Day One of “The Project”


Early this day found me driving to Brandon Township (Oxford, MI) to find a large estate sale; yesterday I learned they had BOXES & BOXES of yarn at really low prices. It was 14 degrees out, but clear, so I made the trek – the house was PACKED with stuff but yarn? Not so much – sigh. They said they had sold a lot already – OK. The one good thing? I found a bag of some partially knit ‘stuff’, some yarn and a knit poncho – all in about the same cream color “The Project” is in – bonus! I’ve pretty much got an idea of what one of the panels will look like; spent about 2 1/2 hours working at that – incorporating already crocheted granny squares onto several already knit panels. The fun part? These panels are the ones with holes  & dog slobber, TONS of knots (this is the worst yarn I have EVER seen when it comes to knots – one every 1 1/2 feet or so – she must have got it at a real sale price, because I wouldn’t pay 10 cents for the whole lot! UGH!) Lots of sorting, clipping, etc. (I told my husband I’m learning the art of STEEKING: “To steek your knitting means to cut it with scissors, which is usually terrifying to most knitters.” I figured out a way to cut apart some of her knitting so that I saved whole chunks out of the various panels – enough to where I will be able to sew them together using the granny squares in between each ‘sewn/cut piece’ – it’s working so far. I must say – have been thinking over what the lady who gave me this project said: “I’ll pay you whatever you want for doing this.” How about $50.00??? (Yes, I know – too much, but believe me this is quite THE JOB!).  (That knit poncho I bought today will be unraveled and used to knit some of the rest of this project.)


 Orange Juice Cake

1 (16.5 oz) box yellow cake mix
1 (4 serving size) orange Jello
3/4 C. vegetable oil
1 C. orange juice
4 eggs

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Spray a 10″ Bundt or tube pan with
nonstick spray; set aside. In medium
bowl using elec. mixer on medium
speed, beat all ingredients 2 minutes
or until well mixed; pour batter into
prepared pan. Bake 50-55 minutes or
until a wooden toothpick inserted
in center comes out clean. Let cool
slightly then invert onto a wire rack
to cool completely. Serve or cover
until ready to serve.

1 C. confectioners sugar
2 T. orange juice
zest of 1 orange

Mix confect. sugar & orange juice
together & drizzle over cake. Sprinkle
orange zest on top.

Easy Beef & Noodle Soup

2 T. butter
1 1/2 lb. beef stew mean, cubed
(or leftover roast)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 C. chopped celery
1 C. chopped green pepper
2 beef bouillon cubes
1/4 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 C. carrot, thinly sliced
1 C. chopped cabbage
6 C. beef broth
2 C. tomato juice
1 (14.5 oz) can diced Italian-style
tomatoes (OR) 1 (14.5 oz) can
stewed tomatoes with juice
2 1/2 C. frozen egg noodles
salt, to taste

In large stockpot over medium-high
heat saute meat, onion, celery, green
pepper, garlic & carrots in butter 5
minutes until meat is browned on all
sides. (If using leftover roast, saute
until vegetables are tender). Stir in
bouillon, cabbage, remaining seasonings,
beef broth, tomato juice & diced tomatoes;
bring to boil, reduce heat to Low.Cover
partially & simmer 45 minutes.
Serves 6-8

Creamy Pesto Pasta

1 C. basil pesto
2 T. olive oil
1/4 C. heavy cream
salt/pepper, to taste
1 lb. your favorite pasta, cooked

Heat oil over medium heat in skillet;
add pesto & mix into the oil. (make
sure to stir often as pesto warms). When
pesto is warmed & a little bubbly, slowly
stream in heavy cream as you stir (you
can always add more cream if you like).
Add some pasta water to thin out the
sauce, if needed. Turn down heat &
continue to stir to incorporate cream &
pesto. Add salt & pepper, to taste.
Serves about 6

Basil Pesto Recipe:
3 C. fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 C. chopped walnuts
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 C. olive oil
salt/pepper, to taste

In a food processor, blend together basil
leaves, nuts, garlic & cheese; pour in
oil slowly while still mixing; stir in salt &
pepper. (serves 16) You can store this in
a jar, refrigerated.


Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 extra large eggs, room temp
2 C. (18 oz) creamy peanut butter*
3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 C. (18 oz) raspberry
jam (or other flavor)
2/3 C. salted peanuts,
coarsely chopped

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 9 X 13 baking pan with
parchment paper, then grease &
flour. In bowl using elec. mixer
fitted with paddle attachment, cream
butter & sugar on medium speed until
light yellow, about 2 minutes. Turn
speed to Low, add vanilla, eggs & peanut
butter; mix until all ingredients are
combined. In small bowl sift flour, baking
powder & salt. With mixer on Low speed,
slowly add flour mixture to peanut butter
mixture; mix until just combined. Spread
2/3 of dough into prepared pan; spread
over bottom using a knife or spatula. Spread
jam evenly on top. Drop small globs of
remaining dough evenly over jam (don’t
worry if all jam is not covered, it will
spread in oven). Sprinkle top with chopped
nuts. Bake 45 minutes until golden brown.
Cool & cut into squares. Makes 24 bars.

*Poster recommends using Skippy
peanut butter

(recipe: Ina Garten/

Tomato Spinach Tortellini Soup

1 T. olive oil
1/2 C. minced onion
6 C. chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can whole tomatoes, coarsely
1/2 of a (12 oz) pkg. (Barilla) 3-Cheese
sea salt
cracked black pepper
5 oz. fresh spinach, chopped coarsely
few leaves fresh basil, chopped coarsely
fresh oregano, chopped (about 1/4 tsp.)

In a soup pot heat oil over medium-high
heat. Saute onion 2-3 minutes; add garlic &
stir. Add broth & tomatoes; turn heat up
to High & bring to boil. Add tortellini & cook
accordg. to pkg. directions. When tortellini
is almost done, add spinach, basil & oregano.
Taste, adjust seasonings to your liking.
Serves 4


Crockpot Cranberry-Orange
Pork Roast

2 T. oil
1 flat boneless pork loin roast (4 lb)
1 (14 oz) can whole berry cranberry
1/2 C. Catalina salad dressing
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. cornstarch
1 tsp. zest plus 1/4 C. juice from
1 orange

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-
high heat. Add roast; cook 4-5 minutes
on each side or until browned on both
sides. Transfer meat to crockpot. Mix
cranberry sauce, salad dressing & soy
sauce; pour over meat. Cover crockpot
with lid & cook on Low 4-5 hours. Remove
meat from crockpot, reserving liquid.
Cover meat to keep warm. Whisk
remaining ingredients in small bowl until
blended; stir into liquid in crockpot. Cook,
covered, on High 10 minutes until
thickened. Slice meat; place on platter.
Drizzle meat lightly with sauce; serve
remaining sauce on side. Serves 16

NOTE: For best results do NOT cook
roast on High setting.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Almost Heaven Dessert

1 (18 1/4 oz) yellow cake mix
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple
1 (1 oz) pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 C. cold milk
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 C. finely chopped pecans

Mix cake accordg to pkg. directions.
Bake in a 9 X 13 pan. While cake is
still hot, poke cake with a fork &
pour pineapple with juice, over cake.
Mix pudding, milk & cream cheese,
beating until smooth. Spread over
pineapple layer. Spread Cool Whip
over top & sprinkle with chopped
pecans. Refrigerate 1 hour before
serving. Serves 12


Hope you’re having a great day – have
to get off here & go start dinner: breaded
beef cube steaks and mashed potatoes
(probably a salad thrown in there, too).



“The Project”


For those of you who know me (too) well – you know I’m a sucker for a good story/project. I received an email via my knit group website from a lady who said she does not knit or crochet but has a partially finished afghan – said afghan was knit/crocheted by a 93 yr old lady who has since passed away. While the lady was in the hospital her DOG chewed on it, a family member decided to attempt to PATCH IT UP and another family member decided to CUT IT UP SOME! Yep, you guessed it – WHAT A MESS! Above you see the “Before” photo I decided to take – just for posterity. I told her to bring it to Panera and I’d look it over – well, let’s just say I’m a sucker for a good cause. The ‘bringer’ has got to be mid 70’s at least, she cried when talking about this afghan (the friend was knitting it for her) AND she even brought a photo of her friend so I would see what a sweet little old lady she was! She’s offered to pay me whatever I ask just so that she can have a ‘remembrance afghan’ of her friend. Let’s just say: this is one HUGE project! There’s three different colors of yarn, many partial panels: some knit, some crocheted granny squares and lots of MESS. One of the panels she started with (I’m guessing) about a total of 2 1/2 feet in width – that panel (a good 3 1/2 feet length later) grew to about almost 4 feet wide – Yep, she couldn’t knit a straight line! UGH! Oh – the ‘family member who decided to PATCH it – those are the most HORRIBLE patch jobs I’ve ever seen! (if you look mid-photo you’ll see just one of them) I’ve REALLY got my work cut out for me (HA! Cut Out – yes, that was fun, too, attempting to get past the cut parts and salvage the rest of the stitches!) The amazing part? She was knitting all this on about 3 foot long knitting needles! Do you know how HEAVY a project is done on these? I don’t know HOW she was able to support all that weight on one needle, let alone knit! (Believe me, I’ll be transferring these to circulars VERY FAST!) After looking it all over, I think I actually have a plan in mind! Am going to attempt to cut/separate the really long (really goofy width) panel into probably about 6 or more 1 foot long strips, then using some of the granny squares, make a ‘knit strip, then granny square strip, then knit’ etc. That will make up one long panel – the next one will be more of the knit strips, interspersed with basket weave knit strips (there was one she had started and didn’t finish) so I’m going to have to knit these myself – not a problem. The lady said that the original creator said the panels would each be different stitches, so I’m still within her guidelines. Oh! Forgot to tell you – NO PATTERNS AT ALL with all this ‘stuff’! A few extra small balls of yarn – Yes, I’ll agree with you: I’m certifiably NUTS! I wrote to tell the lady that this will take some time and I might need to buy some more yarn, but I’ll keep her updated as best I can. Yep – sucker for a good cause. One of my knit group members, after this lady left, grabbed me by the shoulders and said: “I KNOW WHY you do these things: it’s your compassion for people BUT you need to practice this word: NO!  NO! NO!”  Oh well – you’ll hear about it as I get it done.

Gas prices are down a little! $.2.29/9 (down from the other day of $2.39/9) YAY!


Chocolate/Banana/Oatmeal Cookies

2 ripe bananas
1 C. quick oats
1/2 C. chocolate chips
heaping T. peanut butter

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix ingredients together, form into
balls; place on sheet & bake
15 minutes.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

3 C. uncooked egg noodles
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of
mushroom soup
1/2 C. milk
2 T. sour cream
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1 (5 oz) can albacore white tuna
in water
1/4 C. chopped, roasted red peppers
or peas (or a combination)
2 T. butter
10-15 saltine crackers, crumbled (or
your topping of choice)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Cook egg noodles per pkg. directions;
drain/set aside. Combine soup, milk,
sour cream & ground mustard in large
bowl; stir in tuna & red peppers/peas –
mix in noodles until combined. Lightly
grease (or spray) a 8″ X 8″ baking dish;
add noodle mixture & spread out evenly.
Sprinkle crumbled crackers on top; slice
butter into small pieces and place on
cracker topping. Bake 25-30 minutes
until bubbly & browned slightly on top.


Sweet & Sour Pork

2 lb. boneless pork center loin,
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 minced garlic cloves
1 red pepper cut into pieces
1 small white cooking onion,
cut into slices
1/2 C. sliced green onions
1 1/2 C. pineapple juice
4 tsp. cornstarch
2 T. rice vinegar
4 T. soy sauce
3 1/2 T. brown sugar

Cooked rice
chopped green onion (garnish)

In a wok, heat sesame oil over high heat.
Stir-fry garlic 3-5 minutes; add red peppers
& sliced onion – cook until vegetables are
crisp-tender. Add pork & stir-fry 5 minutes.
Add pineapple juice, heat thoroughly. In
small bowl stir cornstarch, vinegar, soy
sauce & brown sugar; stir into wok & cook,
stirring, until mixture comes to a boil. Serve
over cooked rice.


Beef & Bean Taco Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 (16 oz) can refried beans
1 (16 oz) jar thick ‘n chunky salsa
1 (1 oz) pkg. taco seasoning mix
2 1/2 c. coarsely broken tortilla chips
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
(3/4 C.)
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 C.)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (1 1/2 C.)
1 C. shredded Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese
1/4 C. sliced ripe olives
1 C. shredded lettuce

Serve, on the side: sour cream & salsa

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In 12-in. skillet over medium-high heat, cook
beef 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until
thoroughly cooked; drain grease. Stir in
refried beans, & taco seasoning mix; reduce
heat to medium & heat to boiling, stirring
occasionally. In greased 2 Qt. casserole dish
place 2 C. broken tortilla chips; top evenly
with beef mixture. Sprinkle with bell pepper,
onions, 1 C. tomatoes, cheese & olives. Bake,
uncovered, 20-30 minutes or until hot & bubbly
& cheese is melted. Top baked casserole with
lettuce, remaining 1/2 C. tomatoes & remaining
1/2 C. tortilla chips.

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Flat Apple Pie w/Perfect Pie Crust

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled & sliced
1/2 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 T. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
juice of 1/2 lemon

Perfect Pie crust:

3 C. flour plus more for dusting
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks cold butter
3/4 C. vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 egg
5 T. cold water
1 t. distilled white vinegar

Combine flour & salt in large bowl. Add
butter & shortening; using a pastry cutter
or 2 knives, gradually cut butter & shortening
into flour until mixture resembles tiny pebbles.
(takes 3-4 minutes). Lightly beat egg with fork,
then add to mixture. Add in cold water & vinegar,
stir mixture together until just combined, then
remove half dough from bowl. (makes dough for
2 crusts) Roll out crusts into large circles. Roll
from center outward, being gentle. If bottom is
sticking to surface, use a sharp spatula to loosen
the dough & sprinkle some extra flour on top. Flip
dough over to finish rolling. (No back & forth rolling).
Using a spatula, loosen & lift dough; carefully place
on large baking sheets.
In large bowl, stir together apples, brown sugar,
gran. sugar, flour, salt & lemon juice. Divide filling
between both crusts. Fold over the edges of each
crust so that it covers 2-3 inches of mixture (sort of
like making a pizza dough). Dot tops of pies with
chunks of butter. Bake until filling is golden & bubbly,
30-40 minutes. If crust appears to be browning too
quickly, cover edges with aluminum foil for remaining
of baking time. Allow to cool slightly, then slice into
wedges with a pizza cutter.

(recipe: Ree Drummond-Food Network)

Crockpot Tuscan White Bean Soup

2 T. olive oil
2 T. minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 C. diced onion (1 medium)
1 1/2 C. sliced carrots (about 1/2 lb)
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 lb. dry navy beans, rinsed/picked over
to remove any stones/debris
1 bay leaf, whole
1 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
fresh ground black pepper
6 C. water
1/2 C. pesto
1 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)

In 5 qt. crockpot, add olive oil. Add all
other ingredients (except salt & pesto);
stir to combine. Cover & cook on Low
8 hours. After 8 hours, remove lid; stir
soup. Place half of soup in blender &
process until smooth (leave other half
in crockpot). Pour pureed soup back into
crockpot; stir to combine. Stir in pesto
plus 1 tsp. salt/ stir again. Add additional
salt/pepper, to taste, if desired.
Serves 6-8


Original Tater Tot Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 (1 lb) pkg. tater tots
2 (10 oz, ea) cans cream of
mushroom soup (or 3 cans if you
want it extra creamy)
1-2 (14 oz) cans vegetables (whole
kernel corn, green beans, peas, etc.)
onion & garlic powder (optional)

shredded cheese – your favorite-
optional topping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Brown ground beef; season as you
like; drain grease. Spread beef in
bottom of 2 to 2 1/2 qt baking dish.
Drain liquids from cans of vegetables
& spread them over meat in dish. Using
a rubber spatula, spread soup over top
of vegetables (do not dilute soup). Arrange
a layer of tater tots over top. Bake, uncovered,
50 minutes. Top with your favorite shredded
cheese & wait until cheese melts, then serve.
Serves 6


Cabbage Roll Casserole
(stuffed cabbages without
all the fuss!)

2 lb. ground beef
1 C. chopped onion
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (29 oz) can tomato sauce
1 can tomato soup
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
3 lb. chopped cabbage
1 C. uncooked white rice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1 tsp. pepper
3 C. water (may need more)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet brown beef over
medium-high heat until done;
drain. In large bowl combine onion,
tomato sauce, soup, tomato paste,
cabbage, rice & spices; add meat &
mix all together. Add 3 C. water &
pour mixture into a 9 X 13 baking
dish. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes.

(recipe: That’s MY Home- Facebook)

Cheesy Spinach Lasagna

13 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 c. milk
no-boil lasagna noodles
(about 1/3 of 16 oz box)
1 (25 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
2 C. shredded mozzarella
pkg. fresh baby spinach

Combine ricotta & milk in
medium bowl. Spray
inside of crockpot with non-
stick spray. Pour enough
spaghetti sauce to make a thin
layer on bottom. Top with a
layer of noodles (you will
need to break them to fit).
Spread a layer of ricotta
mixture over noodles; add a
layer of spinach, followed by
layers of mozzarella, then sauce.
Top with another layer of
broken noodles & repeat:
mozz/sauce/noodles. Last
layer: Noodles/sauce &
remaining mozz. Cover &
cook on Low 3-4 hours
until noodles are tender.
Serves 4-6


Our weather has been goofy, as usual for
my state (Michigan) – yesterday we had rain/
sleet/fine snow followed by temperatures
in the 35 degree range, which caused that
which had fallen/accumulated to turn to
mush on the roads! Today it’s all BRIGHT &
SUNNY – you’d think it was May or something
if you didn’t check the thermometer and find
it in the 30’s! As long as it doesn’t accumulate
on the roads, I’m good!

Enjoy your day!



We KNEW it had to happen -


After ‘enjoying’ (said with tongue in cheek) the past few days of cold but clear weather, we’re now faced with a Winter Weather Advisory and Hazardous Conditions-type of day. Normally that wouldn’t bother me (on any day where I don’t have to go out) BUT tonight is my Knit Night! There are at least three new people coming plus some dear lady who has asked if someone in the group could repair an afghan for her. She doesn’t knit or crochet but this afghan is very dear, it belongs to her 90+ yr old client and the dog chewed on it, then the lady’s son decided he’d CUT OUT the chewed parts, leaving a total mess! I told her to meet us tonight & I’d give it a look & see what could/could not be done with it. First we had really tiny but VERY FAST flurries of snow (probably about 1 1/2 inches out there) – that stopped. Reading over the weather report I guess we’re also supposed to get a little more snow together with SLEET & freezing rain making hazardous driving conditions tonight – oh, joy . . .We’ll see if I decide to go or not. Still working on the yellow & white baby afghan; yesterday I decided to attempt another ‘easy’ knit scarf pattern – this one’s in a sort of Kelly green (just reached into one of my tubs and grabbed a skein of yarn – no preference at all in choosing this one!) I’m not exactly sure it will be enough for a scarf – if it’s a bit short I’ll probably grab some cream yarn and knit ‘ends’ on both ends to make it longer – that should work.

Still ‘playing at’ cleaning house for the coming of the Nephew visit next Thurs. Today I tackled the kitchen a bit, rearranging/getting rid of several items. Happy to hear that Purple Heart will be in the area March 9th – just in time to haul away some things – YAY! Finally sorted through all the toys from the other day, boxed them up & hauled them upstairs; now they’re out of the way.


Creamy Chicken/Rice Soup

1 C. carrots, chopped
1 C. celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
10 C. water
8 chicken bouillon cubes (or
8 tsp. bullion granules)
1 tsp. parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. thyme
2 chicken breasts (thawed)
2 chicken thighs (thawed)
1 C. rice
1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup
Add all ingredients to crockpot (except
rice & soup; cover & cook on High 5 hours, or
Low 7 hours.Remove chicken from crockpot
& shred using 2 forks. Add rice to crockpot
along with shredded chicken; cover with lid &
cook on High 1 hour until rice is tender. Add
cream of chicken soup; stir well to combine.
Cover & allow soup to heat, 10 minutes.
Serves 10


4 Ingredient Porcupine Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef
1 (6.8 oz) box Beef Rice-a-Roni
1 egg
2 1/4 C. water

Place ground beef in medium bowl;
pour Rice-a-roni in bowl (only the
rice & pasta mix – not the seasoning
packet – you will use that later). Add
egg & mix well. Shape mixture into 25
golf-ball sized meatballs. Heat a large
skillet over medium-high heat; carefully
place meatballs in skillet & allow them
to get browned on top & bottom. Pour
2 1/4 C. water into large liquid measuring
cup; add seasoning packet (from Rice-a-Roni)
& stir to combine. Pour mixture on top of
meatballs in skillet. Reduce heat to Medium-
Cover & simmer 30-40 minutes until
liquid has been absorbed & rice/pasta in
meatballs are cooked through.
Makes 25 meatballs, about 5 servings


Oven-baked Crumb Potatoes

6 medium russet potatoes
1/4 C. butter, melted
2/3 C. Italian Bread crumbs

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Wash/scrub potatoes well. Cut potatoes
into slices, then dice into chunks & place
in medium bowl. Pour melted butter over
potatoes & stir so that all potatoes have
some butter. Pour bread crumbs over potatoes,
sprinkle with salt/pepper & mix well. Spray
a large cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Lay
potatoes evenly on sheet. Bake 45 minutes,
stirring potatoes a few times during cooking
time. They are done when they are fork-tender
& crispy along the outsides. Serves 7


Oats & Berry Bars

1 C. brown sugar
2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 C. rolled oats
1 C. butter, softened
1 1/2 C. jam (your choice)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In medium bowl place brown sugar,
flour, baking soda salt & rolled oats;
add soft butter. Using a pastry blender
mix butter into dry ingredients. (if you
don’t have a pastry blender you can use
your fingers to blend the butter in); the
mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.
Spray a 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray.
Pour oats mixture into pan. Pour jam into
a microwave-safe bowl & heat about 30
seconds (makes it easier to spread). Pour
jam onto oats mixture & spread evenly
using a knife. BE SURE to leave about a
half-inch border around the edges of the
pan. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture
on top & gently press crumbs in pan
using the back of a wooden spoon. Bake
35 minutes or until the top is golden
brown. Cool in pan completely then cut
into bars.


Tangy Roasted Spareribs

1 (2 lb) pkg. sauerkraut, rinsed/drained well
1 tsp. caraway seeds
2 racks pork spareribs (about 3 lb. each)
2 (1 oz, ea) envelopes onion soup mix
2 onions, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray two 9 X 13″ baking dishes with
nonstick spray. In medium bowl combine
sauerkraut & caraway seeds; mix well &
spread equally into both dishes. Place a
rack of ribs over sauerkraut in each dish;
sprinkle each equally with onion soup
mix then top with onions & pepper. Cover
with foil & bake 1 1/4 hours. Uncover &
bake an additional 20-30 minutes until
ribs are tender. Cut into individual ribs
& serve with sauerkraut. Serves 4

Double Chocolate Waffles

2 C. flour

Poor Man’s Stew

1 lb. ground beef, browned/drained
1 1/2 lb. potatoes, diced large
3 carrots, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 C. water
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried oregano

Add cooked ground beef, potatoes,
carrots & onions to 5-qt. or larger
crockpot. In small bowl, whisk together
tomato paste, water, salt/pepper &
oregano. Pour mixture in crockpot; stir.
Cover & cook on Low 6-7 hours without
opening lid during cooking process.
Serves 5

Crockpot or Oven Brisket & Onions

1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 lb. onions, (about 2 large),
sliced into half moons
3 1/2 lb. beef brisket
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 C. beef broth
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. soy sauce

Heat a deep saute pan or cast iron
skillet over medium heat with olive oil.
Add onions & cook on medium-low  to
medium heat, stirring frequently, about
20 minutes until onions have caramelized
lightly. Remove brisket from pkg. & pat dry.
Season meat generously with salt & pepper.
Heat a large skillet or saute pan over medium-
high heat. Sear brisket until a golden brown crust
appears on both sides of the meat. Remove &
place in crockpot, fatty side up. Sprinkle minced
garlic over meat; place cooked onions on top &
around the meat. Mix broth, Worc. sauce & soy
sauce; pour into crockpot. Cover & cook on Low
6-8 hours until brisket is very tender. Let rest
at least 20 minutes before serving.
Brisket can be sliced or shredded immediately &
served with onions & juices or let meat cool then
refrigerate overnight. Before reheating, scrape
away and discard the layer of fat that formed
around the meat. Serves 6

To Re-Heat:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Transfer brisket & juices to a baking dish
& cover tightly with a lid or two layers of
foil. Warm 1 hour or until warmed through.
Cut into smaller pieces for faster reheating.

Oven directions:

Cook brisket in oven in a baking dish
covered tightly with foil or in a Dutch
oven, covered with a lid at 325 degrees F.
3-4 hours or until very tender.

Pineapple-Coconut Poke Cake

1 (16.25 oz) butter cake mix (plus
ingredients to prepare cake)
2 (3.4 oz, ea) boxes coconut cream
instant pudding mix
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple,*
4 C. Half & Half (cold)
1 (16 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 C. flaked coconut
1/2 C. macadamia nuts, toasted/

Prepare cake mix according to pkg. directions,
bake in 9″ X 13″ pan. You can use juice from
pineapple, adding water to make required
amount called for on the box mix. Bake
according to pkg. directions. Remove cake
from oven & using the handle of a wooden
spoon, poke holes all over top of entire
cake – holes need to be fairly large. Use an
elec. mixer to mix together both pkgs.
pudding mix with Half & Half. Whip until
pudding begins to slightly thicken but is
still pourable. Mix 1 C. mixture with
crushed pineapple & pour over top of
cake and into holes while cake is still hot.
Immediately spread remaining coconut
cream pudding on top. Refrigerate until
cool & completely set. Frost with Cool
Whip & sprinkle with chopped nuts. Store
covered; chill well. Serves 16


Here’s hoping the weather ‘gets better’ –
hoping, too, that you are safe/warm
& cosy/comfy doing something you
ENJOY doing!



PS: How are YOUR gas prices lately?
Last week I was (happy) observing
our local station having Regular gas
at $2.26/9 – and was shocked to see,
on Sunday when we passed by, that
the prices are up to $2.39/9! Oh well,
what can ya do???

Find me if you can!


Well we got the ‘official’ call – nephew is coming; good news is: it’s not the original 9 days, now it’s from Thurs. evening to Sunday morning (that’s better, right?) His Mom said he really wants to come home so she’s going to surprise him and drive up to the college & pick him up; he’ll be home from Saturday to the following Thurs. when we come into the show. I’ve started the ‘clean the house’ program; yesterday I attacked the room he’ll be sleeping in, ordered new window shades (they really needed it) and freed up a few drawers for him. Today was the ‘attack under the baby grand piano’ thing. What, you ask? Let’s just say our house is VERY small and there is virtually no extra room to store anything (that applies mostly because husband will NOT get rid of ANYTHING! We’re talking old magazines, books, etc. to the point where I had to find a solution for this mess – AH! Under the piano! Well, let’s just say there are boxes there that I’d totally forgot about – old toys my middle son used to play with: Gundam/Dragon Ball Z/Micromachines/cars & trucks/army guys & their trucks, jeeps, etc. – TONS of STUFF! There was one box that was chock-full of nothing but teeny-tiny toys: tiny army men, micromachines, all sorts of ‘equipment’ for army guys (guns, machine guns, plastic barbed wire, tiny grenades, etc.). Let’s just say there are now BAGS of various items, sorted by lot: ARMY, micromachines, cars & trucks, Jurasic Park, etc. Yes, I’m fully aware I could probably make some $$$ if we sold some of them – for now they’re going into new storage containers and probably upstairs (IF I can find some room there!) UGH! I’ve spent a good 2-3 hours just cleaning & going through all that – there’s still a good 2-3 boxes of magazines! UGH! (yes, I could just shove them back under there but the boxes they were in have long-since broken, so it’s find new boxes, re-pack, etc. . . . . CALGON TAKE ME AWAY! (My husband, of course, thinks I’m nuts – why bother with all that? It’s been driving me nuts for years, this is just an excuse to do something about it!)


Saucy Fish

1/4 C. mayonnaise
4 tsp. dijon mustard
4 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. (Kraft) horseradish sauce*
4 tilapia fillets (1 lb) (or sole or other
white fish)

Heat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients except fish, until
blended. Spray 9 X 13″ pan with non-
stick spray & place fish in pan. Spread
mayo mixture over fish & bake
15-20 minutes until fish flakes easily
with fork. Serves 4

*you can find this in the condiments
aisle, by the mayonnaise/Miracle
Whip – it comes in a small bottle

(recipe: Kraftfoods)

Zucchini Stuffing

1 small onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
3 T. butter
1 C. flour
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 C. canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1/3 C. milk
1/4 C. butter, melted
4 C. day-old cubed bread
3 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
In small skillet saute onion &
celery in butter until tender; set
aside. In large bowl, combine flour,
sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon
& poultry seasoning. In small bowl
whisk pumpkin, eggs, milk & butter;
stir into dry ingredients just until
moistened. Fold in bread cubes,
zucchini, cheese & onion mixture.
Transfer to a greased 9 X 13 dish.
Cover & bake 30 minutes. Uncover
& bake 10-15 minutes longer until
lightly browned. Makes 12 (3/4 C.
each) servings.


Heirloom Country Chicken Casserole

2.5 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed (do
not peel) boiled & mashed
1 C. sour cream
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (2.8 oz) can french fried onions
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. coarse ground pepper

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients & spread into
bottom of a 9 X 13 baking dish.

(Second layer)
1 1/2 – 2 lb. boneless skinless chicken
breasts poached & shredded
1 (26 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (16 oz) bag frozen mixed vegetables,
1 C. sour cream
2 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients except Ched. cheese;
spread over potato mixture. Sprinkle Ched.
cheese over top. Bake 45 minutes until cheese
is melted & bubbly. Serves 10-12


Baked Goulash

1 1/2 – 2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
1 T. chopped garlic
1 (28 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 oz. uncooked elbow macaroni
1/2 C. water
1 C. (4 oz) shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 2 1/2 qt. casserole with non-
stick spray. In large skillet brown
ground beef, mushrooms, onion &
chopped garlic over medium-high
heat 6-8 minutes until no pink
remains in beef, stirring frequently.
Drain excess liquid then add remaining
ingredients except cheese; mix well.
Place mixture in prepared dish; cover
with foil & bake 25 minutes. Remove
from oven, top with mozzarella cheese.
Return to oven, uncovered, 15-20 minutes
until heated through & cheese has
melted. Serves 4

NOTE: You can also make ahead &
freeze this dish in individual portions
and microwave later.


One-Pot Bacon Chipotle Mac & Cheese

4 slices bacon
4 C. elbow macaroni
5 C. milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 – 1 tsp. pureed chipotle peppers in
adobo sauce
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Chop bacon & fry in large pot over
medium-high heat until crisp; drain fat.
To pot add macaroni, milk & salt; bring
to a simmer over medium heat (be careful
not to scorch the milk). Cook, stirring
frequently, until pasta is al dente, about
10-15 minutes. Stir in desired amount of
chipotle & cheese. Serves 5-6


Stuffed Cabbage Rolls for 6

12 large cabbage leaves
1 lb. ground meat (pork/beef/
lamb/turkey – your choice)
1/2 C. cooked rice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/4 C. water

Wash cabbage leaves. Boil 4 C.
water; turn off heat & soak
cabbage leaves 5 minutes.
Remove, drain & cool. Combine
remaining ingredients except
for tomato paste & water. Place
2 T. meat/rice mixture on each
leaf & roll up firmly, tucking in
ends as you roll. Place in
crockpot with overlap side down,
stacking them on each other if
necessary. Combine tomato
paste & water; pour over rolls.
Cover & cook on Low 6-8 hours.


Banana Zucchini Bread

4 eggs
2 C. sugar
1 C. canola oil
2 bananas, mashed
3 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 C. shredded zucchini

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease two 4″ X 8″ loaf pans;
set aside. In large bowl, mix
all ingredients together. Divide
batter evenly between pans.
Bake 60 minutes or until bread
tests done.


Cheesy Ranch Orzo

1 C. orzo, uncooked (it’s
a type of rice)
2 C. chicken broth
1 T. ranch dressing mix
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Pour orzo into bottom of crockpot;
pour broth over top. Sprinkle with
ranch dressing mix. Cover & cook
on Low 2 hours. When orzo is
cooked through & there isn’t any
liquid left, stir in Cheddar cheese,
gently. Serve immediately for
best results. Makes 4 servings

*For extra flavor, add in bacon bits
or a can of green chilies


Dutch Apple Pancakes

3 eggs
1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. milk
2 T. (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. butter
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 (20 oz) can sliced apples in water,
confectioners sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Spray two 9″ cake pans with nonstick
spray. In medium bowl mix eggs, flour &
milk using elec. mixer; beat until smooth.
Add 2 T. melted butter & salt; beat well.
Pour mixture into prepared pans, smoothing.
Bake 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350
degrees; bake an additional 5-7 minutes
until puffy & golden. In a medium skillet
melt remaining 1 T. butter over medium heat.
Stir in remaining ingredients (except conf.
sugar); heat 3-5 minutes until apples are
heated through. Remove pancakes to serving
platter then spoon half of the apple mixture
over each pancake; dust generously with
confectioners sugar & serve immediately.
Serves 4


Peach Dump Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
2 (15 oz, ea) cans sliced peaches*
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. butter, frozen

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Cover bottom of a 9″ X 13″ pan
with a light dusting of the dry cake
mix. Pour undrained peaches on top
of dry cake mix then sprinkle the
rest of the cake mix over the top of
the peaches, evenly. Sprinkle a little
cinnamon on top of cake mix. Using
a cheese grater, grate frozen butter
evenly over dry cake mix. Bake 45

*You can substitute any canned fruits
or apple pie filling – any kind of canned
fruit that has syrup with it.

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)

Our weather is gorgeous (if you don’t go
outside!) – the sun is shining brightly.
Just looked at the National Weather
Service for our area:  18 degrees F,
wind chill 6 degrees F. – not too bad,
no big winds; still glad I really don’t
have to go out, though! Looks like
tonight we have a 60% chance of
snow, less than an inch (no biggie).

Have a GREAT day!



Published in: on February 28, 2015 at 12:56 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , ,

And a Happy Frigid Friday to you, too!



Woke up to a ‘balmy’ minus 4 degrees today – sun is shining – let me go check the weather temps NOW (12:30 p.m.) it’s now 13 degrees F. with wind chills of minus 2 degrees – glad I don’t really have any ‘outdoor’ trips for today!

Well, friends, as you know LIFE changes all the time and yesterday was a ‘new’ adventure for us: we got a call asking if we would ‘house’ our nephew for a little over a week. He’s from Minnesota but going to college in Michigan; his school does something I really think is WRONG! When they have a school break (ie: Christmas, Easter, SPRING BREAK) they make all the kids leave the school EVEN IF they are from out of state! This happened a few months ago and my sister-in-law was suddenly pressed to find a place to house him for 3 days with almost no notice! (He ended up staying with a cousin here in Mich. but this time it’s a longer stay). You guessed it – now that our middle son has moved out, she asked US. This might sound very strange but I have NEVER actually MET this boy! (He’s 18, they’ve lived in Florida and Minnesota, so we’ve never really ‘connected’). This will be an ‘experience’ for ALL of us! I’ve been making lists of things I need to get done before he comes (buy an extra blanket for the bed/maybe an extra pillow, clean the house A LOT!, etc.) My mind is constantly rushing to things like: what does he like to eat? What will he DO for over a week here? (it’s not like we’re ‘company prepared’! We don’t go anywhere!) I presented the option to my husband of (maybe) taking him to see the new aquarium at our local mall – it just opened last month and is supposed to be really spectacular (I was shocked at the prices: $23.50 per person, so you know it’s not going to be a cheap adventure – we’ll see.) I would say he could ‘hang out’ with my boys BUT youngest is never home, middle lives away & works, oldest works & when he isn’t working he’s with his son – so that might not happen. I might ask if he snowboards or skis – oldest son loves going snowboarding/skiing – we’ll see. Yes, I’m a HERMIT! I’m NOT used to ANY company (even IF he is family!) – I just keep trying to convince myself: it’s a new ADVENTURE! It’s ONLY a little over a week! You’ll live through it!

Since we are experiencing such cold temperatures, I thought SOUP/STEW recipes might be just the ticket!


Creamy Italian Chicken/
Tomato Soup

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk (full fat)
1 C. chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 T. Italian seasoning
1 T. dried basil
1/2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Mix onions, garlic, coconut milk, chicken
broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes &
seasonings to crockpot. Add chicken. Cover
& cook on Low 7-9 hours or High 4-6 hours.
Remove chicken from crockpot; shred &
return to crockpot. Stir well & keep warm
until ready to serve. Serves 6-8.
(make sure chicken is cooked before serving)

Crockpot Chicken Vegetable

4 C. chicken broth
2-3 C. cubed, cooked chicken breast
1 C. frozen broccoli florets
1 C. canned white beans (rinsed/drained)
2 celery ribs with leaves, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 C. sliced carrots
1/2 C. sliced mushrooms
1/2 C. red bell pepper, diced
1 C. potato, peeled/cut into 1/2 ” cubes
1 T. sugar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
2 bay leaves

Combine all ingredients in crockpot.
Cover & cook on Low 6-8 hours or
until vegetables are tender. Remove
bay leaves before serving. Serves 8


Dollar Store Soup

12 oz. dry pinto beans, soaked
overnight in 3 C. water
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (27 oz) can chopped spinach
1 (15 oz) can sliced beets, rinsed
& chopped
1 (8.3 oz) jar sliced banana peppers
1 (10 oz) jar mushroom pieces & stems
1 (5 oz) bag roasted sunflower seeds
3 T. dried chopped onion
2 T. garlic powder
3 T. Italian seasoning herb blend
2 T. paprika
black pepper, to taste
hot sauce, to taste
3 1/2 C. beef broth

Once beans have finished soaking,
thoroughly drain & rinse then add
to crockpot. Add all other ingredients;
stir to distribute evenly. Cover & cook
on High 5-7 hours. Be sure beans are
completely cooked before serving.
Serves 8


All-Day Cabbage Soup

4 C. rough chopped cabbage
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. water
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
3 C. tomato sauce
4 C. diced tomatoes
1 C. rice, uncooked

Add onion, garlic Wors. sauce,
paprika, ground beef & salt to a

skillet on medium heat. Cook
until ground beef is browned,
about 7-10 minutes. In crockpot
add cabbage, oregano, basil,
tomato sauce, diced tomatoes,
water & ground beef mixture;
stir to combine. Cover & cook
on Low 8-10 hours. During last
half hour of cooking cook rice
according to pkg. directions.
Add cooked rice to crockpot &
stir to combine. Serves 8


Hearty Beef Stew
(cooks in a skillet=30 minutes!)

1 T. cooking oil
1 lb. boneless beef sirlois steak,
cut into 1″ pieces
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
2 (.87 oz, ea) pkgs. brown gravy mix
2 C. cold water
1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes,
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 (20 oz) pkg. frozen vegetables
for stew, thawed

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-
high heat. Sprinkle steak with pepper;
place in skillet & cook until steak is
browned, stirring occasionally. Remove
from skillet; cover to keep warm. Add
gravy mix & water to skillet; stir until
blended. Add undrained tomatoes, Wors.
sauce & vegetables; mix well. Bring to
boil, stirring occasionally. Stir in steak;
reduce heat to Low. Cover skillet &
cook 10 minutes until vegetables are tender,
stirring occasionally. Serves 4 (1 1/2 C. ea.)

(recipe: readyseteat!)
Italian Sausage Stew

1 1/4 lb. mild Italian pork sausage
links, cut into 1″ pieces
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen Italian-style
vegetable blend
2 medium zucchini, sliced
1 (24 oz) can (Hunt’s) Four Cheese
Pasta sauce
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Cook sausage in large skillet over
medium-high heat until cooked through
& no longer pink; drain. Combine sausage
& all remaining ingredients in crockpot.
Cover & cook on Low 8-10 hours or High
4-6 hours. Stir before serving. Serves 8
(1 C. each)

(recipe: readyseteat!)

Chicken Minestrone Soup

2 C. water
2 C. frozen Italian-style vegetable
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans diced tomatoes
with basil, garlic & oregano, undrained
6 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts,
cut into bite-sized pieces
1 C. dry rotini pasta, uncooked
1 (.7 oz) envelope dry Italian salad
dressing mix
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Place all ingredients (except cheese) in
large pot to boil, stirring occasionally.
Simmer on medium-low 10 minutes or
until chicken is cooked & pasta is tender,
stirring occasionally. Serve topped with
grated Parm. cheese. Serves 8 (1 C. each)

(recipe: readyseteat!)

Crockpot Broccoli/Cheddar Soup

1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled/
2 C. chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tsp. oil
2 green onions, diced (green & white
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 lb. frozen broccoli florets, thawed
2 oz. extra sharp Cheddar cheese,
1/2 C. Half & Half

Combine diced onion, oil, green onions,
garlic & thyme in a microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave on High 5 minutes, stirring
every 90 seconds; add mixture to crockpot.
Add diced potatoes to crockpot; add salt/
pepper – cover & cook on Low 5-6 hours or
High 3-4 hours; potatoes should be very
tender. Carefully pour contents of crockpot
into a blender, in batches; puree until
smooth. Pour in 3/4 pkg. frozen broccoli;
pulse 3-4 times until you get soup to your
desired consistency. Pour contents of
blender back in to crockpot; add cheese,
half & half & rest of broccoli florets. Check
seasoning, adding more salt/pepper if
desired. Turn heat to High, stir & heat
a few minutes, then serve. Serves 5


Frosted Banana Bars

1/2 C. butter, softened
2 C. sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 C. mashed ripe bananas,
(about 3 medium)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
dash salt

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1/2 C. butter, softened
4 C. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl cream butter & sugar
until light & fluffy. Beat in eggs,
banana & vanilla. Combine flour,
baking soda & salt; stir in creamed
mixture just until blended. Pour
batter into a greased 15 X 10 X
1 inch baking pan. Bake 20-25
minutes until a toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean. Cool
in pan on wire rack.
In small bowl, beat cream cheese &
butter until fluffy. Add powdered
sugar & vanilla; beat until smooth
then frost cooled bars. Makes 3 dozen.


Enjoy your day!



Published in: on February 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Wintery Wednesday


We’re in the deep freeze again – it’s supposed to get down to MINUS ten tonight; my partner in crime (our leader)  in my special needs group decided that we haven’t been meeting due to the cold and will have one tonight – anyway! I’m not sure just how many of our group will show up, but it’s a “GO”, so looks like I get to drive & freeze with the rest of them!


Bake-Sale Lemon Bars

3/4 C. butter, softened
2/3 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 C. plus 3 T. flour,
3 eggs
1 1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. lemon juice
(additional powdered sugar)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl beat butter & powdered
sugar until blended. Gradually beat in
1 1/2 C. flour; press onto bottom of
greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake 18-20 minutes
until golden brown. In small bowl
whisk eggs, sugar, lemon juice &
remaining flour until frothy; pour
over hot crust. Bake 20-25 minutes
until lemon mixture is set & lightly
browned. Cool completely on a
wire rack. Dust top with additional
powdered sugar; cut into bars.
Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 4 dozen


Chive & Onion Hash Browns

1 1/2 C. Half & Half cream
1 (8 oz) tub spreadable chive &
onion cream cheese
2 T. dried minced onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 (20 oz, ea) pkgs. refrigerated
shredded hash brown potatoes
2 C. shredded Swiss cheese
3 T. minced fresh chives, divided
2 T. butter, cubed

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a
Dutch oven; cook & stir over medium
heat until blended; stir in potatoes.
In a greased 9 X 13 pan layer a third
of has brown mixture and 2/3 C.
Swiss cheese; sprinkle with 1 T. chives.
Repeat layers, top with remaining
hash brown mixture & cheese; dot
top with butter. Bake, covered, 35
minutes. Bake, uncovered, 10-20 minutes
longer or until edges begin to brown &
potatoes are heated through. Let
stand 10 minutes before serving.
Sprinkle with remaining chives.
Makes 12 (3/4 C. each) servings.


30-Minute Skillet Enchiladas

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. onion, chopped
1 T. olive oil
3 C. cooked chicken, chopped
(can use rotisserie)
1/2 C. chicken broth
2 (10 oz, ea) cans mild green chili
enchilada sauce
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. honey
8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
3 C. Cheddar cheese, shredded

chopped tomato
sliced green onions
chopped fresh cilantro
sliced black olives
sour cream

Heat a large, deep skillet* over medium
heat; add 1 T. olive oil & allow to get hot.
Place garlic & onion in pan; salt/pepper &
cook 7-10 minutes. Add enchilada sauce &
chicken to pan along with chicken broth and
spices. Stir mixture & cook 2-3 minutes until
ingredients are warmed through. Remove
2/3 of sauce mixture, leaving 1/3 in pan. Layer
4 tortillas on top of sauce in skillet; pour 1/3
of sauce over tortillas in pan and top with 1 1/2
C. Cheddar cheese. Layer 4 more tortillas & pour
the rest of the sauce over them. Cover pan &
allow mixture to simmer, about 5 minutes. Make
sure the heat is not too high, or the bottom layer
will burn.
Turn on oven broiler. Uncover pan; sprinkle
1 1/2 C. more Cheddar on top & broil until
cheese is melted & golden, 2-3 minutes.
Remove from oven, top with desired toppings &
serve. Makes 8 servings.

*make sure skillet is oven-proof – will be putting
under broiler later in recipe


Crockpot Swiss Steak

1 lb. beef round steak
sprinkling salt/pepper
1 oz. pkg. Onion soup mix (dry)
1 (16 oz) can stewed tomatoes

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Sprinkle both sides of steak with
salt/pepper. Cut steak into 4 oz. serving
portions & place in crockpot. Sprinkle
onion soup mix evenly across steak, then
pour tomatoes over top. Cook on Low
6-8 hours or High 3-4 hours.


Cowboy BBQ Beans

1 lb. ground beef, browned
8 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
1 (15 oz) can lima beans, undrained
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, undrained
1 (15 oz) can pork & beans, undrained
1/2 C. BBQ sauce
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. liquid smoke flavoring

Combine all ingredients in crockpot;
cook on Low 3-4 hours.
Serves 8


Ranch Parmesan Chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts
1 C. dry bread crumbs
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese (or more)
1 tsp. seasoning salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 C. prepared Ranch salad dressing
1/4 C. butter, melted (no substitutes)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Set oven rack to lowest position.
Grease a baking sheet with sides
or line a baking sheet with nonstick
In shallow bowl, mix together breadcrumbs
with Parm. cheese, salt/pepper & garlic
powder. Dip chicken into ranch dressing
to coat both sides (allow excess to drip
off). Coat in breadcrumb mixture & place
in single layer on baking sheet. Lightly
drizzle melted butter over each breast.
(If desired, you can sprinkle black pepper
over chicken breasts). Bake, uncovered,
30-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked

*Do not bake in smaller baking dish or
bottom of chicken will be soggy.


Panzanella Salad
(Italian Bread Salad)

1 loaf crusty bread cut into 1″ croutons
4 lb. medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 medium cucumber, deseeded/ cut into
1″ squares
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, minced
1 small bunch basil, forn
1/2 C. olive oil
1/4 C. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 clove garlic, smashed
salt/ground black pepper

Heat oven 300 degrees F.
Place croutons on baking sheet & bake
until firm, about 15 minutes. Remove skin
of smashed clove & rub inside of bowl in
which you plan to serve the salad with garlic.,
discard garlic. Add olive oil & vinegar; whisk to
combine. Combine remaining ingredients in
bowl with croutons; toss well & season with
salt & pepper. Serves 6-8


Butter Cake Bars

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 stick (1/2 C. ) butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 lb. bag powdered sugar (about
3 3/4 C.)
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 8″ X 8″ baking dish with
parchment paper. In a bowl mix
together cake mix, melted butter &
1 egg until a soft dough forms. Press
into bottom of baking dish. Using
elec. mixer, combine cream cheese,
2 eggs, sugar & vanilla until smooth;
spread over cake mix layer. Bake 45
minutes or until edges are golden
brown & center has set to a soft
consistency. Cool completely
before slicing


Not much going on around here lately,
just mostly staying home & knitting,
watching a little TV (“Castle” or “Bones”) –
and the ever-anticipated “Downton
Abbey” (my all-time favorite! love the
costumes, the buildings, actors, etc.)

Hope you are enjoying your day –
stay warm if you can!



Stuff on a Saturday


Like most of the nation, we’re still under really cold temperatures – amazingly, today it’s 15 degrees F. with only 5 degree wind chills, so it’s actually WARMER!

Woke up early (for me) – 6:40 a.m. – and decided to get working on the next issue of my special needs group’s newsletter; it’s pretty well all formatted, just needs a few more articles and I’ll be ready to print! (probably mailing Weds/Thurs. next week). Glad I’m ‘ahead of the game’, so to speak.

Also on my agenda for the day is baking Sunday School snacks for tomorrow. While at Kroger’s a few weeks ago I spotted boxes of Pillsbury Cranberry Muffin mix for $1.00 a box – going to make muffins, maybe some chocolate chip muffins (using choc. cake mix) – we’ll see.


Sweet Baby Ray’s Crockpot Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts (frozen is OK)
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ
1/4 C. vinegar
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 C. brown sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder

Mix all (but chicken) together. Place
chicken in crockpot; pour sauce
mixture over chicken. Cook on Low
4-6 hours.

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)

Southern Fried Cornbread

(sort of like potato pancakes)

2/3 C. cornmeal
1/3 C. self-rising flour
1/3 C. buttermilk
1 large egg
oil, for frying

Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl;
mixing well; mixture should be very
moist but not soupy. Heat oil in skillet
& drop by spoonfuls into oil. Cook until
brown on one side, flip (like a pancake)
to brown other side. Place on paper
towel-covered plate to drain, blot any
excess oil.

(recipe: Courtney Luper-Facebook)

Bacon Chili Cheese Cups

3 (1.9 oz, ea) boxes frozen mini
Phylo (Fillo) shells (15 per box)
1 C. mayonnaise
1 (10 oz) can Ro*Tel diced tomatoes
with green chilies, drained
1/2 C. chopped, cooked bacon
(OR 1 (2.8 oz) bag Oscar Meyer Real
Bacon bits
1 1/2 C. shredded Colby/Mont. Jack

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Remove phyllo shells carefully
from their boxes; no need to thaw.
Place shells on large baking sheet. In
large bowl mix together mayonnaise,
Ro*tel & bacon pieces. Once combined,
stir in cheese. Scoop 2 T. filling into each
phyllo shell. Bake 15-20 minutes until
golden & cheese is melted. Makes 45


Banana Pudding Cupcakes

2 1/2 C. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
3 medium bananas, ripe
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 T. vanilla
1 C. vegetable oil
1 C. buttermilk*
24 vanilla wafer cookies

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.
Line cups of a (12 Cup) muffin
tin with paper liners. In large
bowl sift flour, baking powder,
baking soda & salt together,
set aside. Using whisk, beat eggs
20 seconds. Add in sugar; beat
30 seconds. Add oil, vanilla &
bananas; whisk about 1  minute until
fully combined. (do no over mix)
Turn mixer on Low; slowly
alternate adding in sifted
ingredients & buttermilk,
ending with flour; whisk until JUST
combined. Fill cupcake liners with
batter to about 3/4 full. Place a
vanilla wafer on top; press slightly
into batter. Bake 8 minutes. **Turn
oven temp. down to 325 degrees &
bake another 10 minutes.

1/4 C. sugar
2 C. heavy cream
1 (16 oz) box banana pudding mix

1 banana, sliced

While cupcakes are cooling, using a mixer
whip sugar & heavy cream about 1 minute
until light & fluffy. Add pudding mix; whip
until thick & creamy. Place a thin layer of
frosting on top of cupcakes, then place a
vanilla wafer in middle on top. Place a
little more frosting and top with a slice or
2 of banana.

*if you don’t have buttermilk:
pour 1 T. vinegar or lemon juice in a
2-Cup measuring cup and fill with
milk to reach 1 Cup. Stir & let set
5 minutes = now you have 1 cup

**NOTE: To get cupcakes to rise with a
perfect round top, you have to cook them
a few minutes at a higher temperature,
then lower the temp. to cook the middle
fully, otherwise your cupcakes will be
flatter. (IF flatter cupcakes are what you
desire, bake 16-18 minutes at 350 degrees F.


Vegetable Beef Soup

2 lb. ground beef
olive oil
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
8 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag frozen green beans
1 bag frozen corn
4 C. beef broth
1-2 C. water
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves

Heat olive oil in large stock pot over
medium heat; add ground beef &
brown – drain & remove meat. Add
more olive oil to pot; add celery,
onion, potatoes & carrots; saute until
onions are translucent. Add meat back
to pot; pour in beef stock, water, tomatoes,
frozen gr. beans & corn & bay leaves.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer &
cover. Let simmer 1 hour; season with
salt & pepper. Serves 6


Baked Sour Cream Chicken

4 skinless chicken breasts
1 T. olive oil
3/4 C. bacon, chopped roughly
1 1/2 C. sour cream
1 T. garlic, crushed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 C. frozen peas

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Heat frypan; add oil, bacon & garlic –
cook 2 minutes before adding
chicken breasts. Brown chicken breasts
until golden on both sides (do not
cook through). Pour contents of pan into
a baking tray. Mix sour cream & soup; pour
over top in pan. Bake 40 minutes; add
peas 10 minutes before end of cooking
time; serve immediately. Serves 4


Bacon/Chicken Pinwheels

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 slices thick pepper bacon
2 T. olive oil
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. garlic powder

wooden toothpicks soaked in water

Slice chicken breasts into 1 inch thick
slices. Slightly cook bacon, not to crisp.
Divide chicken strips into four equal parts;
lay a strip of bacon on top of chicken slice;
roll up with bacon on inside (you will
probably use 2-3 strips of chicken & 2 slices
bacon). Use toothpicks to secure together.
Drizzle olive oil over tops & bottoms of rolls
& sprinkle with thyme & garlic powder.
Grill over medium heat until chicken is
completely cooked, about 5 minutes per
side. Make sure chicken is completely
cooked before serving. Serves 4


Runza Casserole

2 lb. hamburger
2 finely chopped onions
4 C. fresh chopped cabbage
salt & pepper, to taste
2 pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spread one tube of cresc. rolls into
bottom of a 9″ X 13″ pan; bake 7
minutes until brown. While that’s baking,
brown hamburger & onion in a skillet;
drain then add cabbage. Let it steam a few
minutes; add salt & pepper. Spread
mixture on top of baked cresc. rolls.
Sprinkle top with cheese then spread
second roll of cresc. dough over top of
cheese. Bake 35-40 minutes, covering
with foil for last 10 minutes to soften
the crust.

(recipe: Just a Pinch/Facebook)

Smoky Baked Beans

1 lb. hot Italian ground sausage
1 (31 oz) can pork & beans
1 (16 oz) can kidney beans, drained/
1 (16 oz) can butter beans, drained/
1 (15.5 oz) can navy beans, drained/
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained/
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes & green
chiles, drained
1/2 C. hickory-smoke flavored BBQ
1/2 C. ketchup
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. steak seasoning (like A-1)
1 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)

In large skillet cook sausage & onion
over medium heat until meat is no
longer pink; drain. In 5 qt. crockpot,
combine beans, tomatoes & cooked
sausage/onion. In small bowl combine
BBQ sauce, ketchup, brown sugar,
mustard, steak seasoning & liquid
smoke (if using); stir into bean mixture.
Cover & cook on Low 7-8 hours or until
heated through. Makes 16 servings.


Stuffing Meatloaf

1 box stuffing mix, dry
1 c. warm water
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 pkg. onion soup mix (dry)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray inside of a bundt pan
with nonstick spray. Place
warm water, onion soup mix &
dry stuffing mix in a bowl; mix
well. Let stand 5 minutes to allow
bread crumbs time to absorb
water. Add eggs & ground beef;
mix well. Place into bundt pan
and even top.* Bake 1 hour
or until no longer pink inside.
Remove & let rest 5 minutes
before slicing.

*You can also put this mixture
into muffin tins, making
individual loafs.


Carrot Cake Muffins

1 3/4 C. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/4 C. oil
1 C. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla, divided
1 C. shredded carrots

1/2 C. cream cheese
1/4 C. powdered sugar
(remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla)

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Combine first 4 ingredients; set aside.
Whisk egg & oil in large bowl until
blended; stir in applesauce, brown
sugar & 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Add dry
ingredients; stir just until moistened;
stir in carrots. Spoon batter into
12 muffin cups sprayed with nonstick
spray. Bake 15 minutes until toothpick
inserted into centers comes out clean.
Cool in pan 5 minutes; remove to
wire rack to cool completely. Makes
12 muffins

Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar &
remaining vanilla until blended; spread
onto cooled muffins.

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Have a GREAT day – it’s Saturday and,
for most of us, a ‘day off’ from work –
do something to ENJOY the day, even
something little!

“Life’s short – eat dessert first!”



Published in: on February 21, 2015 at 11:09 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , ,

“Please Hold” . . .


Today is one of those “hurry up and wait” days – got a bill from one of the hospitals our son was in during December – amount owing was very large. I called the hospital and told them that this should all be covered with our insurance (mind you, much waiting on line BEFORE they answered). They check and tell me that Yes, the claim has been denied – what to do? She suggests I call the other insurance responsible for this portion of the bill, so I do. TWENTY-SOME MINUTES later, on hold the whole time, someone finally answers and tells me she has NO idea how I got to her, this line is for physicians ONLY! I convince her to transfer me over, get a lovely lady who checks it all out and tells me she has no idea about that bill because according to THEIR records, there is no claim submitted for those dates, at all! Now what? She suggests I call the hospital back and tell them that & give them the correct address for submitting the claim. (Yep – you guessed it, another 15 minutes or so on hold). Lady answers, tells me that she has no idea what I’m talking about, THEIR records show the first insurance company DENIED the claim – UGH! I just kept pressing/repeating the same thing over & over: That company states they have NO claim submitted!” Double UGH! Finally she relents and says that she’ll send it over to their billing department for review – WHEW! What a day! Crazy stuff! I can’t imagine what they thought I would do – this is no little bill – we’re talking large numbers! The company that would cover it said that we do not have a ceiling on our account (something the hospital said was the reason why it was denied: reached max level of coverage) – crazy! Insurance co. said she had no idea what they were meaning by reaching a max amount! (I guess it pays to be persistant, eh?) I can see us being libel for a certain amount above and beyond, but not THAT much!


Chicken/Pepper/Cream Cheese Taquitos

3 C. cooked, shredded chicken
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T. hot sauce
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
2 (4.5 oz, ea) cans green chiles
16 (6 inch each) flour tortillas
1 C. vegetable oil, for frying
salsa, for serving

Stir cooked chicken together with
cheeses, hot sauce & chiles. Working
with one tortilla at a time, add a few
Tablespoons chicken mixture onto
center of tortilla; roll up tightly.
Add oil to a large skillet over medium
heat. Once oil is hot, add about 4
taquitos to pan, seam sides down. Cook
taquitos 2-3 minutes per side, only
turn over once. Once cooked, transfer
to a warm 250 degrees F. oven while
working on rest of batch. When all
are cooked, serve with salsa.
Makes 16


Heavenly Apple Bake

1 (20 oz) pkg. refrigerated sugar cookie
3 apples, peeled/cored/sliced 1/4″ thick
(2 C.)
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 C. plus 2 T. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 C. flour
2 T. (1/4 stick) butter

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Press cookie dough into 9″ X 13″ pan,
completely covering bottom of pan. In
medium bowl mix apples with lemon
juice, 2 T. sugar & cinnamon; sprinkle
evenly over cookie dough. In small
bowl, combine remaining 1/4 C. sugar,
flour & butter, mix with a fork until
crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over apples.
Bake 30 minutes until top is golden.
Serves 15


Santa Fe Chicken Enchilada Stew

4 (6 inch) corn tortillas, cut into strips
1 tsp. oil
1 (8 oz) tub Kraft Philadelphia cream
cheese spread
1 C. plus 2 T. milk, divided
2 T. taco seasoning mix (about 1/2 of
1 oz. pkg.)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts,
cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed/drained
1 (11 oz) can corn with red & green
bell peppers, drained
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Toss tortilla strips with oil; spread in
single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Bake
10-12 minutes until crisp, stirring
occasionally. Mix cream cheese spread,
2 T. milk & taco seasoning mix until blended.
Cook chicken in large saucepan sprayed with
nonstick spray on medium-high heat 8-10
minutes or until done, stirring frequently.
Stir in cream cheese mixture, remaining milk,
beans, corn & tomatoes; simmer on medium-
low heat 6-8 minutes or until heated through,
stirring frequently. Serve topped with tortilla
strips & cilantro. Serves 6, 1 C. each

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

1/2 C quick cooking oatmeal
3/4 C boiling water
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
2/3 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1/4 C shortening

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix oatmeal with boiling water,
stir & cover. Mix remaining ingredients
then stir in the oatmeal mixture.
Grease and flour a 9X9 pan. Pour batter
into pan and bake23-25 minutes.

Coconut Pecan Frosting:
3 TBS melted butter
1/3 C brown sugar
1/2 C sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C chopped nuts
2 TBS milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients and mix
thoroughly. Carefully spread frosting over
top of the cake. Broil until coconut is just brown.
Watch very closely-it doesn’t take long. Cool,
slice and serve.

(recipe: Facebook)

Wrapped Apple BBQ Chicken

1 to 1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless
chicken tenderloins
6-8 slices bacon, cut in half
4 apples, peeled/cored/finely diced
1 1/2 C. BBQ sauce (your choice)
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried)

Wrap each piece of chicken with half
slice bacon. Place wrapped chicken in bottom
of crockpot (they can overlap). In bowl mix
diced apples, BBQ sauce, balsamic vinegar &
thyme (if using); pour over chicken. Cover &
cook on High 4 hours or Low 8 hours. To serve,
pull chicken pieces out & spoon some apple
mixture over top. Serves 6-8

(recipe: crockpotladies)

Zippy Corn Pudding

1 C. yellow cornmeal
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3 eggs
1 1/4 C. buttermilk
3/4 C. butter, melted
2 cans: one 14 3/4 oz,
one 8 1/4 oz, cream-style corn
2 C. frozen corn
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 C. (6 oz) shredded sharp
Cheddar cheese
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded/
1/2 C. chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven 350 degrees F. In
large bowl combine cornmeal &
baking soda. In small bowl whisk
eggs, buttermilk & butter. Add
cream-style corn, corn & onions;
stir in dry ingredients just until
moistened. Pour half of mixture
into a greased 9 X 13 pan. Sprinkle
with cheese & jalapenos; top with
remaining batter. Sprinkle top
with pecans. Bake, uncovered,
45-50 minutes or until a thermometer
reads 160 degrees F. Serve warm.
Makes 12 servings.


Egg Drop Soup

4 C. chicken broth
1 T. and 1 tsp. cornstarch
3 large eggs
1/2 T. soy sauce
1/2 inch cut fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. sesame oil

sliced scallions (garnish)

Whisk together 1 T. cornstarch &
chilled or room temp. chicken
stock. Pour stock into a saucepan
over medium-high heat; bring to
boil. Place ginger & peppercorns
in a teaball or bag; add to broth
along with the cinnamon stick,
soy sauce & white pepper. Turn
heat down to medium-low &
simmer 15 minutes. Scoop out
cinnamon stick; remove tea bag &
taste broth – add salt or soy sauce
as needed. In small bowl whisk
eggs with remaining 1 tsp. cornstarch.
Stir soup with a ladle. Rest a fork over
the bowl & press down on the back
of the fork with your thumb while your
fingers reach around to grip the bottom
of the bowl. Tilt the bowl to pour the
eggs slowly through the fork tines.
Whisk the broth with your other hand
as you pour. Let the soup stand for a
few seconds to finish cooking the eggs.
Stir in the sesame oil. Serve immediately.
Garnish top, if desired, with sliced
scallions. Makes 6 Cups


Meatball Parmesan Casserole

1 lb. ground turkey or beef
1 egg
1/2 C. plain breadcrumbs
1 T. Italian seasoning
3 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
6 cranks fresh ground black pepper

1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti sauce (your choice)
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 C. Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.

In large bowl, mix meatball ingredients
until combined evenly. Roll into 40 balls
(about 1 1/2 – 2 inches); place on baking
sheet, evenly spaced. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees F.

Pour half of spaghetti sauce in bottom of
a 2 qt. baking dish; top with cooked
meatballs. Pour remaining sauce over
meatballs; top with shredded cheeses.
Cover with foil & bake an additional 5
minutes until cheeses are melted. Serve
as is, or with cooked pasta – also great
on a sub bun. Makes 40 meatballs.


Double Lemon Cheesecake Bars

52 vanilla wafers finely crushed
(about 2 C.)
3 T. butter or marg, melted
4 eggs, divided
4 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1 3/4 C. sugar, divided
3 T. flour
1 T. lemon zest + 1/3 C. juice
from 2 lemons, divided
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 T. cornstarch
1/2 C. water

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 9″ X 13″ pan with foil, extending
ends of foil over sides for handles. Mix
wafer crumbs & butter until blended;
press onto bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.
Separate 1 egg; refrigerate yolk until ready
to use. Beat cream cheese, 1 C. sugar, flour,
lemon zest, 2 T. lemon juice & vanilla in large
bowl using elec. mixer until blended. Add egg
white & remaining 3 whole eggs, one at a time,
mixing on Low speed after each addition just
until blended; pour mixture over baked crust.
Bake 40 minutes or until center is almost set.
Let cool 1 hour; refrigerate 4 hours.

Mix cornstarch & remaining sugar in medium
saucepan. Gradually stir in water & remaining
lemon juice until blended. Bring just to boil on
medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook & stir
until clear & thickened. Lightly beat reserved egg
yolk in small bowl with fork until blended; stir in
2 T. of hot cornstarch mixture. Return to remaining
cornstarch mixture in saucepan; stir until blended.
Cook 1 minute or until thickened, stirring
constantly. Cool slightly. Spoon lemon mixture over
cheesecake. Refrigerate 1 hour until firm. Use
foil ‘handles’ to remove cheesecake from pan
before cutting. Makes 16 servings

(recipe: Kraft foods)


Our weather is chilly (in the single digits) but
at least it’s not below zero during the day;
just before I went to bed last night I glanced
out at our thermometer to see the temp:
minus 14 – ah, yes – that’s cold!

Stay inside (if you can), stay warm & relax
a little!



Published in: on February 20, 2015 at 4:38 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Stayin’ “IN”!


Since it’s mid-Winter and we’re getting the ‘usual’ for Michigan at this time of year, I’m not surprised at our temperatures (they can always get worse!). Having heard from a few of you about YOUR temperatures, I’m not complaining. We ended up canceling my special needs group last night due to below zero temps; it’s supposed to get much worse tonight (right now our temp is hovering at zero with -17 wind chills) – that’s why I’m STAYIN’ IN! At times like these I tend to let my mind wander to what I could/should be doing – like cleaning (NAW – don’t feel like THAT!), read my book? I’m almost done with the last installment of the ‘Alphabet’ series by Sue Grafton (finishing up about 25  pages of “I is for Innocent” – just reserved J-K-L & M). Knitting? Yesterday I finished up 2 more baby hats, straightened out a ‘mess’ on a 2-row pattern scarf (one of those “so easy you could do it in your sleep’ patterns) – apparently I can’t! Took it to Knit Night thinking “easy” – ended up discovering somehow I’d knit the purl row and then continued on that vein for another 5-6 rows while chatting with my friends – UGH! Ripped back to the ‘regular’ row and got ‘back on track'; knit a few more rows on the baby afghan – it’s a little over half done now and is a bit heavy; this is one I’ll be glad I’m done with. When will I EVER learn to not go with the ‘fancy’ patterns??? Sigh…

Lots of ‘yummy-sounding’ recipes coming in lately – here ya go!


 Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

1 box vanilla cake mix (Duncan Hines
‘Signature French Vanilla)
1/2 C. butter, melted
3 large eggs, divided
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 C. plus 2 T. confectioners sugar
1 (21 oz) can strawberry pie filling

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Spray a 9″ X 13″ pan with nonstick
spray. Combine cake mix, butter &
1 egg in large bowl until well blended;
reserving 1/3 C. for topping.
Press remaining mixture into bottom
of prepared pan. Beat cream cheese
using elec. mixer in large bowl. Beat in
remaining eggs & 2 1/2 C. confect. sugar.
Pour mixture over cake ‘crust’ in pan.
Spread strawberry pie filling on top &
sprinkle with reserved cake mix mixture.
Bake 1 hour until golden brown. Refrigerate
until chilled. Cut into bars & sprinkle top
with remaining confectioners sugar.


The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich

3/4 C. mayonnaise
1 (3 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
10 slices sourdough bread
4 T. butter, softened

In medium bowl using elec. mixer, beat
mayonnaise & cream cheese until light &
fluffy. Stir in Cheddar cheese, Mozz. cheese
& garlic powder; mix well. Spread each of
five slices bread evenly with cheese mixture.
Top with remaining bread slices. Spread
butter on both sides of sandwiches. In a
large skillet over medium heat, cook
sandwiches in batches until golden brown
on both sides & cheese is melted.
Makes 5 sandwiches.


Classic Rice Pudding

8 C. (1/2 gallon) milk
1 C. uncooked long or whole-grain rice
3 egg yolks, beaten
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In large pot combine milk, rice, egg
yolks & sugar; bring to boil over
medium heat. Cook 20-25 minutes
until thickened & rice is tender,
stirring frequently to keep rice from
sticking. Remove from heat; stir in
vanilla & allow to cool slightly before
serving. Serves 8


Fiesta Pork Chops

6-8 pork chops
1 (15 oz) can chili beans with chili
1 1/2 C. salsa
1 C. corn
green chiles, to taste

3-4 C. cooked rice

Layer all ingredients (except rice)
in crockpot in order listed. Cover;
cook on Low 5 hours or High 2 1/2
hours. Serve over cooked rice.
Serves 6


Potato Goulash with Sausage

2 T. vegetable oil
1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into
thick slices
2 medium yellow onions, halved
lengthwise then sliced
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. black pepper
6 small russet potatoes, peeled &
sliced into 1/2″ thick slices
1 (14.5 oz) beef broth (about 1 3/4 C.)

Brown sausage in veg. oil over medium-high
heat in 12″ Dutch oven or heavy pot* until nicely
browned & crisp around edges. Remove sausage
from oil with slotted spoon; set aside. Add onions
& saute 5 minutes; add paprika, salt, garlic & pepper;
continue cooking 2 more minutes. Add potato slices
to onions & stir until potatoes are nicely coated with
onions & seasonings. Add beef broth; bring to slight
boil. Reduce heat to medium; continue simmering,
uncovered, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
(you might have to poke potatoes around for a bit,
to make sure they stay submerged or mostly
submerged in broth.)
Stir in sausage, reduce heat to low & continue
cooking, uncovered, until potatoes are tender;
stirring occasionally.

*It is important to use a pot close to 12 inches in
diameter to insure the broth will be deep enough
to cook the potatoes.

(recipe: Facebook)

Beef & Mushroom Stew

1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 1/2 lb. beef stew meat
3 T. cooking oil
1 1/2 C. sliced carrots (4 carrots)
1 C. (1/2″ diagonally) sliced celery
(4 stalks)
1 C. spicy vegetable juice (V8)
1 C. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3 potatoes cut into 1″ chunks
2 onions, each cut into 8 wedges
1 (8 oz) pkg. cremini mushrooms, halved

Preheat oven 300 degrees F.
Combine flour, salt & pepper in large, heavy-duty
zip-lock plastic bag. Add half of beef; seal bag & shake
until beef is evenly coated. Remove meat from bag,
shaking off excess flour mixture; place on large plate.
Repeat with rest of beef & flour mixture. Heat a
Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 T. oil to pan,
swirl to coat. Add half of coated beef; cook 3 minutes,
turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan;
repeat with rest of meat & oil, leaving beef in pan. Return
first half of meat to pan; add carrot & remaining ingredients
scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cover & bake 2 hours
30 minuets or until beef & vegetables are tender.
Serves 8, about 3/4 C. each

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Southern-style Cabbage Soup

1 small head cabbage, chopped
2 lb. lean ground beef
4 T. butter
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans stewed or diced
1 can Ro*tel tomatoes
2 (8 oz, ea) cans tomato sauce
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 small bell pepper, finely chopped
diced potatoes
2 T. salsa, (optional)
3 C. beef broth
(spices – your choice, season
to taste):
cayenne pepper
chili powder
4 garlic cloves, minced
pinch salt
black pepper
dash Old Bay seasoning
dash Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning
dash (salt-free) Mrs. Dash

Saute celery, onion, bell pepper & garlic
in olive oil in skillet; set aside. Brown
ground beef; drain. Add cabbage to skillet;
lightly toss in 4 T. butter; cook until cabbage
is tender. Combine all ingredients in a
large pot or Dutch oven; cook until potatoes
are tender, about 45 minutes.

(recipe: Facebook)

Tuna Cakes

2 (5 oz, ea) cans chunk light tuna
in water, drained/flaked
1 (6 oz) pkg. stuffing mix for chicken
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
3/4 C. water
1 carrot, shredded
1/3 C. mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
2 T. sweet pickle relish

Combine all above ingredients in a
bowl; refrigerate 10 minutes. Heat a
large nonstick skillet sprayed with
nonstick spray on medium heat. Using
an ice cream scoop, make 1/3 C. portions
of tuna mixture, in batches and place in
skillet. Flatten scoop ‘balls’ into patties
using back of spatula. Cook 6 minutes
or until golden brown on each side,
carefully turning patties over after
3 minutes. Serves 6

Note: For easier handling: shape tuna
mixture into patties, place in single layer
on a baking sheet & refrigerate 1 hour before
cooking as directed.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Chocolate Berry Muffins

2 1/2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C. sugar
3/4 C. milk
6 T. butter, melted
1/2 C. miniature chocolate chips,
2 C. frozen mixed berries

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line two muffin tins with paper
liners; set aside. In medium bowl
add flour, baking powder & sugar;
whisk together. Add dry ingredients
to bowl & mix until well combined.
Stir in melted chocolate; stir in
berries; mix well & scoop batter
into muffin liners (3/4 of way
full). Bake 20 minutes.Cool &
serve. Makes 20 muffins


That’s what’s ‘happening’ around here
lately. Tomorrow we have our grandson
all day – no school this week. Now that
he’s a bit older, it’s a little easier to keep
him amused. He likes playing video &
computer games plus he usually brings
something he likes to play on/with; ought
to keep us busy. Middle son is coming over
to get some paperwork/medical stuff
arranged – looks like I’m in for a busy day.

Stay warm – maybe drink something
that warms you up (cocoa/tea/coffee),
snuggle a little under a nice warm wrap/
blanket, slip in a quick nap or read a good
book – something that YOU like doing.
Last night I was reading my book, middle
son had stopped over for awhile and fell
asleep on the couch. I didn’t realize it
but woke up suddenly when youngest
came home from work – funny, the house
was quiet, nice & warm – perfect for a
quick nap! Never underestimate the power
of a “Power Nap”! (at least you can CALL
it that if you’re caught taking one! hehe)



‘Nother Cold one!


This one says zero – we woke up to -8 F.  today!

Got up today, knowing we’d be going to church and not really ‘thinking’ about what the outside temperatures would be UNTIL I peeked out and saw that our outdoor thermometer read -8 F. -that’s COLD! When we got in the car, the car temp. read -10 and stayed that way until we got to church where it read -12 (our church is located kind of in the country). It was nice to see that quite a few brave souls made it out, even WITH the cold. The real test will be later when I have to go back (choir practice 4:30 p.m., then evening church) and get out around 7:45 p.m.; somehow I KNOW it’s going to be really cold in my car (and no automatic starter to help things along). Oh well, I’m a born & raised Michigan Girl – I can handle this! (Thanks to those of you who commented on my last post about YOUR temperatures – even though it’s cold here, I can be happy it’s not COLDER, like one of you wrote!) There’s always a blessing if we just but LOOK for it, right?


Butter Cake Bars

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 stick (1/2 C.) melted butter
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 lb. bag (about 3 3/4 C.)
powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line an 8″ X 8″ baking pan with
parchment paper. In a bowl mix
cake mix, melted butter & 1 egg
until a soft dough forms; press
into bottom of prepared dish.
In a stand mixer combine cream
cheese, 2 eggs, sugar & vanilla
until smooth; spread over cake mix
layer. Bake 45 minutes or until
edges are golden brown & center
has set to a soft consistency. Cool
completely before slicing into bars.
Dust top with powdered sugar, if


Bacon-Cheeseburger Meatloaf

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 egg
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 C. Italian bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
1 T. pepper
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
3 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled

1/2 C. ketchup
1 T. mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with
parchment paper; set aside. In large bowl,
place meats, egg, Worc. sauce, bread crumbs,
salt/pepper, garlic & onion powders. Using
your hands, gently combine all ingredients until
they are all combined. If mixture feels too dry,
add a little beef stock or broth, as needed. Place
half of mixture on prepared pan; shape into a
long loaf. Place crumbled bacon & shredded
cheese over top; place remaining meat over
top & gently pinch together with bottom half to
make one loaf, shaping as you go. In small bowl
combine all glaze ingredients until combined;
using a spatula, spread glaze over top of loaf.
Cook 1 hour or until desired doneness is reached.
Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before cutting.
Serves 10

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)

Bell Pepper Quiche

12 eggs
1 1/2 C. cottage cheese
1/2 C. milk
2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 banana pepper, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1/4 C. chopped basil
1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. melted butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder

Cook bell pepper, banana pepper, basil &
onion in medium skillet at medium heat
7 minutes. Beat together eggs, cottage
cheese, milk, both cheeses, flour, butter,
salt & baking powder 3 minutes in a mixing
bowl. Add pepper mixture to bowl with egg
mixture; stir together & pour into greased
crockpot. Cook quiche on Low 4 hours. Let
cool 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 3-4


The Very Best Salisbury Steak

1 (10.5 oz) can Campbell’s French
Onion soup
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 C. dry breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 T. flour
1/4 C. ketchup
1-3 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, to
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 C. water

In large bowl mix 1/3 C. condensed
soup, ground beef, bread crumbs,
egg, salt & black pepper; shape into
6 oval patties. In large skillet over
medium-high heat, brown both sides
of patties; drain fat. In small bowl blend
flour, & remaining soup until smooth.
Mix in ketchup, water, Worc. sauce &
dry mustard; pour over meat in skillet.
Cover & cook 20 minutes, stirring

(recipe: facebook)

Irish Ham & Potato Pie

6 large eggs
1/2 C. green onions chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 C. cooked, diced potatoes
1 1/2 C. (6 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
1 C. diced cooked ham
1/2 C. finely chopped green bell
1/2 C. Half & Half

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Generously butter a 9″ pie plate.
Whisk eggs, onions, salt & pepper
together in large bowl. Add potatoes,
cheese, ham, bell pepper, Half & Half,
stir to blend. Pour mixture into prepared
pie dish. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes until
tested done when a knife inserted into
center comes out clean. Cut into wedges
to serve. Serves 4-6

(recipe: Rhonda-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Favorite Coffee Squares

1 C. raisins
2 C. water
1/2 C. shortening
1 large egg
1 C. sugar
2 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 C. powdered sugar
2 T. milk (approx)
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place water & raisins in a
saucepan & boil until only
1 C. liquid remains. In a bowl,
add shortening, then pour in
hot liquid from raisins; set
aside to let cool. Beat eggs &
sugar together; stir in cooled
shortening mixture. Mix in
dry ingredients & fold in raisins.
Grease a 10 X 15 edged cookie
sheet; spread dough into pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes. Mix
together glaze ingredients & frost
bars with glaze while bars are
still warm. Cut into squares.
Makes approx. 24 bars

(recipe: Heidi –

Hope you have a GREAT day – stay warm!



Published in: on February 15, 2015 at 1:07 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 411 other followers