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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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I’m still here and still reading love yah!

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