Perfect Timing!


Typical Michigan!

Today found me getting up early to go to the drug store & a quick trip to the grocery store. My husband had the TV on and they were saying, over & over, “Today is the VERY LAST big shopping day before Christmas!” Making it sound like there would be herds of people, all jostling for purchases . .  . well, maybe there were/are, but certainly NOT where I went. There were maybe 2 customers in the drug store and about 6 in the grocery store – SCORE! I happily finished up what little shopping I needed to do and came home. Last night our temperatures dipped again AND we got a slight dusting of snow – that wasn’t the bad thing: the roads around us (and in a lot of areas in Michigan) were covered with BLACK ICE – you know, that stuff you can’t really see but will make your car spin out in an instant? Both our sons were out in it and we were VERY glad when they returned home unscathed, later on. Getting into my car at around 9:45 a.m. today the car thermometer happily told me it was a ‘balmy’ 23 degrees F. Brrrrrrrrrrr! It’s supposed to warm up considerably during the next few days, getting up into the mid to high 40’s, so that will be very welcome!

In the oven currently are two big loaves of banana bread – one for us and one for a friend at church. It’s amazing to me: the guys love bananas but sometimes they’ll let an entire bunch (7-8 bananas) go completely mushy! Drives me nuts! Thank heavens for a quick, simple banana bread recipe (I’ve posted it before but it’s worth repeating):

Pam’s Banana Bread

2 eggs
1 box white or yellow cake mix
3-4 really ripe bananas

3/4 C. chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place ingredients in large bowl &
mix until you have a smooth batter.
Fold in chopped nuts (if desired).
Pour batter into a greased & floured
loaf pan. Bake 55-60 minutes until a
toothpick inserted into center of
bread comes out clean. Let cool
in pan 10 minutes then finish cooling
on a wire rack. Makes 1 loaf.


I don’t honestly remember WHERE I got the recipe from! It’s very quick & tasty – great for using up those dark bananas!


Spinach Artichoke Dip-Stuffed
Garlic Bread!

1 baguette
1/2 T. oil
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts,
1 (10 oz) bag baby spinach leaves
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
3 green onions, sliced
salt/pepper, to taste
3 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
Parmesan cheese, grated (topping)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cut baguette into 4 pieces. Using a
long knife, cut out sides of bread,
leaving some bread along edges. Pull
out loose bread to leave hollow bread
quarters. Heat oil in large pot over
medium-high heat. Add artichokes;
cook 1 minute – reduce heat to medium.
Add spinach & cook until wilted, turning
often. Mix in cream cheese & mozz.; let
melt entirely. Fold in green onions – season
with salt/pepper, remove from heat. Stuff
baguette quarters with mixture, using a
spoon to help pack in the dip. Once stuffed,
transfer to a cutting board. Line up the
quarters to that they fit together; slice
into slices approx. 1 inch thick. Tear a
piece of heavy foil 5-6 inches longer than
baguette. Slide baguette slices off cutting
board onto foil, keeping them together.
In small bowl combine butter & minced garlic.
Loosely cover top of bowl  & microwave
until butter is fully melted. Brush garlic/
butter over baguette allowing some to drip
down between the slices. Make sure to get
all minced garlic on top of bread. Wrap foil
around bread & bake 15 minutes. Unwrap
& bake 5 minutes until top browns lightly.
Remove from oven, top with Parm. cheese
& serve warm. Makes 20 slices


Jalapeno-honey glazed Cheesy
Chicken Poppers!

1 lb. ground chicken
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 T. Jalapeno Tabasco sauce,
divided, plus more to serve
40 mozzarella pearls, drained/
dabbed dry*
oil, for pan frying
3 T. honey

In large bowl combine ground chicken,
salt/pepper & 1/2 tsp. Jalapeno Tabasco.
Create balls out of mixture that are slightly
larger than mozzarella pearls. (should end
up with about 40). Press mozz. balls into
centers of each chicken meatball – use your
palms to roll chicken around cheese entirely,
making sure cheese is fully covered to
prevent leaks. Heat oil over medium-high
heat in skillet.

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.

Brown meatballs in batches & remove to a
paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil.
Place browned meatballs on parchment paper-
lined baking sheet. In small bowl combine honey
& remaining Jalapeno Tabasco – brush mixture
over meatballs. Bake 10 minutes until completely
cooked through & glaze begins to darken. Serve
warm with additional Jalapeno Tabasco, to dip.

*IF you can’t find mozzarella ‘pearls’ – I’m guessing
that you could cut mozzarella cheese sticks into
small portions about the same size as a pearl???
This is PAM’S comment


Rueben Rolls

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
3 T. spicy brown mustard
1/4 tsp. prepared horseradish
5 (10 inch wide) flour tortillas,
room temp.
7 (2 oz ea) pkgs. thinly sliced deli
corned beef
15 thin slices Swiss cheese
1 (14 oz) can sauerkraut, rinsed &
well drained

In small bowl beat cream cheese,
mustard & horseradish until blended.
Spread a heaping tablespoonful of
mixture over each tortilla. Layer each
tortilla with 8 slices corned beef, 3
slices cheese, another heaping
tablespoonful of cream cheese mixture
& 1/2 C. sauerkraut. Roll up tightly &
chill 1 hour.
Cut each roll into 1/2 inch slices.
Makes about 8 dozen.


Cherry Chocolate Chip Bars

1 (16 oz) pkg. refrigerated Chocolate
chip cookie dough
3/4 C. oats
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
1/3 C. sweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl break up cookie dough
using hands. Knead in oats & mix until
evenly incorporated. Press 2/3 of dough
into a lightly greased 8″ X 8″ baking pan,
reserving 1/3 dough. Bake 12-14 minutes
until crust is just set.
In small bowl lightly beat egg; set aside. In
another bowl beat cream cheese until
smooth with no lumps. Beat in sugar then
stir in vanilla & egg; spread cream cheese
mixture over cookie crust. Pour pie filling
over cream cheese layer. Evenly sprinkle
remaining cookie dough over top then top
with shredded coconut. Bake 20-25 minutes
until set or lightly golden. Let cool
completely then cover & refrigerate 2-3


Chinese Cabbage Salad

2 to 2 1/2 lb. nappa cabbage
5 green onions, sliced
3 pkgs. ramen noodles (any flavor)
1/2 C. butter
1/4 C. sliced almonds
1/4 C. sesame seeds

3/4 C. peanut oil*
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. rice vinegar
2 T. soy sauce

Cut tail end off cabbage (discard). Thinly
slice rest of cabbage & place in large
bowl; add green onions to bowl. Open
ramen noodle pkgs; discard flavor pkts.;
place noodles in a gallon ziplock bag &
pound into small pieces using a meat
tenderizer. Heat large skillet over medium-
high heat; melt butter & add almonds,
sesame seeds & crushed noodles. Cook
mixture, stirring frequently, until all
turns a nice brown; set aside to cool.

*If you cannot find peanut oil:
Place 3 T. peanut butter in glass measuring
cup; pour canola oil in cup – total measure-
ment with oil & peanut butter should be
3/4 C. Place mixture in microwave & heat
30 seconds. Stir until peanut butter dissolves.
In medium saucepan pour sugar, peanut oil
(OR peanut butter/oil mixture), soy sauce &
rice vinegar. Bring to rolling boil over medium-
high heat. Boil 1 minute then set aside to cool.

When you are ready to serve, toss cabbage &
green onions with crunchy ramen mixture &
pour dressing over top – stir to coat & serve
immediately. Serves 15


Crispy/Crunchy Chicken Parmesan

6 (6-8 oz) boneless skinless chicken
5 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 T. cornstarch
1 T. water
6 oz. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
( 1 1/2 C.)
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
3 T. chopped fresh basil
1/3 C. Panko bread crumbs

Cooked pasta

Season chicken with salt/pepper. Heat
1 T. oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over
medium-high heat. Add onion, tomato
paste, garlic, 1/2 tsp. oregano, pepper
flakes, 1/4 tsp. salt & 1/4 tsp. pepper;
cook until onions are soft & tomato
paste is rust-colored. Place tomato
paste mixture in crockpot & stir in
drained tomatoes. Dissolve cornstarch
in water & stir into tomato mixture. Lay
chicken breasts on top of tomato
mixture with tapered ends pointing
towards outside of crockpot, slightly
overlapping each other. Cover & cook
on Low until chicken reaches 160 degrees
F., 2 1/2 to 4 hours.
Combine mozzarella & 2 T. Parmesan
cheese in a bowl. Sprinkle chicken with
2 T. chopped basil & top with cheese
mixture. Turn off crockpot (keep lid on) –
let set until cheese is melted. While
cheese is melting, heat remaining 2 tsp.
oil & Panko breadcrumbs in 12″ nonstick
skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring
often, until well browned, 3-5 minutes.
Transfer toasted breadcrumbs to a bowl.
Let crumbs cool slightly & stir in
remaining 2 T. Parmesan, remaining 1 T.
basil, remaining 1/4 tsp. oregano, 1/8 tsp
salt & pepper. Sprinkle Panko mixture
over cheese & serve over cooked pasta.


Turtle Pudding Cake

1 1/2 C. Bisquick mix
1 C. brown sugar, plus additional 1/4
C. for topping
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 C. milk
1/4 C. caramel sauce plus additional
1/4 C. for topping
1 2/3 C. hot water
1/2 C. chopped pecans

Grease crockpot or line with liners or
parchment paper. In mixing bowl, combine
Bisquick, milk, 1 C. brown sugar, cocoa
powder & 1/4 C. caramel sauce; mix until
well combined (batter will be thick). Spread
on bottom of crockpot. Sprinkle with 1/4 C.
brown sugar. Pour hot water on top of batter-
DO NOT STIR. Cover & cook on Low 2-3 hours
until knife inserted into center comes out
clean. Let cool with lid off 10-15 minutes.
Pour 1/4 C. caramel sauce & pecans on top
before serving. Serves 4


Baked Chicken Nachos

2 medium sweet red peppers,
1 medium green pepper, diced
3 tsp. oil, divided
1 (15 oz) can black beans,
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 1/4 C. shredded rotisserie
chicken (fully cooked)
4 1/2 tsp. lime juice
1/8 tsp. salt
7 1/2 C. tortilla chips
8 oz Pepper Jack cheese,
1/4 C. thinly sliced green
1/2 C. minced fresh cilantro
1 C. sour cream.
203 tsp. diced pickled jalapeno
peppers (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet saute peppers in
1 1/2 tsp. oil 3 minutes until
crisp-tender – transfer to a small
bowl. In same skillet saute beans,
garlic, oregano & cumin 3 minutes
until heated through. Combine
chicken, lime juice, salt/pepper. In a
greased 9 X 13″ baking dish layer
half of tortilla chips, pepper mixture,
bean mixture, chicken, cheese, onions
& cilantro – repeat layers.
Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes until
heated through. Serve with sour cream
& pickled jalapenos, if desired.
Makes 16 servings.


Peppermint Bark Brownies

1 (20 oz) box fudge brownie mix
1 (12 oz) pkg. white chocolate chips
2 tsp. butter
3/4 C. candy cans, crushed

Prepare & bake brownies accordg.
to pkg. directions, using a 9 X 13″
greased pan. Cool completely in
pan, about 1-2 hours.
In saucepan over very low heat
melt chocolate chips & butter,
stirring constantly with a rubber
spatula. Spread choc. mixture over
brownies & sprinkle with crushed
candy canes. Let stand 30 minutes
until frosting hardens. Cut into
squares, makes 2 dozen


Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake
w/White Chocolate Glaze

2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 T. orange zest
6 T. orange juice, divided
1 C. butter, softened
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (12 oz) pkg. white chocolate
chips, divided
1 1/2 C. fresh or frozen cranberries

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
In small bowl mix flour, baking
powder & salt; toss to combine. In
bowl of stand mixer mix butter,
brown & gran. sugar; beat until
fluffy, 2 minutes. Add eggs; mix 1
minute. Add orange peel, orange
juice & vanilla; mix until combined.
Add flour mixture to wet mixture
beat 1 more minute – scrape bottom
of bowl to ensure all ingredients are
incorporated. Add 1 C. white choc.
chips & cranberries; mix well.
Spray a bundt pan with nonstick
spray – dust pan with flour. Carefully
spoon batter into pan & smooth out
top. Bake 45-55 minutes until a
toothpick inserted into center comes
out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes then
invert cake onto a cooling rack to cool
In medium saucepan mix 1 C. white choc.
chips, 3 T. orange juice & dash of salt;
stir over medium-high heat until
chocolate has melted & is smooth;
drizzle over top of cake.
Serves 12



I can now honestly say that ALL of our
Christmas decorations are UP! YAY!
Tonight is my church choir’s rehersal
for tomorrow (Christmas contata) –
should be a short practice, we’re only
going over the order of the songs, getting
the sound & lighting right & letting the
choir know just when people will
be reading scripture verses before our
songs; hopefully 6-8 p.m.

Almost done with the white baby
afghan! I’m guessing there’s about
an hour’s worth of knitting left on it –

Hope your holiday preparations are
going even BETTER than you’d
anticipated! Remember to get some
rest, yourself, while getting all those
last minute things done!




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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The ice was a bit shocking for us this morning. Expected the snow just not the roads icing. Glad you were able to get your shopping in!

  2. Isn’t great to know you got it under control!

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