Monday, December 20, 2010

on the menu this week...

swedish meatballs with rice and peas
chicken curry
chicken alfredo with sauteed spinach
sloppy joes with red potatoes and carrots
Jesus Supper--this is our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. I'll post the menu, photos and recipes next week.

I've been doing a lot of holiday baking/cooking and I'll be posting some new check back soon

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1/4 cold water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 beaten egg

mix flour and salt
cut in shortening with pastry cutter or fork until crumbly
mix water, vinegar and egg then add to crumb mixture

divide into two balls
roll out each one between two pieces of waxed paper
fit into pie pan and trim edges

bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or follow recipe to fill and bake

makes two 9 inch pie crusts

Sugared Yams

peel and dice 2-3 large yams
boil in salted water until soft

melt together 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar
drain yams and dump into a baking dish
sprinkle with salt and pepper
spoon the butter/sugar mixture over the top
bake at 450 for about 20 minutes

Sweet Rolls

2 tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup sugar
1teaspoon salt
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup butter (melted, not hot)
4 1/2--5 cups flour

mix yeast, water and a little sugar and set aside
mix everything else, except the flour
tip: make sure the water, milk and butter are not hot
mix in yeast mixture and then flour
knead until a soft ball forms
let rise in a warm place until double

punch down and roll out
cut into circles
dip half of the roll into melted butter and fold in it half on the baking sheet
tip: do not roll out dough more than once or twice
rise until double again

bake at 375 for about 10 minutes, until lightly brown

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

on the menu this week...

macaroni and cheese with broccoli
orange chicken with asparagus
hawaiian haystacks
beef stroganoff with peas
meatloaf, potatoes, artichokes

Monday, October 25, 2010

on the menu this week...

chicken curry
fish taco salad
french dip sandwiches with zucchini squash
ragu pasta
bones and blood

Monday, October 18, 2010

on the menu this week...

this week we're going a little vegetarian (by that I mean some different veggies and chicken or fish)

lemon chicken and artichoke pasta
fish, potatoes and peas
creamy carrot soup
honey ginger chicken, beets and spinach
spaghetti squash with tomatoes, mushrooms and parmesan cheese

Monday, October 11, 2010

Red Velvet Cake

[aka] blood cake was my favorite cake growing up and I have yet to perfect my mom's recipe, but here's how she makes it...


1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 oz. red food coloring
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vinegar

cream together shortening, eggs, sugar, and vanilla
in a small bowl mix cocoa powder and red food coloring and add 1 oz. water (i usually refill the food coloring bottle with water and add it in)
add the cocoa/food coloring mixture to the creamed ingredients and mix
sift together the flour and salt
alternate in the flour and the buttermilk
in another bowl mix the baking soda with the vinegar (it will bubble)
stir in vinegar/soda mixture

bake in greased and floured 8 inch round cake pans at 350 for 30 minutes (do not over-bake or the cake will be dry)

(this is the tricky part, for me anyway)

in a small saucepan cook 5 tablespoons flour with 1 cup milk, stirring often
after it thickens, cover with a cloth (to prevent a crust from forming) and cool (not in refrigerator to prevent condensation)
once it is room temperature or cooler, cream together 1 cup butter (not margarine) 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla
add cooled flour/milk mixture and beat until fluffy (at least 5 minutes)

Nutter Butter Truffles

made for baby shower favors


1 package Nutter Butter cookies
4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
16 oz. chocolate chips

in a food processor or blender, pulse the cookies until they are small crumbs
mix in crumbs, cream cheese and peanut butter
form into 1 or 2 inch balls
melt chocolate chips in saucepan on medium-low heat, stirring often
remove chocolate from heat
using a fork, dip the balls into chocolate until coated
place on cookie sheet lined with foil
refrigerate until chocolate is hard

on the menu this week...

orange chicken
beef stew
bbq chicken pizza
breakfast: french toast, sausage, hash browns

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 oz. chocolate chips

cream together butter, pumpkin, egg, vanilla
add in dry ingredients and mix
stir in chocolate chips
spoon 2 inch balls on greased cookie sheet
bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, depending on how soft you like them

Monday, June 28, 2010

on the menu this week...

pasta with clam sauce and cucumber salad
BBQ chicken pizza with carrots
shrimp and scallops stir fry
steak, corn on the cob, green beans
pork chops, black beans, zucchini

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

on the menu this week...

ragu pasta
mexican lasagna
roast, potatoes, carrots
hot dog picnic

Monday, May 24, 2010

on the menu this week...

shrimp alfredo
philly cheesesteak sandwiches
bbq beef and chicken kabobs
salmon, roasted potatoes, spinach, rolls
pork chops and rice with peas
mexican lasagna

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Breakfast Casserole

This is our family's traditional Christmas breakfast, usually served with pineapple-orange-banana juice, hot cocoa, and cinnamon rolls.

6 slices white bread, cubed
2-3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 lb. sausage, cooked and drained
2 cups milk
6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 can cream of mushroom soup

In a greased 9x13 in. baking dish, layer the bread, cheese and sausage.
Mix eggs, 1 1/2 cups of milk and dry mustard.
Pour over layers.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove cover.
Mix 1/2 cup milk and cream of mushroom soup.
Pour on top of casserole.
Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes.
Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Monday, May 17, 2010

on the menu this week...

blt sandwiches, carrots, chips
fajita soup and salad
breakfast: french toast, hash browns, sausage
homemade pizza
chicken piccata
pork chops, mashed potatoes, spinach

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Pizza Night

I had the opportunity to hear/meet Liz Edmunds, the Food Nanny. Friday nights are pizza night at her house, so my neighbor and I decided to try it too. We use her great pizza dough recipe and go from there. It's been a lot of fun. She says she can have homemade pizza on the table for her family in 20 minutes!

Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
up to 3 1/4 cups flour

Whisk the yeast in the warm water and set aside.
Add oil, honey, and salt to a large bowl.
Add water/yeast and mix.
Add flour a cup or so at a time--you never know how much you'll need.
Mix until a ball forms.
Knead until elastic.
Let dough rest a few minutes before rolling out.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

1 cup warm milk
1 tablespoon yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Whisk the yeast in the warm milk and set aside.
Add oil, honey, and salt to a large bowl.
Add milk/yeast and mix.
Add flour slowly--you never know how much you'll need.
Mix until a ball forms.
Knead until elastic.
Let dough rest a few minutes before rolling out.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

pizza dough
2 chicken breasts
BBQ sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Bake the chicken covered in your favorite BBQ sauce in an oven safe dish at 375 for about 25 minutes or cook in a crockpot for several hours.
Shred the chicken and add more BBQ sauce.
Coat a large pizza pan with a little olive oil.
Roll out the pizza dough and stretch on to the pan.
Add the mozzarella cheese.
Add the chicken.
Add the diced onion.
Sprinkle on the romano cheese.
Sprinkle on some dried oregano.
Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pasta with Clam Sauce

1 lb. long pasta (spaghetti, linguine)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup white cooking wine
2 cans (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (10 oz.) clams, drained with juice reserved
parsley, freshly chopped or dried
parmesan cheese

Prepare pasta according to package instructions.
In large skillet, heat olive oil.
Add onion and garlic and cook a few minutes until tender.
Add tomatoes, wine, and 1/2 cup clam juice.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer, stirring often, about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in clams and a tablespoon or so of parsley.

Serve with pasta and top with parmesan cheese.

Stuffed Mushrooms

My husband made these stuffed mushrooms for Mother's Day. Delicious!

Pineapple Julius

Blend in a blender on high for 1-2 minutes:
about 10 cubes ice
2/3 cup pineapple (or any flavor) frozen juice concentrate
1/2 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Monday, May 10, 2010

on the menu this week...

BBQ chicken pizza
mongolian beef, rice, broccoli
pasta with clam sauce
taco soup
shepard's pie

My Favorite Chocolate Cake

recipe from The Cake Doctor cookbook

Darn Good Chocolate Cake


1 package devil’s food cake mix

1 package (4 oz.) chocolate instant pudding

1 cup sour cream

½ cup water

½ cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly mist a 12-cup bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour.

Mix with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute: cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, and eggs.

Beat 2 to 3 minutes more on medium speed.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly pressed with your finger and is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan, 58 to 62 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.

Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a rack to cool completely, 20 minutes more.


Martha’s Chocolate Icing


1 cup granulated sugar

5 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat the sugar, butter, and milk in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat.

Stir until the mixture comes to a boil, 3 to 4 minutes.

Still stirring, let the mixture boil until the sugar dissolves, 1 minute.

Remove the pan from the heat.

Stir in the chocolate chips, and continue to stir until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate has melted.

Let it sit and thicken for a few minutes.

Place the cake on a serving platter and pour the warm icing over it.

Serve chilled.

Monday, May 3, 2010

on the menu this week...

kahlua pork
pasta with clam sauce
salmon, potatoes, spinach
homemade pizza
chicken teriyaki
beef stroganoff

Monday, April 19, 2010

on the menu this week...

enchiladas, rice beans
fish tacos
kahlua pork
roast, potatoes, carrots
pork chops and rice

Monday, April 12, 2010

on the menu this week...

sloppy joes, potato chips, baby carrots
shrimp alfredo with green salad
breakfast: french toast, hash browns, sausage
chicken nuggets, yams and broccoli
taco soup

Pepper Stuff

2 large bell peppers, diced
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup rice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

In a large skillet cook the sausage with the onion until no longer pink.
Add the tomatoes, rice, water, Worcestershire sauce and oregano.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil.
Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.
Add the peppers.
Simmer an additional 5-10 minutes.

Serve with grated cheese (optional).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

on the menu this week...

ragu pasta with green salad
enchiladas with rice and beans
macaroni and cheese with peas
steak with potatoes and spinach
breakfast: french toast, sausage and hash browns

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Feast

garlic red mashed potatoes, cooked baby carrots (drizzled with ham glaze), sauteed asparagus

fresh baked rolls and baked ham

ham glaze

heat in saucepan:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/8 cup pineapple juice
pour over ham before baking

peaches and cream

empty three cans of peaches into baking dish
sprinkle on top:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash nutmeg
dash cloves
bake covered at 350 until warm
serve with whipped cream

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

on the menu this week...

easter feast: ham, red potatoes, asparagus, carrots and rolls dessert: lemon bunny cake
homemade pepperoni pizza
french dip sandwiches with green salad
kahlua pork with rice and cabbage and carrots

Award-Winning White Chicken Chili

recipe courtesy of Delee Cox

1 lb. diced or shredded cooked chicken
1/2 of an onion, chopped (can be cooked with chicken)
1 14.5 oz. can chicken broth
1 10.5 oz. can cream of chicken soup
1 cup water
1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies, drained
1 11 oz. can mexi corn
2 15 oz. cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream

Mix all ingredients, except sour cream and cream, in a large pan.
Simmer for 20 minutes to several hours.
Before serving stir in 1 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup cream.

This recipe always places in neighborhood chili cook-offs, hence the award-winning title.


Heat 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet
Add 1/4 chopped onion and 1-2 cloves minced garlic
Add tilapia fillets and sprinkle with salt and pepper
Cook, covered, turning occasionally until flakey (about 15 minutes)

Creamy lemon dill sauce:
In a small bowl mix 1/3 cup sour cream, 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon dried dill weed and a 1/4 teaspoon salt
Spoon over the cooked fish when serving

Served with roasted red potatoes


Prepare pasta (spaghetti or linguine) according to package directions
Reserve 1/4 cup or more of the pasta water

Pesto sauce:
In a food processor blend 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (the real stuff), 3 tablespoons pine nuts, 3/4 cup basil leaves (fresh), 5 tablespoons olive oil, 3 cloves garlic
Add 1/4 cup of the water from the cooked pasta (before draining) and blend again

Toss with cooked pasta

Lemon Chicken

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet
Add boneless skinless chicken breasts
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, juice of 1-2 lemons and rosemary (a few dried leaves per breast or several fresh sprigs laid across pan)
Cook covered on medium heat, turning occasionally until done (about 20 minutes)

I usually serve this with pesto and green salad

Pasta al Forno

Ragu (Bolognese) Sauce:
heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil
add 1/2 chopped onion, 2-3 cloves minced garlic, 3-5 finely chopped carrots and 2 stalks finely chopped celery
cook a few minutes until tender
add about 3 pieces of bacon, diced and 1 package of mild Italian sausage (johnsonville is best)
break up sausage while cooking until no longer pink
add 14oz can of diced or stewed tomatoes and 1 8oz can tomato sauce
salt and pepper
add a bay leaf
simmer for 3-5 hours

Bechamel sauce:
heat 3 cups milk with 1 bay leaf and a dash of ground mace
in another pan, melt 1/2 cup butter
whisk in 3/4 cup flour
cook for a few minutes
combine with heated milk
salt and pepper

prepare 1lb. of short pasta (I use rigatoni) according to package directions and put in 9x13 in baking dish after drained

remove bay leaves from sauces
add ragu sauce and bechamel sauce to pasta
cover with grated Parmesan cheese
cover with foil
bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes

enjoy...this is my favorite pasta dish

Orange Chicken

So delicious! Here's the link for orange chicken. The sauce made a lot so cut it in half or save some for another meal. I served it over rice with broccoli and a red pepper stir-fried in a little butter with salt and pepper.


My version of Martha Stewart's Classic Meatloaf

1 lb. ground beef chuck
1 lb. ground pork
3 slices white bread
1/3 cup whole milk
1 egg
1/2 chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
salt and pepper
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp. vinegar
1-2 drops liquid smoke

Blend bread slices in food processor
Add milk to bread crumbs in a small bowl and set aside (stirring occasionally) for about 10 minutes
Mix tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, chili powder, vinegar, and liquid smoke in small bowl
Mix meat, egg, onion, garlic, bread mixture and 1/2 of sauce and salt and pepper
Line baking sheet with foil and form mixture into a long loaf on the prepared sheet
Spoon on remaining sauce
Bake at 400 for about 45-55 minutes
Let stand 10 minutes before serving

Macaroni and Cheese

Cook 1lb. macaroni according to package directions
Rinse with cold water
Grate about 1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese
Grease 9x13 in. pan

Cheese Sauce:
Heat 4 tablespoons butter on medium heat
When melted add 4 tablespoons flour
Add 2 cups milk
Cook and stir until starts to thicken
Add cheese
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Pepper to taste
Do not over-cook

Layer the macaroni and cheese sauce in the 9x13 pan
Cover with foil
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

recipe courtesy of Amy Dott Harmer

Put the following in a crock pot:

8 cups water with ¼ cup chicken bouillon granules or 8 cups of chicken broth

2 cups chopped carrots

2 cups chopped celery

¾ cup chopped onion

2 cans cream of chicken soup

¼ cup evaporated milk or ½ cup whole milk

2 cups of cooked, diced chicken

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

On the stove top in a pan make a roux (melt one cube butter and then wisk in ¾ cup flour)

Pour the mixture into your crock pot

Cook on low in the crock put for 3-4 hours

Add the noodles of your choice or homemade noodles just before serving

Rough Homemade Noodles:

Mix 1 egg

Add 2 tablespoons milk

Add ½ teaspoon salt

Add flour and mix with a fork until the dough is difficult to work with

Use your hand to knead flour into the dough until the dough is not sticky

Roll dough on cutting board or counter until very thin

Cut into strips with pizza cutter

Leave noodles to dry out (about an hour)

Cook in boiling salt water for 10 or 15 minutes

Double this recipe for chicken noodle soup

Noodles will continue to expand so, if using in a crockpot, add the finished (cooked) noodles the last 10 minutes

Chicken Alfredo

cook pasta (linguine or fettuccine) according to package directions
grill about 1 lb. of boneless skinless chicken tenders or breasts in a little olive oil with salt and pepper
cut chicken into bite sized pieces or strips after cooking

melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium sauce pan
add 2 tablespoons flour
whisk and cook for a few seconds
add 1 pint of half and half
cook and stir until sauce begins to thicken
add 1 cup--be generous--of grated Parmesan cheese (the real stuff)
add 3 cloves of minced garlic
add a dash of nutmeg
salt and pepper

add chicken to sauce
serve over cooked pasta

Asian Chicken

Marinate boneless skinless chicken breasts (thin is best) in the juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon and 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce for about an hour or longer
Pat dry
Mix 1/2 cup flour with salt and pepper in shallow dish
Beat 2 eggs and 1/4 cup water in another dish
Mix about 1 cup bread crumbs with about 1 tablespoon sesame seeds in another dish

Heat a few tablespoons vegetable oil and a few drops of sesame oil (optional) in a large skillet
Dip chicken in the flour, then egg, and lastly bread crumbs
Cook in oil on both sides until done (about 20 minutes)

Serve with brown rice cooked in chicken broth and steamed broccoli