Thoughts on a Chilly Thursday


Time to get out the dog sleds!

Baby, it’s COLD outside! Oldest son called last night to ask if we would watch our grandson, as his school was closed due to cold – Yep, our Michigan Winter is starting! It was a nice, clear & sunny day; right now it’s a ‘balmy’ 2 degrees F with wind chills at 17 below! We’re also supposed to get 1-3 inches of the white stuff overnight. Tomorrow is a HIGH of 14 – oh, goody! My husband asked oldest son what they would do if school is closed tomorrow, also – I just piped in: “Probably call us!” It was a easy-going day – grandson got here around 7:40 a.m. and spent time playing games on his hand-held device then later switched to my computer to play Minecraft (it’s a little kids game much like Warcraft, except no blood or rough stuff – you basically hack down bricks to get to ‘stuff’). Husband & I spent time together watching TV & catching up on shows we hadn’t seen, like episodes of NCIS and Bluebloods. Along with watching TV I got some quality knitting done: some on baby hats, and worked more on the two scarves for the homeless shelters. I don’t mind knitting scarves, it just seems THESE two are taking forever! Oh well  . . .

    Middle son is doing well, is thinking of returning to work next week. I took him on a ‘run’ with me yesterday to allow him to see how much strength he has as well as what he might still ‘need’. His car license plate tabs had expired Sunday on his birthday, so I drove him to the Sec. of States’ then stopped at Salvation Army & found him a pair of black jeans, then on to Krogers, Game Stop and the gas station. He did well, only mentioned that he still gets small bouts of feeling sick & nauseous. Today he had an appointment with our general physician and he asked for something to help with that, for when he goes back to work (doctor ordered a prescription). He’s slowly gaining some weight (this is probably the best he’s eaten in a long time! Of course, I’m catering to him – he’s my kid! Dinner tonight is spaghetti & garlic bread with tossed salad.


Cheesy Sausage & Tomato Shells
(large recipe – can be halved)

1 (16 oz) box elbow macaroni or
medium shell pasta
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
1 lb. sausage
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans Italian
Stewed Tomatoes
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. basil, dried
1 tsp. oregano, dried
salt & pepper
2-3 C. Cheddar cheese, grated

Bring medium sized pot of water
to a boil (add salt to water); add pasta
& cook accordg to pkg. directions. (cook
to Al Dente). Drain pasta & rinse with
warm water.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in large skillet
over medium-high heat; add chopped
veggies & cook until onions are translucent.
Add sausage; cook until browned; drain.
Pour stewed tomatoes into a medium-sized
bowl; using kitchen shears, cut into large
chunks then add into skillet with sausage &
veggies. Add cumin, basil, oregano, salt &
pepper; stir. Pour cooked pasta into skillet; stir
into tomato mixture. Spray a 9 X 13″ pan
with nonstick spray; pour pasta/tomato mixture
into pan & top with grated Cheddar cheese.
Bake 20-25 minutes until cheese is lightly
browned & bubbly. Serves 12+

NOTE: You can place this into two 9 X 13 pans;
cover one with foil & freeze for another meal


Stuffing Chicken
(crockpot OR oven)

4 chicken breasts, pounded out flat
8 slices Swiss cheese (or about 3/4 C.
shredded cheese)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 C. milk
1 box chicken-flavored stuffing mix
1/4 C. butter, melted

Spray inside of crockpot with non-
stick spray. Lay chicken in bottom
of crockpot, flat; cover with cheese.
Mix soup & milk; pour over top of
cheese. Pour box of dry stuffing mix
over top; drizzle with butter. Cook
on High 4 hours. Last half hour
turn lid of crockpot so that some
steam escapes. Serves 7

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray casserole dish with nonstick
spray. Assemble dish same as above.
Cover with foil & bake 45 minutes.
Remove foil & bake 7-10 minutes


Chicken Gnocci Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled/grated
4 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled/chopped
2-3 T. olive oil
1 rotisserie chicken & 1 C. broth
from bottom of chicken container
7 C. water
8 chicken bullion cubes
1 (16 oz) pkg. Potato Gnocci
4 C. Half & Half
1 1/2 C. fresh spinach, chopped
1 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 T. sugar
1/4 C. cold water
5 T. cornstarch
salt & pepper
2 T. butter

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-
high heat. Add chopped veggies to pan;
cook 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally,
until onions are translucent. Remove
chicken from pkg & place on a plate.
Remove broth in bottom of pkg & place
in large measuring cup (should be about
1 C.). Remove skin from chicken; remove
meat from bones & chop into small pieces.
When veggies are done cooking pour broth
from chicken & 7 C. hot water into pot; add
chicken bullion cubes & stir. Add chopped
chicken pieces & bring to a boil. Pour gnocci
into pot; let it come to a boil again – cook
3-4 minutes. Gnocci will be cooked through
when the float to the top of the broth. Add
chopped spinach, Half & Half, thyme, nutmeg,
sugar & butter to pot; stir & let come to a boil.
In small bowl combine cold water & cornstarch;
mix well & pour into soup pot. Bring soup to
a boil while stirring – it will thicken as soup
reaches boil. Taste & season with salt & pepper.
Serves 12

NOTE: Gnocci is found in the refrigerated section
usually where they have refrigerated pastas,
pizza doughs, etc.

Spicy Chili & Cornmeal Casserole

2 T. olive oil
1/2 C. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 chipotle pepper in adobo
sauce, finely chopped plus
1 tsp. adobo sauce
1 tsp. tomato paste
ground black pepper
1 lb. ground turkey
1 (15 oz) can black beans,
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. grated Parmesan
1 C. instant polenta
3/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 T. sliced pickled jalapeno peppers,
drained & chopped

1 C. Greek plain yogurt
1 avocado, sliced/diced
1/2 C. chopped fresh cilantro
1 C. cherry tomatoes, quartered

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in large skillet over
medium-high heat. Add onions &
cook, stirring, until soft, about 5
minutes. Lower heat to medium; add
cumin, garlic, oregano, chipotles, adobo
sauce, tomato paste & few grinds pepper;
stir until combined. Add turkey & cook,
breaking turkey up with a spoon, until
cooked through, about 8 minutes Stir in
black beans, tomatoes & chicken broth;
cook until broth is reduce, about 8 minutes
more. Stir in 1/4 C. Parmesan; remove from
heat & keep warm.
Cool polenta accordg to pkg. directions.
Remove from heat & stir in Cheddar &
chopped jalapenos. Spray a 3 qt. casserole
dish with nonstick spray. Spread chili in bottom
of casserole dish; top with polenta, spreading
evenly to cover chili completely. Sprinkle top
with remaining 1/4 C. Parmesan. Cover with
foil & bake until bubbling, about 25 minutes.
Remove foil & broil until top is nicely browned,
2-5 minutes. Serve hot, with toppings.
Serves 6


Garlic Cheddar Quick Bread

3 C. self-rising flour*
1 C. (4 oz) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 C. sugar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 C. milk
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 egg

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan; set aside.
Combine flour, cheese, sugar, garlic
powder & Italian seasoning in a large
bowl. In separate medium bowl whisk
milk, oil & egg. Stir wet mixture into dry
ingredients just until moistened; pour
into prepared pan. Bake 55-60 minutes
until a toothpick inserted into center
comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes
before removing to a wire rack. Makes 1

*If you don’t have Self-Rising Flour:
You can substitute each cup of Self-Rising
flour by placing 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
and 1/2 tsp. salt into a measuring cup.
Add all-purpose flour to measure 1 C.
(in this recipe you would do this three


Italian Ricotta Cookies

2 sticks (1/2 lb) butter, softened
1 3/4 C. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 (15 oz) tub ricotta cheese
2 T. vanilla
4 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

4-5 T. milk
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
candy sprinkles

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In medium bowl cream butter &
sugar. Add eggs, ricotta cheese &
vanilla; mix until well combined. In
separate medium bowl combine flour,
baking powder & baking soda. Add
flour mixture to ricotta mixture; mix
well. Roll or scoop the dough into
teaspoon-sized balls. Place on
ungreased cookie sheet about 2
inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes until
lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool
on baking sheet 3 minutes before
transferring to a wire rack to cool
completely. In medium bowl, beat milk,
powdered sugar & almond extract
until smooth. Dip tops of cookies into
glaze & set upright back on wire rack.
Immediately top with sprinkles. Repeat
for remaining cookies. Makes 50


Texas Caviar
(appetizer spread)

2 (15 oz, ea) cans black-eyed peas,
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tomato, finely chopped & drained
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, stem &
seeds removed, coarsely chopped
1/2 C. bottled Italian salad dressing

In large bowl combine all ingredients
except salad dressing. Pour dressing
over top & toss to coat well. Cover &
chill until ready to serve. Serves 6


3-Ingredient Pork Chops & Gravy

4-6 pork chops (or as many as
you need)
1-2 cans golden mushroom soup
(depending on
how much gravy you want)
a dash of black pepper

Place pork chops in crockpot,
add soups. Cook on Low 7-8 hours.
Serve gravy over chops &
potatoes, rice or cooked noodles.
Serves 4-6


Old Fashioned Molasses Cake

2 T. butter, softened
1/4 C. sugar
1 egg
1/2 C. dark molasses (if using light, use
3/4 C.)
1 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 C. hot water
9 T. Cool Whip (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In small bowl, beat butter & sugar
until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat
in egg & molasses
. Combine flour,
baking soda, ginger, cinnamon & salt;
add to butter mixture alternately with
water, mixing well after each addition.
Transfer to greased 9″ square baking pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick
inserted into center comes out clean. Cool
on wire rack; garnish with Cool Whip.
Serves 9


Hope you’re having a WARM
evening. How are your gas prices?
Yesterday, in my travels first I stopped
to get gas ($1.99/9 cheapest); drove
around and came back by the station
about 25 minutes later only to find
that their prices had gone to $1.89/9!
Ugh! Oh well, my car was happy with
the fill-up!

Stay out of the cold, don’t over-
exert yourself (ie: shoveling snow,
chipping ice, etc.) and remember to
REST when you can!

Big Hugs;



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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. My only appointment this month is on the 14th with Sterling hearing so I set up one with Shawn on the same day seeing I will be in the area. I thank you for the crock pot recipes but I’m not using them so that is one less you have to do. Take care love yah!

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