Saturday, May 30, 2009

Birthday Cake

Well, we had Evie's 1st birthday party today. I stayed up way too late making food and decorating a cake but things went really well.

I usually have my mom decorate the birthday cakes because she does a really good job. This time though, my parents weren't coming up until about 30 minutes before the party so I decided to decorate the cake myself. I have never decorated a whole cake by myself so it took me forever!
This is my absolute FAVORITE birthday cake recipe. I found it in an old, out-of-print cookbook that someone gave me as a teenager (Grandma's Great Desserts).

Moist Chocolate Cake
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (you can substitute 1/2 with unsweetened applesauce and then use a little less sugar)
  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • 1 cup milk (I use fat free)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Sift together all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add oil, coffee, and milk; mix at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat 2 more minutes.
  • Pour into two greased and floured 9” cake pans (or two 8” cake pans and six muffin cups). Bake at 325˚ for 30-35 minutes.
  • Once cake is cooled, frost and decorate (even if using the fondant you still have to use a thin layer of frosting for the fondant to adhere to).

Instead of doing buttercream frosting, I decided to do a rolled fondant (I think I've been watching a little too much Food Network, especially Ace of Cakes). Here is the link for the recipe (
Rolled Buttercream Fondant). I would suggest reading several of the reviews before attempting to make fondant for the first time.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Twice Baked Potatoes

This is a recipe I came up with myself and a lot of it can be adapted to your liking.

4 large baking potatoes
3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon dill
salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Wash potatoes and poke with a fork (this allows the steam to escape). Bake in a 400 degree oven for 45-50 minutes.

  • When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half and scoop the flesh out into a mixing bowl. Add herbs, cream cheese, butter, and sour cream. Mix until thoroughly combined. Fill skins with potato mixture and place on a large baking sheet.

  • Top with cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Mini Meatloaves

Mini meatloaf, red potatoes, and steamed California medley veggies 
Meatloaf is a favorite at our house but I've never been able to really successfully make a whole meatloaf, so I decided to attempt mini meatloaves after seeing a recipe for them on They turned out perfectly and have been a big hit ever since.
  • 2 egg 
  • 2 pounds ground beef 
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar 
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats 
  • 1/3 cup minced onion 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 
  • 1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, divided 
  • 2/3 cup ketchup 
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard 
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine the egg, milk, cheese, oats, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and onion. Add the ground beef, mixing well, and form this mixture into eight miniature meatloaves. Place these on a foil lined cookie sheet. 
  3. In a separate small bowl, combine the ketchup, 1/4 cup brown sugar and mustard. Stir thoroughly and spread over each meatloaf. 
  4. Bake, uncovered, at 350˚ for 45 minutes. 
This recipe makes 8 servings and also works well for meatloaf sandwiches (meatloaf, cheese, toasted bread, and sautéed onion).

Source: (this posted version includes my changes)

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

2/3 cup raisins, pre-soaked
4 teaspoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 cups white bread flour
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • Soak the raisins in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Toss with cinnamon and sugar, then place in a bread machine with the rest of the ingredients. Insert ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturer's instructions.

  • Remove the dough from the machine after the first knead - approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 10 parts. Form balls, gently press thumb through center of ball and slowly stretch into bagel shape. Place bagels on a sheet pan and let rise 15-20 minutes.

  • While bagels rise, bring three quarts of water and one tablespoon of sugar to a rapid boil in a large saucepan.

  • Drop test dough (see hints below). Using a slotted spoon, drop 2 bagels into rapidly boiling water. Boil on each side for 45 seconds. Remove and cool on rack 1 minute, brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, if desired.
  • Bake at 400ºF for 15-20 minutes on a greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.

Bagel Success Hints, etc.
  • When forming the bagels, set aside two 1/4" balls of dough. When the bagels have doubled in size, drop the test dough into boiling water. The dough should pop to the top right away. When this happens, it is time to boil the bagels. A quick spray of non-stick vegetable coating on the top of the bagel may be substituted for the egg wash.

  • To make bagel sticks, cut bagel before rising and lay out in a straight line. Roll sticks in a combination of sesame and poppy seeds with a pinch of garlic powder. Let sticks rise, boil, and bake as described in the above directions.

  • To make bagel chips, slice leftover bagels horizontally into thin slices. Brush with butter or margarine on one side. Lay (butter side up) on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 325ºF for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and crisp.

Week 7 Menu (May 31-June 6)

Week 7

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Week 6 Menu (May 24-30)

Today is grocery shopping day. I have my list all made up and the menu for next week (below) prepared.

Week 6
  • Crock Pot Chicken and Rice Casserole
  • Memorial Day Grill Out - Brats, hamburgers, corn on the cob, grilled veggies (zucchini, summer squash, onions, peppers, garlic, herbs, olive oil)
  • Chicken and Stuffing Bake (Chicken Breast covered in a cream soup, topped with cheese and prepared stuffing) served with Veggies
  • Ham and Cheese Braid (Pizza dough "braided" around ham, mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan). I also add broccoli from time to time, but it is the one veggie that our son literally gags on.
  • Tater Tot Casserole
  • Evie's 1st Birthday Party -
    I still haven't completely decided what we are having. What do you have for a little girl's 1st birthday? (cracker/cheese tray, fruit salad, deviled eggs, ?)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Zucchini Brownies

These are absolutely delicious and perfect for anyone who cannot have milk or eggs. Also, very budget friendly for brownies from scratch. I recently tried making these a little healthier, my healthy changes are in parenthesis.
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce 
  • 1 cups white sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup special dark cocoa powder 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini 
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) 
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (use only 5) 
  • 1/4 cup butter (use 3 tablespoons) or coconut oil
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar (1 1/2 cups) 
  • 1/4 cup regular, soy, coconut, almond, or rice milk (3 tablespoons) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan. 
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares. 
If you follow the lower calorie suggestions and cut into 16 squares, each piece will only be 140 calories and it still tastes delicious!

My sister shared her gluten-free version in the comments but I am including them in the post, too.
  • 1/2 cup oil 
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup millet flour 
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini 
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) 
Follow the above directions for both the brownies and the frosting.

Original recipe source:

Chimichangas & Guacamole

Beef and Bean Chimichangas

1 pound lean ground beef (leftover Pulled Pork or rotisserie chicken can be used instead)
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1 1/2 cups whole kernel corn
2 cups taco sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
8 (12 inch) flour tortillas
1 (16 ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 tablespoon butter, melted OR olive oil
1 tomato, diced
Shredded lettuce
Sour cream
Guacamole (See recipe below)
1 can sliced black olives (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain excess grease, and add the onion, bell pepper, and corn. Cook for about 5 more minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the taco sauce, and season with chili powder, garlic salt and cumin, stirring until blended. Cook until heated through, then remove from heat, and set aside.
3. Open the can of beans, and spread a thin layer of beans onto each of the tortilla. Spoon the beef mixture down the center, and then top with cheese (around ¼ c. each). Roll up the tortillas, and place them seam-side down onto a baking sheet. Brush the tortillas with melted butter or olive oil.
4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Serve with lettuce, tomato, olives, sour cream, guacamole, and remaining cheese.

Best Guacamole

2 avocados
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Cut the avocados into halves. Remove the seeds, and scoop out the pulp into a small bowl. Use a fork to mash the avocado. Stir in lemon juice, onion, salt, and olive oil. OR place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until smooth with small chunks.
2. Cover the bowl, and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.


California Medley Soup

When I was a kid, there was a restaurant about 20 minutes from our house that we would go to for Sunday dinner on special occasions. They would serve this delicious soup that was a combination between a cream soup and a cheese soup. It included broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. They called it California Medley soup after the combination of vegetables that it contained. Here is my version of that soup.

[Crockpot] Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings is a great comfort food to enjoy in the middle of winter. It packs all the flavor of chicken, vegetables, and broth under a fluffy canopy of delicious dumplings. I love how simple this dish is to make. I have also successfully made this dish in the crockpot (see note below).

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

This is another recipe that I created. Feel free to make changes.

2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 cup halved red grapes (be sure to use really crisp ones)
3/4 cup Miracle Whip
1/2 sour cream
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
2 tablespoons minced onion
salt and pepper to taste
6 slices cheese (I prefer Provolone or Muenster but most anything works)
Lettuce Leaves
6 Croissants or any sandwich roll

1) In a large bowl (preferably one with a lid), mix Miracle Whip, sour cream, parsley, basil, dill, onion, salt and pepper. Add chicken and grapes, stir till coated.

2) Cover and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3) Cut rolls in half. Place lettuce on the bottom of the roll, top with Chicken salad, cheese, and top of the roll. Serve immediately.

Week 5 Menu (May 17-23)

Week 5:
  • Roast Chicken, Potatoes, Veggie Tray, Fresh Bread (I'm using my bread machine and then starting it right b4 we head to church so it will be done when we get home); I also ended up making bread pudding and vanilla sauce (cut the water down to 1/2 cup and added 1/2 cup milk) for dessert with the leftover bread:)
  • Chicken and Dumplings
  • Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup
  • Lobster Tails, Baby Reds, California Veggies, & Cheesy Biscuits (Miss Betty's Super Quick Dinner Rolls)
  • Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Chips, & Fruit Salad
  • Tuna Pasta Salad (tuna, macaroni, Miracle Whip, minced onion, salt, pepper, parsley, peas)

Mixed Berry Syrup

1-1/3 cups sugar 
1/3 cup water 
1 teaspoon lemon juice 
1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed 
1 pint fresh blackberries, rinsed 
1 pint fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved  

1) In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, let boil for 2 minutes. Stir frequently.  

2) Turn down temp to medium-low and let simmer until desired thickness (about 10-15 minutes).  

3) Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.  

Yield: about 2 cups

This is one of my creations.

Waffles from Scratch

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs,
2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter, melted

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk, egg yolks, and butter (in that order); stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

2) In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form; gently fold into batter.

3) Bake in a preheated waffle iron until golden brown. Top with sour cream (trust me it's really good), and fresh fruit or homemade fruit syrup!

Yield: 8-9 waffles (about 6")

Source: Taste of Home 2007 cookbook

Week 4 Menu (May 10-16)

Week 1:
  • The Works Pizza (Pizza Dough Recipe, Top with sausage, mushrooms, peppers, and onions; Bake dough for 10 minutes by itself, then add sauce, half the cheese, toppings, and the rest of the cheese; Bake for another 10-15 minutes)
  • Grilled Pork Loin, Potato Salad, & Sliced Cucumbers (Pork Spice Rub - "Kevi's South-of-the-Butt Rub" - grill over direct heat for 10 minutes each side and then over indirect heat for another 30-45 minutes until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees, Potato Salad Recipe
  • Rotisserie Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies (I was running behind so I did store bought chicken)
  • Waffles with Fresh Fruit Syrup
  • Grilled Chicken Salad (boiled eggs, ham, cheese, croutons, carrots, etc.)

Week 3 Menu (May 3-9)

Week 3:
  • Roast Chicken, Potatoes, Veggies, & Fresh Bread
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Brats, Grilled Potatoes, & Veggie
  • Homemade Sausage "The Works" Pizza
  • California Medley Soup (basically a mix between cream of and cheesy Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Carrot Soup)

Week 2 Menu (April 26-May 2)

Week 2

Week 1 Menu (April 19-25)

As this is the first weekly menu post, I feel that I should clarify a few things for everyone.

This is not by any means an amazingly delicious menu, but it works for me time wise. For 1-2 suppers a week we do leftovers as Jared has class those nights and I have to have something to send with him because he stays in town all day.

Also, I develop my menus around what meats are in my freezer or on sale at the many different grocery stores.

Week 1 (April 19-25):
  • Pulled Pork & Slaw Sandwiches (slaw recipe & pulled pork ideas)
  • Tater Tot Casserole
  • Grilled Chicken Salad (boiled eggs, ham, cheese, croutons, carrots, etc.)
  • Cowboy Skillet (see my post)
  • Pizza (we have a BCM activity and are picking up pizzas)

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

1 ¾ cups milk
1 cup caramel ice cream topping
¼ cup butter
4 cups cubed bread
2 cups peeled thinly diced apples
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Streusel Topping
¾ cup flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
½ cup chopped pecans
½ teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Lightly grease a 2 qt. baking dish. Mix streusel ingredients together and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, combine milk, caramel, and butter. Cook over medium heat until blended and butter melts. Remove from heat. Stir in apples and bread; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in eggs. Pour into baking dish and bake 20 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and sprinkle with streusel. Bake another 20-25 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with additional caramel topping.

Source: a ladies fellowship meeting, I do not know the original source

Caramel Ice Cream Sauce
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup half-and-half cream
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the cream, water and corn syrup until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat.
2. Stir in the butter and vanilla until butter is melted. Serve warm or cold over ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers.
Yield: about 1 cup.

Source: Taste of Home 2007 cookbook

French Bread, French Toast, & Sub Sandwiches

I made Baked Ziti and homemade French Bread for dinner one night (French Bread). The French bread was absolutely delicious and very easy to make. The recipe makes 2 loaves of bread and we could only eat one, so I followed the advice of the recipe's poster and decided to make french toast with the leftover loaf.
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (70 to 80 degrees F)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoon oil (vegetable, olive, coconut, or even melted butter)
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour (you can substitute All-Purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • Egg wash (1 egg white + 1 tablespoon water)
  • garlic powder, Italian herbs, roasted garlic, parmesan, etc. (optional, see variations)
  1. In bread machine pan, place the water, yeast, and sugar in first and let set 5 minutes. Add oil, flour (garlic powder and herbs) and then salt. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed).
  2. When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Roll each portion into a 10-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal.
  3. Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal; place loaves seam side down on prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 20 minutes.
  4. Brush egg wash over loaves. With a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.
Two variations - 
Garlic Parmesan French Bread
  • Garlic Parmesan French Bread - before rolling the dough into a loaf, rub with 1/2 tablespoon butter and sprinkle with garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. Then roll, let rise, and bake as usual. 
  • Roasted Garlic French Bread - before rolling the dough into a loaf, place 1-2 heads-worth of roasted garlic all over the bread. Then roll, let rise, and bake as usual. 

French Toast
We had seen an episode of "Good Eats" on toast and I decided to try the recipe for french toast from that episode. Here is a link to that recipe - French Toast. As Jared put it, "It was the best French toast I've ever eaten!" A lot of the stuff you can do the night before and I would definitely follow Alton's advice to use fresh bread specifically cut for French Toast (about 1/2"-3/4" thick).

Sub Rolls/Bread
Another way to use French bread is for sub sandwiches. I've always just used the recipe as indicated with the only change being the addition of olive oil. But last night I made a variation that was perfect for subs!
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (70 to 80 degrees F)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoon oil (vegetable, olive, coconut, or even melted butter)
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour (you can substitute All-Purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  1. In bread machine pan, place the water, yeast, and sugar in first and let set 5 minutes. Add oil, flour and then salt. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed).
  2. When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in four portions. Roll each portion into a 6". x 6" square. Roll up jelly-roll style, pinch seams to seal. You can also form mini sub rolls by dividing the dough into 12 portions and then making 4"x4" squares.
  3. Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal; place loaves seam side down on prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place about 40 minutes.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with coconut oil or butter. Cool on wire racks.

Cowboy Skillet

Cowboy Skillet is basically a one pot chili and corn bread combo. The main difference is that the chili is much thicker and the corn bread is baked on top instead of in a separate pan. If you do not have a cast iron skillet, you can make up the "chili" in a large saute or frying pan and then transfer it to a 2 qt. casserole before topping with your cornbread batter.
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, rough chopped
  • 1 red bell peppers, cut into ½" pieces
  • 1 green bell peppers, cut into ½" pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, divided
  • 1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoon dry taco seasoning
  • 1 can Red Gold crushed tomatoes (if you're out of tomato sauce)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 packages corn bread mix (or the dry ingredients from any cornbread recipe that makes a dozen muffins)
  • 2 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Crumble the ground beef into a 14" cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until beef is evenly brown. Drain the grease, and add the peppers and onion. Cook and stir until the onion is translucent. Add 1 cup of the corn, the beans, crushed tomato, and taco seasoning; cook and stir until the sauce begins to bubble.
  3. Spread out in an even layer on the bottom of the skillet or transfer to a 2-qt. casserole. Sprinkle cheese over the top.
  4. Mix the package of cornbread mix (or the dry ingredients from your cornbread recipe) according to the directions using the eggs, milk, butter, honey, and 1/2 cup corn. Spoon over the ground beef mixture, and spread evenly.

  5. Place the whole skillet in the oven, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cornbread layer comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

Holiday Eats

Just thought I'd pass along some yummy ideas. These are some of my favorite Holiday recipes - some are family traditions and others are not.Breakfast Ideas:Cinnamon Rolls (see my post)

Quiche and American Fries

Cheese Blintzes
2 loaves sandwich bread
16 oz cream cheese, softened
2 egg yokes
¼ cup sugar
2 sticks butter, melted
1½ cups brown sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice
4 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Mix cream cheese, egg yokes, sugar, and lemon juice until smooth.
2. Trim crust on bread and flatten the bread slices with a rolling pin. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese filling in each slice of bread. Roll the slice into a log.
3. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a shallow square dish.
4. Dip bread logs in melted butter and roll in brown sugar mixture. Place on cookie sheets lined with foil. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Servings: 40

Source: a ladies fellowship meeting, do not know the original source

Dinner Ideas:Easy Slow Cooker Ham
2 cups packed brown sugar
24 whole cloves
1 (8-12 lb) bone-in ham rump portion

Sprinkle ½ cup brown sugar on bottom of a 6 qt. crockpot; place ham round-side up over sugar. Score, then rub with remaining brown sugar. Stick whole cloves into ham where scoring crosses. Cook on low for 8 hours.
Source: Me - this is a combination recipe that I made up after looking over 3-4 different slow cooker hame recipes at

Mom’s Potato Salad
This is my mother-in-law's recipe. I never liked potato salad growing up and then I tried hers. She always just threw it together without a recipe or anything. So for Jared's birthday (the first year we were married), I had her come over and teach me how to make her potato salad as a birthday present for him. I wrote down all the ingredients and measurements as we went so that I could duplicate it anytime I wanted. Enjoy!
16 potatoes, peeled
10 eggs
1 ¼ cups Miracle Whip
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 ½ tablespoons mustard
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried basil
½ cup finely chopped onion
4-6 finely chopped Baby Dill Pickles
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut potatoes into bite sized pieces; place in a large pan and fill with enough water to cover them. Cook at medium to medium-high heat. Boil potatoes for 30 minutes or until tender. Rinse in cold water. Place in a large bowl.
2. Place eggs in a medium saucepan; fill with cold water, enough to cover. Cook at medium heat, boil 10-15 minutes. Place eggs in a bowl and fill with cold water; put in the refrigerator until cool. Once cool, peel and dice the eggs.
3. In a small bowl, combine Miracle Whip, mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, basil, pickles and onions until creamy.
4. Add eggs and Miracle Whip mix to potatoes. Stir until everything is coated evenly. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle paprika over the top for color.
Butter Crescent Rolls
½ cup milk
½ cup butter, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
½ cup warm water (110˚)
1 egg
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten

1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until bubbles form at the edges; remove from heat. Mix in the butter, sugar, and salt. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine milk and yeast mixtures. Stir in 1 egg. Beat in flour 1 cup at a time until dough pulls together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
3. Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, and form into rounds. Cover, and let rest 10 minutes.
4. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each dough half into a 12 inch circle. Cut each circle into 6 wedges. Roll each wedge up towards the point. Bend ends inward to form crescents, and place point side down on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover, and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
5. Brush rolls with beaten egg, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

We also have cheesecake at many holiday get togethers. I do not usually share my cheesecake recipe, but will say that has some pretty good ones (not mine, but other good ones).

Chicken Alfredo Supreme Pizza

I recently entered this recipe in a Taste of Home contest - I'm keeping my fingers crossed;) Our family really enjoys eating it. Let me know what you think.

Homemade Pizza Dough or you can use a 1 pound loaf of frozen bread dough, thawed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup half-n-half
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced button mushrooms
1/3 cup sliced black olives
1 small green pepper, cut into 1" strips
1 small onion, cut into 1" strips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cook cubed chicken and basil in oil over medium heat till done, 5-8 minutes.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. In a small bowl, whisk together half-n-half, egg yolk, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Add to butter and stir until thickened.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 15-in. circle. Transfer to a greased 14-in. pizza pan; build up edges slightly and prick with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven.
5. Spread alfredo sauce over dough to within 1/2" of edge. Top with 2 cups of mozzarella, chicken, peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, and remaining cheese, in that order.
6. Bake for another 15-20 minutes in preheated oven. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

To save time substitute 1 cup precooked, chopped chicken; 1.5 cups jarred alfredo sauce; a 14” ready-made pizza crust (following crust directions for baking); and pre-sliced mushrooms and olives. Or you could prep veggies, sauce, and chicken the day before and refrigerate.

Cinnamon Rolls

1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup warm milk
1 egg, room temperature
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped pecans or raisins (optional)

1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons milk

1. In the pan of your bread machine, combine dough ingredients in order listed, making a "well" in the flour for the yeast. Set machine to Dough cycle; press Start. If you do not have a bread machine, see instructions below.

2. When Dough cycle has finished, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 17x10 inch rectangle. Spread with softened butter. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over dough.

3. Roll up dough, beginning with long side. Slice into 15-16 one inch slices and place in 9x13 greased pan. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. While rolls bake, stir together cream cheese, softened butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and milk. Remove rolls from oven and top with frosting.

Making Dough Without a Bread Machine
In a small bowl, combine warm water and yeast, let bloom for 10 minutes. Combine dry ingredients (except for yeast) in a large mixing bowl. Add butter, milk, egg, and yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined; knead dough for 20 minutes (or use a bread hook attachment on a KitchenAid mixer for 10 minutes). Spray large bowl with Pam and place kneaded dough inside. Cover with a warm, moist tea towel, and let rise for 20 minutes. Punch dough down, cover, and let rise for 50 minutes. Follow steps 2-4.

Refrigerating Overnight
Make cinnamon rolls, cut (15 rolls fit great), put in pan, covered with plastic wrap sprayed with Pam and refrigerated. In the morning, I removed from fridge and let rise about 1 hour. Then bake.

Place rolls on parchment papered cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen place in freezer bag. Remove rolls the night before and put in a buttered pan and refrigerate overnight as described above. Next morning let rise, bake and ENJOY!


Right now I'm just trying to get all the recipes and menu ideas from the last few weeks onto the blog. So here are a few from a couple of weeks ago.

Miss Betty's Super Quick Dinner Rolls
Reagan helped me make these for supper the other night. It was fun and he was sooo proud of "helping" with dinner. A few notes/alterations for this recipe -
1. If you don't have Self-Rising flour, you can substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour+1.5 teaspoons baking powder+1/2 teaspoon salt.
2. I followed the advice of a couple of other reviewers on Allrecipes and added some spices for extra flavor (basil, oregano, pepper).
3. I decided to adapt this recipe to be a little more like the Red Lobster Garlic Cheese biscuits by adding garlic powder and 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar (this amount is for a triple batch).

Aussie Chicken
This recipe is just out of this world! I serve it over Onion Rice (see below). I also pour the rest of the sauce over the chicken when it's got about 5 minutes left because I like the sauce warm. One step that must not be skipped is pounding the chicken to 1/2" thick, otherwise it takes quite a bit longer to cook and the sauce burns around the edges of the pan.

Onion Rice
I do add some minced garlic to the onions, some herbs to the broth (parsley, basil, pinch of salt), and 1 Tbsp butter. A perfect complement to the honey mustard sauce from the chicken.

Man Pleasin' Jambalaya
This is one of Jared's favorite meals and I love it because it doesn't create a bunch of dishes for me to wash:) I do cut down on the rice (2.5 cups vs. 3) and the chicken by half. I also add Chipotle Tabasco Sauce for a little more heat.

Well, Here Goes

I am going to attempt to keep up with all of my menus and favorite recipes using this blog vs. doing everything on FB. We'll see how it goes.