December 8th, 2008
One of my all-time favorite appetizers. And so easy to make! We all need EASY during the holidays, right?
1 lb. large mushrooms
1 lb. pork sausage (Jimmy Dean brand is great)
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/4 c. stuffing mix (I prefer Pepperidge Farm brand)
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Remove stems from mushrooms and save about 10 stems. Brown sausage, add chopped onions and stems. Add cream cheese and stuffing mix; season with garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce. Stuff each mushroom caps with a spoonful of the mixture. Bake at 350 until water starts to come out of the mushrooms (about 10 minutes).
November 13th, 2008
These were today’s after-school snack at our house. And the only way they could be easier is if I scooped the cookie dough right out of a pre-made cookie dough bucket. They’re so quick to make. And, well … very, very chocolately. If you’re into that sort of thing.
CHOCOLATE CAKE COOKIES
1 box chocolate cake mix
1/2 c. oil (I prefer olive oil)
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes. Yield: About 3 dozen cookies.
November 4th, 2008
Love these little sandwiches, especially for entertaining. You can make them ahead of time, keeping them refrigerated until you’re ready to pop them in the oven. So easy. My cute (birthday girl this week) friend Karolyn shared this recipe with me years ago and it’s always a hit.
HAM & SWISS ROLLS
12 thick slices deli ham (black forest)
12 slices Swiss cheese
1/2 c. melted butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. mustard
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
Slice rolls in half so they open. Spread mayo on top and bottom of the inside of each roll. Assemble rolls with ½ slice of cheese and ½ slice of ham. Place all of these in a baking pan or stone. Mix together the melted butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and poppy seeds with a whisk. Brush this mixture all over the tops of the rolls and cover with tin foil. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until heated through.
October 16th, 2008
These simple treats are perfect for anyone who likes Oreos (we have a little Oreo fan club in our home). The kids can even help you roll these into balls. I haven’t made these in a long time … it’s been a few years … and just made them for a “girls night in” gathering that I hosted this week. Now I remember why I kept the recipe. Easy and yummy.
2 sleeves Oreos
8 oz. softened cream cheese
Handful of white chocolate chips
Handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Crush the Oreos in a food processor (should be like crumbs). Pour into a mixing bowl/mixer. Add in the cream cheese and mix until well blended. Roll into balls. In a separate bowl, melt all the chocolate chips together and drizzle over balls.
Hint: Melt the chips in the microwave, along with a teaspoon of Crisco. Once melted, place them in baggie & cut the corner of the bag (a very small hole) and drizzle over the balls. Even better, use an icing bag if you have one. Store truffles in the fridge.
Yield: About 30 truffles
October 15th, 2008
Fall is the perfect time for apples and a warm dip, isn’t it? I tried this for the first time last night and loved it. I kept it warm in an itty bitty crock pot, next to the freshly cut apple slices.
BUTTERSCOTCH APPLE DIP
1 can. sweetened condensed milk
1 c. butterscotch chips
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
In a saucepan over low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk, butterscotch chips, and salt. Cook & stir until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar & cinnamon. Serve warm.
October 13th, 2008
Have a few extra-ripe bananas that are begging to be baked in something? My absolute favorite is banana bread (see my 9.25.07 post here in the recipe section). This recipe is another great option. Made a batch yesterday because I wanted to share something sweet with a friend who had a birthday.
BLACK-BOTTOM BANANA BARS
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. baking cocoa
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla; beat until thoroughly combined. Blend in the bananas. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide batter in half. Add cocoa to half; spread into a greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Spoon remaining batter on top and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the bars test done. Cool.
September 26th, 2008
It’s simple. It’s quick. And it’s super sweet. A small portion goes a long way.
QUICK PEACH COBBLER
5 (15 oz.) canned peaches, drained
2 boxes yellow cake mix
1 c. melted butter
Grease 9” x 13” baking dish and spread peaches. Mix melted butter with dry cake mix and crumble over the peaches. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
September 8th, 2008
This side dish is a personal favorite. I would prefer seconds of this over most desserts (sometimes). My childhood best friend, Lydia, introduced this to me about 12 years ago and every time I make it I think, we need to make this more often!
CARROTS & ZUCCHINI
grated parmesan cheese
dill weed (among the spices)
Boil the carrots so they’re soft. Meanwhile, slice some zucchini. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini. Saute for a minute and then add the carrots (once they’re soft) to the zucchini.
NOTE: You don’t want the zucchini to get all mushy. They only need to be in the pan for about 5 minutes-ish. That means you’ll want to boil the carrots well before putting carrots in the pan. Maybe 15 minutes or so before. Use a fork to test the carrots so they’re “just right” for you.
Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese and dill weed over the vegetables and saute & stir for a few minutes until they’re to your liking. Serve immediately.
July 17th, 2008
This is another cold pasta salad, perfect for summer. And one that I’ve loved and made many times over the years.
CHICKEN CAESAR PASTA
16 oz. box rotini
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 bottle Cardini’s original Caesar dressing
1 Tbsp. crushed garlic
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash seasoning
1/3 red onion, chopped
Cook pasta and drain. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces and stir-fry in garlic & oil. Mix chicken in with the pasta. Add dressing, onion, and Mrs. Dash. Garnish with cherry tomatoes (optional: cut them in half).
July 3rd, 2008
The recipe for crepes is not hard to find, but it’s just one of those things that we don’t ever think about making. So we did this week. So easy. Filled them with whipped cream and fresh fruit (raspberries, blueberries and strawberries). Looked rather patriotic, just in time for the Fourth of July.
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. flour
2 1/4 c. milk
1/2 stick (4 Tbsp.) melted butter
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk, stirring to combine. Add the salt and melted butter; beat until smooth. Heat a lightly oiled 9″ frying pan over medium heat. Using a 1/4 c. measuring cup, scoop the batter into the pan. Immediately tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly. Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot. Fill with your favorite fresh fruit, rolled up in the crepe, and sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top.
June 30th, 2008
I love seafood, but don’t cook with it often (SOMEone in the family isn’t a big fan). But when David said he was kind of in the mood for shrimp, I was all over it. We made this together, tweaking a recipe we found on allrecipes.com. This is our version.
GARLIC SHRIMP LINGUINE
1 lb. uncooked linguine
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 Tbsp. cooking white wine
1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
4 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes; drain. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat; add wine, cheese, olive oil, garlic, parsley, and salt & pepper to taste. Simmer over low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Increase heat to medium high and add shrimp to skillet; cook for a few minutes or until shrimp begins to turn pink (do not overcook). Add whipping cream. Serve portions of pasta topped with shrimp & sauce. Garnish with parmesan cheese (we prefer shredded over grated for garnishing) and fresh parsley, if desired.
June 19th, 2008
We’re in the full swing of summer here and I want to eat foods that are COLD. This pasta salad hits the spot.
CHICKEN & GRAPE PASTA SALAD
3 chicken breasts, cooked & cut into bite-sized pieces
16 oz. pasta shells, cooked
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 c. grapes, halved
1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted
1 c. mayonnaise (maybe a touch more)
1 Tbsp. dill
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Mix all ingredients and chill. This makes a big batch (it will fill a large bowl), so it’s perfect to share at a BBQ.
April 24th, 2008
One word for this one: Addicting. My friend Nanci has made this several times. It’s become one of her signature things, in my book, and once you have a bite, you’ll want to make it your signature too! I finally made it the other day (so easy) and it was gone so fast.
CORN & AVOCADO SALSA
1 can white corn, drained
1 can black-eyed peas, drained
1/2 bunch green onion, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
4 med. tomatoes, chopped
3 avocados, chopped
1 pkg. Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
Mix together all ingredients and chill overnight.
April 15th, 2008
This is one of my all-time favorite soups. Perfect for a cooler day, for those of you who are still having a chilly Spring, or ANY day in my book! This is one of those recipes that I’ve tweaked and tweaked until I got it just how I want it to be.
CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
2 chicken bouillon cubes (or 2 tsp. granules)
2 cans chicken broth
1 c. chopped carrots
2 c. chopped celery
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 (half) can cream of chicken soup
1/4 c. milk
1/2 cube (4 Tbsp.) butter
1/4 c. flour
2 c. chopped cooked chicken (2 pieces)
4-6 oz. egg noodles
Boil chicken until fully cooked. Cook egg noodles. Dissolve 2 bouillon cubes in 1 cup boiling water. Add chicken broth and vegetables to the liquid until tender. In separate bowl, whisk a half a can of cream of chicken soup and milk until smooth. Whisk soup and milk mixture into broth and vegetables. Melt butter then stir into flour. Add to soup mixture. Add chicken and noodles. Optional: Season to taste with salt & pepper or Schillings garlic & herb seasoning.
January 24th, 2008
O’Henry’s are oh! so! wonderful! I don’t know how they got their name, but if you’re a fan of peanuts & chocolate & butterscotch … and following the easiest recipe ever … then you must try these. I made a batch this morning (tonight is scrapbook night at my house).
I got this recipe from my friend Carol, who got it from her husband’s grandmother. Not that you’d care, but I just don’t want to take credit. : )
1 c. Karo syrup (found with other syrups)
1 c. sugar
1 c. peanuts (I got unsalted and I don’t chop them)
1 c. peanut butter
3 c. Rice Krispies
1 pkg. chocolate chips
1 pkg. butterscotch chips
Stir together Karo syrup and sugar. Microwave for 2 minutes. Add peanuts and peanut butter to the Karo mixture. Microwave everything for 1 minute. Add 3 cups of Rice Krispies. Spread into a greased 9″ x 13″ pan.
Combine chocolate chips (on bottom) and butterscotch chips in a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Spread over krispie mixture and cool in the refrigerator.
Remove and cut into 1-inch squares.