and it’s Friday – again


It’s a gray & gloomy/wet day. Yesterday I went to our local KMart which they are closing in 3 months; got some really good deals. Total spent: $97.00 – total saved $60.00! It was a very ‘random’ shop; I stopped at each department and tried to do a thorough look around – the items in my cart were varied: bedroom slippers, winter scarf & gloves, a bath mat & shower curtain liner, etc. but all-in-all I was happy with my purchases. The other good things? I got a $2.00 off per gallon coupon for our local Speedway gas station AND more bonus points which can be used at other KMart or Sears (on line). Husband is stopping by there today to get a watch and, with his purchase, more bonus points. Am thinking of getting a new crockpot (which is ALSO on sale on their KMart site – BONUS!).


Sugar-Dusted Apple Bundt Cake

2 C. sugar plus 2 T. divided
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 C. vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 C. orange juice
2 tsp. vanilla
1 (21 oz) can apple fruit pie
filling & topping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour 10-inch Bundt pan.
In small bowl mix 2 T. sugar &
cinnamon; sprinkle bottom &
sides of Bundt pan with mixture.
In large bowl combine flour, salt,
baking powder & remaining
sugar. Stir in oil, eggs, orange juice
& vanilla; mix well. Add fruit
filling & stir. Pour batter evenly
into prepared pan.
Bake, uncovered, 1 hour; let
cool 15 minutes. Invert cake
onto serving plate & cool.
Drizzle top with Citrus Glaze
(recipe below) Serves 12

Citrus Glaze:
1 C. powdered sugar
1 T. orange juice (extra
orange juice, if needed)

In medium bowl beat all
glaze ingredients until smooth.
Add extra orange juice, if
needed – by the teaspoon-
until desired consistency.

(recipe: The Oakland Press
“Family Features”, Dec., 4, 2016)

Loaded Nachos

1 ‘party sized’ bag tortilla chips
1 lb. ground beef
2 T. taco seasoning
1/3 – 1/2 C. water
1 C. refried beans
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained/
2 C. shredded cheese: mixture of
Cheddar & Monterey Jack
2 (2.25 oz, ea) cans sliced black
olives, drained
1 C. whole kernel corn – frozen &
thawed or fresh

3 green onions, chopped
jalapeno peppers/ seeded & chopped
mixed yellow/orange/red mini peppers,
sliced into rounds
2 C. chunky salsa or pico de gallo,
drained of excess liquid
1 avocado, cut into chunks

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Brown ground beef; drain. Add
taco seasoning & water; bring to
boil & cook 2 minutes. Line a
large baking sheet with parchment
paper. Place a layer of chips on sheet;
layer taco meat, refried beans, black
beans, cheese, olives & corn – repeat
layer & top with chopped green onions,
jalapenos & mixed pepper slices. Bake
10 minutes until cheese melts. Top
with any other suggested garnishes &
serve warm. Serves 6-8

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

3/4 C. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 C. milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
(about 1 C.)
4 oz. sliced pepperoni and/or
sausage, cut into small pieces
(about 1 C.)
1/2 C. pizza sauce, warmed (for

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a 24-cup mini muffin pan
with nonstick spray. In large bowl
whisk flour & baking powder.
Whisk in milk & egg; stir in
cheese & pepperoni/sausage.
Let stand 10 minutes.
Stir batter & pour into prepared
pans. Bake 20-25 minutes until
puffed & golden brown. Serve
with pizza sauce, for dipping.

Crispy Fried Jalapeno Slices

4 C. vegetable shortening or
vegetable oil (for frying)
1 1/2 C. flour, divided
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 eggs
1 C. beer
1 (16 oz) jar sliced jalapeno
peppers, drained (about 2 C.)

your favorite dipping sauce,
for serving

In deep fryer or cast iron Dutch
oven, heat shortening to 365
degrees F. In medium bowl combine
1 C. flour, salt/pepper, chili powder,
garlic powder, eggs & beer – mix
until combined. Place remaining
1/2 C. flour in a ziplock gallon bag.
Dry drained jalapenos on paper
towels & add to bag – seal bag &
shake to coat jalapenos. Place floured
jalapenos in batter in bowl & stir
gently to coat. Discard any remaining
flour at bottom of bag. Lift battered
jalapenos using a fork & gently drop
(being careful of back splash of hot
oil) into preheated oil. Cook until
golden brown & crispy, about 2-4
minutes. Remove to paper towel
lined plate. Serve with your favorite
dipping sauces. Serves 3-4


Corn & Chicken Bake

6 boneless, skinless chicken
breast halves (about 1 1/2 lb. total)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 (6 oz) pkg. cornbread stuffing mix
1 (8 3/4 oz) can whole kernel corn,
1 C. boiling water
1/4 C. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of celery
1/3 C. milk
1 T. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. Place chicken
breast halves in single layer
in dish; season with garlic powder,
salt/pepper. In large bowl combine
stuffing mix, corn, water & melted
butter – mix well & spoon over
chicken. In same bowl combine soup,
milk & parsley; mix well. Pour over
stuffing then cover with foil. Bake
35 minutes; uncover & bake 8-10
minutes longer until no pink remains
in chicken & stuffing is golden.
Serves 6

*You can substitute cream of mushroom


Crockpot Homestyle Pork Chops

1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
6-8 boneless pork chops
2 T. oil
1 (10.5 oz) can chicken broth

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray. Mix flour, mustard,
salt & garlic powder in flat pan (like
a pie pan). Lightly coat chops in flour
mixture (reserve remaining flour
mixture). In large skillet add oil
& brown chops over medium-high
heat. Mix broth with remaining flour
mixture & pour into crockpot. Place
browned chops in crockpot, cover &
cook on High 2 1/2 hours.
Serves 6


Easy Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup

1 lb. baby portobello mushrooms,
2 T. olive oil
2 (6 oz, ea) pkgs. long grain & wild
rice mix (Like Rice a Roni or Uncle Bens)
1 (32 oz) carton beef broth
2 C. heavy whipping cream

In Dutch oven saute mushrooms in
oil until tender. Add rice, contents
of seasoning  packets, broth &
water – bring to boil. Reduce heat,
cover & simmer 25 minutes. Add
cream & heat through. Serves 8
(2 quarts)


Unstuffed Pepper Soup

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
3 large green peppers, seeded/
1 large onion, chopped
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans beef broth
2 (10 3/4 oz ea) cans tomato
soup, undiluted
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes,
1 (4 oz) can mushroom stems &
pieces, drained
1 1/2 C. cooked rice

In Dutch oven or large saucepan
cook beef, green peppers & onion
over medium heat until meat is
no longer pink; drain. Stir in broth,
soup, tomatoes & mushrooms –
bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover
& simmer at least 30 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Add rice &
heat through. Makes 10 servings


Chocolate Magic Custard Cake

4 eggs, room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. butter, melted
1/2 C. flour
1/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 C. milk, lukewarm
1 T. powdered sugar (for dusting)

Preheat oven 320 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 9″ baking dish with nonstick
spray & line with parchment paper.
Separate egg yolks & whites; beat
whites in a bowl until stiff. Whisk
egg yolks, vanilla & sugar until creamy.
Add melted butter & mix half a minute.
Add flour & unsweetened cocoa; mix
using a spatula until well incorporated.
Pour in milk gradually & continue beating.
Add egg whites, one third at a time &
gently stir with a spatula. Do not over mix
just stir a few times. Pour this liquidy batter
into pan & bake 60 minutes. Let cool & when
it comes to room temperature, refrigerate
1 hour. Slice into pieces & dust with powdered
sugar just before serving. Keep leftovers
refrigerated. Serves 6



Today is also Inauguration Day – a day where many
people who SHOULD be joined together in unity
this year – are not. It’s sad when politics can totally
separate friends & family. I’m hoping that this total
day’s events go smoothly with no trouble. Every time
we get a new president SOME are happy, SOME are
not – but in spite of the differences, we all need to
support those who are in office over us. I try my
best NOT to get into politics and religion here on
my blog and in my personal life – everyone is
entitled to their opinion. May this day and the
next four years go smoothly with both sides/
parties working together to unite our country.



Middle of the week musings –


Nothing really special to share – last night was the Knit/Crochet group’s Yarn Swap – I’m happy to report I only had a very small bit of yarn to bring home! (I, personally, kept one small ball of baby yarn which will be enough to knit one newborn and one premie baby hat). Since I also heard several ladies bemoaning the fact that they forgot it was the Yarn Swap, I wrote to the group informing them we can do it again NEXT meeting (thereby, hopefully – I’ll be able to give away the last box & bag of gifted-to-me yarns!) I was totally amazed at the amount of knitting needles donated – and they all went home with new owners! YAY!


Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint

1/2 C. butter, softened
2/3 C. sugar
1 egg, separated
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. flour
1/3 C. baking cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. finely chopped pecans


12 – 14 caramels (unwrapped)
3 T. heavy whipping cream
1/2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. shortening

In large bowl cream butter & sugar
until light & fluffy. Beat in egg yolk,
milk & vanilla. In another bowl whisk
flour, cocoa & salt; gradually beat into
creamed mixture. Refrigerate, covered,
1 hour until easy to handle.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place chopped nuts in a shallow pan
or bowl. Spray baking sheets with
nonstick spray. Beat egg white in a
shallow bowl. Shape dough into
1 inch balls then dip balls in egg
white, then into chopped nuts,
patting to help nuts adhere to ball –
place balls on prepared sheets
2 inches apart. Press a deep indentation
in center of each ball with end of
a wooden spoon handle. Bake
10-12 minutes until set. Remove
from pans to wire racks to cool

In large heavy saucepan melt
caramels with cream over Low heat,
stirring until smooth. Fill each
cookie with about 1/2 tsp. caramel
mixture. Using a microwave, melt
chocolate chips & shortening & stir
until smooth. Drizzle mixture over
top of cookies; let stand until set.
Store in airtight container.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.


Crockpot Mexican Party Dip

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. sour cream
1 C. Mexican-style shredded Four
cheese (Kraft), divided
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained/
1 (16 oz) jar thick & chunky salsa
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray.
Mix cream cheese, sour cream & 3/4
C. shredded cheese until blended;
spread onto bottom of crockpot.
Top with black beans & salsa.
Cover & cook on Low 3-4 hours.
Top with onions, cilantro & remaining
Serves: 40 servings, 2 T. each

(recipe: kraftrecipes)

Bacon & Tomato Balsamic Pasta

1/4 C. butter, cubed
2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. salt
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 C. grape tomatoes, halved
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
1/4 C. olive oil, divided
1 (16 oz) pkg. uncooked angel hair
9 strips bacon, cooked/crumbled
2/3 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 T. chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried

Cook pasta accordg. to pkg. directions.
In large skillet over medium-high heat,
melt butter; add onions, pepper flakes
& salt. Saute until onions are tender,
stir in garlic – reduce heat to medium-
low & cook, stirring occasionally,
30-40 minutes until onions are deep
golden brown. Add tomatoes, vinegar
& 2 T. oil to skillet. Drain pasta & toss
with onion mixture. Drizzle with
remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with bacon,
cheese, basil & pepper – heat through.
Serves 6


Crockpot Turkey Chili

2 lb. ground turkey
1 diced onion
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
1 can black beans in
chili sauce
3 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder

Hot sauce – to taste

Brown turkey, peppers, onion &
garlic in a pan; drain any grease &
add to crockpot along with rest of
ingredients. Cover & cook on High
4 hours (or Low 6+ hours).


Oven-roasted Chicken & Veggies

2 large chicken breasts (boneless,skinless)
cut into large cubes
1 red bell pepper, seeded/chopped into
large pieces
1 green bell pepper, seeded/chopped into
large pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded/chopped into
large pieces
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, chopped into large
1 C. broccoli florets
1/2 C. grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Preheat oven 475 degrees F.
Spray large baking sheet with nonstick
spray. Place chicken & veggies on
prepared sheet; sprinkle with olive oil,
salt/pepper & Italian seasoning – toss
to combine. Bake 15-20 minutes until
veggies are charred & chicken is cooked
through. Serve immediately.
Serves 4


Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate
pudding mix
1 3/4 C. milk
1 1/2 C. chocolate chips (poster
used semi-sweet)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix pudding mix & milk together;
stir in chocolate cake mix (dry) –
batter will be very thick. Spread
mixture on bottom of 9 X 13″
baking dish & sprinkle choc. chips
on top. Bake 25 minutes until
edges start pulling away from pan.


Crab Mac & Cheese

1 lb. elbow macaroni
1/4 C. butter
1 shallot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. flour
2 C. milk
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 C. shredded white Cheddar
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 lb. lump crab meat
(chopped fresh parsley-garnish)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large pot boiling water cook
pasta accordg. to pkg. directions
for al dente; drain & return to pot.
In large skillet over medium heat
melt butter; add shallots & garlic;
cook 3 minutes. Add flour; whisk
until combined 1 minute. Add
milk & season with salt/pepper.
Simmer 2 minutes until thickened
& smooth. Stir in half of white
Cheddar and all mozzarella until
melted; remove from heat. Add sauce
& crab meat to pot with cooked
pasta – stir until completely
combined. Sprinkle with remaining
1/2 C. Cheddar. Bake 20 minutes
until bubbly. Top with chopped
parsley, if desired. Serves 6


Cheesy Ham Chowder

10 strips bacon, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 C. diced carrots
3 T. flour
3 C. milk
1 1/2 C. water
2 1/2 C. cubed potatoes
1 (15 1/4 oz) can whole kernel
corn, drained
2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
pepper/to taste
3 C. (12 oz) shredded Cheddar
2 C. cubed, cooked ham

In a Dutch oven, cook bacon
over medium heat until crisp;
remove to paper towels to drain.
Saute onion & carrots in drippings
until tender; stir in flour until
blended. Gradually add milk &
water – bring to boil & cook,
stirring 2 minutes until thickened.
Add potatoes, corn, bouillon & pepper;
reduce heat & simmer, uncovered,
20 minutes until potatoes are tender.
Add cheese & ham; heat until cheese
melts then stir in bacon. Serves 10


Gorilla Bread

1/2 C. sugar
1 T. cinnamon
2 C. brown sugar, packed
1 C. butter
2 (12 oz, ea) tubes refrigerated
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, cut
into 20 cubes
1 1/2 C. walnuts, coarsely chopped/

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix sugar & cinnamon. Melt brown
sugar & butter in a saucepan over Low
heat, stirring well. Flatten biscuits & sprinkle
each with 1/2 tsp. sugar mixture. Place a
cheese cube in center of each biscuit,
wrapping & sealing dough around cheese.
Spray a 12-Cup Bundt pan with nonstick
spray. Sprinkle 1/2 C. nuts in bottom of pan.
Arrange half of biscuits in pan & sprinkle
with half of sugar mixture. Pour half butter
mixture over top & sprinkle with 1/2 C. nuts –
repeat layers. Bake 30 minutes. Let cool
5 minutes; place a dinner plate on top of
Bundt pan & invert cake onto plate.
Serves 20



Our weather has FINALLY settled down – it’s supposed
to be in the 40’s all week (which is VERY unusual for
Michigan at this time of year). Most of the snow has
melted, no more thin layers of ice on the ground
(that was 2 days ago – very scary). It’s nice to have
these small pockets of PLAIN weather (no snow/ice/
rain/sleet) where you can actually plan to go some-
where and not have to worry about either walking
or driving conditions.

While out yesterday I noticed that our gas prices
have dropped another 10 cents a gallon – YAY!
We’re now at $2.29/9 a gallon for regular (and,
wouldn’t you know – I had just filled up a few
days ago at $2.39/9 . . . sigh).

Hope your day & week are going as you’d
expected (right now I really don’t have any
‘expectations’ – whatever comes my way is
the way it ‘is’ for now!). We’re all healthy &
relatively happy – so that’s a GOOD thing!

Enjoy your day/evening!



Good old Michigan weather – sigh


Yesterday it was in the low 30’s with a slight film of ice on the ground – enter today: FREEZING RAIN all night, everything is covered with ice: roads, ground, walkways, etc. SO glad I decided to venture out yesterday to get a few groceries! The strange part is: it’s supposed to get up to the mid-40’s today! Sure hope so – then the ice will melt. I can hear the traffic and it seems to be moving OK; middle son had to work all-night and got home around 7 a.m. He said the roads were a little slippery but the driveway and sidewalk at home were really bad. (Husband put salt out so that should help.) Living here in Michigan you really don’t know, day to day, what’s coming. AT LEAST IT’S NOT SNOW!!!


Perfectly Peanut Butter Pie

1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. creamy or crunchy peanut butter
1 (3 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (12 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 (9 inch) graham cracker pie crust

Optional: additional Cool Whip,
chopped peanuts for topping

Combine sugar, peanut butter & cream
cheese in large bowl; stir until well
blended. Fold in Cool Whip & spoon
into pie crust. Cover & chill at least
2 hours before serving. Top with
additional Cool Whip and/or chopped
peanuts. Serves 8


Lemon Chicken Soup & Pasta

6 C. chicken broth
1/3 C. fresh lemon juice
1 dried bay leaf
1 (2 inch) piece Parmesan cheese rind
2 medium peeled/sliced carrots
1 C. spaghetti noodles broken into
2″ pieces
2 C. diced, cooked chicken (can be
1 C. grated Romano cheese
1/4 C. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
kosher salt

In large stockpot bring chicken broth,
lemon juice, bay leaf & Parmesan rind
to boil over medium-high heat. Add
carrots & simmer 5-8 minutes. Mix in
broken spaghetti & cook 4-5 minutes
while stirring. Once pasta is cooked, add
chicken & continue cooking 2-3 minutes
to heat chicken. Remove bay leaf &
Parmesan rind: discard both. Add half
of cheese & parsley – season with salt.
To serve:
Ladle soup into bowls & top with
remaining cheese.


Ham & Cheese Hashbrown Casserole

1 (32 oz) pkg. frozen hash brown potatoes
1 lb. cooked, diced ham
2 (10.75 oz, ea) cans cream of potato soup
1 (16 oz) tub sour cream
2 C. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Lightly spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In large bowl mix hash
browns, ham, soup, sour cream &cheese;
spread into prepared pan. Sprinkle top
with Parm. cheese & bake 1 hour until
bubbly & lightly brown. Serves 10


Crockpot PIZZA!

refrigerated pizza dough
pizza sauce
shredded cheese, your choice
sliced pepperoni
(any extra toppings you want)

Line bottom of crockpot with
parchment paper, making a cross –
be sure paper is long enough so it
will make lifting the pizza out later
easier. Sprinkle flour on bottom
(on paper) then spray with nonstick
spray. Press dough on bottom,
smoothing it out; spread pizza
sauce over top. Add cheese & your
choice of toppings. Cover & cook
on High 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Condensation
will begin to form on inside of lid-
you will want to wipe inside of lid
dry to make sure pizza isn’t too soft.
When done it should look golden
brown. Lift out pizza using parchment
paper; place on cutting board & slice.


Crockpot Sausage & Potato Soup

1 lb. mild ground sausage, browned/
6 potatoes, peeled/cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced (or 6 baby)
1 stalk celery, sliced
5 chicken bouillon cubes
1 T. dried parsley
5 C. water
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 T. salt
6 T. butter, melted
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

Optional topping: shredded
Cheddar cheese

Place all ingredients (except
milk & cheese) in crockpot;
gently stir. Cover & cook on Low
10-12 hours (or High 3-4 hours).
ONE hour before final cooking
time: stir in milk. Serve soup
topped with shredded cheese.
Serves 6-8


Crunchy Honey-garlic Pork Chops

6-9 pork chops (can use boneless
pork loin OR chicken)
2 eggs
4 T. water
2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
canola or vegetable oil, for frying

1 1/2 C. honey
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
dash cayenne pepper (to your taste)
1/2 C. soy sauce
1 T. chopped garlic
2 T. butter

In large fry pan pour 1/2 inch cooking oil,
heated. Be sure oil is hot but not too hot.
Whisk eggs & 4 T. water in shallow dish.
Mix flour, salt, pepper & garlic powder
in another shallow dish. Dip chops in
flour, then into egg, then back into flour
mixture. NOTE: Be sure to get plenty
of flour on last coating then shake a little
& place in pan with oil. Cook 6 minutes
on each side. Try not to turn  more than
twice or breading will come off. Remove
from pan to a 9 X 13″ baking dish.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Saute garlic in a little butter; add honey, soy
sauce, brown sugar, cayenne & ginger
to pan & bring to boil; reduce heat to
Low & simmer 5 minutes. (watch carefully
because it will foam & might boil over).
Place half of glaze over chops & turn them
over. Pour rest of glaze over top. Bake,
uncovered, 20-25 minutes. (this sets the
glaze & makes sure chops are fully cooked).


Easy Buttermilk Cornbread

1/3 C. sugar
1/2 C. vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 C. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 C. cornmeal
1 C. buttermilk*

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 9″ baking pan with
nonstick spray. Whisk sugar,
oil & eggs just until combined.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking
soda & cornmeal together. Add
about 1/3 C. dry ingredients &
about 1/3 of buttermilk to sugar/
oil/eggs mixture – stir – continue
until all ingredients are blended
together. Pour into prepared pan
& bake 25-30 minutes until top
is lightly browned.
Makes 9 large servings or more
if cut smaller

*If you don’t have buttermilk:
Pour 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar
into a 2-Cup measuring cup. Pour
regular milk up to the 1 C. mark.
Stir then let stand 5 minutes –
now you have 1 C. buttermilk!


Apple Nachos

4 Granny Smith apples, cored/
thinly sliced
1 C. white chocolate chips, melted
3/4 C. caramel, warmed in microwave
1 C. chopped pretzels
2 Heath candy bars, broken into pieces

On large plate arrange apple slices
on top of one another. Drizzle half
melted chocolate & caramel over
top. Top with pretzels & Heath bar
pieces then drizzle with remaining
melted chocolate & caramel. Serve
immediately. Serves 4-6



Tonight is my knit/crochet group’s Yarn Swap –
I’m looking forward to seeing the various items
brought in AND to get rid of some of the last
big batch of yarn I was ‘gifted’. Have been just
slowly working on both the pink/white/light tan
baby blanket & the teal scarf. The ‘fun’ of the
yarn swap is the anticipation of perhaps finding
something you haven’t seen before and/or
being inspired by a yarn – plus IT’S ALL FREE!
Really hoping the weather doesn’t keep the
ladies away.

I noticed lately that our gas prices have dropped
10 cents a gallon from $2.49/9 to $2. 39/9 – YAY!

While digging in my upstairs freezer I found two
large packages of ground pork – I only buy it to
add to ground beef for meatloaf, so guess what’s
for dinner tonight!? Meatloaf is my husband’s
favorite dinner, so I’m glad for the 2+ day meal;
hopefully it will feed us for that long (I have
Knit night tonight & special needs group
tomorrow, so really won’t be cooking-I’ll make
the meatloaf & mashed potatoes early then
the guys can eat when they want.)

Hope you are staying warm, dry and managing
to take a little time out in each day to relax &
rest – we all need that.




Friday the 13th – not to worry


It’s a ‘balmy’ 19 degrees F. out, a little flashes of sunshine but mostly a kinda drab day (but no snow, sleet or rain – so not TOO bad!). Just spent a good hour looking at hundreds of clip art images of knitting/crochet/yarn baskets to try to decide which to put on my knit group’s new business cards. For 8+ years now I’ve been printing my own but after watching a simple commercial for Vistaprint company, I decided to go with them. For $9.99 (first order) you can design your own cards – that’s 500 cards! I’ve been getting 100 blanks for about the same (if not a little higher price) and then had to print my own. Not a bad deal! It was a little difficult trying to pick a clip art image that I liked and that would fit in their little square! Found lots I liked but then when I put them in the square designated, it would chop off the sides – frustrating! Anyway, the ones I ordered will do the job.


Peppermint French Silk Pie

1 9″ refrigerated pie crust, softened
as per box directions
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 C. butter, softened (do not use
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. peppermint extract
3 T. instant espresso coffee powder
or granules (or instant coffee)
4 eggs

Suggested toppers:
sweetened whipped cream
finely chopped chocolate chips
crushed peppermint candies

Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
Bake pie crust 9-11 minutes until
light golden brown – cool
completely, 30 minutes.
In small microwaveable bowl,
microwave choc. chips 30 seconds,
stir. Continue to microwave in 15
second increments until chocolate
is melted; cool. In large bowl beat
butter using elec. mixer on medium
speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in
sugar until light & fluffy. Beat in
cooled chocolate, peppermint extract
& coffee powder until well blended.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on high
speed 2 minutes after each addition.
Beat until mixture is smooth & fluffy –
pour into prepared pie shell. Refrigerate
2 hours before serving. Garnish with
remaining suggested toppers. Cover &
refrigerate any remaining pie.
Serves 8


Crockpot Chicken Corn Chowder

3 medium boneless skinless chicken
4 C. chicken broth
5 small red/gold or brown potatoes,
cut into 1 inch pieces
1 (8 oz) can diced green chiles
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
2 cans cream-style corn
2 C. heavy cream (or Half & Half)
1 tsp. garlic powder
4-6 strips bacon, diced, cooked crispy
salt/pepper, to taste
freshly chopped parsley (garnish)

Combine chicken, broth, potatoes,
chiles, onion & corn in crockpot; stir
to combine. Cover & cook on Low 6
hours. Uncover – using 2 forks, shred
chicken. Stir in heavy cream, garlic
powder, bacon, salt/pepper & cook
another 15-20 minutes. Garnish with
parsley & serve hot. Serves 4-6


Amish Onion Patties

3/4 C. flour
1 T. sugar
1 T. cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
3/4 C. milk
2 1/2 C. chopped onions (about 2
oil for frying

Mix dry ingredients together;
stir in milk (batter will be thick).
Add onions & mix thoroughly.
Heat 1/2 inch oil in large skillet
over medium-high heat. Drop
batter by tablespoons into hot
oil; flatten slightly. Brown on
both sides until crisp; place
on paper towel-lined plate to


Garlicky Shrimp Alfredo Bake

1 (10 oz) box penne pasta
3 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. medium or large shrimp,
3 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 T. flour
3/4 C. milk
1/4 C. chicken broth
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 C. plus 2 T. shredded Parmesan
fresh ground black pepper
2 large tomatoes, chopped, about
1 C.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large pot of salted boiling
water, cook penne accordg. to
pkg. directions for al dente; drain
& return to pot. In large oven-
proof skillet over medium heat
melt 1 T. butter; add garlic, shrimp
& 2 T. parsley – season with salt.
Cook until shrimp is pink & no
longer opaque, 2 minutes per
side. Transfer to plate (keep
juices in skillet). Add remaining
2 T. butter to skillet, melt & add
flour – whisk until golden, 1-2
minutes. Add milk & chicken broth,
bring to a simmer. Stir in 3/4 C.
mozzarella & 1/4 C. Parmesan
until creamy -season with salt/
pepper. Return shrimp to skillet;
add tomatoes & cooked penne –
toss until combined. Add more
milk if mixture is too thick.
Sprinkle top with remaining
1/4 C. mozzarella & 2 T. Parmesan.
Bake until melted, 5-7 minutes.
Broil 2-3 minutes more until top
is golden (watch it doesn’t burn)
Garnish with remaining parsley
& serve. Serves 4


(Copycat) Panera Bread Broccoli-Cheese

1 T. melted butter
1/2 medium chopped onion
1/4 C. melted butter
1/4 C. flour
2 C. Half & Half
2 C. chicken stock
1/2 lb. fresh broccoli, cut into small
1 C. carrot, julienned
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
8 oz. grated sharp Cheddar cheese
salt/pepper, to taste

In small pan saute onion in butter.
Cook 1/4 C. melted butter & flour-
use whisk over medium heat 3-5
minutes whisking constantly then
add Half & Half, chicken stock &
simmer, stirring, 20 minutes. Add
broccoli, carrots & onions – cook
over Low heat 20-25 minutes. Add
salt/pepper, to taste. Add cheese &
nutmeg – stir & serve.

NOTE: Can be pureed in blender if


Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

4 T. unsalted butter
1 C. diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 C. flour
3 C. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 C. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 lb. russet potatoes, washed/
scrubbed & sliced very thinly*
1 lb. diced ham (about 4 C)
fresh parsley – garnish

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 3 qt baking dish with nonstick
spray. Melt butter in large skillet
over medium heat; add onion &
cook, stirring, 4 minutes. Add garlic &
cook another 1-2 minutes until garlic
is fragrant & onion is tender. Sprinkle
in flour & cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Whisk in milk & cook until sauce is
thickened & bubbly, about 4-5 minutes.
Add salt, pepper & cheese; stir until
cheese melts – remove from heat.
Place half sliced potatoes in bottom
of prepared dish. Top with half of
ham, pour on half of sauce – repeat
layers & cover dish tightly with foil.
Bake 45 minutes – remove foil &
bake another 20-30 minutes until
potatoes are tender & top is golden &
bubbly. Let stand 10-15 minutes before
serving. Garnish with fresh parsley, if
desired. Serves 8

*potatoes turn brown quickly when
sliced – drop them in a bowl of cold
water once they’re sliced & drain when
ready to assemble dish.


Chocolate Banana Twinkie Cake

9-10 Twinkies (yellow filled snack
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
3 large bananas, sliced into rings
1 Spray CAN whipped cream (or Cool
Whip, thawed)

Cut Twinkies in half vertically & place
in a 9 X 13″ baking dish with creamy
sides up. Lay slicedbananas over top
of Twinkies. Prepare pudding mix
accordg. to pkg directions & spread
over bananas. Cover top with spray
whipped cream or Cool Whip.
Refrigerate 1 hour.


Crockpot Pineapple Pork

2 lb. boneless pork loin, cut into
bite-sized pieces
1/2 C. (Kraft) Sweet Honey BBQ sauce
1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks in
juice, undrained
3 T. cornstarch
2 large green peppers, seeded/chopped
2 large red peppers, seeded/chopped

6 C. hot, cooked white rice
1/4 C. peanuts, chopped (garnish)

Combine meat & BBQ sauce in crockpot.
Drain pineapple, reserving 1/4 C. juice.
Add reserved juice to cornstarch in small
bowl – stir until dissolved & add to meat
mixture – mix well. Top with pineapple
chunks & peppers – cover & cook on Low
6-8 hours (or High 5 hours). Serve over
cooked rice. Sprinkle top of serving
with chopped peanuts, if desired.
Serves 8

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Apple Nut Bars

1 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs, well beaten
1/4 C. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/3 C. raisins
1 C. chopped walnuts
1 C. peeled/finely chopped apples

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In large bowl mix
flour, sugar, salt & baking powder.
Add remaining ingredients & mix
well – pour into prepared pan.
Bake 40-50  minutes until edges are
golden. Remove from oven & cut
into bars while still warm but not
hot. Makes 21 bars

NOTE: Before you serve you can
roll bars in powdered sugar or
spread with a cream cheese frosting.
Can also be served with thawed
Cool Whip as a dip or serve plain
as a cookie



Today is a rather quiet day – later on
husband & I have to go to a funeral
visitation for one of his cousin’s
children (was in her 50’s). I know the
cousin but don’t really know the
deceased. Our nephew will be coming
from up North where he attends
college and he wanted to get together
with us (if you recall, he stayed with
us for a few days a little over a year ago)
so it will be nice to see him and take him
out to eat afterwards. Husband decided
on going to bd’s Mongolian Grill
great place, we haven’t been there in
years. They have ‘make your own’ dinners
where all the foods are laid out on buffets
and you put what meats/seafoods/veggies/
pastas or rices you want then take your bowl
up to their Mongolian “Grill” where the
guys behind the grill cook your food in front
of you. Nice place – definite ‘college’
atmosphere, as it’s very close to a local
college; being Friday night they will probably
be packed (hope not, but probably). Should
make a fun evening with nephew after
funeral visitation.

Not much new here – slowly plodding along
knitting baby blanket & scarf. Spent time
yesterday organizing all the paperwork for
our special needs group. It seems like each
beginning January I end up printing out
new sheets simply because we end up with
so many address/phone # changes. It’s OK,
I’m used to it. You can really realize the
importance of keeping accurate records
when we have to cancel a meeting due to
weather – the last cancellation a week ago
found me attempting to call a group home
that had changed their phone number!
Took quite a bit of searching records to
finally find a contact number! Another of
our members is driven by his brother –
who had changed HIS phone # – that one
I ended up leaving a message with a close
friend of his. It gets dicey when I can’t let
them know – especially if it’s a group home
with students in wheel-chairs and it’s really
bad weather! (Yes, hopefully the caregivers
would realize the weather is too bad, but
we have had situations where they actually
CAME then found out there was no group
meeting that night…simply because I could
not get them on the phone!

Hope your day is going well –



Oh, what a night!


I had written, earlier, that we were having some strange weather but last night beat them all. It started early in the morning with about 2 1/2 inches of snow all over; slowly during the day it began to melt (that was good). Later the winds picked up and it began to rain – not so good. Around 6:30 p.m. we lost power for around 20 minutes; husband called the power company and checked – restoral in a few minutes (good). About 1 1/2 hours later no power – again! So glad we have, on hand, flashlights, candles and kerosene lamps. We were warm & safe, power returned a little over an hour later. Woke up this morning to NO WIND – finally! Looking at our weather forecast for Thursday -” A chance of rain, snow, freezing rain, and sleet before 1pm, then a chance of rain and snow between 1pm and 4pm, then a chance of snow after 4pm. Cloudy, with a temperature falling to around 31 by 5pm. North wind 5 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.” Sounds like another ‘lovely’ day/night!


Apple Cinnamon Bundt Cake

4 eggs
2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. oil
1/2 C. butter, room temp.*
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 C. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 C. peeled/grated Granny Smith
4 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 T. brown sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour bundt pan. Sift
flour, baking powder,1 tsp cinnamon
& salt together in small bowl. In large
bowl beat eggs, butter, oil, vanilla &
gran. sugar until creamy & smooth.
Stir in flour mixture until well combined.
Stir in apples gently until combined. In
separate small bowl stir 4 tsp. cinnamon
& 4 T. brown sugar. Pour half cake batter
into pan; sprinkle half brown sugar/
cinnamon mixture evenly over batter
then swirl through with a knife. Repeat
with remaining batter & brown sugar
mixture. Bake 50-60 minutes – top will
be golden brown & sides will pull apart
from pan. Allow to cool completely before
turning out onto a plate. Slice & serve.

*be sure butter is at room temp. before
whipping it

**Need to use Granny Smith apples in
this recipe; other apples may be too sweet
& ruin the texture


Crockpot Mongolian Beef

1 1/2 lb. flank steak
1/4 C. cornstarch
2 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. minced ginger
3/4 C. soy sauce
3/4 C. water
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 C. grated carrots
1/2 tsp. crushed red chili peppers*
1/2 onion, sliced
1 small bell pepper, seeded/sliced
sliced green onions – garnish

Cooked rice

Cut steak into thin (1/4 inch) slices,
cutting across the grain; place strips
in ziplock bag & add corn starch –
shake to coat meat evenly. Add oil,
garlic, ginger, soy sauce, water, brown
sugar, carrots & chili pepper to crockpot;
stir to combine. Add coated steak strips
& stir until coated in sauce. Cook on
High 3 hours (Low 4-5 hours) until
cooked through & tender.
Serves 4-6

*chili peppers to taste & more
for garnish, if desired

NOTE: Poster said she adds onion &
bell pepper the last hour of cooking
so they aren’t mushy


Spicy Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

4-5 C. red potatoes cut into wedges
3 T. olive or canola oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. of your favorite Cajun spice
4 T. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place potatoes in a ziplock bag along
with rest of ingredients – shake bag
to fully coat potatoes. Spray a sheet
pan with nonstick spray & spread potatoes
out. Bake 30 minutes, turn potatoes over &
bake 15-20 minutes more. Top with extra
shredded Parmesan cheese & serve hot.

Potato, Ham & Cheese Soup

3 C. peeled/cubed yellow potatoes
3 T. butter
1 small sweet onion, chopped
3 T. flour
3 C. milk
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 C. diced, cooked ham
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Boil potatoes in a stock pot until
desired tenderness; drain off water,
reserving 1 C. for later use.
Melt butter in small pan – saute
onion. Add onion, butter & flour to
stock pot; stir to mix over Low heat.
Keep stirring until you get thickness
desired then remove from heat. Mix
in potatoes, milk, 1 C. liquid, cheese &
ham to stock pot – simmer over medium
heat 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally,
until it thickens.


Crockpot Yellow Chicken Curry

1 medium yellow onion, finely
diced (or 2 T. dried onion flakes)
1 lb. yellow potatoes (about 3-4
medium), cubed (leave skins on,
if desired)
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken
thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (13.5 oz) can full fat coconut milk*
2 T. brown sugar
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 T. fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground coriander seed
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 line, juiced (optional)
cilantro – for garnish (optional)
Cooked rice for 4-6
In 4-6 qt crockpot place onions,
potatoes & chicken. In bowl stir
coconut milk, brown sugar, garlic,
ginger, turmeric, curry powder,
coriander seed, salt & red pepper;
whisk until combined & pour
mixture over contents in crockpot.
Cover & cook on Low 4 hours
(some cookers might only take 3
hours). Test potatoes for
tenderness. Gently stir; stir in
lime juice, if using. Add more
turmeric, curry powder or salt,
if desired. Serve with cilantro,
over rice, if desired. Serves 4-6

* you can usually find coconut
milk in the aisle of the grocery
store that sells alcohol/drink


Bacon, Mac & Cheese Bites

12 slices cooked bacon
1 box mac & cheese
1/4 C. milk
3 T. butter
1 C. finely shredded Cheddar
1/4 C. Italian Panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a greased muffin pan with
slices of cooked bacon. In large
pot bring water to boil & cook
macaroni 8-10 minutes (stir to
make sure it doesn’t stick) – drain
water. Add milk, butter, cheese
packet & shredded cheese, stir
until combined. Divide mac &
cheese between cups in muffin
pan & sprinkle tops with bread
crumbs. Bake 15 minutes.
Makes 12


Crockpot Sweet & Tangy Baked Beans

1 (28 oz) can pork & beans
1 (15 oz) can pineapple tidbits,
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 (14 oz) bottle ketchup
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. soy sauce

Pour all ingredients into crockpot;
stir until completely combined.
Cover & cook on Low 3-5 hours.


Jam Cobbler Bars

1 C. (2 sticks) melted butter
2 C. quick or old fashioned oats
2 C. flour
1 C. brown sugar
1 (16-18 oz) jar jam or preserves

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray (make sure you
spray sides well). Mix oatmeal,
flour, brown sugar & melted
butter; press half of mixture
into greased pan. Spread/pour
jam on top & smooth out.
Crumble remaining oatmeal
mixture on top. Bake 30 minutes
until jam starts bubbling through
the crumbles & crumbles start
browning. Allow to cool then
serve. They will be crumbly &

(recipe: annbronkema/

Made a small batch of bean soup yesterday;
I thought it was amusing: husband had 2 large
bowls and then said: “I thought you made a
BIG batch!” – sigh. I told him that it would just
be the two of eating it (both boys aren’t real
fans of bean soup) and this would be enough
to finish off the ham & bone from a few days
earlier – oh well . . .Not sure exactly what’s for
dinner tonight – got some pork cubes steaks
out of the freezer for tomorrow. Will probably
pair them with some kind of rice and veggie –
not sure just yet. Was REALLY glad the soup
had fully cooked JUST before the power
failure or it would have been sandwiches for
dinner (not a bad alternative, just not what
I had planned).

So – how is life treating you these days? Are
you catching up on sleep, little jobs you put
off doing during the holidays, updating a
brand new calendar (or, maybe just buying
one?) – so far this year has come in rather
slowly for us (which is a GOOD thing!). Both
boys announced, at different times, that they
are planning on moving out by the end of
this month. THAT is certainly different! We
have not been a ‘just parents’ household
for over 33 1/2 years! Middle son wants to
move back in with a good friend he lived
with about 2 years ago, about 15 minutes
away. Youngest wants to move in with
friends that live just around the corner
(this will be his first venture ‘out’) – I’m
planning on my ‘usual Mom thing’: buying
them both the ‘staples’ like: shampoo,
bath soap, deodorant, razors, toothpaste,
some food essentials – hey, they’re GUYS!
They sort of need a jump start! (at least,
from my MOM perspective they do!) We’ll
see how this all works out – I understand
their need for independence. With the
new grandbaby coming fairly soon (in
the next month or so) having the one
bedroom clear will allow for a little more
freedom for where to put the baby. Our
house is small so there is very little extra
space – this would give me room to put
up a Pack ‘n Play (portacrib) and maybe
not have to take it down the minute the
baby left (as was the original plan) – we’ll

Have a GREAT day! (and stay warm);



and we have SNOW – again…


Yesterday while chatting with a friend I mentioned I might go grocery shopping tomorrow (that would be today) – she said “We’re supposed to get 2-3 inches of snow tomorrow, you might want to re-think going today?” Glad she said that – I did go yesterday and woke up to about 2 1/2 inches of the ‘lovely’ white stuff all over. Up to today the only snow you saw might be in very dirty, old piles at the edges of big shopping centers where it had been plowed the LAST snow storm. Wondering whether our plow guy will show today – he said unless we call him, he only starts after 2 inches (and that’s 2 inches at HIS house – which is about 10 minutes away from us). We’ll see – I watched a gentleman attempt, several times, going up my neighbor’s driveway – he gave up after three tries. Our driveways are not really steep but there’s just enough of an angle that on a snowy day you really need a ‘running’ start or you won’t make it. Oh well – it’s Michigan in Winter so it’s weather ‘as usual’. Forecasts for later in the week are in the mid 40’s, rain/sleet/freezing rain. . . really? All with FORTY degree weather? Here we get freezing UNDER thirty, not in the forties! Weird – hoping the warmer weather melts the snow we already have…that’s my hope, anyway –


Creamsicle Fluff

1 small box orange Jell-O
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 C. boiling water
1/2 C. cold water
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 (14 oz) can mandarin oranges,
1 C. mini marshmallows

Combine Jell-O & boiling water in
large bowl; mix until dissolved then
add cold water & stir well. Chill bowl
15-20 minutes. Whisk in vanilla
pudding mix until smooth; chill
10 minutes until it thickens. Fold
in Cool Whip, oranges & marsh-
mallows. Chill until set, about 1 hour.
Serves 8


Ham & Cheese Brunch Bake

10 large eggs
1 1/2 C. milk
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. fresh chopped thyme leaves,
plus more for garnish
1 tsp. garlic powder
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
4 C. cubed French bread or
1/2 lb. (cooked) ham, chopped
1 1/2 C. shredded white Cheddar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl whisk eggs, milk,
Dijon, thyme & garlic powder;
season generously with salt/pepper.
Spray a large baking dish with non-
stick spray. Add bread to dish & top
with ham & cheese – pour egg
mixture over top evenly. Bake
until eggs are cooked through,
45-55 minutes. Garnish with
more thyme & serve. Serves 8

To Make Ahead:
Prepare dish to point of baking;
cover dish with foil & refrigerate
at least 4 hours & up to overnight,
then bake as directed


4-Can Mexican Chicken Casserole

2 C. diced, cooked chicken
2 C. cooked brown rice (can use
white or cooked quinoa)
1 (15.25 oz) can whole kernel
corn, drained
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced
tomatoes (do not drain)
1 (4.5 oz) can diced mild green
chiles, (do not drain)
1 C. taco sauce
1 C. shredded Mexican blend cheese,

Optional toppings:
diced avocado, guacamole, sour cream,
halved grape tomatoes, chopped green
onion, sliced olives

Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Spray a 11X 7″
baking dish with nonstick spray. In large
bowl mix chicken, rice, corn, tomatoes,
chilies, taco sauce & half the cheese –
pour into prepared dish & top with
remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered,
20 minutes until cheese melts & dish
is heated through. Garnish with
optional toppings & serve. Serves 6


Cheesy Lasagna Dip

1/2 lb. Italian turkey sausage
1 1/2 C. marinara sauce, divided
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1 C. ricotta cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella
cheese, divided
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese,
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil, divided

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Remove casings from sausage;
crumble sausage into medium
skillet & cook on medium heat
6-8 minutes until done, stirring
frequently. Remove from heat; stir
in 1 C. marinara sauce. Mix cream
cheese, ricotta, garlic, 1/2 C.
mozzarella & half Parmesan &
half basil until blended. Spray
bottom of 9″ square baking
dish with nonstick spray & spread
mixture onto dish. Top with
sausage mixture. Combine
remaining cheeses & sprinkle
over top. Top with spoonfuls
of remaining marinara sauce.
Bake 20-25 minutes until hot
& bubbly. Sprinkle top with
remaining basil & serve.
Makes 32 (2 T. ea) servings

(recipe: kraft recipes)

Crockpot 3-Bean Turkey Chili

1 1/2 lb. ground turkey breast
1 small onion, chopped
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped chilies
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed/
2 T. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin

1/2 C. chopped red onion
1/2 C. chopped fresh cilantro

Optional toppings:
shredded Cheddar cheese
sour cream
chopped avocado
sliced green onions

Brown turkey & onion in medium
skillet over medium-high heat until
cooked through; drain & transfer
to crockpot. Add beans, chilies,
chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato sauce,
chili powder & cumin – mix well.
Cover & cook on High 6-8 hours or
Low 10-12 hours. Garnish with
your choice of toppings.


Oven-baked Onion Rings

5 large onions
1 C. milk
1 C. flour
2-3 C. Italian bread crumbs
Slice onions into rings. Place flour
on a plate & dredge each ring in
flour one time. Spray a cookie sheet
with nonstick spray & place dredged
rings on sheet. When done with
dredging, place cookie sheet in
freezer about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Pour milk into a shallow pan or pie plate;
dredge each chilled onion ring in
milk. Place bread crumbs in another
pie plate & dredge each milk- coated
ring in bread crumbs & place back
on sprayed cookie sheet. Bake 20
minutes – you may need to use 2
sheets, as you want the rings to
lay flat, depending on how big
the onions are. Makes 6 servings


Italian Tortellini Soup

1 lb. hamburger
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
3 (14.5 oz, ea) cans Italian stewed
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
8 C. water
8 tsp. beef bullion granules
1 green pepper, seeded/chopped
1 C fresh or frozen green beans,
1 can kidney beans, rinsed/drained
1 C. zucchini, chopped
1 pkg. (Good Seasoning) Italian
salad dressing mix
1 can tomato soup
1 (20 oz) pkg. cheese tortellini,
dried or refrigerated

Brown hamburger, onion & green
pepper in skillet; drain grease &
season with salt/pepper. Put
canned tomatoes in a blender
& blend 30 seconds. Place meat
mixture, blended tomatoes & all
other ingredients except tortellini &
tomato soup in large soup pot. Bring
to boil & reduce heat to simmer for
20 minutes. In separate medium pan
cook tortellini accordg. to pkg. directions.
Be sure to not over cook. Drain & add
tortellini to soup pot. Stir in tomato
soup & simmer 5 more minutes.
Serves 12


Crustless Apple Pies

6 large baking apples,
halved vertically & cored
12 T. butter, melted
1/3 C. sugar plus more for
2 T. ground cinnamon
2/3 C. old-fashioned rolled

vanilla ice cream – for serving
warm caramel- for drizzling

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line baking sheet with parchment
paper. Place each apple half, flat
side down – using a paring knife,
create thin slices all the way across,
making sure to stop slicing right
before bottom of apple (so it
stays together as one piece).
Transfer apple halves onto
prepared sheet. Lightly brush
apple tops with melted butter &
sprinkle with sugar. Bake 20-25
minutes, until apples are soft
& caramelized; remove from
oven. In small bowl combine
remaining melted butter, sugar,
cinnamon & oats – when cool
enough to handle, spoon
mixture inside apple slits. Return
to oven & bake 10 minutes more.
Top each with a scoop of ice
cream & serve.  Serves 6


Peanut Butter-Banana Monkey Bread

1 small banana, coarsely chopped
6 T. peanuts, divided
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
2 T. butter
2 T. creamy peanut butter
2 T. maple pancake syrup
1 T. water
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 (16.3 oz) can refrigerated
buttermilk biscuits, cut into

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9″ round pan with nonstick
spray & place bananas in pan;
sprinkle with 1/4 C. nuts. Microwave
brown sugar, butter, peanut butter,
syrup & water in small microwave-
able bowl on High 1 minute until
butter is melted; stir until mixture
is well blended; drizzle over
ingredients in pan. Place granulated
sugar & nuts in food processor &
pulse until nuts are almost ground;
pour into shallow dish. Dip dough
pieces, 1 at a time, in nut mixture,
turning to evenly coat on all sides of
each piece. Arrange in single layer
over ingredients in pan; top with
any remaining nut mixture. Bake
25 minutes until golden brown. Cool
1 minute; invert onto a plate.
Remove pan; top bread with any
nuts remaining in pan & cool
slightly. Serves 12

(recipe: Kraft recipes)


Not much new around here – started
another baby blanket (I know – right?) – this
time it’s in a pale pink/white/& very pale
tan variegated. Worked on it yesterday – it’s
a pattern I had just finished a scarf in, from
a old knitting stitches book (stitch is called
Imitation Embroidery IV) – I like it in the
scarf, but it doesn’t show up as well in a
variegated yarn; I even went down a needle
size, hoping that would make the stitch show
up better…but it didn’t – sigh. Here’s a photo
of the scarf (another one for homeless donation)


Hope you will have a GREAT day;



and it’s FRIDAY already!


Our weather lately has really been C-O_L_D! The regular temperatures don’t sound so bad until you factor in the WIND CHILL – example: today it was 10 degrees outside but with the wind chill it felt more like 9 below! BRrrrrrr! I was really glad I didn’t have any place special to go – stayed inside & read, took a quick nap (and woke up wondering just WHAT I was supposed to be doing – I thought it was 3 p.m., it was only 1:30, I’d probably been napping about 10 minutes! Weird!) Today I decided that THIS YEAR I’m going to attempt to only knit things I LIKE knitting! With that thought in mind I totally unraveled about 2 feet of knit bright pink baby blanket. Why? Because it was regular worsted weight yarn that was really difficult on the needles – felt like I was knitting with telephone cables – very awkward. I kept thinking: Do you REALLY want to keep going for another 5 feet or more? NO! Out it came and the yarn got put back in the ‘donated yarn’ box for someone else to use! I started a teal scarf with a really simple pattern: just one row repeated over & over – not bad. Knit two baby hats, just for the fun of it; they’re quick & easy and sort of mindless – I can think about other things and still produce a nice product!  The recipient of the knit boot toppers got her gift today and was really happy with them. Am contemplating going for another baby blanket but am sort of holding back – we’ll see. It’s not like I don’t have any YARN for it! HA!


Condensed Milk Cookies

1 C. butter, softened
1/4 C. + 4 T. sugar
1/2 C. sweetened condensed milk
3 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl cream sugar & butter
until creamy; mix in cond. milk.
Sift flour & baking powder
together & mix, in batches, int
batter; mix in vanilla until a soft
dough forms. Place dough in a
cookie press – (or roll into small
balls & press tops down with a
fork). Place cookies on a cookie
sheet & bake 15 minutes until
they start to brown. Cool.


Crockpot Cheesy Bacon Cauliflower

2 lb. cauliflower florets
1/4 C. butter
1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 C. milk
1 1/2 C. grated mozzarella cheese,
3 oz. bacon crumbles

Place cauliflower in crockpot. Melt
butter in saucepan over medium heat;
stir in flour, salt/pepper. Add milk all
at once & cook, stirring constantly, until
mixture thickens & bubbles. Remove from
heat, add 1 1/2 C. cheese – whisk until
smooth – pour mixture over cauliflower
& stir. Cover & cook on Low 3-4 hours.
Stir in bacon, salt & pepper to taste.
Serves 6


Ham & White Bean Soup

1 lb. dry white beans (cannellini or
Great Northern) about 2 1/2 C.
2 quarts water
2-3 lb. smoked ham hocks or
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 T. olive oil
1 C. diced onion (1 small)
1 C. chopped celery (2-3 ribs)
2/3 C. chopped carrots (about
1 medium)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Tabasco sauce
fresh parsley, chopped (garnish)

Soak dry beans in hot water
accordg. to pkg. directions. Drain.
Place ham hocks or shanks in large
pot & cover with 2 quarts water;
add Italian seasoning; heat on High
heat until water simmers then lower
heat. Partially cover & simmer about
1 hour. Heat oil in small saute pan on
medium-high heat; add chopped onions-
cook 5-6 minutes. Add garlic & cook 1
minute more. Once beans have soaked
& ham has simmered 1 hour, add beans,
vegetables & broth to ham broth. Cook
40 minutes, uncovered, until vegetables
are soft & ham meat easily pulls away
from bone. Remove bones (discard); pull off
any meat (chop into small pieces) &
return to soup. Add several drops of
Tabasco, salt & pepper to taste. Serve
with pinch of chopped fresh parsley.
Serves 8


One-Pot Cheesy Italian Pasta
& Chicken

8 oz. baby spinach leaves,
1 C. sun-dried tomatoes packed
in oil & Italian herbs, drained
(about 7 oz)
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 lb. uncooked boneless, skinless
chicken breasts cut into 1/2″
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lb. dry linguine
2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 C. (32 oz) chicken stock
1 C. (8 oz) chardonnay wine*
4 oz. fresh Parmesan cheese,

Combine half of spinach with tomatoes,
onion, chicken, garlic, linguine, Ital.
seasoning, salt, pepper & crushed red
pepper in 5 qt. Dutch oven over medium-
high heat. Pour chicken stock & wine over
top, cover & bring to boil. Cook 7-9  minutes
until pasta is al dente. Toss pasta with tongs
occasionally to keep pasta from sticking to
bottom of pan. (There will still be a little
liquid in bottom of pan when pasta is done-
this is the base for cheese sauce)
Turn off heat; add cheese to pasta & toss
using tongs until cheese melts into pasta.
Toss in remaining spinach & serve.

*you can substitute wine with chicken
stock, white grape juice or lemon water
(1/2 C. fresh lemon juice & 1/2 C. water)


Mom’s Beef Pot Pie

3/4 lb. beef top round, cut into
1″ inch cubes
1 small onion, chopped
2 T. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 T. vegetable oil
1 medium potato, peeled/cut into
1/2 inch cubes
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen mixed vegetables,
1 (10.5 oz) can beef broth
1 (8 oz) pkg. refrigerated crescent
dinner rolls (8 rolls)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray 9 inch pie plate with nonstick
spray. In medium bowl combine beef,
onion, flour, salt/pepper – mix well.
In large, deep skillet heat oil over
medium-high heat. Place beef mixture
in skillet & cook 3-5 minutes until no
pink remains in meat, stirring frequently.
Add potato & mixed vegs – cook 5 minutes.
Add broth & bring to boil. Reduce heat
to medium & cook 10-12 minutes until
potatoes are tender & liquid has thickened.
Pour beef mixture into prepared pie plate.
Separate crescent rolls into 8 dough
triangles. Starting at wide end, roll up
each triangle halfway – place over beef
mixture with wide ends touching the
outside rim of pie pan & pointed ends
touching in the center (making a pin-
wheel shape). Bake 16-18 minutes until
crust is golden. Serves 4


Pizza Mac

1 lb. elbow macaroni cooked/drained
1 lb. bulk mild or spicy pork sausage
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped (1 C.)
1/3 C. butter or margarine
1/3 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 C. milk
3/4 C. water
4 C. shredded white Cheddar cheese
(16 oz)
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese (6 oz)
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
20 slices pepperoni (from 3 oz pkg)
small fresh basil leaves, optional

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Spray 3 quart casserole dish with nonstick
spray. In large nonstick skillet cook sausage
over medium-high heat until no longer
pink; drain. Add to skillet bell pepper &
onion, cook 5 minutes until crisp-tender.
In 4 qt. saucepan, melt butter over medium-
low heat. Stir in flour, salt & 1/2 tsp. pepper
flakes; cook & stir until smooth. Gradually
add milk & water, stirring constantly until
thickened. Gradually add Cheddar cheese;
stir until melted. Add cooked macaroni,
sausage & onion mixture – toss to coat
then spoon into casserole dish. Sprinkle
top with mozz. cheese & bake, uncovered,
30 minutes until bubbly. Top with Parm.
cheese, pepperoni & remaining 1 tsp.
pepper flakes. Bake 2-4 minutes longer until
lightly browned; garnish with basil, if desired.
Serves 12


Crockpot Cinnamon Bread

1 T. yeast
1 T. honey
1 C. warm water
1 C. chopped apples
2 3/4 C. flour
1/3 C. plus 1 T. granulated
sugar, divided
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 T. olive oil

Mix warm (not hot) water, yeast &
honey – let stand 1 minute for yeast
to foam. Stir flour, 1 T. sugar, salt &
then  mix with yeast mixture & olive
oil, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Knead mixture 5 minutes, either by
hand or using a stand mixer with
hook attachment. Mix remaining 1/3
C. sugar & cinnamon together & fold
in apples. Gently fold apples into
bread dough & form dough into a
ball. Line crockpot with parchment
paper & place ball in center. Place
paper towels on top of crockpot &
cover with lid very slightly ajar;
this will help absorb some of the
moisture so top of bread is not
mushy & wet while bottom is crisp.
Cook on High 1 1/2 hours until bottom
is browned (you can just lift it out
with the parchment to check how
brown the bottom is).
Preheat oven on Broil/High
Remove from crockpot, place on a
baking tray. Broil bread 2-3 minutes
until desired brownness. Makes 1 loaf


Banana Bread Brownies

1 1/2 C. sugar
1 C. sour cream
1/2 C. butter, softened
2 eggs
1 3/4 C. ripe bananas (3-4)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. chopped walnuts (optional)

Brown Butter Frosting:
1/2 C. butter
4 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 T. milk

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Grease & flour 15 X 10″ jelly roll
pan. In large bowl beat sugar, sour
cream, butter & eggs until creamy.
Blend in bananas & vanilla. Add
flour, baking soda, salt – blend 1
minute; stir in walnuts. Spread
batter evenly in pan. Bake 20-25
minutes until golden brown.
Heat butter in large saucepan over
medium heat until boiling. Let butter
turn a delicate brown & remove from
heat. Immediately add powdered
sugar, vanilla & milk – whisk together
until smooth (should be thicker than
a glaze but thinner than frosting).
Using a spatula, spread over warm
bars (frosting will be easier to spread
when bars are warm).

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)


Hope you’re enjoying the first days of this
new year – it feels ‘funny’ not having
the cheery colorful Christmas lights in
the house – I’ve heard of some people
who just leave their tree up and then
decorate it for each coming holiday –
like putting hearts on it for Valentines
Day – just a thought.

Stay warm & remember to do something
for YOU – doesn’t have to be anything big,
just a little something (even as little as a
5 minute nap!).



Yep, it’s COLD!


Today our temperatures took a big dive – it’s 14 degrees F. outside and VERY windy, making it feel like -9 degrees F. Our special needs group has been canceled so I’ve been busy calling & texting everyone, making sure they don’t come tonight. I did go out grocery shopping and was really surprised at just how quickly the cold got through all my layers of warm clothing – not fun – thank heavens for a warm house, warm clothing and all our wants and needs covered – we are blessed.


Chewy Gingerbread Bars

3/4 C. butter, melted
1 C. sugar
1/4 C. molasses
1 egg
2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T. butter, softened
2 C. powdered sugar
1 T. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash salt

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 9″ baking dish
with nonstick spray. In large
bowl mix melted butter, sugar &
molasses – beat until well combined.
Add egg & beat until smooth. In
separate bowl mix all dry
ingredients; pour dry ingredients
into wet & beat just until
combined. Press dough into
prepared pan & bake 15-20
minutes – do not overbake.
Insert a toothpick into center-
if it comes out clean remove
pan from oven & let cool
completely. Bars will continue
to cook a bit as they cool.
Mix all frosting ingredients in
stand mixer until smooth.
spread frosting over top of
cooled bars & refrigerate
1 hour. Cut & serve; store
leftover bars in refrigerator
or freezer.

NOTE: If you want to double recipe:
use a large jelly roll pan (11 1/2″
X 16″) Bake 350 degrees F. for
20-25 minutes. Cool & frost &
refrigerate at least 30 minutes
before cutting


Quick ‘n Easy Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef (or ground
turkey/chicken, your choice)
1 small onion, chopped
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans,
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (2 T.) pouch taco seasoning
NOTE: do not drain cans (except
kidney beans)

Optional Toppings:

shredded Cheddar cheese
sour cream
diced tomatoes or
pico de gallo
sliced avocado
corn chips
lime wedges
chopped cilantro

Brown ground beef & onion in large
skillet until cooked; crumbled, drain fat.
Add remaining ingredients & stir to
combine. Cook over medium heat,
simmer 10 minutes to let flavors blend.
Serve with optional toppings.

Spinach-stuffed Chicken Pockets

4 C/ fresh baby spinach
2 tsp. plus 1/4 C. olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C. garlic-herb spreadable cheese
2/3 C. plus 1/4 C. seasoned bread
crumbs, divided
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
4 boneless skinless chicken breast
halves (6 oz, ea)
1 egg, lightly beaten

In large skillet saute spinach in 2
tsp. oil until spinach is wilted. Add
garlic; cook 1 minute; remove from
heat. Stir in spreadable cheese,
2/3 C. bread crumbs & 1/4 tsp. salt.
Cut a pocket in thickest part of
each breast, fill with spinach mixture
& secure with wooden toothpicks.
Place egg in a shallow bowl (or pie plate).
In another bowl combine pepper, salt &
remaining bread crumbs. Dip chicken in
egg then coat with bread crumb mixture.
In large skillet over medium heat, cook
chicken in remaining oil 8-10 minutes on
each side or until a thermometer reads
170 degrees F. Discard toothpicks before
serving. Serves 4


Creamy Ham, Potato & Corn Chowder

2 C. cooked ham, diced into small cubes
6 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
5 1/2 T. butter, divided
1 medium yellow onion, diced (1 1/2 C)
2 carrots, peeled/diced (3/4 C.)
2 stalks celery, diced (3/4 C)
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans chicken broth
5 medium red potatoes, diced into
3/4 inch cubes
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt/ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 C. fresh corn kernels (or frozen)
1/4 C. plus 2 T. flour
3 C. milk
1/2 C. sour cream or heavy cream
chopped chives, for topping

In large pot melt 1 1/2 T. butter over
medium heat. Add onion, carrots &
celery – saute until tender, 4 minutes.
Add chicken broth, potatoes, oregano,
thyme & bay leaf – season with salt/
pepper to taste (slightly under season
with salt as bacon  & ham will add to
saltiness). Bring to boil over medium-
high heat; reduce heat to medium.
Cover & allow to cook until potatoes
are very tender, 17-20 minutes,
stirring occasionally. Reduce to warm
heat; stir in ham & corn.
In medium saucepan melt remaining
4 T. butter over medium heat. Add flour
& cook, stirring constantly, 1 1/2 minutes.
While whisking, slowly add in milk &
whisk vigorously to smooth lumps.
Season with salt/pepper to taste. Bring
to boil & allow to thicken, whisking
constantly. Remove from heat, stir in
sour cream. Pour & stir milk mixture
into soup mixture. Serve warm
topped with bacon & chives. Serves 6


Stuffed Baby Red Potatoes

24 small red potatoes
(about 2 1/2 lb)
1/4 C. butter, cubed
1/2C. shredded Parmesan
cheese, divided
1/2 C. cooked/crumbled bacon,
2/3 C. sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp paprika

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Scrub potatoes & place in
large saucepan covered with
water – bring to boil. Reduce
heat, cover & cook 15-20
minutes until tender; drain.
When cool enough to handle,
cut a thin slice off top of each
potato. Scoop out pulp leaving
a thin shell (cut thin slices off
bottoms of potatoes if needed
to make level).
In large bowl mash potato tops &
pulp with butter (set aside 2 T.
cheese & bacon for garnish) Add
remaining cheese & bacon to
potatoes; stir in sour cream,
egg, salt/pepper.  Spoon mixture
into potato shells & place on
ungreased baking sheet. Top with
remaining cheese & bacon –
sprinkle tops with paprika. Bake
12-18 minutes. Makes 2 dozen


Chicken Tamale Pie

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1/2 C. sour cream
1/2 C. corn kernels (canned/
fresh or frozen)
1 large egg
1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. Taco seasoning mix
2 C. cooked/shredded chicken
3/4 C. enchilada sauce,
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 C. shredded Monterrey Jack
chopped fresh cilantro – optional

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Prepare corn muffin mix: in medium
bowl combine mix, sour cream, corn
& egg; whisk until evenly combined.
Spray large oven-safe skillet with
cooking spray & pour mixture into
pan. Bake 15 minutes until golden;
let cool slightly.
In large skillet over medium heat, heat
oil. Add onions, cook 5 minutes; add
garlic & cook 1 more minute. Add taco
seasoning & season with salt. Add
chicken & 1/2 C. enchilada sauce; stir
until combined. Poke holes all over
cornbread using bottom of a wooden
spoon. Pour remaining 1/4 C. enchilada
sauce over holes & top with chicken
mixture. Top with cheeses & bake
20 minutes. Garnish with cilantro,
if using, & serve.


Baked Spaghetti

1 C. onion, chopped
1 C. chopped green pepper
1 T. butter
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 (4 oz) can mushroom stems &
pieces, drained
1 (2 1/4 oz) can sliced ripe olives,
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 lb. ground beef, browned/
12 oz. spaghetti, cooked/drained
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom
soup, undiluted
1/4 C. water
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet saute onion & green
pepper in butter until tender. Add
tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, oregano
& ground beef – simmer, uncovered,
10 minutes; drain. Place half of
spaghetti in greased 9 X 13″ baking
dish; layer with half vegetable mixture
& 1 C. Cheddar cheese – repeat layers.
In small bowl combine soup & water
until smooth; pour over casserole.
Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese &
bake, uncovered, 30-35 minutes until
heated through. Serves 12


Winter Fruit Salad w/Cinnamon-
Rum Sauce

1 (12 oz) can pineapple juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. rum extract
2 (10 oz, ea) cans mandarin
oranges, drained
1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks,
2 C. purple or red (seedless) grapes
2 large apples, cored/chopped

In large bowl add 1 can pineapple
juice concentrate, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
& 2 tsp. rum extract – whisk to combine.
Add 2 drained cans mandarin oranges,
pineapple chunks, grapes & chopped
apples – stir to combine. Refrigerate
1 hour. Serves 10



Yesterday found me attempting to finish all the
‘extra’ knitting – managed to finish one of the
two sets of boot toppers – still have about 8
rows of ribbing (then sewing up) on the second
pair and then that’s done! YAY! I also took in
one small box of yarn to my knit group – all

but 3 skeins were taken. Our next meeting
(in 2 weeks) is the Yarn Swap so I’m hoping
to get rid of a lot more – we’ll see! There
is just too much  to take in all at one time,
so I’m slowly going to take a little in each

 Had an unusual
happening last night: I brought in 6 very large
skeins of yarn that i had ordered on line – when
I got it I discovered it was not as thick as I
thought it was – you would need to knit using
two yarns together to have it thick enough.
In my carrying all the ‘stuff’ in , somehow one
of the balls must have fallen out – onto the
parking lot and into a very dirty puddle – I
found it next to my car when I came out
3 hours later. What to do? I dragged it home,
filled a bucket with warm water & Tide and
let it soak. Today I ‘squished’ it together with
my hands to get out the dirty water then
rinsed it. NOW what to do!? I ended up
remembering I had a net laundry bag I used
to use for washing baby socks (keeps them
from getting lost in the washer/dryer) so
I put the ball in that and stuck it in the dryer.
It went through  1 hour – still VERY wet so
I’m going to try to keep doing that for a
few 1 hour cycles and see what happens.
My thoughts are: it’s VERY dense & probably
will not dry inside – I (right now) don’t exactly
know what to do other than unrolling it, a
little at a time, and letting THAT part dry –
repeat process. We’ll see – it’s a BIG ball!
(Yes, I can hear some of you: why not just
pitch it!? Well, it IS a good yarn, cost
$7.00 – not a big expense but I’d hate to
just waste it – we’ll see…)

Hope you are all safe, warm and enjoying
the beginnings of this New Year. Today is
my middle son’s 28th birthday – baked him
his favorite: double chocolate brownies
(with tiny chocolate chips inside) and
frosted with dark chocolate frosting – the
house smells great!

Enjoy your day;




Bye Bye, Christmas – Hello Winter!


We’ve been VERY fortunate by not having any new ‘white stuff’ (snow) lately – the temperatures are slowly falling (expected to be a HIGH of 19 degrees F. Friday – sigh) so it’s always possible. I’m just glad that, for the first time that I can ever remember, I got all the Christmas decorations down today – told my husband to MARK THAT DOWN AS A FIRST! Today was a nice, quiet day – solved a knitting problem, finished reading my book and got to thinking “What next?” and then the “Well, you ‘could’ start taking down ‘some’ of the decorations…just some, not all”… a little later it started and now (except for convincing some guys in my house to help me haul it all upstairs) we’re back to ‘just regular’ decorations. I even took my time taking down the decorations and attempting to keep them in groups; even looked up possibly ordering a new set of Christmas tree lights – ours are pretty old and I’m getting frustrated at how many lights are NOT lighting in the strings…sigh. We’ll see on that one whether I actually order new ones or not (YES, I ‘could’ have purchased some right after Christmas at a discount rate, but I didn’t think of that in time…sigh).

Since we’re kind of ‘over’ the time for needing appetizers (except for upcoming Football games) I thought I’d try to focus on casseroles and warmer foods. Again, lots of great recipes coming in. I want to start by posting two that I forgot to post: Cheesy Funeral Potatoes (really tasty) and the 3-Bean cold Salad I made for Christmas (turned out really tasty – I thought; not too sweet or too vinegary).


Cheesy Funeral Potatoes

1 (32 oz) pkg. frozen shredded
1 C. sour cream
2 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
4 T. melted butter, divided
2 (10 oz, ea) cans cream of
chicken soup
1 1/2 C. corn flakes

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Pour 1 (32 oz) bag frozen potatoes
in large microwaveable bowl;
microwave 2-3 minutes (to thaw
potatoes). Stir in 1 C. sour cream,
2 1/2 C. shred. cheese, 2 T. melted
butter, both cans soup & a bit of
salt/pepper. Mix well with wooden
spoon, making sure all ingredients
are combined. Pour 1 1/2 C. corn
flakes in small food processor –
crush into crumbs (you can also
put them in a ziplock bag & roll
them using a rolling pin or soup
can). Place crumbs in a small bowl &
pour 2 T. butter on top – stir to
combine. Spray 9 X 13″ baking pan
with nonstick spray. Spread potato/
cheese mixture in pan & smooth.
Cover top with corn flake/butter
mixture. Cover pan with foil &
bake 45 minutes.
Serves 12-15


 3-Bean Salad 

 2 (15 oz) cans cut green
beans, drained
1  (16 oz) can wax beans,
1 (15 oz) can dark or light
kidney beans, rinsed/drained
1/2 red onion, chopped
3/4 C. sugar
2/3 C. white vinegar
1/3 C. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Mix sugar, vinegar, oil, salt/
pepper in small bowl. Pour
all other ingredients into a
large bowl then pour sugar
mixture over all & toss well
to coat. Refrigerate at least
12 hours before serving.
Serves 16

Grandma’s Creamy Ham & Potato

2 lb. Russet potatoes, peeled/cut
into 1″ cubes
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 lb. cooked ham, cubed*
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken
3 oz. cream cheese, cut into chunks
1/4 C. frozen green peas

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray. Place potatoes &
onion on bottom; add ham &
sprinkle with pepper. Pour soup
evenly over potatoes & ham –
toss gently to coat. Cover &
cook on High 3 hours. Gently
stir in cream cheese & peas; cover
& cook 10 minutes longer until
cream cheese is melted.
Serves 4

*if you don’t have cooked leftover
ham, a thick slice of deli ham works


Crockpot Cheesy Bacon Cauliflower

2 lb. cauliflower florets
1/4 C. butter
1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 C. milk
1 1/2 C. grated mozzarella cheese,
3 oz. bacon crumbles

Place cauliflower in crockpot. Melt
butter in saucepan over medium heat;
stir in flour, salt/pepper. Add milk all
at once & cook, stirring constantly, until
mixture thickens & bubbles. Remove from
heat, add 1 1/2 C. cheese – whisk until
smooth – pour mixture over cauliflower
& stir. Cover & cook on Low 3-4 hours.
Stir in bacon, salt & pepper to taste.
Serves 6


Chocolate/Peanut Butter
Sheet Cake

2 C. flour
2 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. water
1/2 C. butter, cubed
1/2 C. creamy peanut butter
1/4 C. baking cocoa
3 large eggs
1/2 C. sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla

3 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. creamy peanut butter
1/2 C. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. chopped salted or
unsalted peanuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In large bowl
whisk flour, sugar, baking soda
& salt. In small saucepan, combine
water, butter, peanut butter &
cocoa; bring to boil, stirring
occasionally. Add to flour mixture,
stirring just until moistened. In
small bowl whisk eggs, sour cream &
vanilla until blended; add to flour
mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer
to prepared pan & bake 25-30 minutes
until a toothpick inserted in center
comes out clean.
In large bowl beat powdered sugar,
peanut butter, milk & vanilla until
smooth. Remove cake from oven & place
on wire rack. Immediately spread top
with frosting. Sprinkle top with peanuts &
cool completely. Makes 15 servings.


Georgia Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts*
1/2 C. light brown sugar
1 (29 oz) can peach slices, drained
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with nonstick
spray. In small bowl stir brown sugar,
ginger & cloves. Place chicken in bottom
of prepared pan; pour peaches over &
sprinkle entire top with brown sugar
mixture. Bake 35-40 minutes until
chicken is fully cooked, basting with
juices occasionally. Serves 4

*You can use bone-in chicken & cut
any way you like. Cooking time may
need to be adjusted up or down
depending on what cuts you use.


Farmers Market Crockpot Stew

1 (2 lb.) beef chuck roast, cut into
1/2 inch cubes
1/3 C. flour
3 T. olive oil
2 C. sliced carrots
3 ribs celery, diced
3 C. russet potatoes, diced into 1/2
inch pieces
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
4 C. water
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 T. minced fresh parsley
salt/pepper, to taste

In large bowl combine beef cubes & flour,
mixing well to coat. In medium saucepan
over medium-high heat, saute beef in oil,
stirring occasionally until beef is slightly
browned, 5-10 minutes (beef will not be
entirely cooked). Place beef in crockpot;
add carrots, celery, potatoes, onion, garlic,
tomatoes, water, vinegar & seasonings –
stir to combine. Cover & cook on Low
5-6 hours. Season with salt/pepper before
serving. Serves 8-10

NOTE: Stew will keep, refrigerated, up
to 4 days


Amish Beefy Noodle Bake

8 oz. wide egg noodles
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 of green pepper, seeded/chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
3 (8 oz, ea) cans tomato sauce
1 T. sugar
pinch salt/pepper
1 C. small-curd cottage cheese
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. sour cream
3-4 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 C. (6 oz) Cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cook noodles accordg. to pkg. directions;
drain. Brown & crumble beef with green
pepper & garlic until beef is no longer pink;
drain. Add tomato sauce, sugar, salt/pepper –
stir to combine. Add cooked/drained noodles
& mix well. In medium bowl combine cottage
cheese & cream cheese until smooth &
thoroughly combined. Add sour cream &
green onions, mix well. Spray 9 X 13″ baking
dish with nonstick spray. Layer half of noodle
mixture in dish; top with cream cheese mixture,
spreading evenly over top of noodles. Add
remaining noodle mixture on top & sprinkle
with Cheddar cheese. Bake, uncovered, 30
minutes or until heated through & cheese
has melted. Serves 8


Banana Bread Pudding

4 C. day-old, cubed French or
sourdough bread (cubed to 1″ pieces)
1/4 C. butter, melted
3 eggs
2 C. milk
1/2 C. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. sliced firm bananas (1/4 ” pieces)

3 T. butter
2 T. sugar
1 T. cornstarch
3/4 C. milk
1/4 C. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Place bread cubes in a greased
2 qt. casserole dish; pour butter
over & toss to coat. In medium
bowl lightly beat eggs; add milk,
sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg
& salt – stir in bananas & pour
over bread cubes – stir to coat.
Bake, uncovered, 40 minutes until
a knife inserted near center comes
out clean.
Melt butter in small saucepan; combine
sugar & cornstarch & add to butter. Stir
in milk & corn syrup – cook & stir over
medium heat until mixture comes to a
full boil – boil 1 minute. Remove from
heat & stir in vanilla. Serve warm sauce
over warm pudding. Serves 6


Just read in our local paper that our
gas prices will be going up soon – it
seems we will have an increase in
gas taxes. In 2 years time they will
have accrued enough (hopefully)
income from this program to start
FIXING our roads! That will be
nice (the gas increase, not so much).

Hope you are doing well; our family
is (so far) doing well for the New
Year: middle son has a cold, but
otherwise we’re all doing OK!



PS: As to the actual New Year’s
celebrations – I managed to fall
asleep watching Family Feud at
around 11:30 or so and woke up
about an hour later. I’m not one
for caring to ‘watch the ball
drop’ so that was OK. Earlier my
husband & I had some cold
shrimp & cocktail sauce, fried
calamari (octopus) and French
Onion chip dip & chips – nice
little snack. Middle son did
well working all night as front
desk clerk at his hotel – we were
a bit concerned as that is a HUGE
night for hotels/people drinking,
etc. Had a few small incidents
but nothing he couldn’t handle.

It’s New Year’s EVE!


So true – I’m NOT a party animal (anymore – maybe some in my 20’s). Went out a little earlier to pick up a few things to nosh on tonight with my husband: the chilled shrimp ring, some French onion chip dip & chips and some fried calamari (fried octopus – sounds gross but is really tasty – husband & I like it!). The boys will be ‘out’ – youngest probably with his friends, oldest the same with his family – middle son has to work ALL NIGHT as front desk clerk & Night Auditor at his job at the Hilton Hotel. I’m NOT looking forward to that for him – first he’s not feeling 100%, has a persistent cough. I can’t imagine doing his job tonight, what with all the people who book rooms NOT to stay in like a businessman would, but to have big drinking parties in their rooms – ugh! I talked with oldest (that hotel’s Ex. Chef) and ask if he has to work – “No, I’m off until Tuesday!” (that’s good – wish his younger brother was, too).

Got a request yesterday to knit (for pay) more boot toppers (for Mommy-to-be’s Mother!) – she said she really likes the ones I knit her daughter and would I be able to make her 2 pairs just the same!? I’m not one for liking to do projects for pay – for me, it’s too much pressure to make sure they are exactly perfect. Oh well, after much deliberation, I’m done with one of the cream ones and started one of the rust colored ones – just for the variety of knitting different patterns (it gets boring doing 2 of the same thing). I did tell her I’m not exactly sure I have enough rust colored yarn (it was given to me many years ago – not sure if they still make it!). I did find 2 partial balls of it, so am going to attempt to knit them, perhaps making the tops in white – we’ll see. Still knitting on the little sage & white scarf – am hoping to finish it by Wednesday so I can turn it in, then it will just be the boot toppers & the pink baby blanket…maybe…knowing me, I ‘might’ decide to do another scarf, we’ll see. (wink)


Mini Eclair Bites

2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 sticks margarine, melted
1 (4 serving size) instant French
vanilla pudding mix
1 1/4 C. milk
2 C. Cool Whip, thawed
3/4 C. premade chocolate frosting

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line 18 mini muffin cups with paper
liners. In medium bowl combine
graham cracker crumbs, sugar & butter;
mix well then evenly press mixture
into bottoms of liners (use your
fingers – press over bottoms & up
sides of liners). Bake 5 minutes
until crust begins to brown – remove
from oven & cool completely.
In medium bowl whisk pudding mix &
milk – fold in thawed Cool Whip.
Place mixture in ziplock bag & snip
off one bottom corner. Fill cups
evenly with pudding mixture.
In small microwave-save bowl heat
frosting 10-15 seconds; stir until
smooth & pourable. Place in small
ziplock bag, snip off one bottom
corner & top pudding mixture with
a dollop of chocolate frosting.
Refrigerate 4 hours until ready to
serve. Makes 18


Party Shrimp

1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. uncooked large shrimp,

In large ziplock bag combine
first 8 ingredients. Add shrimp;
seal bag & turn to coat.
Refrigerate 2 hours. Drain shrimp,
discard marinade. Place shrimp
on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Broil 4 inches from heat 3-4 minutes
on each side or until shrimp turn
pink. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

Sesame Chicken Bites

3/4 C. mayonnaise
4 tsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 C. dry bread crumbs
1/4 C. sesame seeds
2 tsp. minced fresh parsley
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ground mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken
breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
2-4 T. canola oil

In small bowl mix sauce ingredients;
refrigerate until serving
In shallow bowl mix bread crumbs,
sesame seeds & parsley. In another
shallow bowl mix mayonnaise &
seasonings. Dip chicken into
mayo mixture then into crumb
mixture, patting to help coating
adhere to all sides.
In large skillet heat 2 T. oil over
medium-high heat. Add chicken,
in batches, cook until chicken is no
longer pink, turning occasionally
& adding additional oil as needed.
Serve with sauce. Makes about
2 1/2 dozen (with 3/4 C. sauce)

Icy Holiday Punch
(overnight recipe)

1 (6 oz) pkg. cherry jello
3/4 C. sugar
2 C. boiling water
1 (46 oz) can (Dole) canned
100% pineapple juice
6 C. cold water
2 liters ginger ale, chilled

In 4 qt freezer-proof container
dissolve jello & sugar in boiling
water. Stir in pineapple juice &
cold water. Cover & Freeze overnight.
Remove 2 hours before serving.
Place in a punch bowl, stir in ginger
ale just before serving.
Makes 30 servings (about 5 3/4

Almond-Bacon Cheese Crostini

1 French bread baguette (1 lb),
cut into 36 slices
2 C. shredded Monterray Jack
2/3 C. mayonnaise
1/2 C. sliced almonds, toasted
6 strips bacon, cooked/crumbled
1 green onion, chopped
dash salt
(additional toasted almonds,

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place bread slices on ungreased
baking sheet. Bake 8-9 minutes
until lightly browned. In large
bowl combine cheese, mayo.,
almonds, bacon, onion & salt –
spread over bread. Bake 7-8
minutes until cheese is melted.
Sprinkle tops with additional
almonds, if desired. Serve warm.
Makes 3 dozen

7-Layer Mediterranean Dip

1 (8 oz) tub plain hummus
1 (8 oz) C. sour cream
1 (8 oz) jar roasted sweet red
peppers, drained/chopped
1/4 C. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 C. chopped red onion
12 Greek olives, pitted/chopped
2 T. chopped fresh parsley

Baked pita chips for dipping

Spread hummus in 9 inch pie plate;
top with sour cream, red peppers,
cheese, onion & olives. Sprinkle
top with parsley & refrigerate
until serving. Serve with pita chips.
Makes 2 1/2 C.


Hot Reuben Dip

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. Thousand Island salad
1 (8 oz) pkg. (Kraft) Big slice
Swiss cheese slices, chopped
1/4 lb. sliced deli corned beef,
chopped (about 1 Cup)
3/4 C. well-drained sauerkraut

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix cream cheese & salad
dressing in medium bowl until
blended; add remaining
ingredients & mix well.
Spray bottom of a 9 inch pie
plate with nonstick spray &
spread mixture onto plate.
Bake 20 minutes until heated
through. Serves 20 (2 T. each)

(recipe: kraft recipes)

Cheddar Jalapeno Dip

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 C. beer
6 slices bacon, chopped*
1 c. shredded sharp Cheddar
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved/
seeded & thinly sliced

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Beat cream cheese & garlic powder
in medium bowl using elec. mixer
until blended. Gradually beat in
beer then stir in remaining
ingredients. Spread mixture on
bottom of a 1 1/2 qt casserole
dish or 9 inch pie plate. Bake
15-20 minutes until heated
through. Serves 16 (2 T. each)

*poster recommended using
Oscar Mayer Butcher Thick Cut
Hickory Smoked bacon

(recipe: kraft recipes)

Crockpot Hot Citrus Cider

1/2 gallon apple juice
2 1/4 C. water
1 1/2 C. orange juice
3 (4 inch, ea) cinnamon sticks
1 T. whole cloves
1/4 C. molasses

Garnish: apple slices

Pour all ingredients into crockpot;
mix well. Heat on Low, stirring
occasionally. Keep warm & serve
in mugs with apple slices. Refrigerate
leftovers in covered container up to
3 days. Makes 3 quarts


Caramallow Dip

4 C. miniature marshmallows
25 caramels (unwrapped)
1/4 c. canned evaporated milk

Optional ‘dippers’:
cut up fruit, cubes of angel
food cake, marshmallows,
graham crackers,

Place all ingredients in large
microwaveable bowl. Microwave
on High 2 minutes; stir. Microwave
1 minute until marshmallows are
completely melted & mixture is
well blended. Cool slightly.
Makes 14 (2 T. ea) servings.

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Our weather has been holding at NICE –
today it was almost 40 degrees F! The
next few days are supposed to get up
to almost 47 – that’s amazing for this
time of year in Michigan! (almost makes
you feel like you’re waiting for the other
shoe to drop…living here all my life I
KNOW snow is in the forecast sometime
soon – just hope it holds off a little

If you’re celebrating the New Year
tonight – have fun, be safe and enjoy
yourselves! (I’ll be happy right here
at home)