No more SNOW!

Our weather finally took a turn – it’s slowly warming up AND the sun has melted ALL the snow in our yard! Hey, I can deal with that! Looking at the rest of the week there’s a 30% chance of snow on Thursday but I’m ‘gambling’ that we don’t get it!


Pistachio Poke Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 small box instant pistachio pudding mix
1 C. water
1/4 C. vegetable oil
4 large eggs

powdered sugar – garnish/dusting
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray a bundt pan with nonstick
cooking spray & lightly dust with flour.
In large bowl beat (using elec. mixer)
cake mix, pudding mix, water, oil & eggs
2 minutes. Pour into prepared pan &
bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick
inserted near center of cake comes
out clean. Let cake cool in pan
15 minutes then invert onto a wire rack
to cool completely. Dust top with powdered
sugar before serving.


One-Pot Spinach/Beef Soup

1 lb. ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (32 oz, ea) cartons beef broth
2 (14.5 oz, ea) cans diced tomatoes
with green pepper/celery/onion,
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
3 C. uncooked bow tie pasta
4 C. fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

grated Parmesan cheese – garnish
In 6 qt. stockpot cook beef & garlic over
medium heat until beef is no longer pink,
breaking up mat into crumbles; 6-8
minutes; drain. Stir in broth, tomatoes &
seasonings; bring to boil. Stir in pasta &
return to boil. Cook, uncovered, until pasta
is tender, 7-9 minutes. Stir in spinach until
wilted & serve sprinkled with cheese.
Serves 8 (2 1/2 qts)


Simple Oven-baked Pork Chops & Rice

1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 C. water
1 C. long grain rice, uncooked
1/4 onion, sliced
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3-4 pork chops
salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Stir together soup, water, rice & 1/4 tsp.
pepper in a 3-quart casserole dish. Add
Salt & pepper chops & place on top of
rice. Cover & bake 1 1/4 hours until meat
is done & liquid is absorbed. Remove from
oven & let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Serves 4


Crispy Roasted Potatoes

2 lb. new yellow potatoes, halved
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, whole/peeled/ bruised
2 bay leaves
2 T. salt
2 T. olive oil
1 pinch cayenne pepper

In large pot of water place potatoes. Bruise
fresh rosemary with dull side of a knife blade &
place in pot. Add garlic, bay leaves & salt – bring
to boil. Simmer 5 minutes; drain – let potatoes
air dry.
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
When potatoes are thoroughly dry, transfer them
back to pot. Drizzle with olive oil, cayenne pepper &
a pinch of salt – stir to coat. Transfer to a rimmed
sheet pan & bake until potatoes are golden brown &
crusty and flesh is creamy & soft, about 35-45 minutes,
depending on size of potatoes.


Crockpot Beefy Burrito Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 C. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10.5 oz) can Cheddar Cheese soup
1 (15 oz) can refried beans
1 C. Mexican-style shredded cheese

your favorite burrito toppings
Spray insides of crockpot with
nonstick cooking spray.
Brown gr. beef in a skillet with onion &
garlic; drain. In a bowl mix together
refried beans & soup then add in
gr. beef – stir to combine & pour into
crockpot. Top with shredded cheese.
Cover & cook on Low 1 1/2 hours
until cheese is melted. Serve on
tortillas & your favorite burrito
toppings. Serves 6


Saltine Toffee Cookies

4 oz. saltine crackers
1 C. butter
1 C. dark brown sugar
2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 C. chopped pecans (or walnuts)
Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with saltine crackers
in single layer. In a saucepan combine
sugar & butter – bring to boil – boil
3 minutes. Immediately pour mixture
over crackers & spread to cover crackers
completely. Bake 5-6 minutes. Remove
from oven & sprinkle choc. chips on top.
Let stand 5 minutes. Spread melted
chips to cover & top with chopped nuts.
Allow to stand 5 minutes. Cool completely
& break into pieces.


Spinach Artichoke Dip with Roasted

16 oz. cream cheese
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 (10 oz) pkg. frozen spinach, thawed/
drained & excess liquid squeezed out
1 1/2 C. Parmesan or Parmigiano
Reggiano cheese
1 (24 oz) jar marinated/quartered
artichoke hearts, drained/coarsely
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 heads garlic, roasted*
chips/corn chips
toasted baguette slices
celery sticks
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a 3 qt. baking dish with nonstick
cooking spray.
In large bowl combine cream cheese &
mayonnaise – mix until well combined.
Add spinach, cheese, artichoke hearts,
lemon juice, pepper & roasted garlic –
stir until combined. Spoon  mixture into
prepared dish. Bake 20-25 minutes until
golden brown & bubbling. Serve with
suggested dippers. Serves 16

*How to roast garlic heads:
2 heads garlic
1 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea or kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In small baking dish or cast-iron
skillet drizzle a small amount of
olive oil. Cut top quarter or third
of the garlic heads so that the cloves
are exposed. Place in dish with roots
on bottom & cut sides on top. (they
need to be snug in the dish – if needed,
crumble some foil & place between
heads to keep them upright or use a
smaller dish). Drizzle remaining oil
over top of heads & sprinkle with
salt & pepper. Cover dish or skillet
with foil & bake 40-50 minutes.
(garlic is done when it’s ‘fork-tender’
& caramelized) Let cool long enough
to handle before gently pushing the
cloves out of skins. Start from root
end & push up just like squeezing the
last bit of toothpaste out of the tube.


Apple Fritter Cake

1 heaping C.  apples(peeled/
1/3 C. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
small pinch fresh grated nutmeg
2 T. cornstarch
2 tsp. water

1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 C. butter
3/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. Greek (or plain) yogurt –
or sour cream
2 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
6 T. milk
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease & flour 9 X 13″ baking dish.

In small saucepan combine apples,
sugar, water, cinnamon & cornstarch.
Cook on Low heat 5-7 minutes, stirring
constantly until sauce is thickened &
apples are a bit soft. Remove from heat
to cool. In small bowl mix brown sugar &
cinnamon until well combined.


In large bowl cream butter & sugar until
light & fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add
applesauce & vanilla – mix until combined.
Add eggs, one-at-a-time, beating well after
each. Sift dry ingredients together. Add
dry ingredients to batter in three parts,
alternating with yogurt in 2 parts, beginning
& ending with dry ingredients – beat until
just combined. Spoon half of batter into
prepared pan. Spoon cooled apple mixture
over batter carefully & spread evenly. Sprinkle
2/3rds of brown sugar/cinnamon mixture over
apples & cover with rest of batter. Sprinkle
rest of brown sugar/cinnamon mixture over
Bake 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted
into center of cake comes out clean.


While cake is baking prepare glaze.
In a bowl mix powdered sugar, vanilla &
milk until glaze is desired consistency. When
cake comes out of oven – immediately,
but carefully
pour glaze onto hot cake.
(try to pour as evenly as possible). You
might have to pick up cake pan & tilt it to
spread glaze evenly. Let cake stand while
for glaze to set.



It’s been quiet around here lately – last week I only
had to babysit for about 2 hours. Saturday was youngest
grandson’s 3rd birthday party; I felt sorry for him because
he had a cold and was pretty grumpy for most of it. He got
a LOT of toys (I knew he would). Not sure yet when I’ll be
watching him this week, usually it’s Thurs/Friday – one or
both days. His dad will be having his 37th birthday next
week – he’s our oldest; my, how time flies, eh?

Hope your week goes even better than you expect!



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