Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bean and Ham Soup

So if you have some leftover ham from the holiday, here is a good soup you can make out of it.

In your soup pot, melt a Tbs. butter and saute 1/2 onion, chopped fine.

After the onions get a little brown and sticky, add:
2 cans white beans
1 can chicken broth
1 1/2 c. chopped ham
1-2 carrots, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, or 1 tsp. dried parsley
a dash of garlic powder
Fresh cracked pepper

Put the lid on the pot and simmer on med. low for and hour or two, till carrots are tender and beans are falling apart. If you want to thicken the soup at this point, you can take some out, (excluding the ham chunks), and puree in a blender, then add it back in. (If you have an immersion blender, which is really such a handy tool to have in your kitchen, just stick it in the pot and blend it up a little.) This will give you a thicker soup. If you want a creamier soup, stir in a little sour cream or cream before serving. Enjoy with a hot loaf of crusty peasant bread, of course!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bacon Onion Quiche

Ok, I meant to post all these great holiday recipes but the holiday went by so fast and, as usual, I only got a few of the things done that I imagined I would. But here is a great recipe I made this month that I have been meaning to post- my friend Heather brought this to our Christmas party last year and it was so delicious that I made her e-mail me the recipe. 
Now the actual name of the recipe is "Vidalia Onion Pie", but I renamed it because there is a story in the Parnell family about this terrible onion pie they had to eat as kids that they apparently have never forgotten. (I think they would have liked this one, however.) 
Personally, I think onions are a little misunderstood. People sometimes think of onions as they are when they're raw- strong smell and flavor. But when you cook onions to the point of being soft and carmelized, like you do in this recipe, what you get is just a richness of flavor. It's like when you eat a really good French Onion soup- it doesn't even taste onion-y, it just has this wonderful taste. If you ate this pie without knowing it's the onions that give it the flavor, you might guess that it was some expensive cheese that was added or something- but it's just the magical combination of bacon, onions, and eggs. Oh and also a little cream. The taste is truly terrific, and Mark seemed to forget all about his previous experience with onion pie as he gobbled up a big piece of this one.  So anyway, let's get on with it! Here is the recipe as Heather sent it:

Vidalia Onion Pie (Or, Bacon Onion Quiche)

This recipe comes from "America's Best Lost Recipes" which is a collection of heirloom recipes found by the America's Test Kitchen people. (They have a great website with more recipes.)

Serves 6 to 8

1  recipe Single Crust Pie Dough, fully baked and cooled (recipe follows)
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 medium Vidalia onions, sliced thin (about 3 cups)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup 
sour cream
1/2 cup 
heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over med. heat until crisp, about 8 min. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside. cook the onions in the bacon fat until browned, about 12 min. Transfer to a med bowl. Whisk the eggs, sour cream, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and 1 teasp. chives in  large bowl, then add the bacon and onions.
2. Pour into the prepared pie shell and bake until the filling is puffed and cracked around the edges and the center barely jiggles when the pie is shaken, 25 to 30 min. Let cool for 10 min. and sprinkle with the remaining chives.

Single-Crust Pie Dough
Makes enough for one 9-inch pie

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2 in pieces and chilled
4 tablespoons unsalted ( I use regular salted cause I'm lazy) butter, cut into 1/4 pieces and chilled
4-6 tablespoons ice water

Pie crust- just process the ingredients, dump in a bowl and sprinkle the water. Knead a few times to pull it all together. Roll out, and place in pie pan.

Cook the crust in a 9in pie plate at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 min (line crust and edges with double layer of foil and fill with pie weights or pennies) After baking remove foil and continue to bake for another 10 to 15 min.

Hailey's Note: When I made this I figured chopping/cooking bacon and onions was enough work for one dinner, so I cheated and used a frozen Marie Calendar's pie crust from the store. I have to say it was every bit as good with the store-bought crust, so I say save yourself an extra mess and put it on your shopping list! It was as good as any pie crust I've ever made! Also, I used "Mayan Sweets" onions I got from Costco, and they worked great.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

German Wedding Cookie (aka Pecan Balls)

This cookie is a Christmas tradition at my house. They are so easy, and SO GOOD!!!
Preheat oven to 250*
1/4lb. butter
2 T white sugar
1 t vanilla
1 C grated pecans. ( I pulse mine a couple of times in the food processor)
1 C flour

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together. Then add pecans and flour. Mix well.

Use hands to make small balls out of dough. Bake on a cookie sheet for 30-40 min.

Let cool and then roll in powdered sugar.

Cookie Request

Here's a cookie challenge for you: Do you have a yummy cookie recipe that DOESN'T include brown sugar OR shortening? I can't find either ingredient here. Will you share it?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Homemade Caramels

These melt-in-your-mouth caramels taste like a little piece of heaven. Mmmmm, add them to your Christmas goodies this year!

1 cup butter
1 16 oz. pkg. brown sugar (2 1/4 cups, packed)
2 cups light cream
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Butter a 9 x 13 pan.

In a heavy 3-quart saucepan melt butter, add brown sugar, cream and corn syrup. Mix well.  Stir with a wooden spoon over med-high heat to boiling. Stir every few minutes, and clip a candy thermometer to the side. Boil over med heat till it reaches 248º, firm-ball stage. Start testing the temp after it looks like the mixture has thickened and is boiling lower in the pot.
Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, pour into prepared pan. Let cool completely. (I let mine set over night.) Cut into 1 in. pieces and wrap in wax paper squares. Makes about 2 pounds.
 If you want to add nuts, sprinkle the bottom of the pan with chopped nuts before you pour in the caramel.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fudge, sooooo good!

4C sugar
12 oz evaporated milk
1 C butter
3 C chocolate chips (2 11 oz bags - I use Guittard: one semi-sweet and one milk)
1 bag walnuts

1. Mix together sugar and milk in a large, heavy saucepan (the sugar/milk will double in volume).

2. Put on just-below-medium heat. You don't want to bring to a boil too quickly, or you will scorch the sugar/milk and get grainy fudge. And DON'T STIR!!

3. Once the sugar/milk begins a rolling boil (in my hands, this happens at 216ºF), continue to boil for exactly 11 minutes (in my hands, the temperature rises to about 225ºF). DON'T STIR!!

4. Take off heat and add the butter and chocolate chips, and mix vigorously (it's a bit of a workout). If you did the heating part right, the mixture will be really shiny. If you scorched the sugar/milk, or stirred while heating, it will be grainy. Some people say to keep mixing until you get a satin sheen. I've done this or not, with little difference in the result.

5. Stir in the chopped walnuts.

6. Put in a buttered 9X13 pan.

7. Let set overnight.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Mom's Rice Pudding

2 well-beaten eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup raisins (naturally we leave this out, since Nate doesn't like raisins)
sprinkle of nutmeg

Combine eggs, sugar and salt. Add to milk. Add rice and vanilla and raisins. Grease casserole dish lightly. Place in shallow pan of hot water. Bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours.

*** Elizabeth and I made this once when we were in college. When we took it out of the oven, we could tell that something was wrong. It was like a crispy rice pancake. Then we realized that we have forgotten milk. We thought it was pretty funny.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

I've had this soup three times this season and I can't get enough of it! My friend even made a similar version of it using butternut squash and it was delicious. I don't have any pictures, but soup looks like soup, so just imagine that. And watch yourself when you puree, it can get messy.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

1/2 c. butter (I use a little less)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 shallots, minced (I use a large onion or 1 1/2 onions if I don't have shallots)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 cups chicken broth (I tried veg broth once to make it vegetarian and it isn't as good)
1/2 c. water (sometimes I just add the rest of the broth can instead of the water)
1 29 oz. can plain pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
2 12 oz cans evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste (use plenty of salt)

In a large pot, melt butter and saute onion until just translucent but not browned. Add garlic and shallots and stir frequently, being careful not to let garlic burn. Lower heat if needed. Sprinkle brown sugar over onion mixture in pan and continue to saute until onion, garlic, and shallot are tender and caramelized.

Add broth and water to mixture in pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Add pumpkin puree and evaporated milk to simmering broth. Stir until well combined. Simmer for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Remove from heat.

Using a blender, process soup until smooth.

Looking for a Recipe...

Does anyone have a good recipe for rice pudding?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cranberry Almond Granola

This lasts about a week at our house. If I am lucky.

*1 cup packed brown sugar
*1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
*1/2 cup honey
*1/3 cup unsweetened apple juice concentrate
*2 Tbsp canola oil
*3 tsp almond extract
*6 cups old-fashioned oats
*1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
*1 cup slivered almonds

In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, milk powder, honey, apple juice concentrate and oil. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved; stir in extract. In a large bowl, combine the oats, cranberries and almonds. Drizzle with sugar mixture and mix well.

Spread in a thin layer in two 15x10x1" baking pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Cool completely. Serve with yogurt or milk. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3 quarts.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sweet Potato & Apple Casserole

This is a recipe I found online & immediately fell in love with. It combines 3 of my favorite fall flavors: sweet potato, apple, & pecan. Definitely more of a dessert than a vegetable, and seriously delicious!

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large cooking apples - peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch rings

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook 15-25 minutes, or until tender but firm. Drain, cool and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 7x11 inch baking dish. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Layer sweet potatoes, brown sugar mixture and apples in the prepared baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, butter and pecans. Sprinkle over the sweet potatoes. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Cranberry Relish

Well, this is the week to share your tasty Thanksgiving recipes with the rest of us, I hope we will hear about some of your holiday favorites.

Here is our family's favorite recipe for cranberry sauce. It's super easy- you make it in the blender, and there's no cooking!

1 regular pkg. fresh cranberries
1 small can mandarin oranges, well drained
1 regular can pineapple chunks, well drained
1 cup sugar

Put all ingredients in the blender. It helps if you put the canned fruit on the bottom. Pulse and blend until it's the consistency of hot dog relish. Store in a covered container, can be made a day ahead. It has a very fresh and fruity taste, it's good stirred into jello before it sets, and it's great on your turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bourbon Chicken

I found this recipe on Recipezaar. It had almost 2000 votes of five stars, so I HAD to try it. I am glad I did because it is really easy and tasty.

35 min | 15 min prep


* 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
* 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 garlic clove, crushed
* 1/4 teaspoon ginger
* 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I left out--I don't like hot stuff)
* 1/4 cup apple juice (or orange juice)
* 1/3 cup light brown sugar (I used white sugar because they don't have brown sugar here)
* 2 tablespoons ketchup
* 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/3 cup soy sauce

1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
2. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
3. Remove chicken.
4. Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium Heat until well mixed and dissolved.
5. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
6. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
7. Serve over hot rice.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nacho Cheese Dip

This recipe is so easy that everyone probably already knows it, yet so good that if you don't, you've got to try it!

1 lb Velveeta cheese (I use no-name brand)
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (I can't remember how big a can it was--small, though)

Melt together and enjoy with tortilla chips.

Happy Birthday to Hailey!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tortellini Tomato Spinach Soup

So, my kind husband went to the store the other day for us. He brought home some fresh tortellini, thinking that might diversify our meals a little. Well, he didn't understand that I don't like tortellini. I didn't have the heart to tell him that. So, I got online and found a recipe allowing us to use the tortellini. I found this one and it was SO GOOD! I really wish I had taken a picture because it is a beautiful soup, even though it was so easy to make. We were sorry when it was all gone.

30 min | 10 min prep


* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1/2 cup minced onion (about 1/2 small onion)
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 4-6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (I threw in a couple of bouillon cubes)
* 1 (14 ounce) can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped (I used pre-diced)
* 1 (9 ounce) package fresh tortellini or dried tortellini (or frozen and add with broth and tomatoes)
* kosher salt
* cracked black pepper
* 10 ounces fresh spinach or frozen spinach, defrosted and chopped (or just add the frozen block with broth and tomatoes)
* 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

1. In a soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
2. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring often until onions are translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Add broth and tomatoes, turn heat up to high, and bring to a boil.
4. Add the tortellini and cook according to package instructions.
5. When tortellini is almost done, add spinach and taste, adjusting seasonings with salt and pepper.
6. Serve immediately.
7. Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vegetable Couscous

2 medium carrots, diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup julienned sweet yellow pepper
1/4 cup julienned sweet red pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium zucchini, diced
4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup uncooked couscous
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

-In a large skillet, saute the carrots, celery, onion and peppers in oil for 5-6 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the next four ingredients.
-Stir in couscous. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat; let stand 5-8 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve immediately.
We've been eating a lot of couscous lately, and this one is especially good!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Corn Bread Cupcakes and Honey Butter Frosting

I am usually not a huge fan of cornbread, but this recipe is so good, it's pretty much like eating a cupcake! And, the honey butter is the delicious frosting! I guarantee that your kids will love it, and you will too. You will be finding every excuse to make them every night.

Corn bread muffins


2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbls. vegetable oil
1 pkg. (9oz) yellow cake mix
1 pkg (8.5oz) corn bread mix


In a bowl, combine the eggs, water, milk and oil. Stir in mixed and mix well. Fill greased and floured muffin cups half full. Bake @ 350 for 18-22 minutes until muffins test done. Cool for 5 minutes: remove from pans to wire racks. 14 muffins

Honey Butter:

2 Tbls. honey
1/8 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbls. powder sugar
1 cube butter

*Combine all ingredients until well mixed, spread over corn muffins!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

As soon as fall hits, I want to have soup every night. This soup is one of my favorites. And the families favorite as well. As Tommy puts it "anything tastes better with a stick of butter in it" Enjoy this creamy fall favorite.

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
4-6 T Butter
1 T Onion chopped
1 Chicken breast, cooked & cubed
1/2 C. Shredded carrots (I like them better in slices)
3 C. Chicken broth
2 C. Uncle Ben's Wild Rice, cooked
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 C. Flour
1 C. Half & Half
1 Small package sliced almonds

Combine onion and butter in a med-large pan and saute. Stir in flour and chicken broth. Bring mixture to a boil. While stirring boil for one minute. Add cooked rice, chicken, salt and carrots. Boil for five minutes. Remove from heat add half and half. Serve topped with sliced almonds.

French Fried Onions

I love french fried onions. I use them on steak sandwiches, baked beans, and of course that certain bean casserole. I found this recipe and after tasting it, I knew I had to share it .

3 onions thinly sliced
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup flour
oil for frying

In a medium bowl, beat egg and add milk. Add onions and soak for 5 minutes. Put flour in plastic sack and season with salt and pepper if you desire (I do!). Transfer onions into sack and shake to coat. Fry in oil until they reach a golden brown color, stirring often to cook evenly. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall Chili

I made this recipe last night for dinner and I thought it was great! It's from, but I will just paste it here. It's a mild, sweet chili which is how I like it. You could certainly add more heat to it if you like. We topped ours with grated cheese and sour cream, and had cornbread on the side. Perfect for cold weather!

The only thing I did differently was to add the dry spices to the hamburger and onions and fried them up that way. And I did not add cornstarch, I didn't think it needed it.




  1. 1
    Brown hamburger & onions. Drain. Add tomatoes,tomato sauce, beans,and dry ingredients. Mix together.
  2. 2
    Make sure all the dry ingredients are blended together before adding to the liquid. Simmer for at least one hour. Remove bay leaf. Much better the next day. Freezes very well.

Nutella Hot Chocolate

Since I'm in "Nutella Land" and my husband bought me a huge bottle of Nutella for my birthday, I had to find interesting ways to eat it. I really liked this hot chocolate, and hope you do, too!

-3 Tbsp Nutella
-1 1/3 cups milk

1. Put Nutella and 1/3 cup milk in small saucepan over medium heat.
2. Whisk until blended.
3. Add remaining milk, increase heat to med-high and whisk until hot and frothy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Broccoli Parmesan Fettuccine

-2 cups fresh broccoli flowerets (or equivalent frozen broccoli)
-8 oz fettuccine (or spaghetti if that's what you have)
-1/2 tsp olive oil
-2 Tbsp butter/margarine
-1 6 oz pkg Canadian bacon, cut into thin strips (or other ham chunks/strips)
-1/3 cup whipping cream
-1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-dash garlic powder
-chopped almonds, toasted (I just brown them in a frying pan in some olive oil or butter; you could probably use any nuts you want)

Cook broccoli in boiling water that covers for three minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water. After one minute, drain and set aside. Cook fettuccine according to package directions, drain, mix with 1/2 tsp olive oil (to keep noodles from sticking to one another) and place in large bowl. Set aside. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Canadian bacon and cook, stirring constantly, for about two minutes. Stir in broccoli and cook one minute until thoroughly heated. Add whipping cream and remaining ingredients to fettuccine; toss gently. Top with nuts. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Buttery Syrup

1 cup butter
1 cup light whipping cream
2 cups sugar

Melt together in a saucepan 10-12 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil.

1 tsp. vanilla
dash nutmeg

Serve warm or at room temperature.

We had it on pancakes. Very tasty!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gluten Free Brownines

It was recently brought to my attention that I have several friends that are allergic to Gluten. So in my quest to find new ways of cooking, I came across these delicious brownies that oddly enough are made from......Black Beans. I know, it sounds weird, but trust me, these are to die for and are much more healthy than regular brownies. If my family can't tell the difference, neither will you. Enjoy!

Black Bean Brownines


  • 1 15.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish.
  2. Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a blender; blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the mixtrue into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30-40 minutes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Back to Candy Corn Season!

I found an easy recipe online for making them at home, and thought it was worth a try. Takes just one saucepan and common ingredients. A willingness to roll out long "snakes." A knife to cut recognizable triangles...easy enough.

The end product is tasty. A bit softer and chewier than store-bought (we'll see if they harder a bit over night), but good when eaten in moderation.

1 C. Sugar
2/3 C Corn Syrup
1/3 C Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
2 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
1/3 C Dry Powdered Milk
1/4 tsp Salt
Red & Yellow Food Coloring
  1. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, butter. Bring to a boil over high heat while stirring constantly, then reduce to medium and continue to boil for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove mixture from heat and add vanilla.
  3. Combine the powdered Sugar, powdered Milk, and salt in a separate bowl.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the saucepan, mixing thoroughly.
  5. Allow the dough to sit until it's cool enough to handle.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts.
  7. Add Food coloring: one orange, one yellow, one uncolored or white.
  8. Knead the dough until smooth and colors are even.
  9. Roll each part into a long, thin rope.
  10. Lay the three ropes along side each other, with the orange in the middle (oops, I switched the order). Press the colors together gently, to keep the sections together.
  11. Cut the dough into triangles using sharp knife. Gently shape the "kernels" with your fingers, if needed (can also make a small bit of green dough to create the pumpkins).
  12. Allow the candy to sit for a while to harden.
  13. You'll end up with over a pound* of homemade candy corn! Some with yellow tips, and some with the traditional white tips!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

Now maybe you have tried this recipe before, I know it's floating around out there on the internet, but I got it from my sister-in-law, Jenny. It's a homemade version of Great Harvest Bread's recipe, and boy is it good!! I was disappointed with a lot of other pumpkin bread recipe's I've tried, and this one totally saved the day for me. My kids love it for breakfast. 
Now, I personally prefer pumpkin bread with dried cranberries and walnuts in it, but I think my family might riot if I skipped the chocolate chips. I mean, I love chocolate and all, it has a prominent role in my diet, I just think it overpowers the pumpkin flavors, whereas the cranberry-walnut compliments it nicely. However, you decide for yourself. One thing you can be sure of, if you try this recipe you will have an amazing, happy day and your whole house will smell all pumpkin-cinnamony and everyone in your household will be so grateful to you. So what are you waiting for?

Great Harvest Pumpkin Bread

2 1/2 c. white flour
1 c. 
whole wheat flour
3 c. sugar
2 tsp. 
baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
16 oz. cooked or 
canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 c. oil
4 eggs, beaten lightly
2/3 c. water
1 c. semi-sweet 
chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 (9x5 inch) loaf pans, or 3 (8x4
inch) loaf pans. Mix flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and
salt together in a bowl; set aside. Mix pumpkin, eggs, water, oil, and
2/3 c. water and stir into dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.
Place batter in pans. Bake 60-70 minutes until a toothpick inserted in
the center comes out clean.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Breakfast Casserole

1 bag shredded hash browns
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 package sausage (or equivalent of ham or bacon) - fully cooked
4-5 eggs
1 can cream of chicken soup
Shredded cheese

Whisk together eggs and cream of chicken soup and set aside.

In casserole dish, mix together hash browns, vegetables and sausage.

Pour egg mixture over the top and mix together. Top with shredded cheese.

This is the point where you can stop and put it in the fridge overnight - for a quick and easy morning feast the next day!

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

Helpful hints:
  • You can use Potatoes O'Brien instead - because it comes with the peppers and onions already chopped up in it.....a time saver.
  • You can put the casserole in the oven during the preheat to more slowly heat up the pan - instead of putting a cold pan from the fridge straight into a hot oven.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Super Easy Peasant Bread

Now that fall is finally here, it's time to warm up your oven! This is the bread recipe that changed my life. I used to reserve making bread for special occasions when I felt like doing all that work- now I throw this recipe together any old day I want fresh, crusty european style bread to go with dinner!
Previously I posted this as a link to the recipe blog I got it from, but then someone asked me to write up my version. It was also one of my first posts so a few of the blog readers may not have read it. Anyway, I hate to let people know how easy this is because they are so impressed when you make it for them- but now you know!

You will need:

3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 scant tsp. SAF instant yeast (It comes in a big white package, don't use Fleischmann's).
1 1/3 c. hot tap water

Mix together the dry ingredients, stir well. Add the water, stir with a spoon until a shaggy ball of dough forms. Cover, let rise 4-7 hours. Punch down and knead 10 times in the bowl. Spray a sheet of parchment paper or foil with cooking spray. Shape dough into a round loaf and set on paper/foil.  Spread a little flour on the surface, then make 3 little slashes across the top. Let rise 30-40 min. 
In the mean time, you will need to heat a heavy pot with a well-fitting lid in a 500º oven. Like a dutch oven that you would cook a roast in. (I got a great one after watching the D.I. for awhile!) Let it heat while the bread rises, 30 min. When dough is risen, remove the lid from your super hot pot, take the parchment or foil by the corners, and pop the whole thing in the pot. Return lid. 
Reduce heat to 425º. Let bake 30 min. Remove lid. Bake another 10-15 min. till dark golden.

The lid traps the steam in the pot,  making that thick, crunchy crust and chewy inside. MMMmm. let it cool if you can. We can never wait that long when it comes out of the oven, but it goes great with soups, salads, pasta, almost any dinner. And it makes great panini type sandwiches, or toast the next day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I made this last night for dinner. It is really basic, but it turned out super yummy and used ingredients that I already had on hand.

1 boneless chuck roast 
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 packet onion soup mix
2 cups water

Combine all ingredients in the crock pot. I fried the roast in some oil before putting it into the crock pot. My roast was frozen, so I cooked it on high for 6 hours and it was perfect. We used the gravy on rice, but it would be tasty on potatoes or noodles, too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lime Chicken Fajitas!

Who doesn't like fajitas? These are so good, that the next night after we had them I said to Mark- is it wrong if we have fajitas again? and he said - no! I'll make them! 
Well, I wasn't going to argue with that!

 You will need:
4 boneless chicken thighs, sliced
1 lime
1 lg onion, sliced into large round slices
1 gr. pepper or red in slices
two cloves fresh garlic
olive oil
1 pkg. flour or corn fajita tortillas

Sour Cream
1 Avocado
Pico de Gallo (see below)

In a large frying pan  heat several Tbs. olive oil. Add 1 crushed garlic clove and the sliced onion. After a minute or two, add the peppers.
Add salt and pepper, fry till the onions and peppers are brown on the edges and carmelized.
Remove from pan. 
Add chicken and another Tbs. olive oil. Add the other clove of crushed garlic. Season with salt and pepper and juice of one lime. Fry until chicken slices are well-done and starting to get a little crispy and brown. (This is why you are using dark meat, not light, the meat will not dry out too much).
Toss with onions and peppers and spoon all into a serving dish. 
Heat your tortillas. Call everyone to the table, and serve with sour cream, a slice of avocado and Pico de Gallo. This is what mine looked like just before I gobbled it up!

Mmmmm it was good!

Pico de Gallo Recipe

I just started making this stuff and I could eat it everyday. So fresh and tasty!

1/2 lg onion, minced
1 Tomato
Tbs/ Lime or lemon juice
few Tbs. fresh cilantro (more is better!)
salt & pepper

Summer Squash Pasta Bake

Well, I think it is about time for some new recipes!

First, I'll post one of our favorite summer-time dinners. If your garden is overloaded with squash, zucchini and tomatoes right about now, (or your neighbor's is), this is a great dish to make. I'm not really sure exactly how I came up with it, I just know there is something magical about the flavor combinations- it's like music in your mouth!

It starts with 9x13 pan full of cooked spiral pasta. I use 3/4 of a regular sized box. It has a creamy sauce but it's made of sour cream, not mayo.
After you have your pasta cooked, (I do mine in the microwave), and in the pan add the following:

3/4 to 1 c. sour cream - I never actually measure, just a big scoop out of the tub with a serving spoon.
Sprinkle entire surface with a generous amount of
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Dried or fresh Dill Weed
Salt -Pepper

The hot pasta will melt the sour cream, and you can stir it all together. It will look like this:

Now for the squash. Slice 2 small each or one large each of yellow squash and zucchini. Layer on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Drizzle entire surface with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Broil at 500º till they are tender and just start to get a little brown around the edges, maybe 10 min. or so.
When they are cooked, layer them in the pan on top of the noodles.

Now for the tomatoes!  Dice 2-3 large tomatoes, and layer on top of broiled squash. Now sprinkle with about a half cup of grated parmesan and return to oven, broil just until tomatoes are hot and cheese starts to melt. Season the top with salt and fresh cracked pepper and serve.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lil' Pizzas

These are so easy and one of our family favorites! It's a quick fix for all of your pizza cravings!

1-2 cans of Pillsbury Biscuit dough
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
grated cheese
pepperoni, sausage, spinach (whatever your favorite toppings are!)

*Take the biscuit dough and spread them out with your hands to thin them out and to make them a little bit bigger in size. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Put a Tbls. or so of your favorite spaghetti sauce on top of the biscuit dough and spread to desired width. Top with cheese and your favorite toppings. Bake at 425. And of course, ENJOY!

100% Original Chicken Sandwich

Sometimes when I am really bored or stuck in the "same old" dinner rut, I like to go into the kitchen and start inventing/experimenting! This is 1 of 2 original sandwiches I have created! This one I think might be the favorite one, but we haven't had the other one in a while, so it may be a toss up!

1 loaf of Rosemary Olive Oil bread from Costco!!!
2 chicken breast defrosted
spinach leaves
1 package of Provolone cheese
1/2 package of bacon (optional)

1/2 cup of Olive Oil Mayonnaise (Best Foods)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 of a lemon (squeezed) or 2 Tbls. of lemon juice
salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste

*Cut the rosemary bread into even slices, making sure you have enough pieces to complete a whole sandwich. Butter both sides of the bread, and then you can either grill it or broil it until golden brown on each side. (Don't leave the bread unattended, trust me it can burn really easily!) In the mean time season both sides of the chicken breast with garlic salt and either put them on the grill or broil them as well, until fully cooked through, then slice into stripes. Then Mix your sauce together and spoon enough to cover one side of each slice of bread, and then place on a cookie sheet. Top one side of each sandwich with the strips of chicken, spinach leaves, bacon (if desired), and then one full slice of provolone cheese! On the other slice of bread, top with one half piece of provolone cheese. Stick under the broiler until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Pull out of the oven, and put the sandwiches together. Cut in half (if desired) and then of course, PLEASE ENJOY!!

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Pizza Dough:
1 Cup Warm Water
3 Cups Flour ( or 2 +)
2-3 T. Honey
3 T. Olive Oil
2 tsp. Yeast
1 tsp. Salt
*Mix all ingredients together but the flour, then add the flour starting with 2 cups and then add more as needed. Let dough rise for at least one hour. Then with lots of Patience spread the dough out over the pan! You can use a round pizza pan or a cookie sheet. The dough is temperamental at first, but the more you spread it the more workable it becomes! After dough is spread, poke holes in it with a fork, this is to prevent air bubbles. Then with a spoon spread your favorite BBQ sauce over the bottom. (My favorite is Sweet Baby Rays Original!) Then top with Mozzarella cheese, chicken, spinach, bell peppers, etc. (whatever your favorite toppings are.) Bake at 425 for 15-20 min. Enjoy!
*Caution: This may cause extreme weight gain and addiction. Over Eaters Anonymous my be required after the first bite! I do not take responsibility for any scales that my break or addictions that may occur!
This is a great regular Pizza sauce recipe also if you are craving just a regular old pepperoni pizza:
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 0z. water
2 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. dehydrated onion
1/16 tsp. garlic salt
1 1/2 tsp. oil
1/4 tsp. sugar
I am not sure what a 1/16 tsp. is... so I just guesstimate on all of these ingredients and it still comes out really good! Enjoy!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Peach Salsa

The tomatoes are ripe, and that means it's time for
  Homemade Salsa!

This is a great recipe I got from Rachel Clegg. (Miss you Rachel!) We add fresh peaches to it for a splash of flavor, but that's completely optional. If you can grow a lot of the ingredients in your own garden, that will save you some $. (Or you can borrow some of the stuff from other people's garden's, as we did since our peppers didn't grow very well this year.) It's nice to have some tasty salsa during the winter to warm you up!

8-10 quarts fresh tomatoes
4-6 med. onions (diced)
8 green bell peppers (diced)
12-20 Anahiem peppers (diced)
1-10 Jalapeno peppers (diced) for mild to medium
2-10 Habinero peppers- (diced) for HOT salsa
2 cups white vinegar
1 T. - 1/4 c. sugar to taste
3-5 T. salt
2 tsp. crushed red pepper (add more for hotter salsa)
4 T. cumin
8 Tbs. fresh, chopped cilantro
1-2 heads of garlic, peeled and minced

As you can see, there is a LOT of chopping involved. Use a food processor if you have one. If you don't , you might want to borrow one!
Now we add about 4-6 cups chopped peaches, for a nice salty-sweet flavor.

Bring to a boil in a very large pot. Simmer 20 - 45 min, or until some of the water has evaporated off and it is a consistency you like, stirring occasionally.
At this point Mark splits the batch in two, to make a really hot version for him with the habinero peppers, and a mild version for the rest of us. 

Process for 20 min. in pint jars.

With the peaches, this made a lot of salsa, like 18 pints. The first one didn't last long, though! Mmmmmm chips n' salsa!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Airplane Cakes

My 3 year old wanted an airplane cake this year so I decided to do make each child their own little airplane. All that was needed was

1 box of twinkies - plane body
1 box of wafers - wings, tale
Black licorice - propeller
Junior mints - nose
1 bag Hershey's treasures - cabin

I sliced a hole through the twinkie to make pushing the wafer through easier. The tale was made by slicing a wafer in half width wise and then cutting it to shape.

Frosting was the hardest part by far. mine are just kind of thrown together, but if you took a little time and thought it out, it might look better if you star tip it, although that would probably take a lot of time. I used a toothpick through the junior mint and the licorice to make the nose of the plane. I found it stayed better if I angled the toothpick downwards to hold things up better.

I was going to build a flight control tower out of candy lego's (Macey's bulk candy section) but ran out of time so I just drew a runway pattern on tinfoil.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

I got this recipe off of my friend Adele's recipe blog (including the great pictures).We had it for lunch today. Our friend Brandon came over and brought some authentic french bread with him and it was so tasty with the chicken and sauce.

1/4 cup Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing, divided (I actually used Italian Pesto Dressing, because I had it in the fridge...)
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb. chicken)
1 tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, or 1 tsp dried basil leaves 
Place large sheet of heavy duty foil over half of grill grate. Preheat grill to med. heat. Pour 2 Tbsp. dressing over chicken in resealable bag. Seal, turn bag over several times to coat chicken with dressing. Refrigerate 10 minutes to marinate. Grill chicken on uncovered side of grill 6 minutes. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, cheese, basil and remaining 2 Tbsp. dressing. Turn chicken over onto the foil with cooked side up. Top evenly with tomato mixture. Close lid and grill an additional 8 min. or until chicken is cooked. Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kettle Corn

This is the easiest recipe in the world and it is so good! I guarentee it will leave you longing for more!

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup sugar
salt to taste

*Heat the oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan and add the popcorn kernels, cover the pan with a tight lid. When the oil starts to sizzle add the sugar and replace the lid on top. Continuously shake the pan until the popcorn popping slows down (so you don't burn the popcorn and the sugar)! Dump the popcorn into a large bowl and salt to taste. ENJOY!! Also, the sugar will caramelize a bit, so enjoy the extra carmel in the pan!!

Hot Fudge Sauce

Mmmm, doesn't that make you just want to dig in?

Here's an easy recipe for Hot Fudge Sauce that we had the other night at an ice cream party. It keeps in the fridge, (if you actually have any left over, that is.) Just microwave for a minute.

3/4 c. good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. Butter
2/3 c. Sugar
2/3 c. evaporated milk

In a heavy small saucepan melt the butter, add chocolate chips and melt, stirring over low heat. Add the sugar, gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil while stirring. Boil gently over med. low heat for 8 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat. Grab your spoon and and some ice cream-soooooo divine!

*Try it over brownies and ice cream- you'll think you've died and gone to heaven!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Strawberry Delight by Kristina Boler


1 Box of strawberry cake mix
1 Box of instant vanilla pudding
1 Tub of frozen strawberry pieces and juice
1 Tub of strawberry whip cream

How to make the most Delicious cake you will ever devour:

Make one box of instant vanilla pudding mix then let it set it the fridge. While waiting make the cake batter in a large mixing bowl. Follow the directions as instructed on the cake box. Add one cup of vanilla pudding into the cake batter. Mix Mix Mix. Pour mix into a large cake pan. Cook for as long as the cake box instruct. Some times you have to cook for a bit longer so check before you take it out. While it's cooking; thaw the strawberry juice and pieces in the microwave till it's juicy. When the cake is done cooking and is still hot pour the strawberry juice (not the pieces) onto the surface of the cake. The juice will seep into the cake. Let the cake sit till it is completely cool! While waiting; mix the whip cream with the strawberry pieces. Once the cake is cooled cover the surface with the whip cream. Then Ta Da- it's ready to serve.

Warning: May cause extreme weight gain. Do not attempt if you struggle with addictions to sweats or if you have weak taste buds. Some cases of drooling have been reported. If you wake up in the night with cravings seek medical attention.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Asian Chicken Stir-Fry

I'm sure you could add garden zucchinis to this one. It is a "throw-in-any-veggies-you'-ve-got" with an easy sauce. And, with it all done in one frying pan (and a rice cooker), it doesn't heat the kitchen too much on a hot summer night.
1 Tbls Vegetable Oil
1 Lb. Chicken Strips
1 can (10 3/4 oz) "Golden Mushroom Soup"
3 Tbls Soy Sauce
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 bag frozen veggies
(or whatever: i.e. 1 cup broccoli, 1 fresh green pepper,
1 sliced/diced zucchini, 1 white onion)
4 Cups hot cooked Rice
Heat: Oil in Skillet
Brown: Chicken
Add: Soup, Soy Sauce, Garlic Powder
Heat to a Boil
Add: Veggies
Cook: until tender-crisp
Serve over Rice

Grilled Zucchini

So you asked for zucchini recipes, Hailey, and here's mine. We just recently got a new grill and have been trying to grill all kinds of things. Our favorite, by far, has been grilled zucchini. You can really put any seasoning on it, but here's how we like it.

Cut zucchini in spears about 4-6" long and 1/2-1" thick.
Place in shallow baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Use a basting brush to spread the oil evenly.
Sprinkle with salt (or sea salt, if you have it).
Sprinkle with garlic salt or garlic powder--depending on how much salt is initially added (we use garlic salt).
Sprinkle with plenty of oregano.

Then you simply grill on the barbie for 4-6 minutes per side at 300-325 (fairly low temp).

Fruit Pizza

I have to provide a treat for my next book club meeting (being held at my home next week). So, was thinking about doing a fruit pizza - but am not sure which recipe I should use (or perhaps a merging of the two? chocolate is a good thing - marshmallows with fruit not so much).

There are many such recipe options on the internet - these were the two that came out on the top of my list of potential recipes (not listed in any particular order).

Please provide advice and feedback if you have it - I have never made a fruit pizza before!! But it does sound really good!!


Fruit Pizza - by Paula Deen

pizza dough:

  • 1 package store bought sugar cookie dough
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 large peach, sliced
  • 1 large green apple, sliced
  • 1 large orange, sectioned
  • 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries
  • 6 ounces fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Flatten cookie dough onto a 6-inch pizza pan
  • Bake until firm to touch, about 11 to 15 minutes - then cool
  • In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and sugar
  • Spread the baked cookie with the cream cheese mixture and decorate with sliced fruit
  • In a small bowl, combine melted white chocolate with chocolate syrup
  • Top the pizza with remaining berries and chocolate mixture
  • Slice and serve immediately

Patriotic Fruit Pizza - by Kraft Foods

  • 1 pkg (20 oz) refrigerated sliceable sugar cookie dough
  • 1-1/4 cups cold milk
  • 1 pkg (4-serving size) Jell-o vanilla flavor instant pudding
  • 3 cups minature marshmallows, divided
  • 1 cup thawed Cool Whip whipped topping
  • 2 cups cut-up fresh fruit, such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, banana slices, or kiwi slices
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Line 12-inch pizza pan with foil; grease foil lightly
  • Press cookie dough into prepared pan to form crust
  • Bake 14-16minutes, or until golden brown - cool completely
  • Remove cookie from pan and foil - place on serving plate
  • Pour milk into large bowl - add dry pudding mix
  • Beat with wire whisk 2-minutes - let stand 5 minutes
  • Gently stir in 2 cups of the marshmallows and the whipped topping
  • Spread cookie crust with pudding mixture
  • Top with fruit and the remaining 1 cup marshmallows

Thursday, August 6, 2009


It's that time of the summer- anybody have any good Zucchini Recipes?
Here's mine.

The Very BEST Zucchini bread. 
Or as Harriet called it when she was three, "bikini bread". (Except you wouldn't want too eat much of this if you had any plans for a bikini, it's loaded with butter and sugar. Fortunately, I have no such plans!)

3 eggs
1 C. Butter
1 3/4 c. sugar.
(yeah, I told you it was loaded. That's why it's good.)

Mix your dry ingredients:
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
nuts optional

2 cups shredded, drained zucchini or yellow squash
(the key to a bread that is not soggy is to wring some of the moisture out. place your shredded squash or zucchini in a clean dish cloth, or cheese cloth. Wrap it up in a ball and squeeze a lot of the water out. Don't wring the daylights out of it, you also don't want it too dry.)

Mix all together till combined, don't over mix.
Grease and flour two bread pans. Bake 1 hr. @ 350º.
Let it cool 10 min. before turning out of pans. Smells heavenly...

*This recipe is from our lovely Aunt Janet.
**Sorry for the cheesy drawing!