deep 3-quart baking dish.
Heat celery and onion for just a few seconds in the microwave.  Add to bread.
Add poultry seasoning.
Add egg.  Using hands, gently but thoroughly combine the bread mixture.
Add chicken broth, just enough to help mixture "stick" together.  Take care to only add a little at a time, as you don't want it wet, just bound together.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Keep warm until serving.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Here's what's cookin' this week!

Chicken Wreath, fruit
Shrimp Fried Rice
Breakfast for dinner
Tomato soup & Grilled cheese

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Several of my friends make this, and they all have different recipes.  I made it for the first time yesterday for a surprise birthday party.  It was gobbled up!  This is the recipe I used:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot on her recommendation)
1/2 c ranch or blue cheese salad dressing
1 stalk celery, minced
2 lg. cans chicken, drained
1/2 c shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, hot sauce, and salad dressing.  Stir until smooth.  Stir in celery and chicken.  Pour mixture into a pie plate or other 2-quart dish.  Sprinkle with mozzarella.  Bake 20 minutes.

Serve with celery sticks and tortilla chips.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu

How do you handle Thanksgiving in your family?  Do you gather with family?  With friends?  Does the host do all of the cooking, or does everyone bring a dish?  When I lived on the West coast we went to a friend's potluck on year.  Every other year I did all of the cooking for our family, and sometimes a friend or two.  Now that I'm back home, it's back to what I grew up with.  We have a family dinner (anywhere from 13-20 of us) every year. Since the meal is at my sister's house, she is in charge of the turkey.  I should say, my brother in law is in charge of the turkey, as he does the frying.  Every other household brings 1-3 dishes.  We have a LOT of food.  I love it!!  We always have a variation or two, but we stick to the basics in my family.  Thanksgiving to us is about tradition, and we don't usually deviate from our favorite recipes for our favorite dishes.  Here are our ol' standby's:

Sweet potato casserole
Green bean casserole
Mashed potatoes
Corn pudding
Brussels sprouts with pine nuts & bacon (The ONLY way I'll eat Brussels sprouts!)
Cranberry sauce
Pecan pie

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Flip Video

Flip MinoHD™

I don't really want to mix my Avon site with the blog very often, but this is a good buy!  The Flip MinoHD is regularly $199, but is on sale now for $139.  I've heard a lot of people buzzing about it for the holidays, so I thought I'd share.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Glazed Meatballs

I think that this is a pretty standard recipe.  On the East coast, anyway.

Glazed Meatballs

2 lbs. frozen beef or turkey meatballs
12 oz. chili sauce
12-18 oz. grape jelly (some people prefer it sweeter than others)

Pour meatballs into a slow cooker.  Top with chili sauce and jelly.  Cook on low until meatballs are heated through, 3-5 hours, stirring occasionally.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Oatmeal with apples and agave
Cinnamon toast and bananas
Eggs and toast
Oatmeal bars

Sandwiches x2
Snack lunch
Salad topped with chicken
Tomato soup and grilled cheese
Smoothies with muffins
Smoothies with celery & peanut butter and carrots & ranch

Monday night will of course be Chick-fil-a.  :)  For the rest of the week, we'll have:
Crusted Pork with potatoes, fruit, and something green
Penne with Breadcrumbs with salad and French bread
Grilled Italian Honey Chicken with veggie brown rice, fruit, and lima beans
Kielbasa dogs with french fries and baked beans
London Broil (not sure of the sides yet)
Chicken Enchiladas with rice and possibly beans

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Photo courtesy

This is adapted from an Ellie Krieger recipe.  I didn't have a fresh lemon, so I used orange zest instead.  Next time I'll use orange juice or 2 tsp orange zest (I used 1 tsp tonight, and it wasn't strong enough for me.)  I left it as I prepared it tonight in the recipe, so that you can adjust it to your liking.

Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes
serves 4-6

4 large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel the sweet potatoes, and cut into 1-inch pieces.  Place in a 9x12 baking dish.  In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, and zest.  Pour over the sweet potatoes, sprinkle them with salt, and toss to coat.  Bake for one hour, or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

We had these tonight with Unfried Chicken Legs, green beans, mandarin oranges, and butter French bread.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Overnight French Toast

I am not a morning person.  At all.  I like to send my daughter off with a nice hearty breakfast, but have ZERO desire to cook in the morning.  I want to sit with my coffee, not stand over the stove.  Enter overnight French toast.  Mix it up, put it in the fridge overnight, then just pull out & bake in the morning.  That's my kind of cooking!  We usually have grapes, bananas, or apples on the side with this.

Overnight French Toast
Serves 2

4 slices cinnamon bread
4 eggs
1/4 c milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Spray an 8x8 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Lay bread slices in a single layer in prepared dish.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and cinnamon.  Pour over bread.  Cover dish, and refrigerate over night.

In the morning, pull the dish out of the fridge, and sit it on the counter.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake French Toast for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

*Sometimes I sprinkle some berries, chopped bananas, finely chopped apples, or nuts over the bread, before pouring the egg on top.

*This recipe can easily be doubled, but when I do so I use a 9x13 dish instead.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I hope that everyone had a safe weekend!  We are back home again, with no plans to head out again in the near future.  :)  Here's what's cooking this week!

Cereal with fruit
Oatmeal with maple syrup, brown sugar, and raisins
Cinnamon toast and bananas
French toast
Homemade "Pop-Tarts"
Eggs, bacon, toast, and grits

Sandwiches (twice)
Smoothies, carrot sticks, celery sticks with peanut butter
Pasta salad
Snack lunch
*We'll be at our friend's house on Friday for lunch.
Snacks (We usually have a big breakfast on Sundays, then just have snacks at lunch time.)

Chick-fil-a with our friends for our weekly "date"
Fried cod
Leftover vegetable soup
Bacon-wrapped scallops
Glazed meatballs
Unfried chicken legs

I have to admit that I don't usually plan our sides.  We keep cans of just about every vegetable on hand, have a few bags in the freezer as well, have canned fruit in the fridge, and keep fresh produce on hand.  We always have rice and pasta, and sometimes pick up bread to go with our meals.  (I miss making my own rolls & French bread with my bread machine!)  Anyway, we kind of just fly by the seat of our pants on the side dishes...

What are you having this week?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Easy Mixed Bean Soup

I'm all about easy meals, and it doesn't get much easier than this!

Easy Mixed Bean Soup

1 lb. dried mixed beans
1/3 c frozen diced onions
1/3 c diced carrot
1/4 c diced celery
2 chicken & tomato bouillon cubes*
1 heaping tablespoon Salt Mix
10 c water

Soak beans overnight.  Drain.  In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients.  Cook on low 8-10 hours.

It's that easy!

*You could easily make this a vegetarian soup by omitting the bouillon cubes, then replacing some of the water with vegetable stock.

We're headed back out of town again today.  Have a safe weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

If you have not made these granola bars yet, you really need to! Today when I made them I used peanut butter, broken pretzels, chocolate chips, and teeny tiny marshmallows. I was told that I'd outdone myself. SO good!!!

Makes 8 bars

1/4 c butter
1/4 c peanut butter1/2 c brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp corn syrup
2 1/3 c quick-cooking oats
1/3 c chocolate chips
1/3 c very small marshmallows 
1/3 c broken pretzels
Spray a 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan, combine butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, honey, and corn syrup. Stir constantly over medium heat until butter is melted, sugar is dissolved, and mixture is smooth. Stir in oats, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and pretzel pieces until well coated. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 22 minutes.

Cool in pan 5 minutes. Slice into bars. Cool in pan an additional hour before removing.

**"Follow the directions on cutting and removing these from the pan. It will make them much easier to remove from the pan."**

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Candy Recalls!

Check out the article HERE.

Up to $200 of FREE Murad products!

In celebration of The Water Secret's bestselling status, Murad is  giving away a secret gift bag filled with up to $200 in Murad favorites —including select full-size products—with every book purchase!  Follow the link below for details!

Thanks to Freebies4Mom for sharing this!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Raspberry Oatmeal Squares

I made these for a bake sale a few weeks ago, and they were delicious! Today I'm going to substitute the raspberry jam with red plum preserves.

Raspberry Oatmeal Squares
from the

1/2 c butter, room temperature
1 c light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c old-fashioned oats, divided
1 c raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and place rack in middle of oven. Grease a 9x9 baking pan.

With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, mixing until well-combined. Stir in 1 3/4 c of the rolled oats. Press 2/3 of the dough into the prepared pan. Spread the jam over top.

To the remaining dough, add the remaining 1/4 c of oats. Crumble evenly over the top of the jam. Bake 25-30 minutes, until nicely browned. Place on a wire rack to cool. Cut into squares to serve.

We're back!

We got home from our Pennsylvania trip last night! We had so much fun! We'll be home today, tomorrow, and Thursday, then leave for the weekend again. Here's our menu plan for the week:

PB&J Waffle-wiches
Crockpot Oatmeal
Muesli and fruit
Eggs, toast, and fruit

Egg salad sandwiches, carrots
Peanut butter & Nutella & Banana sandwiches, apples
"Snack Lunch" (Usually this consists of cheese or yogurt, carrots, fruit, crackers, and ham or turkey slices.)

Steamed shrimp, fries, salad
Slow-cooker beans, cornbread
Baked Pork & Apples, broccoli, rice
(Out of town for two nights)
Homemade vegetable soup before Trick or Treating on Halloween

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Homemade Granola Bars

Delicious, and SUPER easy! I added a handful of dried cherries and a handful of chocolate chips.

Homemade Granola Bars
adapted from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures
Makes 8 bars

1/2 c butter
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp corn syrup
2 1/3 c quick-cooking oats
Dried fruit, nuts, candy

Spray a 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, honey, and corn syrup. Stir constantly over medium heat until butter is melted, sugar is dissolved, and mixture is smooth. Stir in oats (and your chosen add-ins) until well coated. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 22 minutes.

Cool in pan 5 minutes. Slice into bars. Cool in pan an additional hour before removing.

**"Follow the directions on cutting and removing these from the pan. It will make them much easier to remove from the pan."**

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Now on Facebook!

You'll find the link on the right side of this page. Now I *really* need to start taking pictures of these recipes!
Take the pledge to read a book to a child, and Target will donate a book to a child in need on your behalf!

Thanks to Freebies4Mom for sharing!

Quesadilla Casserole

My Dad will not eat anything that has any heat, so we had to change this up a bit!

adapted from McCormick's Recipe Inspirations

1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 c chopped onion
16 oz. tomato sauce
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 3/4 oz. can whole kernel corn, undrained
4 1/2 oz. can chopped green chiles, undrained
6 8-inch flour tortillas
2 c freshly shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat; drain. Add tomato sauce, beans, corn and green chiles; mix well. Stir in all of the spices except red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Add red pepper.

Spread 1/2 c of the beef mixture on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Top with 3 of the tortillas, overlapping as needed. Layer with 1/2 of the remaining beef mixture and 1/2 of the cheese. Repeat with remaining tortillas, beef mixture, and cheese.

Bake 15 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Creamy Potato Soup

4 c chicken broth
4 c peeled and diced gold potatoes
1/4 c finely diced onions
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 oz cream cheese with chives

In a stockpot, combine broth, potatoes, onion, seasoning salt, and pepper. Boil until potatoes are tender. Smash potatoes as desired. (I usually smash 1/3 - 1/2 of them.) Turn heat to low, and spoon in cream cheese by the tablespoonful. Stir until cheese melts.

I serve this with crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar over top.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Chick-fil-a was canceled tonight (my friend's Grandmother is in town.) We had Chinese take out. :)
Tuesday - Leftover potato soup.
Wednesday & Thursday - Mom's turn to cook. I do know that Quesadilla Casserole is still planned for one night, and she's doing shrimp the other night.
Friday-Monday - Baby girl and I will be out of town!

Have a happy week!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Amaretto Cheesecake

A while back I went to a local Bazaar with my sister and two friends. I'd love to be one of those people who makes EVERYTHING from scratch. Truly, I'd love to do that. I believe it's better for our bodies and souls. Mixes like this cheesecake one though make it easy for me to NOT be that way. Maybe one day I'll get there...

DeeDee Desserts No Bake Cheesecake Mix
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
9" prepared graham cracker pie crust

Whip cream cheese. Add in mix and Cool Whip; blend until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Spoon into pie crust. Refrigerate at least one hour.

So Far This Week...

everything has gone as planned! We went out Monday night, had Hungry Jack Pots on Tuesday evening, went "out" Wednesday night, and I went out last night. Tonight we're having Can-Can Chicken before we go grocery shopping. Tomorrow is our friend's 6th birthday party (Yay!), and Sunday I plan on making potato soup. That Quesadilla Casserole is going to be pushed back a week again!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hungry Jack Pots

My Mom has been making these for as long as I can remember. I usually make them with corn or macaroni and cheese, and a fruit.

1 10-count can biscuits
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4-1/3 c barbecue sauce
Shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown ground beef; drain. Mix barbecue sauce into ground beef. Press biscuits into muffin tins. Fill with beef mixture. Top with shredded cheese. Bake 10 minutes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Tonight is our weekly outing with our friends at Chick-fil-a!
Wednesday night we are going to a ham dinner at church.
Thursday I'm going out (childless!) with one of my friends for dinner.
Saturday we'll be at a birthday party in the late afternoon, which we'll count as dinner.

What a busy week! That only leaves Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday for us to cook meals! On those three nights we'll choose from these four meals:
Hungry Jack Pots
Can-Can Chicken
Potato Soup
Quesadilla Casserole (that we did not make this past week - instead we had a new meatloaf recipe that we weren't impressed with...)

Have a great week!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Steak Gorgonzola Pasta

This recipe is adapted from a cookbook that I got at IKEA. It is restaurant-worthy!

2 tbsp chopped walnuts
7 oz crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1 c whipping cream
8 oz spaghetti (or tagliatelle or linguine)
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
8 oz boneless steak (we used filet mignon)

Grill the steak to desired doneness. Meanwhile...

Combine whipping cream and 2/3 of the cheese in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta according to package directions.

Toss pasta, sauce and parsley together. Slice steak, and place over pasta. Top with walnuts and remaining cheese.

Enjoy! It's delicious!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Impossibly Easy Mixed-Berry Crumble Pie

Thank you, Betty Crocker! ;)

1/2 c Original Bisquick mix
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c chopped walnuts
2 tbsp cold butter

12 oz frozen mixed berries (about 2.5 cups)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 ground nutmeg
1/2 c Original Bisquick mix
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c milk
1 tbsp butter, softened
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 c Bisquick, brown sugar, and nuts. Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender or two knives until crumbly; set aside.

Mix berries, cinnamon and nutmeg in prepared pie plate. Spread out evenly.

In a medium bowl, stir remaining pie ingredients with a wire whisk until blended. Pour into pie plate. Sprinkle with streusel.

Bake 50-60 minutes or until top is evenly deep golden brown.

Makes 8 servings

*We enjoyed ours with vanilla ice cream. YUM!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tonight we had kielbasa links with sautéed onions and mixed peppers on buns. Yum! The best part of today though, is that my friend's husband just returned from overseas. I've been there, and I can only say that I am so happy for her and for their family! Check out her blog HERE.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Time to get back into the swing of things! I still have a few boxes that I've completely lost the motivation to unpack, but I guess leaving them for one more day won't kill anyone. ;)

Tonight my daughter and I are resuming our Chick-fil-a Mondays with my friend and her daughter. Our nearest Chick-fil-a hosts Family Night every Monday during the school year, with different themes/games each week. A free 4-nugget or 1-strip kids' meal is FREE with every adult meal purchase. Even better, my daughter gets fun time with her friend, and I get to hang out with my friend for a little while.

Here's our meal plan for the rest of the week:
Steak Gorgonzola Pasta
Chicken Pot Pie
Kielbasa links with sautéed onions and mixed peppers
Quesadilla Casserole

We're living with my parents for the time being. (The landlords of the home we were just renting are getting ready to put it on the market.) My Mom usually sets up a menu, but she loves to cook on a whim. If she sees something she wants, the menu plan goes out the window for a day or two. So, if you see a lot of repeats on the menu plan, it's usually because it didn't get made the week before!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

HUGE Fisher Price Recall

11 million toys (and other items) are recalled. Please check the list by clicking HERE.

Moving, Moving, Moving!

That's what I've been doing since last Wednesday. I started packing then, moved everything over the weekend, and am now about 70% done unpacking. Hopefully life will be a tad more peaceful (and reliable here!) soon!

On another note, is there anything that you'd like to see on this blog? Just let me know!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole

Another great recipe from The Happy Housewife! I didn't have any zucchini on hand. I substituted onion with a little celery and red pepper (one cup total.) I also added extra cheese, just because!

Chicken & Brown Rice Casserole

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, uncooked, diced
2 c milk
2 c brown rice
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 c shredded zucchini
1 c chopped carrots
1 c chopped broccoli
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 shredded cheese (I used 2/3 c freshly shredded cheddar)

Mix all ingredients but cheese in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees, covered, for 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes. With five minutes of cooking time remaining, remove cover, sprinkle with cheese, and return to oven uncovered.

Menu Plan Monday - A Day Late

Once again, things are nutty. :)

Last night we had Hot Dogs & Beans.
Tonight was Chicken & Brown Rice Casserole.
Tomorrow is my baby's birthday! She has requested spaghetti and strawberry pie. :)
Thursday-Sunday we will be having:
Leftover spaghetti
Stovetop Kielbasa
Balsamic Chicken (recipe to come later in the week)
and Mom & Dad's on Sunday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie


2 refrigerated pie crusts
2 small baking potatoes, peeled and diced
2 c cooked, chopped chicken
1-2 c frozen mixed vegetables
2 cans cream of chicken soup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil potatoes until tender but not crumbly. Meanwhile, place frozen vegetables in a colander in the sink. Place one pie crust in a 2-quart dish. When potatoes are done, strain in colander (pouring them over the frozen vegetables will thaw them for the most part). Place potatoes, chicken, veggies and soup in pan that the potatoes were in. Mix well, then pour into pie crust. Top with second crust, taking care to tuck the edges into the bottom crust. Dish will be very full. Bake for 25 minutes, covering with foil if crust begins to turn too brown.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tuna Casserole

Just the way my Mama made it!

1 can tuna, drained
1 c uncooked macaroni
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 can cream of celery soup
1/3 c milk
1 tbsp prepared mustard
Potato chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Combine cream cheese, soup, milk and mustard. Stir in tuna and cooked macaroni. Pour into a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Crumble potato chips over casserole, then bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

As I stated, things went a tad haywire this past week, so we didn't have everything that we were planning to. Let's hope for better this week! :)

Tonight we're having Italian Chicken Pasta. I've got it chilling in the fridge right now.
This week we also plan on having:
Tacos (using ground turkey that I got buy one, get one free!)
Pancakes or eggs
Unfried Chicken Legs
Tuna Casserole
Chicken Pot Pie
As usual, we'll also eat at my parents' house one evening.

School starts back here tomorrow. My daughter wakes up around 8, but has to be at school at 9. It's a mad rush to get her up, dressed, fed, and to school within an hour's time. I like to make big batches of mini-muffins and freeze them in snack bags (I can get 4-5 in a bag), and pull them out the night before to thaw out in time for breakfast. I also read somewhere recently (I can't remember where, sorry to whomever blogged it!), that some like to prep their pancake batter the night before, then just pour it out in the morning. I've tried doing overnight breakfast in my slow cooker, but it just about always burns, unfortunately. Do you have any other quick ideas for breakfast on the go?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Once again... is crazy. My Mom's aunt passed, and my very close friend had a death in her family. I'm hoping to get up a menu plan anyway tomorrow. Happy Labor Day weekend! Stay safe!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

This week for dinner we'll be having:
Pasta with Sunday Sauce
Italian Chicken Pasta Salad
Pasta with buttered crab
(Dinner at my parents' house)
Breakfast (pancakes or eggs)
Unfried Chicken Legs

Streusel Pound Cake

Adapted from Rival Crock Pot Recipe Card Collection

1 package (16 ounces) pound cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare mix
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 c brown sugar
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 chopped pecans
1 rounded tsp. ground cinnamon
Powdered sugar

Spray the inside of a 2-4 quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.

Prepare cake mix as directed on box, mixing in vanilla as well. Stir in brown sugar, flour, pecans and cinnamon. Pour into slow cooker. Cover; cook on HIGH 3-4 hours, or until done. (Mine took three hours.)

Serve with berries and powdered sugar.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chicken Cheddar Broccoli Soup

I grabbed a package of Bear Creek Cheddar Broccoli Soup one day, just because it sounded good at the moment. Here it is beefed up:

1 package Bear Creek Cheddar Broccoli Soup mix
8 c water
1/2 lb. chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 white onion, minced
1 c shredded cheddar

Prepare soup according to package directions. Meanwhile, saute garlic and onion in butter. When both are finished, combine all ingredients, and simmer until cooked through. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

AVON giveaway!

I have a Facebook page for my Avon business. I'll be doing another giveaway when my page reaches 150 fans. Help me get there, and you may be the lucky winner!

I'm a little late...

...with my menu planning. Sorry about that!

Monday night we had homemade pizza, pineapple and green beans.
Tuesday night we went over to my parents' house to visit with some friends from out of town.
Wednesday I put half of a Boston Butt in the slow cooker with about half a bottle of BBQ sauce, and had "fried" potatoes and peaches with it.
Tonight we're having cheddar broccoli soup.
Friday we'll have dinner with my parents. (Friday night is grocery night typically, and we eat dinner & go to the store together.)
Saturday's dinner will be Italian Chicken Pasta Salad.
Sunday I'm planning on making my friend Dina's yummy tomato sauce. You'll LOVE that recipe when it goes up!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Brown Sugar Steak Marinade

Apparently I'm on a brown sugar kick. :)

1/4 c soy sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp brown sugar

Mix all ingredients together. Marinate steak in mixture for 30 minutes. Grill as desired.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brown Sugar Spaghetti Sauce

If I'm not making Mom's Spaghetti Sauce, then I usually use some bottled version of tomato and basil or marinara sauce. (If anyone has a good recipe for these, PLEASE let me know!) When I use jarred sauce, I add in just a touch of brown sugar when I heat it on the stove. SO good! Try it - add just a touch at a time until it's just right to you. You just want a little taste of sweetness, so go slow. Enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Can-Can Chicken

Another kid fave (including me when I was growing up!) that is very easy, very fast, and inexpensive.

2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 large can cooked chicken (do not drain)
1 1/3 c Minute Rice
Chow Mein noodles

Combine soup, chicken, rice, and 1 soup can full of water in a large saucepan. Heat to boiling. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook 7 minutes. Serve over Chow Mein noodles.

Yummy. :)

Menu Plan Monday

Cheese Toast
Cinnamon Toast
Hot Grape Nuts
French Toast

Turkey Sandwiches
PB&J Sandwiches
Smoothies & Muffins

Hot Dogs & Beans
Loaded Potato Soup
(Mom & Dad's House)
(Mom & Dad's House)
Waffle Casserole

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Slow Cooker Veggie Soup

I had some veggies that had to be used up, so I basically just tossed them together. It was better than I thought it would be.

1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
2 gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
32 oz. vegetable broth
2 c water
6 oz. tomato paste
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp sugar (to offset the tomato taste)
Salt & pepper to taste

Toss everything into the slow cooker, and cook on low 6-8 hours, until all of the vegetables are tender.

This week

As I mentioned, my Mom had surgery a couple of weeks ago. Since then my sister and I have taken turns cooking for my parents. Monday night was Almond Crusted Fish, Tuesday was Sticky Chicken, and last night was Shrimp Pot Pie. Tonight we're all doing our own thing, which means I'm trying a slow-cooker soup concoction that I'm afraid to try. ;) I'll let you know if it turns out. Right now I have Zucchini Cake in the oven, and it's smelling so good! Happy Thursday!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Almond Crusted Fresh Fish

This recipe is from Bahama Breeze. It is THE BEST fish I have EVER put into my mouth!!! It is well worth every second, and every ingredient. Go make it now!!!

Serves: 2


2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Fresh Fish cut ½ inch thick (4 ea 4oz wt pieces)
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ cup Almond Crust (see recipe)
½ cup Lemon Butter Sauce (see recipe)
Your favorite side-dish (2 servings)
Your favorite vegetables (2 servings)


Lightly season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a 10" sautè pan over medium high heat then add the olive oil. Place the seasoned fish in the heated pan and reduce heat to medium; sautè the fish for 2-3 minutes per side, just until it flakes easily and is cook through. Transfer the fish to a warm serving plate and top the fish with the warm almond crust (see recipe). Serve with heated lemon butter sauce (see recipe) and your favorite side-dishes Enjoy!

Almond Crust

1 slice of Fresh White Bread
¼ cup of Honey Roasted Sliced Almonds
2 Tbsp Butter, melted
1 tsp Lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1 tsp Chopped Fresh Parsley


Place slice of white bread into food processor or blender and pulse to make coarse bread crumbs. Lightly toast bread crumbs on a cookie sheet pan in a 350°F oven (4?5 minutes). Measure out ¼ cup of bread crumbs and save the rest for another use in the freezer. Place all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix to evenly combine. Warm the topping for 30 seconds in the microwave just prior to serving over the fish.

Lemon Butter Sauce

1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Chopped garlic
2 Tbsp White wine
½ tsp Thyme, fresh
1 cup of Heavy Cream
3 threads of Saffron
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice, fresh squeezed
2 Tbsp Butter cubes, cold
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 tsp Cornstarch
1 tsp Cold water


Add the oil to a heated small sauce pan. Add the garlic and sautè for 30 seconds. Add the wine and thyme; reduce by half. Add the cream, saffron and lemon juice; bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to low. Add the butter cubes and stir until combined. Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and add slowly to the sauce, while stirring until thickened. Season the sauce with salt and white pepper to taste. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer and serve hot.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Simple Hot Dogs and Beans

I don't make this often, but my daughter is always happy when I do!

1 package hot dogs
1 tbsp butter
1/4 c chopped onion (optional)
2 cans pork & beans
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Melt butter in a skillet. Meanwhile, slice hot dogs. Brown hot dogs in butter. If I use onion as well, I add it in with the hot dogs. When hot dogs are browned, stir in beans, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Heat through. Sprinkle with mozzarella before serving.

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Life

I have an almost-four-year-old, I'm in the middle of a divorce, and my Mom just had surgery last week. Life is stressful at the moment. Yet I know that I am very blessed, and thank God daily for the blessings in my life, especially my daughter, my family and my friends. Menu planning is out the window since I'm on part-time Mom-care duty. The next time I cook something yummy though, I'll be sure to let you guys know! Thanks for hanging in there with me! Yet another blessing. :)

Garlic Shrimp, Parsley Potatoes

This is adapted from a Southern Living recipe my Mom has. It's what she requested for her birthday dinner. Everyone in attendance raved! We had it with a salad, parsley potatoes, and buttered French bread. Delicious!!!

Garlic Shrimp

2 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 c olive oil
1/3 c fresh parsley, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 c butter, melted
1/2 c breadcrumbs
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place shrimp in a 11x7 baking dish. Drizzle oil over top. Stir together parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Sprinkle over shrimp. Cover and bake 15 minutes.

Stir shrimp, then drizzle with melted butter. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese. Bake uncovered until all shrimp are opaque, 5-10 minutes.

Parsley Potatoes

Potatoes (any type)

This is very, very easy. I peel my potatoes, my sister does not. Either way, cut potatoes into chunks, and boil until tender. Drain and return to pan. Add butter to potatoes in pan, then sprinkle generously with parsley (fresh if you have it, dried if you don't.) Easy peasy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pantry Hamburger Veggie Soup

I just tossed all of this in a pot... It's very flexible, just use whatever you have on hand.

1 lb. LEAN ground beef
2 tbsp. The Lady & Sons Salt Mix (Paula Deen Collection), plus more to taste
1 large onion
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can green beans, undrained
1 can corn, undrained
1 can sliced carrots, undrained
1 can diced potatoes, undrained

Brown beef in a stockpot over med-high heat. Meanwhile, peel and dice onion. When finished, sprinkle Salt Mix over beef, stir, and add in onion. When beef is cooked through stir in tomatoes, green beans, and corn. Bring to a boil. Stir in carrots and potatoes then reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 3 hours. Adjust seasoning as needed before serving.



2 avocados
1 tomato
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
1 jalapeno
1 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
2 tsp. dried cilantro
1/4 tsp. cumin

Slice avocados in half, remove pit, score with a knife, and scoop out. Pour lemon juice over avocado in a bowl, and stir to coat. Seed and dice tomato, dice onion, and mince garlic; add to avocado. While wearing rubber kitchen gloves, remove stem and seeds from jalapeno. Mince; add to avocado. Add cilanto and cumin, and stir well. Using a potato masher, mash avocado and combine all ingredients. Refrigerate.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


My last post, on 17 Nov. 2009, was written three days before my husband and I separated. It's been exactly six months. So, that explains my absence. I'll be back soon! :)