Find me if you can!


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


Saucy Fish

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

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

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

(recipe: Kraftfoods)

Zucchini Stuffing

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

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


Heirloom Country Chicken Casserole

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

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

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

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


Baked Goulash

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

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

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


One-Pot Bacon Chipotle Mac & Cheese

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

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


Stuffed Cabbage Rolls for 6

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

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


Banana Zucchini Bread

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

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


Cheesy Ranch Orzo

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

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

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


Dutch Apple Pancakes

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

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


Peach Dump Cake

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

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

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

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)

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

Have a GREAT day!



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

And a Happy Frigid Friday to you, too!



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

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

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


Creamy Italian Chicken/
Tomato Soup

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

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

Crockpot Chicken Vegetable

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

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


Dollar Store Soup

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

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


All-Day Cabbage Soup

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

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

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


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

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

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

(recipe: readyseteat!)
Italian Sausage Stew

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

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

(recipe: readyseteat!)

Chicken Minestrone Soup

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

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

(recipe: readyseteat!)

Crockpot Broccoli/Cheddar Soup

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

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


Frosted Banana Bars

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

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

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


Enjoy your day!



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

Wintery Wednesday


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


Bake-Sale Lemon Bars

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

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


Chive & Onion Hash Browns

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

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


30-Minute Skillet Enchiladas

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

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

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

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


Crockpot Swiss Steak

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

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


Cowboy BBQ Beans

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

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


Ranch Parmesan Chicken

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

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

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


Panzanella Salad
(Italian Bread Salad)

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

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


Butter Cake Bars

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

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


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

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



Stuff on a Saturday


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

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

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


Sweet Baby Ray’s Crockpot Chicken

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

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

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)

Southern Fried Cornbread

(sort of like potato pancakes)

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

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

(recipe: Courtney Luper-Facebook)

Bacon Chili Cheese Cups

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

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


Banana Pudding Cupcakes

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

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

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

1 banana, sliced

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

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

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


Vegetable Beef Soup

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

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


Baked Sour Cream Chicken

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

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


Bacon/Chicken Pinwheels

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

wooden toothpicks soaked in water

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


Runza Casserole

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

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

(recipe: Just a Pinch/Facebook)

Smoky Baked Beans

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

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


Stuffing Meatloaf

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

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

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


Carrot Cake Muffins

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

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

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

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

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

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

“Life’s short – eat dessert first!”



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

“Please Hold” . . .


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


Chicken/Pepper/Cream Cheese Taquitos

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

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


Heavenly Apple Bake

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

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


Santa Fe Chicken Enchilada Stew

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

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

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

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

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

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

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

(recipe: Facebook)

Wrapped Apple BBQ Chicken

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

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

(recipe: crockpotladies)

Zippy Corn Pudding

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

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


Egg Drop Soup

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

sliced scallions (garnish)

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


Meatball Parmesan Casserole

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

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

Preheat oven 425 degrees F.

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

Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees F.

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


Double Lemon Cheesecake Bars

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

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

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

(recipe: Kraft foods)


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

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



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

Stayin’ “IN”!


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

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


 Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

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

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


The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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

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


Classic Rice Pudding

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

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


Fiesta Pork Chops

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

3-4 C. cooked rice

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


Potato Goulash with Sausage

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

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

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

(recipe: Facebook)

Beef & Mushroom Stew

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

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

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Southern-style Cabbage Soup

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

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

(recipe: Facebook)

Tuna Cakes

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

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

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

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Chocolate Berry Muffins

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

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


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

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



‘Nother Cold one!


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

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


Butter Cake Bars

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

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


Bacon-Cheeseburger Meatloaf

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

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

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

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)

Bell Pepper Quiche

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

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


The Very Best Salisbury Steak

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

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

(recipe: facebook)

Irish Ham & Potato Pie

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

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

(recipe: Rhonda-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Favorite Coffee Squares

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

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

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

(recipe: Heidi –

Hope you have a GREAT day – stay warm!



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

Valentine’s Day & the (REALLY) COLD Winds!


Had to go out early this morning to deliver the last of the knit hats & scarves for the other knit group (the one that gives to 4 homeless shelters in our area). Husband looked out the window and said: “Looks like only about 1/4 inch (snow)”. I went out – it was more like TWO inches; mind you, it’s the really light, fluffy kind, but it was all over the place. Drove 35/40 in a 50 MPH zone, everyone was doing the same – the roads were a little ‘dicey/slippery’. I’d totally forgotten about driving over a bridge near the other knit group location (used to live out that way) – the wind was REALLY whipping up, blowing snow off the lake onto the roads/windshields, etc. in effect causing an almost ‘white-out’ condition. Glad that bridge is short! The temps when I got in my car were showing 17; by the time I drove back home it was 13. Just putting my packages in my car at KMart made my face REALLY hurt! Wind chill minus 7 – no wonder! SO GLAD I’m safely back home!

Found some yummy-sounding recipes for your Valentine’s Day:


Peanut Butter Microwave Fudge

1 lb. box confectioners sugar (powdered
2 T. butter
1/3 C. milk
1 C. peanut butter (smooth or chunky)

Place sugar, butter & milk in large micro-
waveable bowl. Microwave 2 minutes on
High. Remove & beat ingredients using
an elec. mixer until combined. Microwave
30 seconds more, then add peanut butter.
Mix by hand or mixer until combined. Spread
into foil-lined 8″ X 8″ pan. Let cool then cut
into squares.

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

3 C. shredded cooked chicken breast
1/3 C. hot sauce (Tabasco/Franks Red Hot,
your choice)
1/3 C. ranch salad dressing
6 oz. egg noodles (or pasta of your
choice) cooked/drained
1 3/4 C. Alfredo sauce (or one 14 oz
jar pre-made)
1/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. crumbled blue cheese

6 slices provolone cheese (for top)
1/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese (for top)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease (or spray) a 11″ X 8″ X 2″
baking dish. Stir chicken & hot sauce in
large bowl. Stir in pasta, ranch dressing,
Alfredo sauce, Parm & blue cheeses.
Spoon mixture into baking dish; cover
with 6 slices Provolone cheese, then
sprinkle with Cheddar cheese. Bake 25
minutes until mixture is hot & bubbling
and cheese is melted. Serves 6

(recipe: Courtney Luper – Facebook)

Baked Parmesan Zucchini ‘Sticks’

4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
1/2 C. grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
kosher salt/ ground black pepper, to
2 T. olive oil
2 T. chopped fresh parsley (garnish)Bake

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray;
place on a baking sheet; set aside. In small
bowl, combine Parmesan, thyme, oregano,
basil, garlic powder, salt/pepper; mix to
combine. Place zucchini on prepared baking
sheet. Drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with
Parm. mixture. Bake 15 minutes, until tender,
then broil 2-3 minutes until crisp & golden
brown. Serve immediately (garnish with
parsley, if desired) Serves 4


Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate:
4 C. whole milk
1/4 C. granulated sugar
10 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate,
coarsely chopped
2 tsp. red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla

Vanilla Whipped Cream:
1/2 C. heavy cream
2 T. confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Prepare Hot Chocolate:
Pour milk & gran. sugar in medium
saucepan; bring to simmer on
medium heat, stirring to dissolve
sugar. Remove from heat; stir in
chocolate with wire whisk until
melted. Stir in food coloring & vanilla;
pour into cups.
Prepare Vanilla Whipped Cream:
Beat heavy cream, conf. sugar & vanilla
in a medium bowl using elec. mixer
on High speed until stiff peaks form.
Dollop onto cups of hot chocolate.
Serves 5


Lemon-Butter Chicken

8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
1 T. smoked paprika
kosher salt/ground black pepper,
to taste
3 T. unsalted butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 C. chicken broth
1/2 C. heavy cream
1/4 C. freshly grated Parmesan
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 C. baby spinach, chopped

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Season chicken thighs with paprika,
salt/pepper, to taste. Melt 2 T. butter
in large oven-proof skillet over medium-
high heat. Add chicken, skin side down;
sear both sides until golden brown, about
2-3 minutes per side; set aside.
Melt remaining butter in skillet; add garlic;
cook, stirring frequently, 1-2 minutes. Stir
in chicken broth, heavy cream, Parmesan,
lemon juice & thyme – bring to boil. Reduce
heat, stir in spinach & simmer until spinach
has wilted & sauce has slightly thickened,
about 3-5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet.
Place in oven & roast until completely cooked
through, reaching an internal temperature of
175 degrees F., about 25-30 minutes. Serve
immediately. Serves 8


Chocolate-covered Nut Clusters

1 lb. dry-roasted salted peanuts
1 lb. dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
1 lb. white almond bark
1 (10 oz) bag peanut butter chips
1 (12 oz) bag dark chocolate chips
4 oz. German chocolate bar, chopped

Place all peanuts in bottom of crockpot;
cover with almond bark, peanut butter
chips, chocolate chips & German chocolate.
Cover & cook on Low 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or
until melted. Stir well, making sure nuts
are thoroughly coated in chocolate. Cover
again & continue cooking on Low 30-40
minutes longer. While cooking, prepare
either: a parchment paper-lined baking
sheet or cupcake wrappers/papers. When
fully cooked, using a small ice cream scoop
or tablespoon, scoop equal mounds of
chocolate mixture in prepared baking
sheet/cupcake papers. Let dry at room
temperature until completely set &
hardened 1-2 hours. Store in air-tight
container. Makes about 3 dozen

Cheddar Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

2 1/2 C. heavy cream (not ultra pasteurized
for better results)
3/4 C. finely chopped shallots or onions
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried)
2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
4 lb. russet potatoes, peeled/cut into 1/4″
thick rounds
2 C. (packed) grated sharp white Cheddar
cheese (about 8 oz)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Butter a 9 X 13″ glass baking dish.
Whisk cream, shallots/onions, rosemary,
salt/pepper in medium bowl; mix well.
Place half of potatoes in prepared dish,
overlapping slightly; sprinkle with 3/4 C.
cheese. Top with second layer of potatoes;
pour cream mixture over potatoes in dish.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese; cover with
foil & bake 1 hour.
Uncover & bake until top is golden brown &
potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes longer.
Let cool 10 minutes before serving.


2-Ingredient Strawberry Fudge

1 (16 oz) can strawberry frosting
1 (12 oz) bag white chocolate chips

candy sprinkles

Spray a 9″ X 9″ pan with nonstick
spray. Using a double boiler (or
microwave) melt white choc. chips.
When chips are melted, remove from
heat & stir in strawb. frosting, evenly.
Spread mixture into prepared pan;
smooth out & refrigerate 30 minutes
to set. Cut into squares & serve.

(Note: before refrigerating, you can
also sprinkle ‘candy sprinkles’ on top,
if desired)


Hope you have a GREAT day and



Published in: on February 14, 2015 at 2:25 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , ,

Happy Friday the 13th!


Latest baby blanket  half-way done!

In case you might be interested in this pattern, here it is:


Red Heart “Wild Waves” Afghan


Today is another ‘chiller’ day; 12 degrees F. out there with a wind chill of minus 1. Husband informed me it’s supposed to be this cold through Sunday – oh, joy . . . 80% chance of snow tonight and the HIGH expected Sunday of 1 degree BELOW ZERO! Oh, goody! This is when we thank the Lord for a warm house, warm clothing, food in the fridge & pantry, a car that runs, etc. It’s time to count the little (and sometimes BIG) blessings, folks – they’re out there, those blessings. Sometimes we tend to forget about them, but they’re there giving us blessings. I, personally, like to thank the LORD for all He’s done for me, my family & friends. We’ve been through a lot but His blessings never cease.


Crockpot Steak & Gravy

2 – 2 1/2 lb. flat iron steak
1 oz. pkg. onion soup mix
1/4 C. water
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom

Cut steak into serving sized pieces;
place in crockpot. Add soup mix, water &
soup; mix well. Cover & cook on Low 6-8


Oven-Fried Cornflake Chicken

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 C. milk
2 1/2 C. cornflake crumbs (crushed but
not pulverized)
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 (3 lb) chicken, cut up
5 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix together eggs & milk in shallow dish.
Mix cornflake crumbs, salt & pepper in
separate dish. Dip chicken pieces first in
egg mixture, then dredge in crumbs to
coat evenly. Arrange chicken pieces in
greased 9 X 13 pan; drizzle with melted
butter. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour. Serves 4

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Broccoli, Ham & Mozzarella Bake

4-6 C. very small broccoli florets, blanched
about 2 minutes, then drained well
1-2 C. diced ham
1 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 C. thinly sliced green onion (optional)
8-10 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
sour cream, for serving

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Grease a 9 X 13 baking dish. Bring medium-
sized pot of water to boil; cook broccoli 2
minutes, then pour into a colander; let drain
well. Layer broccoli, ham, mozzarella & green
onions in casserole dish. Season with salt &
pepper; pour beaten egg over all. Use a fork
to ‘stir’ mixture just until all ingredients are
coated with egg. Bake 35-45 minutes or until
all mixture is set & top is starting to lightly
brown (check after 30 minutes). Serve hot,
with sour cream, if desired. Serves 8

(recipe: Kalyn’s Kitchen)

Wild Berry Oatmeal Cheesecake Muffins

1 C. old fashioned oats
1 C. buttermilk*
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. granulated sugar
3 T. orange zest
1 C. flour
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C. butter, melted
1 C. fresh or frozen mixed berries

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine oats & buttermilk in small bowl;
let stand 10 minutes. Beat cream cheese,
granulated sugar & zest with mixer until
blended; set aside. Mix flour, brown sugar,
baking powder, baking soda & salt in large
bowl. Add egg & butter to oat mixture; stir
until well blended. Add to dry ingredients;
stir just until moistened. Gently stir in berries.
Spoon half of batter evenly into 12 muffin
cups lined with extra-large or giant paper
liners, (SEE NOTE BELOW) filling each liner half
full; top each with 2 T. cream cheese filling.
Cover with remaining batter. Bake 25-27
minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of
muffin comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.

NOTE: The extra-large muffin pan liners are
needed to hold all the batter in the muffin
pan cups. IF you don’t have extra-large or giant
liners, spoon batter into 16 paper-lined muffin
cups instead. Bake 23-25 minutes or until
toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes
out clean.

*Replace buttermilk with sour milk. Mix
1 T. lemon juice or white vinegar and enough
milk to equal 1 cup in a glass measuring cup.
Stir & let stand 5 minutes before using.

(recipe: Kraft foods)

Mini-Cheesburger Bundles


1 1/4 lb. ground beef
1 T. steak sauce
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 green onions, finely chopped (about 1/2 C.)
1 (17.3 oz) pkg. Pepperidge Farm Puff
Pastry sheets (2 sheets), thawed accordg.
to pkg. directions
12 slices (1 inch square, ea) Havarti or Cheddar
cheese, about 1/4 ” thick

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix beef, steak sauce, seas. salt, pepper &
green onions in medium bowl. Shape mixture into
12 (2 inch) patties. Cook patties in 12″ skillet over
medium-high heat 10 minutes or until well browned
on both sides. Remove from skillet & let cool to
room temperature. Lightly grease or line a baking
sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle work surface
with flour; unfold 1 pastry sheet onto floured surface.
Roll pastry sheet into a 10″ square. Cut sheet into 6
(about 3 X 5 in) rectangles. Repeat with remaining
sheet to make 12 rectangles in all. Place 1 patty
in center of each pastry rectangle & top each with
1 cheese slice. Fold corners of pastry over filling &
twist corners to seal. Place pastries on prepared
sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until pastries are golden
brown.Serves 12

Shipwreck Casserole
(also known as Dinner in a Dish)
(also Crockpot)

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
kosher salt
ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 C. chopped onion
3 large baking potatoes, peeled/
sliced thin or diced*
2 C. thin sliced carrots
1/4 C. celery, diced small
1/2 C. diced bell pepper
2 C. cooked rice (optional)
1 can tomato soup – undiluted
1 soup can warm water
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Cajun seasoning (optional)
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Butter 9 X 13 baking dish; set aside.
Brown ground beef; season with
salt, pepper & garlic powder; drain.
Layer casserole dish with onions on
bottom, potatoes; sprinkle lightly
with seasoning salt (or salt & pepper).
Top with carrots, celery & bell pepper;
sprinkle with salt & pepper. Top with
cooked rice (if using), then ground beef.
Whisk together soup, soup can water &
Italian seasoning until blended; pour over
casserole evenly. Sprinkle lightly with
Cajun seasoning (if using). Cover with
foil & bake 1 hour. Remove foil, sprinkle
top with Cheddar cheese & return to
oven until cheese has melted.
Serves 4-6

*Can substitute frozen, thawed hash
brown potatoes, thawed tater tots or
canned,sliced new potatoes. Can also
use frozen thawed sliced carrots.

Layer ingredients in crockpot, seasoning
each layer. Top with soup mixture, cover
& cook on Low 4-6 hours or 3 hours on
High (until potatoes & other veggies are
cooked through).

Salted Caramel Popcorn

1/2 C. unpopped popcorn kernels
(about 16 C. popped corn)
1 C. salted butter
1 C. light brown sugar
1/3 C. light corn syrup
1 1/2 – 2 tsp. kosher or sea salt, divided

Preheat oven 300 degrees F.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment
paper or a silicone mat; set aside.
Pop popcorn kernels using air popper, into
a large bowl. In small saucepan, melt butter,
brown sugar, corn syrup & 1 tsp. salt together
over medium heat; bring to boil – boil 4
minutes without stirring. Pour caramel mixture
over popcorn & stir to coat evenly. Pour popcorn
into lined pan, sprinkle remaining salt on top
(1/2 tsp – 1 tsp depending on your personal
taste preference) & place in oven. Bake 30
minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Allow
popcorn to cool on a parchment-lined counter.
Makes about 16 C. caramel corn.

Note: You can add in 2 C. chopped nuts to
un-coated popcorn if desired; coat with caramel
as in recipe.


Crockpot Tomato/Tortellini Soup

1 qt. vegetable stock
2 (28 oz, ea) cans ground, peeled
a few Parmesan cheese rinds (optional)
1 large bay leaf
3/4 C. fresh basil, roughly cut
1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp. dried)
3 T. olive oil
1 C. diced celery
1 C. diced onion
1 1/2 C. diced carrots
1 T. chopped garlic
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
4 T. tomato paste
1/2 C. white wine (or water)
3/4 C. freshly ground Romano cheese
1/2 C. heavy cream
2 T. butter (optional)
1 (12 oz) pkg. frozen cheese-filled
1 (8 oz) pkg. baby spinach, fresh, stems
removed & chopped (or frozen may be used
if fresh is not available)

Using 4 qt or larger crockpot, place stock,
tomatoes, cheese rinds, bay leaf, basil &
thyme in crockpot. Set to High. In large
skillet heat oil over medium-high heat.
Add celery, onions & carrots; cook 3-4 minutes
until almost soft. Add garlic, salt, pepper,
paprika & pepper flakes; cook 1 minute. Add
tomato paste & cook 2 minutes, being
careful not to burn. Add wine (water) to
deglaze skillet. Pour this mixture into crockpot
& stir. Cover & allow to cook 4-6 hours.

After cooking time is up, remove cheese rinds &
bay leaf; discard. Place mixture in blender in
batches & puree until smooth then pour into
crockpot.  Add Romano cheese, cream & butter;
stir with a spoon to combine. Taste & add more
salt/pepper, if desired. Add frozen tortellini & cook
until fully cooked (approx. 10 minutes) then add
spinach. Continue cooking just until spinach has
wilted into soup (1-2 minutes). If soup is too
thick, dilute with more cream or vegetable stock.
Serves 8-10


Hope you have a nice, cozy, WARM day –
remember to do something ‘special’ for
yourself or someone else today; it’s a
good way to ‘un-jinx’ this goofy calendar
day (by the way, there’s another one coming
up NEXT month!) I don’t remember Friday
the 13th coming up in two months in a row
before – do you? (maybe I just never noticed).



Mighty Chilly out there!


Had to go for a routine check-up to my doctor’s today – was really surprised that such a sunny, clear day would produce temps. of 7 degrees F with wind chill of -12 (no WONDER I was freezing!) You really learn just how efficient your car’s heater is in temps like these (mine is not too great, usually takes about 5 minutes before you feel anything).

Nothing much new around here, still working on the baby afghan (am about half done now). It’s a very nice looking pattern but rather tedious (but then – I knew that).


Reese’s No-Bake Peanut
Butter Bars

1 C. butter, melted
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 C. brown sugar
1 3/4 C. powdered sugar
1 C. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 (11 oz) bag milk chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients except
chocolate chips in medium bowl. Stir
until mixture is smooth & creamy. Pour
mixture into a 9″ X 13″ pan. Melt chocolate
chips in microwave (50% power) 1-2
minutes; stir & pour over peanut butter
mixture in pan. Spread melted chocolate
with spatula to make even. Refrigerate
1 hour to set. Cut when cooled.

(recipe: Courtney Luper-Facebook)
Ham & Pineapple Pasta Bake

16 oz. penne pasta (uncooked)
4 oz. black forest ham, diced
2 C. pineapple tidbits
8 oz. shredded Mexican-blend cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees F
Spray 9″ X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. Cook pasta accordg.
to pkg. directions; drain & place in
large bowl. Add half of pasta to
prepared baking dish; sprinkle half
of ham & pineapple over pasta; cover
with half cheese. Pour remaining
pasta into baking dish; sprinkle with
remaining ham & pineapple; top with
remaining cheese. Bake 20 minutes
until completely heated through &
cheese is melted. Serves 6


Bacon & Tomato Quesadillas

8 (8 inch) flour tortillas
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Mexican-blend
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes & chipotle
8 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
1/2 C. chopped fresh basil
2 T. vegetable oil
sour cream

Layer on half of each tortilla: 1/4 C. cheese,
2 T. diced tomatoes, 1 T. bacon & 1 T. basil.
Fold each tortilla in halve to form a half circle.
Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle
with oil. Cook each quesadilla, over medium-
high heat 1 1/2 minutes on each side until
cheese is melted & tortilla is lightly browned.
Cut quesadillas into 4 wedges & serve with
sour cream. Serves 8


No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies

2 C. sugar
4 T. cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 C. milk
1 C. peanut butter
1 T. vanilla
3 C. oatmeal

waxed paper

In a heavy saucepan, bring to a boil:
sugar, cocoa, butter & milk. Boil 1
minute then add peanut butter, vanilla
& oatmeal; mix well. Drop mixture by
teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow
to cool & harden.

(recipe: Facebook)

Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup

1 (2 lb) rotisserie chicken
5 T. unsalted butter
1 C. diced carrots
1 C. diced onion
1 C. diced celery
1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 C. flour
1 quart chicken stock/broth
1 C. frozen green peas
1 C. heavy cream
salt, as needed
(rice – see note)
If you want, you could cook your
own rice & add to soup

Remove meat from chicken; dice
into bite-sized pieces (equivalent
to about 3 C. diced, cooked chicken)
In medium pot over medium-high heat,
melt butter. Add carrots, onion, celery,
parsley, pepper, thyme & garlic powder;
stir & cook 5 minutes. Lower heat to
medium; add flour. Stir & cook 3 more
minutes. Add chicken stock/broth &
stir with wooden spoon until combined.
Add cooked chicken; stir & reduce
temperature to Low.

(NOTE: Poster uses Success brand Rice;
2 bags Jasmine flavored.
At this point in
the recipe she advises:

Bring a medium pan of water to a boil & place
2 bags rice into water; follow directions on
box. When rice is almost done, heat soup
back up & add peas & cream; stir. Taste &
only add salt if needed. Once rice is done,
follow rice box directions to remove & drain;
add rice to soup – stir & serve. Serves 6-8


Melt in your Mouth Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 C. Parmesan cheese
2 C. Greek-style plain yogurt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13 baking dish with
nonstick spray; place chicken
in pan. Mix together rest of
ingredients & spread over
chicken breasts. Bake 1 hour.

(recipe: Facebook-Courtney Luper)

Steak & Black Bean Chili

2 lb. boneless beef cut into
1-inch cubes
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 large onion, chopped
2 (15 oz, ea) cans black beans,
drained & rinsed
2 (14.5 oz ea) cans chili-style chopped
1 tsp. sugar
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
salt & pepper, to taste

Toppings (optional):
sour cream
shredded Cheddar cheese

Place beef cubes in crockpot; turn on
Low. Sprinkle chili powder, garlic powder
& cumin over meat. Add onion & green
pepper; add black beans, tomatoes &
sugar to crockpot. Cover & cook 8-10
hours (on Low). Uncover; stir in tomato
paste, season with salt & pepper.
Garnish with sour cream & shredded
Cheddar cheese. Serves 6


Hope you’re able to stay nice & warm during
these cold winter days; we DO know that Spring
is on the way – that’s a relief, eh? (Bad part is:
we who live in the great state of Michigan also
know that there will be more snow in our future
BEFORE we see Spring! All part of the ‘enchant-
ment’ of living in the Great Lakes State!).

I’ve started the next ‘three story’ volume of
Sue Grafton‘s Alphabet murder/mystery
series (she writes from A to Z, “A is for Alibi”,
B/Burglar etc.) – I’ve just stared “G is for Gumshoe”.
I like the way she writes so reading goes quickly;
it’s also nice to know I have a lot of alphabet still
to come!

Got to watch (what I think is the first of the new
series) “Suits” last night. I must admit – after
watching I went to our OnDemand to preview
the other episodes just to see if I had missed
something – for some reason, it didn’t all ‘mesh’
together – I felt like I was watching the show for
the first time; couldn’t quite figure out what was
going on! Weird! I like that show – it’s a little ‘raw’,
I like the development of the characters. For actual
character development, I must admit my loyalty
to “Downton Abbey” on PBS – this is now Season 5
and they really keep things moving! This is one of
those programs where, if you haven’t watched it
before, you might have a bit of trouble figuring out
all the backgrounds, sub-plots, characters, etc. They
do an excellent job of moving the story line along –
I really look forward to each new episode.

Guess I’d better wrap this one up – time to go get
all cozy with my book!

Enjoy your day –