New Year’s Eve!


Today is New Year’s Eve and I ventured out to do a ‘few’ errands (which, of course, turned into MORE errands) – but that’s OK – got most of what I wanted, done. Made an extra stop at Game Stop to pick up a 3DS charger for middle son’s game system (he owns a 3DS – which is a hand-held game player) but thinks he left the charger at the old apartment (it’s just easier to get a new one than go through the hassle – plus it’s 1/2 hour away). I was totally surprised that it only cost $10.31! (The system for it is REALLY expensive – in my humble opinion). Tried the library to return books, but they were closed. Stopped at Kroger (totally forgetting it’s a holiday eve) and was greatly surprised at the number of cars in the parking lot. Shopping was ‘interesting’ – every end of the aisle was like a stop light – lots of people rushing here & there so you really had to keep your eyes open! Leaving the parking lot I saw a lady in a van almost HIT a man in a power wheelchair – she wasn’t looking and he was lower than a car height (not taking her side by any means) – scary stuff! Got a GREAT deal on a Honeysuckle Young Turkey ($14.10 for a 14 lber) – so that’s what we’re having for dinner for the next few nights! YAY! The guys had made the comment that they really like turkey any time, so here ya go!


Velveeta Potato Bites

2 lb. baking potatoes (about 6),
peeled & cut into chunks
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 lb. (4 oz) Velveeta, cut into
24 cubes
1 pkt. Shake ‘N Bake Extra Crispy
seasoned coating mix

1  1/2 C. thick, chunky salsa

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Cook potatoes in boiling water in
large saucepan 15-20 minutes until
tender. Drain & cool 10 minutes.
Mash potatoes until smooth; add
onions, egg & pepper; mix just until
blended. Empty coating mix into a pie
plate. Roll potato  mixture into 24
balls, using about 2 T. for each. Insert
1 Velveeta cheese cube into center of
each ball, completely enclosing cheese.
Roll each ball in coating mix & place
on rimmed baking sheet sprayed with
nonstick spray. Bake 14-16 minutes
until heated through. Serve with salsa
Makes 24 balls

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Creamy Sausage Dip

1 lb. pork sausage
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
room temperature
2 (10 oz, ea) cans diced tomatoes &
green chiles, well drained (like
1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Brown sausage in skillet until cooked
through; drain fat. Add cooked
sausage, cream cheese, diced tomatoes
& garlic salt to crockpot. Heat until
bubbly, stirring occasionally.

Serve with tortilla chips

Extras: can also add bunch of chopped
green onions and/or 1/2 C. Parmesan
cheese to mixture.

IF you like it hot: you can make this
using Hot pork sausauge and Extra
Hot diced tomatoes & green chiles


No Bake Peanut Butter/Choc. Chip
Granola Bites

1 C. old fashioned oats
1 c. coconut
1/4 C. ground flax seed
1/4 C. wheat germ
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C. mini chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients in large
mixing bowl; mix well. Refrigerate
30 minutes. Once chilled, roll
mixture into approx. 1 inch balls,
using about 1 T. of mixture for each
ball. Store in refrigerator for up to
1 week. Makes approx. 30.

(recipe: thekitchenismyplayground.

Beefy Taco Dip

1 lb. ground beef
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C. (8 oz) sour cream
3/4 C. mayonnaise
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
4 C. shredded lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced

tortilla chips, for dipping

In small bowl beat cream cheese,
sour cream & mayonnaise until
smooth; spread onto a 12 – 14″
pizza pan or serving dish. Refrigerate
1 hour. In saucepan over medium heat,
brown beef; drain. Add taco seasoning &
tomato sauce; cook & stir 5 minutes; cool
completely. Spread over cream cheese
layer & refrigerate.
Just before serving, sprinkle top with
cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onion &
green pepper. Serve with chips.


Cheesy Enchilada Quinoa

1 lb. ground turkey
1 1/2 C. uncooked quinoa (rinsed)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed/drained
1 C. frozen corn
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes & green
1/2 C. salsa
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 C. chopped onion
1/2 C. sweet bell pepper, chopped
1 C. water
1 (19 oz) can enchilada sauce (or
two 10 oz cans)
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 C. shredded Cheddar or Mexican
1/3 C. fresh cilantro, chopped/
stems removed

(optional: 2 T. fresh lime juice,
sour cream, chopped green onions,
1 small jalapeno)

In large skillet cook ground turkey until
cooked; drain & place in crockpot. Add in
uncooked quinoa, black beans, corn,
diced tomatoes & green chiles (do not
drain, salsa & minced garlic. Add onion
& bell peppers, (chopped jalapeno, if
using). Add in water, enchilada sauce,
chili powder & cumin; stir well. Cover &
cook on High 3 to 3 1/2 hours until
liquid is absorbed into mixture. Uncover &
stir again; stir in cheese & fresh cilantro
(add in fresh lime juice if using, also
a dollop of sour cream & chopped green
onions, if using). Serves 6-8

Can be served in a bowl or on warmed


Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta

1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 T. olvie oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 C. water
1 to 1 1/2 C. chicken broth
12 oz. pasta (poster used shells)
2 oz. (1 C.) grated Parmesan
cheese, divided
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 oz (about 1 C.) shredded
mozzarella cheese
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken
breasts, cooked & cut into bite-
sized pieces
2 T. chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven 475 degrees F.
Place tomatoes in bowl of
food processor; pulse until
coarsely chopped, about 10
pulses. Place an oven-safe
skillet over medium-high heat;
add oil, garlic, oregano, red
pepper flakes & salt; cook until
just fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add chopped tomatoes, water,
1 C. chicken broth & pasta to
pan, stirring to combine. Bring
to a vigorous simmer, then cover
pan & continue simmering until
pasta is tender, about 16-18
minutes (you might need to
reduce heat slightly). Stir
frequently as it cooks. Once
tender, remove lid & stir in
3/4 C. Parmesan, pepper &
chicken. Season to taste with
additional salt/pepper if needed.
If mixture seems dry, add as much
of remaining 1/2 C. chicken broth
as needed to loosen it up.*
Sprinkle top evenly with mozzarella
cheese & remaining Parm. Transfer
pan to oven & bake 5-10 minutes or
until cheese has melted & bubbles
around edges. Garnish with basil
& serve.

*If you don’t have an oven-safe
skillet, transfer mixture to a baking

(recipe: traceysculinaryadventures.

No-Bake S’More Cake
(overnight recipe)

1 box graham crackers
2 (7 oz, ea) tubs marshmallow creme
1 tub Cool Whip, thawed
2 tsp. vanilla
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. salt

Mix marshmallow creme with Cool Whip
until smooth & creamy (use elec. mixer);
when smooth, add vanilla & mix again.
Lin bottom of a 9 X 13 pan with some of
the graham crackers (break to fit, if needed)
Spread 1/3 of marshmallow mixture evenly
over crackers; repeat: crackers/marshmallow,
ending in cracker layer.
Melt chips & cream in saucepan over medium
low heat until smooth, stirring constantly until
chocolate is completely melted & well combined.
Turn off heat. Add salt and, about every 5 minutes
whisk chocolate, about 5-20 minutes. Pour
mixture over top of crackers in pan & smooth out.
Place, uncovered, in freezer about 30 minutes.
Remove from freezer, cover & put in refrigerator
overnight. Serves about 20

Our weather is very chilly (20’s but with
the Wind Chill, it’s about 14 degrees F.);
still keeping clear & sunny, so it’s great
for walking/driving/etc.

Gas prices are still dropping: $1.88/9
for the lowest near us – YAY!

Hoping you have a SAFE and FANTASTIC
New Year – enjoy yourself, let the ones
who are closest in your life KNOW you
care about them and appreciate them.
Life is short – love the ones you can,
WHILE you can!



Published in: on December 31, 2014 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Thoughts on a Tuesday


It’s a bit chilly here (in the 20’s) but still clear and NO SNOW! YAY! I was reading our local paper this morning and they reported that our area is not showing any signs of the ‘white stuff’ through the end of this month – January, probably, but not this week; I can live with that!

Sitting here today printing out special needs group’s newsletters and working on more recipes for ya – lots of party dips & spreads.


Spicy Crab Spread

1 (8 oz) tub Kraft Chive & Onion
cream cheese spread
1 (6 oz) can lump crabmeat, drained/
2 tsp. cayenne pepper sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice

Mix all ingredients until well blended.

Makes 12 (2 T. each) servings

Serving suggestions:

Serve with baked wonton chips. Cut
24 wonton wrappers diagonally in
half; spread evenly on 2 rimmed
baking sheets sprayed with nonstick
spray. Lightly spray wrappers with
additional cooking spray. Bake
400 degrees F. until chips are crisp
& lightly browned.

Serve with cut-up fresh vegetables

NOTE: Spread can be prepared
ahead of time; refrigerate up to
24 hours before serving

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Feta Yogurt Spread

1 (4 oz) pkg. crumbled feta cheese
1 C. plain Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 C. finely chopped fresh parsley,
1 (6 oz) pkg. pita chips

Beat first 3 ingredients with elec.
mixer until well blended. Stir in
2 T. parsley. Place mixture in a
serving bowl & top with remaining
parsley. Serve with chips
Serves 12, 2 T. spread & 5 chips

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Cracked Pepper/Parmesan

3/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper*

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine cheeses; spoon into 14
mounds, 2 inches apart, on baking
sheet, using about 1 T. cheese
mixture for each. Flatten mounds
slightly & sprinkle tops with pepper.
Bake 6 minutes until golden brown,
rotating baking sheet after 3 minutes.
Transfer immediately to wire racks
to cool completely. Serves 14

*can substitute cayenne pepper or
smoked paprika

Note: these can be made ahead of time,
it is important to cool crisps completely
before storing in tight container at room
temperature until ready to serve.

(recipe:Kraft foods)

Cheesy Bean Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C. sour cream or Greek plain
1 (16 oz) can refried beans
2 T. taco seasoning mix
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tps. garlic powder
8 oz shredded sharp Cheddar
cheese, divided

tortilla chips for dipping

Blend all ingredients except
shredded cheese in a bowl. Spoon
half of mixture into crockpot;
layer with half of cheese. Add
remaining mixture & top with
remaining cheese. Cook on
Low 4 hours; serve with tortilla
chips.  Serves 12

Tailgate Nachos

1 lb. ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (16 oz) box mild Mexican
processed cheese, cut into cubes
(like Velveeta)
1 (15 oz) can chili hot beans
1/2 C. chopped green onions
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
2 (10 oz, ea) cans petite diced
tomatoes & green chiles, drained
1/2 C. guacamole
1/4 C. sour cream
1/4 C. sliced black olives

Pita chips

In large skillet brown ground beef
& garlic until beef is thoroughly
cooked;drain. Add Mex. cheese
cubes, beans & onion; stir to
combine. Heat mixture until hot &
cheese is melted. Before serving,
add Cheddar cheese & diced tomatoes;
stir to combine. Arrange tortilla chips
on a large platter & top with meat
mixture. Top with guacamole, sour
cream & sliced olives. Serves 12

Salsa Roll Ups

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 T. thick & chunky salsa
4 flour tortillas (6 inch)
1/2 C. Mexican-style shredded
1/4 tsp. chili powder

Mix cream cheese & salsa until
blended; spread on tortillas.
Top with remaining ingredients;
roll up tightly & cut each into
5 slices. Serves 10

(other roll up suggestions):

Pizza Roll Ups:
substitute pizza sauce for salsa,
shredded Italian mozzarella/
Parm. cheese blend & dried
oregano for chili powder.

BLT Roll Ups:
Omit salsa, shredded cheese &
chili powder. Spread tortillas
with cream cheese; top with
1 C. shredded lettuce, 2 T. bacon
chopped & 1 chopped tomato.
Roll up & slice.

NOTE: Roll ups can be prepared
ahead. Do not cut into slices;
wrap individual filled tortillas
in plastic wrap & refrigerate
up to 4 hours before slicing &

(recipe: kraft foods)

Creamy Casserole

2 C. cooked, cubed ham
1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen chopped
broccoli, thawed/drained
1 (8 oz) pkg. shredded Sharp
Cheddar cheese
1 (6 oz) pkg. seasoned croutons
4 eggs
2 C. milk
1/2 C. Miracle Whip salad dressing
2 T. flour
2 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. dried basil

Combine ham, broccoli, cheese &
croutons; place in greased 9 X 13
baking dish. Whisk eggs & milk in
medium bowl until blended. Add
remaining ingredients; mix well
& pour over ham mixture.
Refrigerate 1 hour (can be refrigerated
up to 24 hours before baking

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Bake casserole, uncovered, 45
minutes or until center is set.
Serves 8 (about 1 C. each)

(recipe: Kraft Foods)

Crab Rangoon Dip

2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese

2 (8 oz, ea) pkg. imitation crab
or 2 (6 oz, ea) cans crabmeat,
1 can cream of shrimp soup
1 green onion, chopped
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
(optional: 2 T. sugar)

Combine all ingredients in 3-4 qt.
crockpot. Cook on Low 2-3 hours.
Serve with crackers.


Stovetop Tamale Pie

1 lb. ground beef
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed
1/2 C. water
1 (1 1/4 oz) pkg. taco seasoning
1 (8 oz) pkg. corn muffin mix
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 C. sliced green onion

In large skillet brown ground beef
over medium-high heat; drain.
Stir in tomato sauce, beans, water
& taco seasoning mix; bring to boil.
Reduce heat, cover & simmer 5
minutes. Prepare corn muffin mix
accordg to pkg. directions. Drop
small spoonfuls of muffin batter
over meat mixture in skillet. Cover &
cook over medium-low heat 15-17
minutes or until corn bread is done.
Top with cheese & green onion.
Cover & cook over low heat until
cheese melts.Serves 4


Pecan Pie Bars

1 1/4 C. flour
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. cold butter

Pie Layer:
1/3 C. caramel ice cream topping
2 eggs
1/2 C. brown sugar
2 T. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 C. pecans, chopped

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9″ X 9″ pan. Mix
together flour & brown sugar in
a bowl. Cut in cold butter until
mixture is crumbly; pat into pan.
Bake 15-20 minutes. Remove from
oven & top with caramel ice cream
topping. In small bowl, whisk eggs,
brown sugar, flour, vanilla, salt &
baking soda; stir in chopped nuts.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until set.
Allow bars to cool then cut into
squares. Makes 16 squares.


Hope your day is going well; stay
healthy and enjoy yourself a



Published in: on December 30, 2014 at 1:23 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

End of the Year is Getting Closer!


Sat down to work on a few ‘end of the month’ bills when it hit me how very close New Year’s IS! I feel kinda lazy lately – not a lot to do, per se – still need to work on the special needs group’s newsletter (keep procrastinating on it!) Have a few errands to run in the next few days but nothing pressing (that’s a GOOD thing!). Middle son asked for Pierogies for dinner tonight (not a problem – have frozen in basement freezer!); I’d forgotten how much HE loves to eat! The rest of the guys are so-so, but he loves eating anything homemade, which for me is great because I love cooking for someone who loves to eat! We’re still plowing through cookies from last week (that’s another good thing – the guys love cookies). I realized when going down to clean out basement fridge & bringing up the leftovers, that we hadn’t touched the pumpkin pie yet! Bonus!

Have been finding some pretty yummy sounding ‘party’-type recipes for appetizers, etc. I have no idea what we’re doing for New Year’s Eve, but if I were a betting woman, I’d bet we will be safely ensconced right here at home eating some appetizers and probably going to be right after midnight – just sayin’ . . . (now, for the younger guys – who knows?)


Bacon Jalapeno Popper Quiche

9 inch frozen pie crust, defrosted
1/2 C. cream cheese, room temp
2 jalapenos, diced & seeded
1 jalapeno, sliced into rounds (garnish)
3 slices bacon, cooked crisp/ coarsely
1/2 C. whipping cream
1/2 C. Half & Half
5 large eggs
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
(optional); sour cream

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Prick defrosted pie crust all over bottom
& sides with a fork; bake 10 minutes.
Remove from oven; lower oven temperature
to 350 degrees F.
While crust is hot, spread cream cheese all
over bottom of crust as evenly as possible.
Sprinkle diced jalepenos over cream cheese
(jalapeno rounds are used for garnish). Place
cream & Half & Half in small pan over
medium heat about 5 minutes until tiny
bubbles appear around edges. Scald
(bring it to just under boiling point) until
very hot, but not boiling. Beat eggs together
in a bowl; add hot cream mixture to eggs &
whisk constantly to combine. Add paprika,
salt & bacon; mix together & pour into crust.
Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven, arrange
jalapeno slices on top, sprinkle with cheese &
bake 15-20 minutes until cheese has melted &
turned golden brown. Check at 12 minutes to
make sure it isn’t burning. Remove from oven
& cool slightly before serving. Serve with sour
cream on the side, if desired.


Pizza Nachos

Garlic Cream Sauce

1 1/2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C. heavy cream
1/4 C. milk
pinch salt
pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese, grated

your favorite crispy tortilla chips
garlic cream sauce (above)
1/4 C. diced onion
1/2 C. sliced pepperoni, cut into
bite sizes
1 to 1 1/2 C. Colby-Jack cheese,
(optional toppings):
1/2 C. sliced black olives
1/2 whole green bell pepper, chopped
sliced mushrooms or any other pizza
toppings you may like

Melt butter & olive oil on medium to low
heat; once melted, toss in garlic; stir.
Raise heat to medium or medium-high;
add cream & milk; stir – continue stirring
until it comes to a boil. Add salt, pepper &
chili flakes, Parm. cheese; continue
stirring (sauce will thicken quickly, keep
stirring). Once thickened, remove from heat
& set aside.
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Using an oven-proof dish sprayed with
nonstick spray, add chips to bottom of dish;
drizzle garlic sauce over chips. Top with
onions & pepperoni and other toppings
of your choice.Top with shredded cheese; cook
until cheese is bubbly & veggies are warmed
through, about 7 minutes.

Bacon Jalapeno Nachos

4 C. tortilla chips
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 C. creamy jalapeno sauce (below)

Creamy Jalapeno Sauce:
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
pepper, to taste
1 1/2 C. milk
8 oz. Jalapeno Cheddar cream cheese
1 C. chopped, cooked bacon
(optional: additional sliced jalapeno,

Prepare Sauce:
Melt butter in small saucepan over
medium heat; whisk in flour, salt
& pepper. Add milk & cook, stirring,
until mixture it thickened & bubbly.
Continue stirring & cook 1 minute
more. Remove sauce from heat & stir
in cream cheese until completely
melted. Add bacon; continue to
stir to combine.

Preparing Nachos:

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spread tortilla chips in small baking pan.
Top with Cheddar cheese & bake 8-10
minutes. Remove from oven & top with
hot creamy jalapeno sauce. Top with
additional jalapeno pieces, if deaired.

Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

12 large eggs, hard boiled & peeled
1 C. mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. vinegar
3/4 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 jalapenos, seeded/chopped
6 pieces bacon, cooked crisp/

Slice hard boiled eggs in half,
lengthwise. Remove yolks & place
in a mixing bowl; mash yolks with
a fork. Add mayonnaise, vinegar,
ground mustard & sugar; stir until
well combined. Mix in jalapenos &
bacon. Place mixture in a ziplock
bag. Cut a small hole in the bottom
corner of the bag to use as piping
bag. Using bag, fill each egg white
hole with mixture; sprinkle tops
with paprika. Chill until ready to
serve. Makes 24


Chicken-Parmesan Bundles

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen chopped
spinach, thawed/well drained
1 1/4 C. shredded mozzarella
cheese, divided
6 T. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
6 small boneless skinless chicken
breasts, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
1 egg
10 butter crackers, crushed (about 1/2 C.)
1 1/2 C. spaghetti sauce, heated

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix cream cheese, spinach, 1 C. mozzarella
& 3 T. Parmesan cheese until blended; spread
onto chicken. Starting at one short end of a
breast, roll up chicken tightly. Secure with
wooden toothpicks, if desired. Beat egg
in shallow dish. Mix remaining Parmesan &
cracker crumbs in separate shallow dish. Dip
chicken into egg, then into crumb mixture
to evenly coat. Place, seam sides down, in
9 X 13 baking dish sprayed with nonstick
spray. Bake 30 minutes until chicken is
done (165 degrees F.) Remove & discard
toothpicks. Serve chicken topped with
spaghetti sauce & remaining mozzarella.
Serves 6

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Kickin’ Ranch Corn Dip

1 (1 oz) pkg. Ranch salad & seasoning
16 oz. sour cream
1 (10 oz) can original Ro*Tel
1 (14.25 oz) can petite diced
tomatoes, drained
1 (15.25 oz) can whole kernel corn,
1 (4.25 oz) can diced green chiles,

3/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients together; refrigerate
1 hour before serving. Serve with tortilla chips or

‘scoops’ chips


7-Layer Bean Dip

1 (15 oz) can refried beans
1 lb. ground beef, cooked/crumbled/
drained & seasoned with salt/pepper
1 C. sour cream
1 C. salsa
1 (8 oz) pkg shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 C. jarred jalapeno slices*
1/4 C. green onions (topping)

tortilla chips, for dipping

Spread refried beans on bottom of
crockpot; layer next items – except
green onions. Cover & cook on High
1 1/2 hours. If salsa has caused some
liquid on the top, blot with paper
towels. Sprinkle top with green
peppers & serve with tortilla chips.

*if you don’t like jalapeno, fresh
chopped tomatoes or chunks of
avocado could be added at end of
cooking time.


Cheesy Apple Fondue

3/4 C. apple cider
2 C. (8 oz) finely shredded Cheddar
1 C. (4 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper

cut up fresh fruits such as
apple & pear wedges, chunks
of crusty bread for dunking

In medium saucepan heat apple
cider over medium heat until
bubbly. In a medium bowl, combine
remaining ingredients; mix well. Add
cheese mixture to cider, a little at
a time; stir continuously 4-5 minutes
or until mixture is thoroughly blended
& smooth. Transfer to fondue pot or
place saucepan on a warming tray to
keep fondue warm. Serve immediately.
Serves 4


Chicken & Roasted Red Potatoes

1/4 C. ranch salad dressing
6 large bone-in chicken thighs,
skin & fat removed
4 slices bacon
1 1/2 lb. red potatoes (about 5),
cut into 1 inch chunks
1 onion, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
2 T. chopped fresh parsley

Pour salad dressing over chicken in
shallow dish; refrigerate 1 hour

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Cook bacon in large skillet on medium
heat until crisp; remove, reserving
1 T. drippings in skillet. Drain bacon
on paper towels. Add potatoes & onions;
cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat; crumble bacon &
add to potato mixture – mix lightly.
Spoon into 9 X 13 baking dish. Remove
chicken from dressing; discard dressing.
Place chicken over potato mixture in
dish & bake 55 minutes to 1 hour until
potatoes are tender & chicken is done
(165 degrees F.). Top with cheese &
parsley. Serves 6

Black-eyed Peas & Ham Dip

1/2 C. diced country ham, cooked
2 (15.8 oz. ea) cans black eyed peas,
3/4 C. water
1 large tomato, finely chopped
2 scallions, sliced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley or
3 tsp. dried
2 T. olive oil
1-2 T. apple cider vinegar

crackers, butter crackers or cornbread

Spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick
spray; place on medium-high heat. Saute
ham 3-5 minutes until lightly browned.
Stir in black-eyed peas & water; reduce
heat to medium & simmer 8 minutes or
until liquid is almost evaporated. Partially
mash peas with back of a spoon to desired
consistency. In medium bowl stir tomato,
scallions, celery, parsley, oil & vinegar.
Spoon warm pea mixture into a serving
bowl. Top with tomato mixture & serve
with crackers, etc. Makes 12 appetizer

Note; Dip can be made a day ahead &
reheated before serving


Ham & Cheddar Spread

2 C. cooked ham, cut into small
3/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/3 C. chopped onion
1/4 C. sweet pickle relish, drained
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 T. spicy brown mustard
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Place all ingredients in a food
processor; process on medium
speed 1 minute. Scrape down
sides of bowl with rubber
spatula & process another minute.
Place on serving plate or bowl;
chill until ready to serve.

NOTE: you can also use leftover
cooked turkey, chicken or corned
beef in place of the ham.

Can also be used as a sandwich
filling or appetizer spread served
with crackers.


Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint

1 C. unsalted roasted peanuts
1 C. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 C. flour
1/4 tsp. fine salt
1 stick (8 T.) unsalted butter,
room temp
3/4 C. sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C. jelly (your choice)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with
parchment paper & spray with
nonstick spray. Place peanuts in
food processor & pulse to a
fine meal. Add oats, flour & salt –
process until blended. Transfer
to a bowl. In food processor, combine
butter & sugar; process until light &
fluffy. Add egg & vanilla & process
until smooth. Add half of dry
ingredients back into processor &
pulse to combine. Add remaining
half; pulse until combined. Drop
cookie dough by tablespoonfuls*
onto prepared sheets, leaving
1/2 inch between cookies. Use
your thumb to make a thumb
print in center of each cookie.
Bake cookies until bottoms are
lightly golden brown, 12-15
minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Stir jelly in a small bowl to
loosen it up and fill each
thumbprint with about 1
tsp. jelly. Makes about 40 cookies.

*poster uses an ice cream scoop

(recipe: Katie Lee-Foodnetwork)

Chocolate Coconut Balls

1 C. toasted chopped macadamia
1 c. sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
8 oz. sweetened shredded coconut
1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate
morsels, melted
1 T. shortening

In bowl mix nuts, cond. milk, almond &
coconut. Using your fingers, press
mixture into balls about 3/4 inch round.
Place on sheet trays lined with waxed
paper; let rest at room temp. 4 hours
or refrigerate for 1 hour.

After balls have set up, melt chocolate &
shortening until smooth. Dip balls in
mixture to coat evenly & lightly. Place onto
parchment or foil-lined sheet pan to dry.
Makes 30

(recipe: Alton Brown, Food Network)

Hope that you are enjoying a short

break this week (between Christmas
& New Years). I just looked at the
calendar & realized we will have our
grandson all day tomorrow, so visions
of my working on the newsletter just
went out the window – guess I’d better
stop procrastinating and ‘GET TO WORK’!

Hope your weather is nice – ours is STILL
holding at 30’s & sunny – no White Stuff –
YEAH!!! Gas prices are also GREAT –
$1.89/9 for cheapest around here;
another GREAT!!! YEAH!



It’s Saturday!


Christmas, 2014

Eric (20), Ben (25) Kris 31 & his son, our grandson (8)

We were very blessed to have Ben home and out of the hospital; we picked him up Tuesday and he’s doing VERY well – he lost 20 lbs. during his 2 1/2 week stay, but he’s doing his best to catch up on the lost eating!  (Eric – our ‘rebel’, is wearing some of his Christmas ‘attire’ – he loves the band Avenge Seven Fold so his t-shirt & hoodie are both ‘band attire’). It was a quiet Christmas; we all slept in until around 10:45 a.m. We each spent most of the day just relaxing, watching TV, reading, etc. until dinner time & Kris & his son arrived. He brought a cheese, summer sausage, cheeses & fruit tray. Dinner was glazed ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn casserole, cranberry stuffing, gravy, veggie tray & rolls. We were all too stuffed to even begin to think about the “Happy Birthday, Jesus’ chocolate cake or pumpkin pie! (and lots of cookies). This year I received a 1-cup Keurig coffee maker – oldest son said he’s tired of me drinking ‘instant’ coffee – he’s searching for the Tim Horton’s K-cups, since husband & I love Tim’s coffee. Great gift (except I don’t have any counter space to put it!) – will have to do some MAJOR cupboards arranging to fit it! Not much going on lately; I still have to write out Thank You cards for my gifts from some of my special needs group students. I thought the ham I bought for Christmas (9.66 lb) was a nice, big one but after one big meal, sending some home with oldest son, I was shocked to find it was mostly a HUGE bone! There was enough left over for 2 omelets and now maybe enough for Navy Bean soup, if I’m so inclined. The guys raved over it so I’m thinking of getting another ham soon; they did that, also, with the turkey! Right now Ben’s ready to eat ANYTHING I’ll prepare for him! I, of course, am lovin’ it – I love to cook for someone who loves to eat! Tonight dinner will be homemade turkey pot pie (using up the last of the extra turkey I cooked last week) – it’s another of Ben’s favorites.

I have lots of recipes to pour through for the New Year’s appetizers, but just haven’t done so yet. Today it’s mostly ‘regular’ recipes but I’ll make a good attempt at getting out those others soon. I just realized that I still have to do the special needs group’s newsletter soon – we go back Jan 7th so I do have a ‘little’ time, but if I stall any I’m sure to get a few harried phone calls: “Pam! Did you send the newsletter yet???” They DO count on getting them, even though the calendar is pretty much the same thing every month.


Crockpot Creamy Chicken
Noodle Soup

1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken
5 medium carrots, peeled/choppced
(1 3/4 C.)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
(1 1/2 C.)
4 stalks celery, chopped (1 1/4 C.)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. olive oil
6 C. chicken broth (3  15 oz ea cans)
1 C. water
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp. celery seed, finely crushed*
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper, to taste
2 C. uncooked wide egg noodles
3 1/2 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. fresh lemon juice

saltine crackers or Parmesan cheese,
for serving (optional)

Add uncut chicken, diced carrots, onion,
celery & garlic to crockpot. Drizzle oil
over top then add chicken broth, water,
thyme, rosemary, celery seed, bay leaves &
salt/pepper to taste. Cover & cook on Low
6-7 hours.
Remove cooked chicken & allow to rest 10
minutes, then dice into bite-sized pieces.
Add egg noodles & parsley to crockpot.
Turn up temp. to High; cover & cook
10 minutes longer (or until noodles are
tender). Stir in lemon juice; toss in cooked
chicken. Serve warm with saltines and/or
top with Parmesan cheese. Serves 4-5

*poster noted she crushed the rosemary
in the palm of her hand. Celery seed she
placed in a ziplock bag & crushed with the
side of a meat mallet.


White Bean & Ham Soup

2 T. margarine
1 C. sliced carrots
1/2 C. diced celery
1 C. chopped fully cooked ham
2 (15 oz, ea) cans Great Northern
beans, drained/rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
with basil, garlic & oregano, undrained
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 1/2 C. water

Melt margarine in large saucepan or
Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add
carrots & celery; cook 8 minutes or until
vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
Add remaining ingredients & heat to
boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low,
simmer 5 minutes. Serves 6 (1 1/4 C. ea)


Chocolate Toffee Cheesecake

30 Oreos
1/3 C. melted butter

4 (8 oz, ea) pkg. cream cheese,
1 C. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 C. sour cream
4 eggs

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 oz. whipping cream
dash salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 (12 oz) bag Heath Toffee pieces

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Place Oreos in small food processor
& grind; place crumbs in small bowl.
Pour melted butter over crumbs & mix
to combine well. Using a 10″ springform
pan, press crumbs on bottom and up
1″ of sides of pan. (Note; it works well
to use the bottom of a small measuring
cup to press crust into pan).
Beat cream cheese in stand mixer 2
minutes, until smooth. Add sugar &
vanilla; mix until well combined. Add
eggs, one-at-a-time, mixing well between
each egg. Stir sour cream into mixture,
just until incorporated. Place a 9 X 13
pan of water on lower rack of oven. Pour
cheesecake filling over chocolate crumb
crust. Bake cheesecake 60-70 minutes.
Remove from oven when a toothpick
inserted into middle comes out clean.
Cool completely on wire rack then
refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Place all topping ingredients (except
toffee chips) in microwavesafe bowl.
Heat 30 seconds, then stir. Keep
heating in 30 second increments until
chocolate melts & can easily be
incorporated into cream. Whisk
together well. Set chocolate topping
on counter & let it set up 15 minutes
until it begins to thicken.
NOTE: If you pour it over the cheesecake
when it’s too thin, it will be a mess. It
needs to be thick enough so that once
you pour it over the cheesecake you can
gently PUSH it over the side of the cake
and it will set nicely. The longer you
let it set, the thicker it will become.

When topping is right consistency, pour
it on top of cheesecake. Gently push
it over sides in several areas with a
spoon, so that it runs down sides of
cake just a little. Cover top with toffee
chips & refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serves 12


Chicken-Chile Stew with Beans
(overnight recipe)

1 lb. dry navy beans
6 chicken thighs (2 1/4 lb)
2 thick slices salt pork (about 4 oz)
8 C. chicken stock or water
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
2 large Anaheim or poblano peppers,
seeded/ribs removed/cut into 1/3″ dice
1 small serrano or jalapeno peppers,
seeded/minced (optional)
1 T. chopped garlic
1 T. paprika
1 T. chili powder
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. tomato paste
1 T. honey
2 C. peeled/cubed pumpkin or winter
squash (1 inch cube)

Hot, cooked rice

chopped cilantro, slivered red onion,
thin slices jalapeno or serrano peppers,
sour cream

Rinse beans & remove any stones or
damaged beans; place in 6 qt. Dutch
oven. Add 8 C. water; cover & soak
8-24 hours.
Drain & rinse beans; return to pan & set
In large, nonstick skillet slowly
cook salt pork until lightly browned; add
to beans along with 8 C. stock/water. Add
a big pinch salt; bring to a simmer. Skim
‘scum’ as needed. Simmer, partially covered,
1 1/2 hours.
In skillet used to cook salt pork, slowly cook
chicken, skin side down first, until very well
browned, about 15 minutes. Remove chicken
from skillet; set aside. Pour off all but 2 T.
fat from pan. Add onions & a dash kosher
salt; stir well, scraping up any browned bits
from bottom of pan. Add peppers & garlic;
stir well. Cook, slowly 5-10 minutes, stirring
often. Sprinkle with paprika, chili powder &
cocoa; stir well. Stir in tomato paste & honey;
cook another 3-5 minutes. If liquid level is
below the beans, add more stock or water.
Ladle a cup of bean liquid into the onion/
pepper mixture; bring to a simmer, carefully
transfer to Dutch oven with beans. Taste for
seasonings & adjust as needed. Add chicken
thighs & cook, partially covered, on a low
simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add pumpkin &
cook until chicken is tender & pumpkin is cooked
through but not collapsing, about 15 minutes.
Remove & discard salt pork. Serve over rice,
with toppings. Serves 6


Lemon Refrigerator Bites

1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 C. Cool Whip, thawed

garnish suggestions: lemon zest,
fresh blueberries or fresh fruit

Spray an 8 X 8 baking dish with nonstick
spray. In medium bowl, combine graham
cracker crumbs, sugar & butter; mix well.
Press mixture firmly into prepared pan;
refrigerate until ready to fill.
In large bowl beat cream cheese &
condensed milk until smooth. Beat in
lemon juice & zest; stir in Cool Whip just
until mixed; pour into graham crust.
Refrigerate 6 hours or until filling is firm.
Garnish with your choice of suggested items.
Slice into 2 inch squares & serve.
Makes 20 squares.

Egg Drop Soup

3 1/4 C. chicken broth plus 3/4 C.,
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
2 T. chives, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
4 eggs
1 egg yolk

Pour 3 1/4 C. chicken broth into a
large saucepan. Stir in salt, ginger &
chives; bring to a boil. In a cup or
small bowl stir together remaining
broth & cornstarch until smooth;
set aside. In small bowl whisk eggs &
egg yolk together using a fork. Drizzle
egg, a little at a time, from fork into
boiling broth mixture; egg should
cook immediately. Once eggs have
been dropped, stir in cornstarch
mixture gradually until soup is the
desired consistency. Serves 4


Pizza Casserole

1 box bow tie pasta
1 lb. sausage, mild
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 large onion, chopped
2 (26 oz,ea) jars spaghetti
1/2 C. cubed cooked ham
1/2 to 1 lb. sliced pepperoni
3 (8 oz, ea) bags shredded
mozzarella cheese
6 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta until al dente in
boiling water. Cook sausage,
garlic powder & oregano with
onions until juices run clear.
(Drain grease).
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 9 X 13 pan; pour
a small amount of spaghetti
sauce in bottom to lightly coat.
Layer ingredients in this order:

1st Layer:
1/3 of pasta
1/3 remaining sauce
1 bag mozzarella cheese
2 T. Parmesan cheese
Sausage & onions

2nd Layer:
1/2 of remaining pasta
1/2 remaining sauce
1 bag mozzarella cheese
2 T. Parmesan cheese

3rd layer:
all remaining pasta
all remaining sauce
1 bag mozzarella cheese
2 T. Parm. cheese
all pepperoni, completely
covering entire top of dish

Bake 40 minutes. Let set
5 minutes before serving.
Serves 8-10

Cheeseburger Dip

1/2 lb. ground beef
1 C. chopped onion
1 (6 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. ketchup
1/2 C. cooked/chopped bacon
1 C. shredded Sharp Cheddar
1 tsp. salt
sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cook onion & ground beef in medium
skillet until beef is cooked completely;
drain & set aside. In medium bowl
combine cream cheese, mayonnaise,
ketchup, bacon, Cheese & salt; stir
until well combined – stir in ground
beef mixturue. Pour into a 8″ X 8″
pan, smooth out. Bake 20-25 minutes
Sprinkle sesame seeds on top before
serving (gives a cheeseburger ‘bun’

Upside-Down Lemon

Meringue Dessert

1/4 C. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
2 1/2 C. water
2 (3 oz, ea) pkgs. lemon Jell-0
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 C. miniature marshmallows
1/4 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. sour cream
1 T. graham cracker crumbs

Mix sugar & cornstarch in medium saucepan.
Gradually stir in water until blended. Bring to
boil on medium heat; cook 8 minutes, stirring
constantly. Remove from heat & add dry
Jell-0 mixes & zest; stir 2 minutes until Jello
is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour or
until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
Microwave marshmallows & milk in medium
microwaveable bowl on High 1 minute or until
marshmallows are puffed. Stir until marshmallows
are completely melted & mixture is well blended.
Stir in vanilla; cool 5 minutes. Blend in sour cream.
Pour into 9 inch square pan* sprayed with non-stick
spray. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Spoon Jello mixture gently over marshmallow layer
in pan. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Sprinkle with
graham cracker crumbs. Unmold dessert onto serving
plate just before serving. Serves 12

*Can use 8″ square pan or 8-9″ round pan sprayed
with nonstick spray

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Our weather is still holding – right now it’s 42
degrees F and cloudy. Looking at the next few
days we’re having steadily dropping temps,
but no snow in the forecast (at least through
Weds!) That’s GREAT!

Hope you’re enjoying your ‘days after Christmas’;
remember to take some time for yourself – maybe
a quick nap or put your feet up/ have something
tasty to drink (hot chocolate/tea/coffee/or a
pop?), remember to eat every once in awhile
(that’s something I tend to forget). It’s the
holidays – indulge a little (not a lot, but Hey!
like I’ve said before: “life’s short – eat dessert



Published in: on December 27, 2014 at 12:57 pm  Comments (1)  

Christmas Eve!


Joy of joys, we brought our middle son home from the hospital yesterday! He still has a lot of healing to do, but he’s out of the hospital! We’re very grateful for all of the excellent care at both hospitals he was in, and for the LOVE and CARE the LORD gave to him, and the grace that covered us while going through it.

Today, first thing, found me rushing to the grocery store for a few more food items son could eat and gas for my car ($2.08/9) as it was on almost empty! The “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” chocolate cake just came out of the oven and I’m planning on making some lemon cookies today. Last thing to do is wrap presents and we’re done/ready!


Last minute recipes:

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Lemon Bars

2 C. flour
1 C. butter, softened (no substitutes)
1/2 C. powdered sugar

4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 C. sugar
4 T. flour
6 T. lemon juice

1/2 C. butter, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. milk
2 T. cold water

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix crust ingredients with fork;
pat into a 9 X 13 pan which has been
greased & floured. Bake 15 minutes.
Mix filling together; after crust has baked
15 minutes, pour filling over crust &
continue baking 25 minutes. Cool bars
Make Frosting: Beat butter, powdered
sugar & milk for 6-8 minutes on High
speed with an elec. mixer, then add
2 T. cold water, one at a time. Beat
until smooth, then spread over
cooled bars.


Velveeta Potato Bites

2 lb. baking potatoes (about 6)
peeled/ cut into chunks
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 lb. (4 oz) Velveeta, cut
into 24 cubes
1 pkt. Shake & Bake Extra
Crispy seasoned coating mix

1 1/2 C. thick & chunky salsa

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Cook potatoes in boiling water
in large saucepan 15-20 minutes
or until tender, drain. Cool 10
minutes; mash until smooth. Add
onions, egg & pepper; mix just
until blended. Empty coating mix
into pie plate. Roll potato mixture
into 24 balls, using about 2 T. for
each. Insert 1 Velveeta cheese cube
into center of each ball, completely
enclosing the cheese. Add, one-at-
a-time, to coating mix, turning to
evenly coat. Place balls on rimmed
baking sheet sprayed with nonstick
spray. Bake 14-16 minutes or until
heated through. Makes 24 balls
serve with salsa

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Crockpot Pumpkin Pecan Bread

8 C. day old bread cubes
1/2 C. toasted pecans, chopped
1/2 C. cinnamon chips
4 eggs
1 C. canned pumpkin
1 C. Half & Half
1/2 C. brown sugar, packed
1/2 C. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves

vanilla ice cream
caramel ice cream topping

Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick spray. Place bread cubes
in crockpot along with cinnamon
chips & chopped pecans. Whisk
together eggs, pumpkin, Half & Half,
brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla,
cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & cloves;
pour over bread & gently stir to coat.
Cook on Low 3-4 hours or until a knife
inserted into center comes out clean.
Serve warm topped with ice cream &
caramel topping, if desired. Serves 8


Caramel Apple Brownie Bars

1 C. softened butter
2 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
& peeled
1 C. caramel bits
cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray;
set aside. In stand mixer, combine
butter & sugar; mix until creamy. Add
eggs, one at a time, until well mixed. Add
flour, baking powder & cinnamon, chopped
apples until blended – batter will be thick.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle
caramel bits over batter & press in slightly.
Bake 45 minutes until lightly browned.
Remove from oven & sprinkle top with
cinnamon sugar.


Crockpot Caramel Rolls

refrigerated biscuits (6-8 count)
1/2 C. brown sugar
4 T. butter
(chopped nuts, if desired*)

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Lay biscuits flat on bottom of pot.
In a saucepan, melt butter with brown
sugar; cook until melted then pour over
biscuits. Cover & cook on High 1 hour to
1 hr. 30 minutes until brown.

*If you wish to add nuts, sprinkle on top
of brown sugar mixture before cooking.


Cranberry Bliss Bars


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar 3 eggs 2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 cup chopped sweetened dried
4 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks



    • 4-ounces cream cheese, softened


    • 3 cups powdered sugar


    • 4 teaspoons lemon juice


    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    • 1/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries


Drizzled Icing


    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar


    • 1 tablespoon milk


    • 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Make cake by beating butter and brown sugar
together with electric mixer until smooth. Add
eggs, ginger, vanilla; beat well. Gradually
mix in the flour and baking powder until smooth.
Mix chopped dried cranberries and white chocolate
chunks into batter by hand. Pour batter into a
buttered 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Use a spatula to
spread batter evenly across pan. Bake 25-30 minutes,
or until is lightly browned on top. Allow cake
to cool.

Make frosting by combining softened cream cheese,
powdered sugar, lemon juice, vanilla in medium bowl
with electric mixer until smooth. When cake has
cooled, use a spatula to spread frosting over top of
the cake.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries over the
frosting on the cake.

Make drizzled icing by whisking together powdered
sugar, milk, shortening. Drizzle this icing over
cranberries in a sweeping motion with a squirt
bottle or fill small plastic storage bag with icing
and cut off the tip of one corner.

Cover cake and let chill out in fridge for a couple
hours, then slice cake lengthwise (the long way)
through the middle. Slice cake across the width
three times, making a total of eight rectangular slices.
Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating
16 triangular slices.


Ginger-Pecan Bars

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1 C. butter, softened/divided
1 C. granulated sugar
1 T. vanilla, divided
2 1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1 C. packed brown sugar
2/3 C. light corn syrup
2 C. chopped pecans
1/2 C. chopped crystallized ginger
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate,
broken into pieces

Beat cream cheese, 3/4 C. butter, gran.
sugar & 2 tsp. vanilla in large bowl
with mixer until blended. Add flour &
baking soda; mix well & refrigerate
30 minutes.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 15 X 10 X 1″ pan with parch-
ment paper, with ends extending
over sides. Press cream cheese mixture
onto bottom of pan. Bake 18-20 minutes
until lightly browned. Melt remaining
butter; pour into medium bowl. Add
eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup and
remaining vanilla; beat with whisk
until blended; stir in nuts & ginger.
Spread mixture onto crust & bake
20-25 minutes until topping is firm
around edges but still slightly soft in
center; cool completely.
Melt chocolate as directed on pkg.;
drizzle over dessert. Let stand
until chocolate is firm before
cutting into bars. Makes 60 bars

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Chocolate covered Coconut
Peanut Butter Bites 

1/2 lb. candy coating – chocolate
1/2 C. peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
1/3 C. butter, melted
1/8 tsp. vanilla
1 C. coconut, plus more for topping
1 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. Rice Krispies cereal

In bowl combine peanut butter, butter,
vanilla, coconut, sugar & Rice Krispies;
mix until smooth. Scoop out about 1 T.
dough & roll into a ball; place on a cookie
sheet covered with parchment paper.
Repeat process with rest of dough then
place in freezer.
In a small crockpot place chocolate; cover
& cook on Low or Warm 1 hour while dough
is chilling. Stir chocolate until creamy. Dip
cookie balls in chocolate using a fork; cover
entirely with chocolate & place on cookie
sheet covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle
tops of balls with coconut if desired. Let
chocolate set then serve or chill as desired.
Makes about 15 balls.


2-Cheese Spinach/Artichoke Dip

9 oz. frozen spinach, thawed/drained
1 (14 oz) can quartered artichoke hearts,
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 C. milk
black pepper

Using a 2.5 qt. crockpot, place all ingredients
in crockpot & gently stir. (you can use a crockpot
liner if desired). Cover & cook on High 2 hours
or until cheeses are melted. Stir to combine.
Serves 6-8

This recipe can be doubled & cooked in a
4-6 qt. crockpot.
NOTE: if dip is too thick, add more milk,
a tablespoon at a time until you have
desired consistency.


Peanut Butter Microwave

1 lb. confectioners sugar
2 T. butter
1/3 C. milk
1 C. peanut butter

Place sugar, butter & milk in
large mixing bowl; cook in
microwave 2 minutes on High.
Take out, beat ingredients
with had mixer until combined.
Microwave 30 seconds more, then
add peanut butter & mix by hand
or mixer until combined. Spread
in foil-lined 8 X 8″ pan. Let cool
then cut.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Dessert

2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. sugar
1 (3 oz) box cranberry-flavored Jello
2/3 C. dried cranberries
1 T. flour

assorted cookies, graham crackers and/or
fruit slices, for serving

Beat cream cheese in large bowl with elec.
mixer until creamy. Add vanilla, sugar,
dry Jello, dried cranberries & flour; mix well.
Spoon mixture into a serving dish & refrigerate,
covered, until serving time. Remove from fridge
15 minutes before serving. Serve with suggested
cookies/grahams or fruit
Makes 2 1/2 C.


Holiday Cheese Truffles

2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1 (8 oz) pkg. shredded sharp
Cheddar cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
dash cayenne
1/4 C. chopped, roasted red peppers
2 green onions, sliced
1 2/3 C. chopped pecans

savory crackers for serving

Beat first 4 ingredients with elec. mixer
until blended; divide in half. Add peppers
to half, and onions to other half; mix each
until blended. Refrigerate several hours
until chilled. Shape each mixture into 24
(1-inch) balls; roll in chopped nuts. Serve
with crackers. Makes 48 ‘truffles’

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Our weather is ‘holding’ at GREAT
for last minute traveling, etc: 47 degrees F
and raining (a little foggy – but not bad).
We’re supposed to (maybe) get some
snow on Christmas, but various reports
say different things – I’m just SUPER GLAD
we don’t have to do a 1 hr. ride to the
hospital today/tomorrow (yes – Friday,
but that will be just my husband & son;
I told son that he might suggest his Dad
stop for a milkshake on the way home
to make the ride a little more tolerable!)

Thank you, again, ALL OF YOU, for your
prayers and concerns during this very
difficult time for my family. God is SO
Good – He has carried us through thus
far and I KNOW He will continue to do


Big Hugs;


Monday Musings


I’m still somewhat surprised to think that in 2 more days it will be Christmas! (boy, that really snuck up on me – did it you?) Did my last (I hope) errands today for things like last stocking stuffers, last groceries, etc. I am still VERY happy our weather is cooperating nicely – it’s 37 degrees, clear and SUNNY today! YAY! Great weather for driving! I went a little crazy at Krogers – part of me wanted to bake cookies, part of me said: “What? Are you NUTS? You don’t have time!” – so both sides won – I bought 5 tubes of Pillsbury ready-made cookie dough (the slice & bake kind) and several boxes of cookie mix – plus 2 pkgs. of bakery cookies.
We’ll see how this goes; I know, in my house full of guys, cookies (ESPECIALLY HOME BAKED) don’t last very long. As I see my schedule right now, I have Christmas Eve to do the baking; crazy – yes, but ‘we’ll see’. My schedule, with son in hospital, has been radically adjusted so, if needed, the guys will just have to deal with whatever I’m able to bake (or not bake!)

How are your Gas Prices? Again today I was happily astonished at seeing my favorite gas station (Clark) have regular gas at $2.08/9! With all the driving we’re doing, that’s a great blessing. I also had to do another quick visit to middle son’s old apartment to pick up some things we missed the other day when we moved his ‘stuff’; it’s about 25 min. away but with the clear weather and very few people on the roads (1 p.m.) it was a nice drive. Oh – I was also happy while shopping at Krogers today – very few people there, too! (Now, you wouldn’t catch me there in the NEXT few days, but today was great!)


Snow-topped Chocolate Bars

1 (12 oz) pkg. (2 C.) semisweet chocolate
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk
1/2 C. chopped walnuts
1 tsp. almond extract, divided
3 C. flour
1 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 T. confectioners sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In medium saucepan over Low heat,
combine chocolate chips, cream cheese &
evaporated milk; stirring constantly until
chips are melted & mixture is smooth. Remove
from heat. Add nuts & 1/2 tsp. almond extract;
blend well – set aside.
In large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar,
baking powder, salt, butter, eggs, vanilla &
remaining almond extract. Beat using elec.
mixer on Low speed until mixture resembles
coarse crumbs. Press half of crumb mixture
into ungreased 9 X 13 pan. Spread chocolate
mixture over crumb mixture. Sprinkle top
with remaining crumbs*. Bake 35-40 minutes
or until golden. Cool, sprinkle with confectioners
sugar then cut into bars. Makes 3 dozen bars

*Top layer should be crumbly texture. If dough for
top layer gets soft, pinch off small pieces & place
on top of chocolate that way.

Italian Honey Balls

1 C. water
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. flour
2 eggs
1/2 C. honey
1/2 C. sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In medium saucepan bring water,
oil & salt to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to Low – slowly stir in
flour, beating with a wooden spoon
until mixture forms a ball; remove
from heat. Beat in eggs, one-at-a-
time until well blended & smooth.
Using a 1/2 tsp. measuring spoon,
form mixture into small balls &
place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden,
set aside to cool. In small saucepan
bring honey, sugar & cinnamon to a
boil over medium-high heat. Continue
boiling until sugar is completely
dissolved. Remove from heat & allow
to cool slightly, then combine baked
balls & honey mixture in a medium-
sized bowl until balls are completely

Note: You can make this festive by
garnishing it with candied cherries,
almonds or multicolored Jordan
almonds (candy-coated almonds)

Cream Puff Ring

1 C. water
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, cut into
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. flour
4 eggs, room temp.
1 (4 serving size) box instant
chocolate pudding & pie filling
1 C. cold milk
1 C. Cool Whip, thawed

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In medium saucepan, bring water,
butter & salt to boil over medium-
high heat. Add flour all at once &
stir quickly with wooden spoon
until mixture forms a ball; remove
from heat. Add 1 egg to mixture &
beat with wooden spoon to blend.
Add remaining eggs, one at a time,
beating well after each addition.
When dough is smooth, spoon out
1/4 C. at a time, placing the puffs
on the outside edge of an ungreased
10 inch pizza pan, forming a ring
with the puffs. Each puff should press
against the next one to it so that they
are all connected. Bake 40-45 minutes
or until golden brown & puffy. Cool on
pizza pan on a wire rack.
When ring is cooled, halfway between
the top & bottom, slice all the way
around the ring with a sharp knife about
three-quarters of the way through the ring,
leaving the inside of the ring intact. In a
medium bowl, combine chocolate pudding
mix & milk; mix well. Add Cool Whip & mix
until thoroughly combined. Carefully lift
the outside edges of the ring & spoon the
chocolate mixture into the ring until it is
completely filled. Chill at least 1 hour before
Serves 12

Note; You can also make these as individual
cream puffs. Spoon the mounds of dough
onto a cookie sheet so that the edges are
not touching. When finished baking &
completely cooled, cut each puff in half
horizontally & fill as directed above.

Chocolate Glaze:

1/4 C. sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/3 C. water
1/2/ oz (1/2 square) unsweetened

Combine above ingredients in a
small saucepan. Cook, stirring
constantly, until chocolate is melted
& mixture is thickened, bubbly &
smooth. Remove from heat, stir in
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract – drizzle over
cream puff ring before refrigerating.

Caramel Cream Cheese Cookie Bars

1 box devils food cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 C. vegetable oil or canola oil
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 oz cream cheese
1 C. chocolate chips

Prepare Condensed Milk into Caramel
Remove paper label from can. Place
unopened can on it’s side in a crockpot.
Fill crockpot with water until it is 1-2
inches above the height of the can. Cover
& cook on High 4  hours or Low 8 hours.
Turn off crockpot & carefully remove the
unopened can with a pair of tongs. Place
can in refrigerator & chill until ready to
serve. Open can & stir with a spoon. If you
need, you can thin out the caramel with a
little bit of milk. Add one T. at a time; stir
until desired consistency is reached.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
After caramel sauce is cooled, mix together
with cream cheese until smooth & creamy.
In a separate bowl mix cake mix, eggs & oil.
Spray 9 X 13 baking pan with nonstick spray.
Remove 1 C. cake mix batter; set aside.
Pat remaining cake mix batter on bottom of
prepared dish. Top with cream cheese mixture &
spread out evenly. Crumble reserved cake mix
batter over top; sprinkle top with chocolate
chips. Bake 18-20 minutes.


Crockpot Peppermint Fudge

2 1/2 C. chocolate chips
1/2 C. canned coconut milk*
1/4 C. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
crushed peppermint candies or candy

Add choc. chips, coconut milk, honey &
salt to crockpot; stir until well incorporated.
Cover & cook on Low 2 hours without
stirring. (DO NOT remove lid during this
time) After 2 hours turn off crockpot &
remove lid. Add vanilla; stir well. Allow to
cool in crockpot with lid removed until
fudge has reached room temperature
(about 1 hour). After 1 hour, using a large
spoon, stir about 8 minutes until fudge is
no longer glossy. Spray a 1 qt. casserole
dish with nonstick spray. Pour fudge into dish
& cover. Refrigerate 4 hours.
If you want peppermint in fudge, add
to fudge after 3 hours then refrigerate
for the last hour. Makes about 30 pieces.

*Canned coconut milk can be found in the
Asian section of most grocery stores – or
the cocktail/drink mix section


Crockpot Peanut Brittle

3 C. sugar
1 C. light corn syrup
4 C. nuts (your choice)
4 T. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda

Parchment paper or release foil

Place butter in crockpot; add
sugar & corn syrup on top of
butter; pour in vanilla. Cover &
cook on High 1 hour. Line 2 cookie
sheets with parchment paper or
release foil. After 1 hour, stir to
mix well. Add baking soda (it will
sizzle & make noises) sugar mixture
will be kind of milky-yellow, sugar
may still look granulated. Cover &
cook on High another 30 minutes;
check then stir in nuts. Cover & cook
another 15-30 minutes until sugar
mixture is brown & looks the color
of peanut brittle.
Using OVEN MITTS carefully pour
half of pot onto each cookie sehet &
spread out with a spatula – it will be
lumpy. Let cool at room temp. about
an hour, then break into pieces.
Makes about 3 lb. candy.


7 Up Chicken & Rice

3 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (10.5 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (12 oz) can 7 Up or lemon-lime soda
1 C. instant rice
1/4 C. chicken broth

Place chicken breasts in bottom of crockpot.
Cover with soup & 7 Up. Cover & cook
2-3 hours on Low. Add rice & chicken broth;
cook 2-3 more hours until chicken is cooked


Mistletoe Cookie Bars

1 (18.5 oz) box white cake mix
1/3 C. butter, melted
2 T. water
2 eggs
1 1/2 C. dried cranberries
1 C. (6 oz) white baking chips
1/2 C. cashews, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray bottom only of 9 X 13 baking
dish with nonstick spray; lightly dust
with flour. In large bowl, using a spoon,
combine cake mix, butter, water & eggs
until dough forms (some dry mix will
remain). Stir in cranberries, baking chips
& cashews; spread evenly in pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes until a wooden
toothpick inserted into center comes
out clean. Cool completely, about 1
hour, then cut into bars. Makes 24


Chili-Pasta Skillet

1 lb. ground beef
3/4 C. chopped onion
1 (15 oz) can red kidney
beans/black beans or
red beans; rinsed/drained
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes,
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 C. elbow macaroni (2 oz)
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles,
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 C. shredded Monterrey Jack or
Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
In large skillet cook meat & onion
until meat is brown & onion is tender;
drain fat. Stir in beans, undrained
tomatoes, tomato sauce, macaroni,
chile peppers, chili powder & garlic
salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat &
simmer, covered, 20 minutes until
macaroni is tender, stirring often.
Remove skillet from heat; sprinkle
on cheese & cover. Let stand 2 minutes
until cheese is melted. Serves 6

Cinnamon Apple Pie

8 C. apples (peeled/cored & sliced)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 C. milk
1 T. vanilla
1 C. sugar
5 T. butter, softened
1 1/2 C. Bisquick baking mix,
1/3 C. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Toppings: Whipped Cream/
Cool Whip, or vanilla ice cream!

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Toss apples, cinnamon & nutmeg
together in ziplock bag; place in crockpot.
Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar,
2 T. butter & 3/4 C. Bisquick; pour over
apples. In large bowl, combine brown sugar,
remaining 3/4 C. Bisquick & 1/2 tsp.
cinnamon together; cut in 3 T. butter until
mixture resembles coarse crumbs; sprinkle
over apples & batter – DO NOT STIR. Cover &
cook on Low 6-7 hours (check at 6 hours).
Spoon into bowls, (top with whipped cream
or vanilla ice cream – you choose).


Christmas Peas

1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen peas, thawed
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 (2.8 oz) can French-fried onions, divided
1 small red bell pepper,* finely chopped
1/4 C. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl combine all ingredients,
reserving 1 C. French-fried onions; mix
well. Pour mixture into 8″ square baking
dish. Sprinkle reserved fried onions
around edges of dish. Bake 25-30 minutes
until heated through & bubbly. Serves 6

*you can use green bell pepper; using red
just makes it more festive


Citrus Honey Carrots

2 T. butter
1/4 C. honey
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans whole baby
carrots, drained
1 tsp. grated lime peel

Melt butter in large skillet over
medium-high heat. Add honey &
cook 1-2 minutes until sauce has
thickened, stirring frequently. Add
carrots & lime peel; saute 1-2
minutes until heated through &
well coated with sauce. Serve
immediately. Serves 4

Note; If desired, grate a small
amount of lime peel over top
of carrots before serving


Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy

1/3 C. plus 2 T. cooking oil
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 (3 lb) chicken, cut up
2 eggs
2 T. milk
3/4 C. bread crumbs
2 T. butter
1 1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. light cream or Half & Half
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

In small bowl, combine 1/3 C. oil, lemon
juice, salt & pepper. Place chicken pieces
in shallow baking dish & pour marinade
over. Cover & marinate 30-60 minutes.
Dry chicken pieces on paper towels. Place
1/2 C. flour in plastic or paper bag. In small
bowl, combine eggs & milk; place bread
crumbs in shallow bowl. Put several pieces
of chicken in bag & shake to coat thoroughly.
Dip pieces in egg mixture, then roll in bread
crumbs. In large frying pan, heat remaining oil
& butter over medium heat. Add chicken
pieces & cook, turning frequently,until browned
all over, 20-25 minutes. Remove & drain on paper
towels. Whisk remaining 1/3 C. flour into frying
pan. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring, 3 minutes.
Whisk in milk & cream; season with paprika, cayenne
and additional salt & pepper, to taste. Serves 4

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

I will attempt to keep posting holiday
recipes as much as I can – just in case
you might spot something that would
work for your Christmas dinner/party,

Have a GREAT day!



Published in: on December 22, 2014 at 4:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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Gettin’ Down to the Wire!


Tomorrow starts the ‘real’ Christmas rush – for those of you who love to bake, I’ve got lots of great sounding recipes for you!


Mrs. Claus’s Lemon Cookies

2 1/2 C. flour
3/4 C. granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. milk
pinch salt
3 tsp. lemon extract
1 egg

1 1/2 C. sifted confectioners sugar
2 T. milk
1 tsp. lemon extract
3 drops yellow food coloring

assorted colored sprinkles and/or
decorating sugars

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray cookie sheets with nonstick
spray. In large bowl combine flour,
granulated sugar, baking powder, oil,
milk, salt, lemon extract & egg. Roll
dough into 1/2 inch balls & place on
prepared sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes
or until cookies are set but not brown.
Let sit 5 minutes then transfer to wire
rack to cool completely.
In medium bowl combine glaze
ingredients; stir until smooth. Dip
tips of cookies in glaze & place on wire
rack. If using sprinkles or decorating
sugars, make sure to sprinkle on top
before glaze hardens!
Makes 36 cookies


Frosty Cherry Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 C. sugar, divided
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 C. crushed oven toasted
rice cereal
1/2 C. candied red cherries,
cut into quarters

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl combine butter &
1 C. sugar; stir in egg & almond.
Stir in flour, salt, baking soda &
baking powder; mix well. Add cereal
& cherries; mix well. Place remaining
sugar in a shallow pan. Shape dough
into 3/4 inch balls; roll in sugar to coat
& place 2 inches apart on ungreased
cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or
until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove
to wire rack to cool completely. Makes
6 dozen

Mistletoe Meringue Cookies

2 egg whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 C. sugar
1/3 C. (2 oz) mint flavored* semi-
sweet chocolate chips, coarsely

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
Spray rimmed cookie sheets with
nonstick spray. In large bowl beat
egg whites until soft peaks form.
Add vanilla & gradually beat in sugar
until stiff peaks form. Fold in chocolate
chips. Drop by Tablespoonfuls 2 inches
apart onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake 10 minutes. Turn off oven & let
cookies sit in oven 1 hour. Remove
from oven & allow to cool completely.
Serve immediately or store in airtight
container. Makes 2 dozen.

*You can also use mint or raspberry
chocolate chips. You can also sprinkle
tops of cookies with colored sugar
before baking.

Holiday Crackles Cookies
(they look like little green
wreaths with red holly berries on top)

1/2 C. (1 stick) butter
30 large marshmallows (10 oz. bag
contains 38-40)
1 to 1 1/2 tsp green food coloring
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 C. cornflakes cereal
red-hot cinnamon candies, for

In medium saucepan, melt butter &
marshmallows over medium-low heat,
stirring constantly. Remove from heat,
stir in 1 tsp. food coloring & vanilla
(add more food coloring, if desired.)
Stir in cornflakes. Drop mixture, 1 T.
at a time, onto waxed paper. Decorate
tops of cookies with candies. Let stand
30 minutes or until cool. Makes 36

Buttery Sugar Cookies

5 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1 C. shortening
1 C. vegetable oil
2 1/2 C. confectioners sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 C. fruit preserves (for filling –
see note)

In large bowl combine flour, baking
soda, cream of tartar & salt; set aside.
In another large bowl, using elec. mixer,
cream butter & shortening until light &
fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in oil, sugar,
eggs & vanilla. Gradually add dry
ingredients & continue to beat until well
combined & fluffy. If dough is too wet to
roll into balls using your hands, add a
small amount of flour until dry enough.
Cover & chill dough at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Form dough into 1 inch balls & place on
ungreased cookie sheets 1 inch apart.
Press your thumb into center of each
cookie ball to make an indentation. Fill
each ‘dent’ with about 1/4 tsp. fruit
preserves. Bake 10-12 minutes or until
edges begin to brown. Immediately
remove cookies to a wire rack to cool
completely. Makes 5 dozen.

*NOTE: You could make them without
using the indent & fruit, or fill the
dents with chocolate or sprinkles.


Pistachio-Studded Shortbread

1/2 C. pistachio nuts, chopped
1 1/4 C. flour
3 T. sugar
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. vegetable shortening

Reserve 1 T. chopped pistachios. In
medium bowl combine remaining
nuts, flour, sugar, melted butter &
almond; mix well until dough forms.
Roll into a ball & return to bowl; cover
& chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
On lightly floured surface, roll out dough
to a 12 X 6″ rectangle. Cut into 1/2 X 3″
pieces; place on ungreased rimmed
baking sheets. Bake 10-15 minutes until
edges are slightly golden. Remove to wire
racks ; cool completely.
Melt chocolate chips & shortening in small
saucepan over low heat until smooth,
stirring constantly. Drizzle over shortbread
& sprinkle with reserved nuts. Chill 15
minutes or until chocolate has set. Serve
immediately or store in airtight container.
Makes 4 dozen

Ricotta Almond Cookies

4 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
2 C. granulated sugar
1 lb. whole milk ricotta cheese
1 stick butter-flavored shortening
2 tsp. almond extract, divided
1 C. chopped almonds
1 C. confectioners sugar
3 tsp. water
1/4 C. sliced almonds – garnish

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray baking sheets with nonstick
spray. In large bowl sift flour, baking
soda & salt; set aside. In another large
bowl, using elec. mixer, beat eggs, sugar,
ricotta cheese, shortening & 1 tsp. almond
extract until smooth. Alternately add flour
mixture & chopped almonds to ricotta
mixture; beat until well blended. Drop
mixture by tablespoonfuls onto prepared
baking sheets. Bake 11 – 13 minutes until
bottoms are golden. Remove to wire rack
let cool completely before frosting.
In medium bowl combine confectioners
sugar, remaining almond extract & water;
mix well until smooth. Drizzle cooled
cookies with frosting & sprinkle tops with
sliced almonds. Makes 4 dozen

Sour Cream Cranberry Bars

2 sticks (1 C.) butter, softened
1 C. packed light brown sugar
2 C. quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 C. plus 2 T. flour, divided
2 C. sweetened dried cranberries
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1 C. sour cream
1 egg
1 T. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl cream butter & brown
sugar. Add oats & 1 1/2 C. flour; mix
well – set aside 1 1/2 C. of mixture for
topping. Press remaining mixture
into an ungreased 9 X 13 baking dish.
Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly
browned. In large bowl, combine
cranberries, gran. sugar, sour cream,
egg, lemon zest, vanilla & remaining
flour; mix well. Spread evenly over crust,
sprinkle top with reserved crumb
mixture. Bake 25-28 minutes until
lightly golden. Cool then cover & chill.
Slice into bars & serve. Makes 36

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

1 C. creamy peanut butter
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 lb. confectioners sugar
1 C. graham cracker crumbs
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips,

Spray a 10 X 15″ baking sheet with
nonstick spray. In large bowl, combine
peanut butter, butter, conf. sugar &
graham cracker crumbs; spread
mixture on prepared sheet. Pour
melted chocolate evenly over top.
Refrigerate 15 minutes. While still on
baking sheet, slice into bars.
Refrigerate until well chilled; serve cold.
Makes 25-30 bars

Snow-topped Chocolate Bars

1 (12 oz) pkg. (2 C.) semisweet
chocolate chips
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (5 oz) can evaporated milk
1/2 C. chopped walnuts
1 tsp. almond extract, divided
3 C. flour
1 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vnailla
1 T. confectioners sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In medium saucepan over Low heat,
combine chocolate chips, cream
& evaporated milk; stirring constantly
until chips are melted & mixture is
smooth. Remove from heat; add nuts &
1/2 tsp. almond extract; blend well & set
aside. In large bowl, combine flour, gran.
sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, eggs,
vanilla & remaining almond extract. Beat
using elec. mixer on Low speed until
mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press
half of crumb mixture into ungreased
9 X 13 baking dish. Spread chocolate
mixture over crumb mixture; sprinkle top
with remaining crumb mixture. (The top
layer should be a crumbly texture. If dough
for top layer gets soft, pinch off small
pieces & place them on top of chocolate
that way.)
Bake 35-40 minutes until golden. Cool,
sprinkle top with confectioners sugar
then cut into bars. Makes 3 dozen




Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1/2 C. Miracle Whip salad dressing
2 lb. sweet potatoes* (about 4), peeled/
cut into 3/4 ” pieces
1 lb. carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into
1/2 ” thick slices
1 red onion, cut into 1″ chunks
1/3 C. balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1/3 C. maple pancake syrup
1/2 C. dried cranberries
1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 C. toasted chopped walnuts**

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In large bowl mix Miracle Whip & vegetables;
spread on rimmed baking sheet sprayed with
nonstick spray. Bake 30 minutes, stirring after
15 minutes. Mix vinaigrette, syrup & rosemar
until blended. Drizzle dressing mixture over
vegetables; stir to evenly coat. Bake 25-30
minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring
after 15 minutes. Spoon vegetable mixture
into large bowl. Add cranberries; mix lightly,
sprinkle top with nuts. Serves 10m 1 C. each

*Note: can substitute butternut squash for

**Spread chopped walnuts onto baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees F. 5 minutes until lightly

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Garlic & Herb Cheese Bombs

2 (7.5 oz, ea) tubes refrigerated biscuits
4 oz. Mozzarella cheese, cut into 20 cubes*
4 T. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Separate biscuits; place a cube of cheese
in center of each biscuit. Carefully wrap
biscuit dough around cheese cube & seal.
Place, seam-side down, about an inch
apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake
10 minutes or until biscuits are golden
brown & cheese is melted. While biscuits
bake, mix butter, Italian seasoning & garlic
powder together; set aside. Remove biscuits
from oven & immediately brush tops with
butter mixture. Serve warm. Makes 20

*If you prefer Cheddar, that works great, too!

Fast Chicken Fettuccine

8 oz. fettuccine
1/4 (of 7 oz) jar oil-packed, dried
tomato strips or pieces
1 large zucchini or yellow summer
squash, halved lengthwise &
sliced (about 2 C.)
8 oz chicken breast meat, cubed
1/2 C. finely shredded Parmesan,
Romano, or Asiago cheese (2 oz)
black pepper, freshly ground
Cook fettuccine in salted boiling
water accordg to pkg. directions;
drain & return pasta to hot pan.
Drain tomato strips, reserving 2
T oil from jar; set aside. In large
skillet, heat 1 T. reserved jar oil
over medium-high heat. Add
zucchini; cook & stir 2-3 minutes
until crisp-tender. Remove from
skillet; add remaining reserved oil
to skillet. Add chicken; cook &
stir 2-3 minutes until no longer
pink. Gently toss zucchini, chicken
& tomato with cooked pasta.
Sprinkle each serving with cheese &
season to taste with pepper.
Serves 4

I have LOTS more recipes to share
with you – lots of cookie/dessert
recipes, so keep checking my blog.

Our weather is STILL holding out
at ‘in the 30’s, no snow’!!! YAY!

Enjoy your day;



Published in: on December 21, 2014 at 6:55 pm  Comments (1)  
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Starting Saturday Early


The Three Amigos – Lois, Cheryl & Pam

My Special Needs Group Leaders


This photo was taken Wednesday at the end of our program; Cheryl did a fabulous job of preparing and cooking all the food. Lois (left) is our group leader, and you know me on the right. One of our students asked us to get together for a quick photo; I LOVE working with these ladies – work becomes FUN!

Got a call last night that middle son is now being moved to another part of the hospital. He told me they gave him milkshakes in the afternoon, then mashed potatoes and for dinner pasta & fish! He’s very quickly healing – Thank You, Lord!


Desserts & Breakfasts

Chocolate/Butterscotch Peanut Clusters

3 (12 oz, ea) containers Spanish peanuts
4.4 oz. Extra Large Hershey’s milk chocolate bar
1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (12 oz) bag butterscotch morsels
2 1/2 lb. vanilla almond bark

Place peanuts in crockpot; top with candy bar.
Pour bag  of semi-sweet choc. chips on top;
add butterscotch morsels. Top all with vanilla
almond bark broken into pieces. Cook, on Low,
2 1/2 – 3 hours. Stir well until combined. Spoon
mixture into mini cupcake liners and allow
clusters to set up and harden. Makes about 60


French Toast Roll-ups

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
1 C. sugar, divided
24 slices white bread, crusts removed
1 T. ground cinnamon
3 T. butter, melted

In medium bowl beat cream cheese, egg
yolk & 1/4 C. sugar until smooth; set aside.
Roll out each bread slice with a rolling pin.
Spread cheese mixture over bread evenly.
Roll up each slice jelly-roll style & place
seam side down on a baking sheet. In a
shallow dish, combine remaining sugar &
cinnamon; brush butter over rollups then
roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture, completely
coating. Return them to baking sheet. Cover
& freeze at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Just before serving, bake rollups 10-12 minutes
until golden. Makes 24

NOTE: Rollups will keep in freezer up to 2 months
prior to baking.

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Bun Pie

3/4 C. plus 2 T. butter, melted/divided
1 C. chopped pecans
1/2 C. sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 (7 1/2 oz) pkg. refrigerated flaky biscuits
(8 biscuits)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Coat bottom of a deep-dish pie plate
with 2 T. melted butter; set aside. In small
bowl, combine pecans, sugar & cinnamon;
mix well. Sprinkle 1/4 of mixture over bottom
of pie plate. Place remaining butter in small
bowl. Separate each biscuit into 3 layers;
dip biscuit pieces, one-at-a-time, in melted
butter, making sure to coat each thoroughly.
Layer 8 biscuit pieces in bottom of pie plate,
completely covering pecan mixture. Repeat
layers an additional 2 times. Top with
remaining pecan mixture & drizzle with any
leftover melted butter. Bake 20-25 minutes until
biscuits are golden & cooked through. Allow
to cool 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving
platter & slice into wedges. Serve warm.
Serves 8

Breakfast Hash for a Bash

1/2 C. butter, (1 stick)
2 onions, diced (about 2 C.)
2 lb. frozen hash brown potato
cubes, thawed*
1 lb. diced cooked corned beef (3 C.)
8 eggs

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Coat a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray.
In large skillet over medium-high heat,
melt butter & saute onions 3-4 minutes
until soft. Add hash browns & cook
10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add
corned beef & cook 5-6 minutes until
heated through. Place mixture in prepared
baking dish. With a serving spoon, make 8
evenly spaced indentations about 1/2 inch
deep in mixture. Carefully crack eggs, one-
at-a-time, & place one egg in each indentation.
Cover with foil & bake 25-35 minutes until
eggs are cooked to your desired doneness.
Serves 8

*If you have leftover baked or boiled
potatoes, they can be substituted for
the frozen hash brown potatoes.

Layered Amish Breakfast Bake

12 slices white bread
1 lb. thinly sliced deli ham, divided
2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese,
6 eggs
3 C. milk
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 C. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 C. cornflakes

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13 baking dish with
nonstick spray. Line baking dish
with 6 slices bread. Layer half the
ham over bread & sprinkle with
1 C. cheese; repeat layers one more
time. In large bowl, combine eggs, milk,
dry mustard, onion powder, salt &
pepper; mix well. Slowly pour mixture
over entire casserole. Mix butter with
cornflakes & sprinkle on top. Bake
45-50 minutes or until golden brown &
set. Serves 10

Pull Apart Coffee Cake

1 (16.3 oz) pkg. refrigerated buttermilk
biscuits (8 count)
2 T. butter, melted
1/2 C. light brown sugar
1/2 C. chocolate chips
1/2 C. chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 C. confectioners sugar
4 tsp. milk

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 inch round baking pan
with nonstick spray. Separate dough
into 8 biscuits. Cut each biscuit into
6 pieces & place in a large bowl. Pour
melted butter over pieces & toss to
coat. In small bowl, combine brown
sugar, choc. chips, walnuts & cinnamon.
Sprinkle mixture over biscuit pieces &
toss to coat evenly; place in prepared
pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until center
is firm. Let cool 10 minutes then remove
to a platter. In a small bowl, combine
confectioners sugar & milk; drizzle over
cake & serve immediately. Serves 8

No-Bake Cookie Clusters

1 (12 oz) pkg. white chocolate chips
2 T. peanut butter
1 1/4 C. crispy toasted rice cereal
1 C. Spanish peanuts
1 C. miniature marshmallows

Line baking sheets with waxed paper.
In large saucepan over Low heat, melt
white choc. with peanut butter, stirring
constantly. Let mixture cool slightly,
then stir in cereal & peanuts. Fold in
marshmallows. Drop mixture by table-
spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.
Let cool until firm. Serve or refrigerate
until ready to serve. Makes 28-30 pieces.

Note: You can also sprinkle a little
flaked coconut, colored sprinkles or chopped
candy bars on pieces before allowing to cool.


Sweet & Savory Breakfast Bread

4 1/2 C. cubed bread
3 large cooking apples, peeled/
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 C. milk
1/4 C. maple syrup
12 oz. cooked sausage, crumbled

Lightly grease insides of crockpot
with butter. Press half of bread cubes
into bottom of crockpot. In large mixing
bowl, combine apples, cinnamon, allspice,
brown sugar & salt. Add milk & maple
syrup; mix well. Pour half apple mixture
over bread in crockpot. Gently press down
on apples to ensure liquid is absorbed by
the bread. Spread half of sausage over
apples, followed by remaining bread. Top
bread with remaining sausage, then
remaining apple mixture; press on apples
to ensure liquid is absorbed. Cover & cook
on Low 6 hours. Serves 4-6


Bacon-wrapped Egg Bundles

6 large eggs
6 strips thick cut bacon
6 slices whole grain bread
6 fresh button mushrooms, sliced
3 medium Roma tomatoes, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
1 pkg. Knorr Hollandaise sauce mix

Cook bacon fully but not crispy; drain &
set aside to cool. Scramble eggs; set
aside. Spray 6 custard dishes with non-
stick spray. Wrap one slice bacon around
inside of each dish. Add egg mixture &
vegetables then place custard dishes on
a trivet or foil ring inside crockpot. Add
about 1 inch water, covering the bottom.
Cook on High approx. 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
Prepare the hollandaise sauce mix as
directed on pkg. Serve bacon-wrapped
egg omelets over toast with hollandaise
sauce poured over top. Serves 6


Paddy’s Pistachio Pie

1 (9 inch) chocolate-flavored ready-
made pie crust
1 3/4 C. milk
1 (3 3/4 oz) pkg. pistachio instant
pudding mix
3 kiwi fruit, peeled & sliced

Optional toppings;
Cool Whip, whipped cream,
and/or chopped pistachios

Arrange 2 of the sliced kiwis to cover
bottom of pie crust. Pour cold milk in
a bowl & add pudding mix. Beat on
Low speed until well blended, about
1 minute. Pour mixture over kiwis
in pie shell & chill 2-3 hours.
Place remaining sliced kiwis on top
of pie & garnish with dollops of
whipped topping.
This pie should be served as soon
as it comes out of the refrigerator,
since it has a loose pudding-like


Hershey Bar Cake

1 box German Chocolate cake mix
1 (3 oz) box instant vanilla pudding mix
3 large eggs
1/3 – 1/2 C. oil (depending on cake mix box)
1 1/4 C. water (depending on cake mix box)
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 scant C. granulated sugar
1 (12 oz) frozen Cool Whip, thawed
1 scant Cup confectioners sugar
1 C. chopped pecans (or nuts of choice)
1 GIANT Hershey bar, grated (not regular size)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine cake mix, vanilla pudding, eggs, oil &
water according to cake mix pkg. directions.Beat
until smooth; pour into two 8″ greased & floured
cake pans. Bake 35 minutes. Remove from oven &
cool layers. Using hand mixer beat cream cheese &
granulated sugar 20 minutes. Add confectioners
sugar, a little at a time, until just smooth. Fold in Cool
Whip, pecans & grated Hershey bar. Frost cooled cake
with Cool Whip mixture.

(note: Even better the next day!)
(recipe: Facebook)

Today is the first day I really don’t have ‘planned’ –
am thinking of getting most of the presents
wrapped; that will be a first – I usually do that
Christmas Eve! Still have some presents coming
via Amazon but am pretty sure most will be
here on time – we’ll see!

How are you coming on your Christmas
preparations? Presents all bought & wrapped,
food items purchased for ‘the’ dinner? I still
have a few things to get food-wise, but am
planning on doing that Monday, hopefully.

Remember, in all this hustle & bustle – take
a little time to tell those you love how very
important they are in your life. Take a little
time for you, too – a quick nap, a 5-10 minute
sit-down/feet up, a cup of something warm
& relaxing (coffee/cocoa) – something for
YOU. You are important to others – take
good care of yourself so that you can be a
blessing to many!



Published in: on December 20, 2014 at 9:03 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Of Cops and Coupons


Today was my day for getting things done; started by baking 2 loaves of gingerbread and a dozen blueberry muffins (for our 3 neighbors) – that went well. Next was a trip to Kohl’s – a store I rarely shop. They have great deals and I still needed a few more presents for the guys so I went. I always make sure I (1) know where I parked and (2) always – ALWAYS lock my car! The shopping took about 45 minutes plus a good 35 minutes just standing in line to check-out. Got all done, walked out to the parking lot and couldn’t find my car! I knew EXACTLY where I parked – walked the entire lot twice, praying all the way: “Lord, please find my car!” (Side note here: husband & I spend about 2 1/2 – 3 hours yesterday moving all of middle son’s belongings from his apartment – almost all of that ‘stuff’ was in the back of my car – believe me, I was more panicking for HIS belongs than my car.) Finally I called my husband who told me to go inside the store and wait for him; meanwhile he called the local police for that area. I waited a good 20 minutes, easy – no husband, no police. Husband had called me back to say that the dispatcher asked if I knew where my car was, “Are you sure she didn’t go out another exit?” (I was SURE – I KNEW where I parked it!). While just standing and waiting a thought kept inkling in my brain: “Are you REALLY sure?” Finally I asked the next woman who came through the doors if the road out front was M-59? She said, No and pointed to the right – OH BROTHER! Believe me – I sprinted around the corner of that store and hit the PANIC button on my car (I had done this numerous times before and not heard that beep,beep from my car – that’s why I was sure it was stolen!) Yep – you guessed it: “Beep! Beep!” Oh my goodness was I embarrassed. I spotted the police car in front of the store and he was walking up to me while I was walking up to him. I yelled: “I found it!” He said; “I found it, too!” Of course, I apologized tons to him – he said they get numerous calls every day from people who do that – go out another exit of a store and can’t find their car. What a relief, though! You better believe I told the Lord TONS of times how grateful I was.  Crazy – eh? (husband arrived after the policeman had left, so we sat in husband’s car while I de-stressed (read that: cried/bawled my eyes out in relief), then we both headed for home. All I could think (at the time) was this has been a very stressful Christmas time already with son in hospital, but to add a stolen car & contents to it – impossible!

After calming down I took a trip to Walgreen’s drug store; I know I’ve told you before how visits to drug stores can reap you bargains in grocery items (today peanut butter, Miracle Whip, garbage bags). Finished up almost all of the stocking stuffers; because this year has been so stressful and I’ve been a little more scattered than normal, I found out I totally forgot 4 of my ‘teen helpers’ for my special needs group! I usually get them something little, just as a thank you; I was glad to pick up some nice things at Walgreen’s to finish that off (I already told them that I’ll give them their presents when we return to the group January 7th).

How are your gas prices lately? Earlier today I drove by my regular Clark station and their lowest price was $2.19/9 – about 2 hours later I drove by again and it’s at $2.14/9! Pretty nice! Add the low gas prices to our weather really being great and those are two blessings I’m very happy to receive since we’re driving back & forth to the hospital every other day (about 60 miles, one way).


Spiced Pudding Squares

1/2 C. butter, melted/cooled
1 egg
1 (2 layer) pkg. spice cake mix
1 (3.4 oz) pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
1 C. cold milk
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 C. Cool Whip, thawed
2 T. toffee bits

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Mix first 3 ingredients just until blended;
press onto bottom of 9 X 13 pan sprayed
with nonstick spray. Bake 15-17 minutes
or until toothpick inserted into center comes
out clean; cool completely. Beat dry pudding
mix, milk & spice in medium bowl with
whisk 2 minutes. Stir in Cool Whip until
blended; spread over crust. Refrigerate
2 hours. Sprinkle top with toffee bits
just before serving. Makes 24 servings

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Crockpot Queso Dip

3/4 lb. ground beef or sausage,
2 lb. block Velveeta cheese
2 chopped tomatoes & jalapenos*
1 (7 oz) can diced roasted chiles,
canned or fresh
diced onions
diced green peppers (optional

Corn chips, tortillas, etc. for

Saute onion & green peppers in
a little oil in a skillet until lightly
brown; spoon into bottom of (mini)
crockpot or dish you will prepare
dip in. Spoon cooked meat into
crockpot. Cut Velveeta into large
cubes; add to crockpot. Top with
chopped tomatoes, jalapenos &
cook on Low heat until cheese has
melted & ingredients are well
combined – stir occasionally.

*Ro-Tel works well for this


Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Cookies

1 can seamless crescent rolls
1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

With your hand mixer, beat sugar, cream cheese and
vanilla together until smooth in a medium sized bowl.
Unroll the crescent roll sheet. Stretch dough out slightly.
It should be in the shape of a rectangle. Spread cream
cheese mixture over the top of the crescent sheet,
leaving a gap at the edge about 1/2 inch. Sprinkle
chocolate chips on top of cream cheese. Roll the
crescent sheet up tightly and wrap in cling wrap.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

When chilled preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper to prevent
sticking. Slice the crescent roll into 1/4″ slices. Bake on
prepared cookie sheet for 12 -14 minutes until crescent
roll appears golden brown.
Transfer to wire rack; eat warm or room temperature.

(recipe: Facebook)

Mock Pizza Casserole

2 lb. meat: ground beef, Italian sausage,
ham, pepperoni (your choice)
2 (24 oz, ea) jars spaghetti sauce
24 oz. PLUS – Mozzarella cheese (how
ever much YOU want)
1/3 C. Parmesan cheese
Veggies: green pepper, onion, olives,
mushrooms, spinach,or your favorite
pizza toppings
1 (1 lb) bag noodles (bowtie, macaroni,
etc. your choice)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Boil noodles to al dente. Cook all meats
(except pepperoni). Grease a 9 X 13 baking
dish. Divide cooked noodles, sauce & cheeses
into thirds. Layer #1: noodles, sauce, cheese,
1 meat & veggie Layer #2 noodles, sauce, cheese
1 meat & veggie Layer #3 noodles, sauce, cheese,
1 meat & veggie. Bake 40 minutes; let rest 15
minutes to set up, then serve. Serves 8


Cranberry-Orange Pork Roast

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

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat.
Add meat; cook 4-5 minutes on each side or
until browned on both sides. Transfer meat to
crockpot. Mix cranberry sauce, dressing & soy
sauce; pour over meat & cover 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. Cover & cook on High
10 minutes or until liquid is thickened. Slice meat;
place on platter. Drizzle lightly with sauce and serve
with remaining sauce. Serves 16

FOR BEST RESULTS: Do not cook meat on HIGH

(recipe: Kraft foods)
Coconut Balls

14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 stick butter
14 oz. coconut
2 C. chopped nuts
2 lbs powdered sugar

Ghirardelli Chocolate Candy Making Block
(or your choice) (I only melt half at a time)

Mix all ingredients except chocolate. Chill
& roll into balls. Let stand 1 hour in refrigerator
after rolling into balls. Dip each candy into
melted chocolate.

(recipe: Facebook)
Braised Paprika Chicken

3 1/2 lb. bone-in chicken thighs/
drumsticks/and, or breasts) skin
3/4 tsp. coarse salt, divided
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 T. cooking oil
1 T. butter
4 C. finely diced onions
pinch of sugar
1 C. diced red bell pepper
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. sweet paprika (Hungarian)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. dried marjoram
1 c. chicken broth
1/2 C. sour cream
1 T. flour
2 t. finely minced fresh parsley, dill and/or

Pat chicken dry with paper towels; season with
1/2 tsp. salt & pepper. Heat oil & butter in large,
heavy casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add onions & sprinkle with sugar; cook, stirring
frequently, until onions are very soft & light brown,
10-15 minutes. Stir in bell peppers, tomato paste,
paprika & crushed red pepper. Add chicken & stir
gently into onion mixture. Sprinkle with marjoram &
add broth. Cover with tight-fitting lid & simmer over
medium-low heat until chicken is very tender, about
50 minutes. Just before chicken is done, whisk sour
cream, flour & remaining 1/4 tsp. salt into a small bowl
until smooth. When chicken is done, remove to a plate.
Stir sour cream mixture into sauce; return to simmer &
cook, stirring, until sauce coats the spoon. Reduce heat
to low, return chicken to sauce & reheat, about 1 minute.
Serve garnished with parsley, dill and/or chives, if desired.

* If you are using a combination of thighs, drumsticks and
breasts, cut each breast in half crosswise to make pieces
about the size of a thigh. And if you buy whole legs,
separate the drumsticks & thighs. When pieces are about
the same size, they’ll cook at about the same rate.

NOTE: You can prepare this ahead of time. Prepare through
to “JUST BEFORE CHICKEN IS DONE, cool to room temperature
& refrigerate up to 1 day. Finish recipe before serving.
Serves 6

(recipe: diabetic connect/Facebook)

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

1 lb. large strawberries
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3-4 T. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
graham cracker crumbs

Rinse strawberries & cut around tops;
remove tops & scrape out part of
insides (some may already be hollow
inside) – to hold filling. In a mixing bowl,
beat cream cheese, powdered sugar & vanilla
until creamy. Add mixture to a piping bag or
ziplock back with corner snipped off. Fill
strawberry insides with cheesecake
mixture. Once they are filled, dip top
of berry in graham cracker crumbs.
NOTE: If not serving immediately, refrigerate
until serving.

(recipe: Peg – Marys Recipe Exchange)
3-Ingredient Lemon Crumble Bars

1 box yellow cake mix
1 (1/2 C.) stick unsalted butter,
1 can lemon pie filling

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray.
In a bowl, combine softened butter with
dry cake mix; mix until crumbly. Measure
out 1/2 C. of mixture; set aside. Using rest
of mixture; press into bottom of prepared
pan. Spread it out evenly and pack down
with your hands. Spoon lemon pie filling
onto crust; spread out evenly. Sprinkle
reserved crumb mixture over top. Bake
20-25 minutes; top will start to turn very
light golden brown. Cover & store in

(recipe: the

Turkey Meatball/Spinach Tortellini Soup

10 oz. ground turkey
2 T. seasoned breadcrumbs
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. chopped parsley
1 large egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 T. unsalted butter
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled & chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 (14.5 oz, ea) cans chicken broth
1 small Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (optional)
9 oz. refrigerated spinach cheese tortellini
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3 C. loosely packed baby spinach
fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for

Combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg,
parsley, garlic, salt & Parmesan in bowl.
Using your hands, gently mix all ingredients
well until everything is combined. Form into
small meatballs, about 1 T. each – it will make
about 20-22 meatballs. In large nonstick pot or
Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat.
Add celery, onion, carrot & garlic; cover & reduce
heat to low; cook 8-10 minutes until vegetables
begin to soften. Add chicken broth & parmesan
rind; increase heat to medium-high & bring to
boil. Season with black pepper, to taste. Reduce
heat to medium & gently drop in meatballs; cook
about 4 minutes. Add tortellini; simmer until cooked
accordg to pkg. directions, about 7 minutes. Once
cooked, remove Parm. rind (if using) & add baby
spinach. Stir to combine & serve topped with
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Serves 6



Breakfast Biscuit Bake

10 eggs
1/2 C. milk
1 (16 oz) tube refrigerated breakfast
biscuits (Pillsbury flaky)
4 green onions, chopped
1 C. shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese
4-6 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
(and/or cooked sausage, crumbled)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix eggs & milk in large bowl. Cut each
biscuit into fours (use kitchen shears); add
to bowl.* Add all other ingredients to bowl;
mix well; pour into greased 9 X 13 pan.
Bake 30 minutes.
*poster adds biscuits to bowl while cooking
meats, to let biscuits absorb more egg/milk.

NOTE: Can be made the night before; leave
mixture in bowl, refrigerated & covered with
plastic wrap. Morning of serving; stir well,
then pour into prepared pan & bake.

(recipe: Facebook)


Well, that’s my tales for today – crazy,
happy and everything in between. Our
son is still improving – today he started
on milkshakes! It is all in the Lord’s hands
and He’s healing him day-by-day.

Hope you have a wonderful day!



PS: Always remember to keep in mind
that there might be more than one
entrance to a store! Hehehehe!


Time is FLYING By!!!


With 1-hour each way trips to the hospital to visit middle son and all the other ‘regular’ holiday stuff – I feel like I’m on a marathon run! Visited son yesterday – he’s improving greatly each day, much to the amazement of the doctors & nurses (of course, you know – I owe it all to the Lord!). He’s got Jell-O now and clear soups; it’s funny – it takes THREE doctors to agree on an upgrade in his foods/intakes – IF they agree, next it’s milkshakes & Ensure – but we’ll wait & see.

Last night was my special needs group’s Christmas Gathering; there were not as many people attending as the lady doing the organizing expected (200) – I’d say maybe 90? (let’s just say there was food leftover!). It was a great night, I got to see some people who rarely come, some caregivers, too – a great night. After the hospital visit, about 45 minutes to ‘rest’ in between, and then the party, I was pretty exhausted when I got home.

Today was go get middle son’s belongings at his apartment and bring them home (until he’s well and can move in with his older brother). What I thought would be a quick thing took about 2 + hours, as the room was a total mess (he’s 25 and not a ‘neat freak’, for sure!). All his ‘stuff’ (except his big TV) are packed in my van for now; his older brother & a friend are going to pick up the tv later tonight (it’s a 2 person job plus it’s up a flight of stairs). I have FOUR 39 gallon garbage bags of his clothes – am going to run them all through the washer, a little at a time, since I’m not exactly sure what’s clean and not.

Today I also tagged “Turkey Day” as I had a 21 lb. turkey in the freezer that was about to expire (and, no we didn’t want turkey for Christmas), so it’s now happily roasting in my oven. I can always cut it up & freeze most of it, or give some to oldest son. Turkey is such a great sandwich food!

Speaking of food – I have lots of recipes for you; am trying to sort through some of the holiday ones, but (I’m sure you understand) I’m behind. (Last night I felt really goofy when I realized that I totally forgot our 4 teen helpers – I usually buy them something little, so I promised them that when we re-convene, I’ll accommodate them with gifts. Just a little overwhelmed at the moment.)


Spicy Sausage Dip

1 lb. Italian sausage
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 (10 oz, ea) cans Ro*Tel original
diced tomatoes & green chiles

Tortilla chips

In a skillet cook sausage until browned
& cooked through; drain. Combine
sausage, sour cream, cream cheese &
Ro*tel in crockpot. Cook on Low
3-4 hours, stirring several times during
cooking process. Serve with chips.


Crunchy Fudge

1/4 C. butter
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 C. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
2 C. Rice Krispies cereal

In saucepan combine butter, choc.
chips, corn syrup & vanilla; cook over
very low heat, stirring occasionally
until smooth. Remove from heat.
Mix in powdered sugar; add in Rice
Krispies; stir & press into greased
square pan. Refrigerate until set then
cut into squares. Serves 12


3-Cheese Corn Casserole

2 eggs, beaten
1 (15 oz) can cream-style corn
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen whole kernel
1 (8 1/2 oz) box corn muffin mix
1/2 C. sour cream
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 (8 oz) pkg. (Kraft) Three Cheese
with a touch of Philadelphia, shredded
cheese, divided
4 green onions, sliced
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

Heat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine first 6 ingredients in medium
bowl; stir in 1/2 C. cheese then pour into
a 2  qt. casserole dish sprayed with nonstick
spray. Bake 40 minutes. Combine remaining
cheese, onions & bacon. Top casserole
with cheese mixture; bake 15 minutes until
lightly browned. Serves 12, 1/2 C. each.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Baked Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

10 (3/4 oz) slices American cheese,
chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 T. jarred jalapeno peppers, finely
2 C. frozen cranberries
2 T. sugar

Baguette slices, toasted, for serving

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine cheese, cream cheese &
jalapenos in a bowl; mix well. Place
cranberries & sugar in another bowl;
toss to coat. Gently stir cranberries
into cheese mixture. Spread mixture
into 1 qt. casserole dish. Bake 30-35
minutes or until bubbly around edges.
Serve with baguette slices, if desired.
Makes 40 servings


Caramel Apple Dump Cake

2 cans apple pie filling
1/4 C. caramel sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 box yellow cake mix
1 C. melted butter
1/2 C. chopped pecans (optional)
1 C. heavy whipping cream
4 T. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13 pan with nonstick
spray. Add pie filling, caramel sauce,
lemon juice & cinnamon to pan; stir
then sprinkle top with dry cake mix.
Cover that with melted butter.
Bake 35-40 minutes and cool on a
wire rack.
Spiced Whipped Cream:
Chill a large mixing bowl. Add heavy
cream & whisk until it holds soft peaks.
Whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla &
cinnamon. Serve dump cake with
spiced whipped cream, a drizzle of
extra caramel sauce & a few pecans

Crockpot Apple/Bacon
Pork Roast

3-4 lb. pork roast
2 large apples, sliced
6 slices bacon, half cooked
1/3 C. brown sugar

1/2 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. apple juice
1 T. Dijon mustard or
grainy mustard
dash cinnamon

Slice pork loin into 1″
slices, about 3/4 of the way
through (roast will still be
connected at bottom). Place
roast in crockpot; place apple
slices in the slits. Lay bacon
slices over top of roast &
sprinkle with brown sugar.
Cover & cook 3-4 hours on
High or 6-8 hours on Low.
Slice & serve with glaze.
Serves 6-8

Blend all glaze ingredients in a
saucepan over medium heat.
Cook, stirring until mixture
comes to a boil. Remove from
heat & set aside.


Banana Pudding Squares

35 vanilla wafers, finely crushed
(about 1 1/4 C.)
1/4 C. margarine, melted
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed,
3 bananas, sliced
2 (1 oz, ea) pkgs. vanilla instant
pudding mix
3 C. cold milk
1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate,

Line a 9 X 13″ baking dish with
aluminum foil, with ends of foil
extending over sides of dish. Use
foil ‘handles’ to remove chilled
dessert from dish before cutting
to serve.

Mix wafer crumbs & margarine; press
into bottom of 9 X 13″ pan. Refrigerate
until ready to use. Beat cream cheese &
sugar in medium bowl with whisk until
blended. Stir in 1 1/2 C. Cool Whip;
spread over crust & top with sliced
bananas. Beat pudding mixes & milk
with whisk 2 minutes; spread over bananas &
top with remaining Cool Whip & chocolate.
Refrigerate 3 hours before serving.
Serves 24

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Charleston Cheese Dip

1/2 C. mayonnaise
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp. Cajun seasoning*
1 green onion, sliced
2 T. chopped pickles jalapeno
1 C. shredded sharp Cheddar
1 C. shredded Monterey Jack or
Swiss cheese
1 T. butter, melted
1/2 C. Panko bread crumbs
1/4 C. cooked, crumbled bacon

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In medium bowl, combine
mayonnaise, cream cheese &
Cajun seasoning until well
blended. Reserve a pinch of
green onion for garnish. Add
jalapeno, remaining green onion,
& cheeses; blend together. Transfer
mixture to a buttered glass pie
plate or small oblong shallow
baking dish. Toss Panko crumbs into
melted butter with a fork & sprinkle
over top of dip. Bake 20 minutes or
until heated through & top is golden
brown. Remove & sprinkle crumbled
bacon on top; garnish with reserved
green onion. Serve immediately with
crackers, chips or vegetables.
Serves 4-6

*Cajun seasoning: like “Slap Ya Mama”


Grandma’s Wilted Lettuce Salad
Serves 10-12

12 C. (8 oz) romaine lettuce
11 slices hickory smoked bacon,
2 1/2 T. diced onion

1/2 C. heavy whipping cream,
plus 2 T.
1/4 C. sugar plus 1 T.
1/4 C. apple cider vinegar plus
1 T.

Place salad ingredients into very
large bowl*. In another bowl add
dressing ingredients; stir to blend
well. Pour dressing, a little at a
time, over salad & stir gently to
combine. Mix dressing completely
into salad, and serve immediately.

*Poster uses a 13 C. Tupperware


No-Bake Peanut Butter
Cheerio Bars

1 C. white sugar
1 1/4 C. light corn syrup
1 C. peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1 C. peanuts
6 C. peanut butter Cheerios

In medium saucepan mix white sugar &
light corn syrup; bring to boil. Add
peanut butter & vanilla; mix until
smooth. Place peanut butter Cheerios &
peanuts in large mixing bowl. Pour peanut
butter mixture over Cheerios & peanuts;
stir until combined. Spread Cheerio mixture
in 9 X 13 greased pan. Let cool then cut
into bars.


Crockpot Barbecued Ham
QUICK recipe!

2 1/2 lb. shaved ham*
1 (12 oz) bottle chili sauce
1/2 C. barbecue sauce
1/2 C. brown sugar
2 tsp. dry mustard
16 hamburger buns

Combine chili sauce, barbecue
sauce, brown sugar & dry mustard
in medium sized crockpot; mix well.
Add ham & gently stir until combined.
Heat until bubbly, then reduce heat
to ‘warm’ until ready to serve. Serve
on hamburger buns.

*Poster notes: she usually buys a
small whole ham and asks the butcher
to shave it for her in the deli – it’s
cheaper that way

I’m hoping you’re all up to date
on what you’re planning/baking/
organizing, etc. I’m really ‘hoping’
to be able to finish my shopping
tomorrow, but there’s also another
possible ‘planned’ thing I might have
to attend, first. Still have to bake the
three Christmas breads for my
neighbors; hoping to get that done
tomorrow, also.

Hang in there – even if it’s NOT ALL
DONE – Christmas will come, anyway –
and THAT’S ALL RIGHT! Cherish
those you love, let them know that –
life is all about those moments.



I’ve also been able to do a lot of knitting
baby hats in the trips back & forth to the
hospital; at least I’m getting ‘up to date’
on something! Our weather has been

holding nicely – in the 30’s but no
snow on the ground! YAY! Makes
for much easier walking/driving,
especially on expressways.