Thursday, January 31, 2013


When I was first starting out on my own, I wanted to make meatloaf and wasn't quite sure how to make it!
I took my basic meatball recipe and made it one big loaf.

Make some beef or mushroom gravy to go with it and it's delish!

1 ½ Lbs ground beef
1 Packet onion soup mix
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Worcestershire
Salt and Pepper

1. Mix all ingredients
2. Put in loaf pan
3. Cook at 350 for 1 hour


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bacon in the oven

Bacon=Meat Candy. Period.

I love bacon, especially the smell permeating the just wakes everyone up in a good mood.

What I don't love is all the grease, splatters, taking up one burner, and having to pay constant attention. How can I make a big breakfast with 2 or 3 other items while babysitting bacon?
Not to mention, I hate regulating the temperature in the pan so that all the bacon stays flat and doesn't crinkle up.
I only have one pan that fits the bacon that is not always an option.

Oven bacon to the rescue!

Take a big cookie sheet and add oven safe cooling racks (to keep the bacon out of the grease). Lay your bacon out in strips on the racks.

Take entire pan and put it in a cold oven. Set oven to heat to 400 degrees.
Depending on the length of time your oven takes to preheat, by the time mine was preheated, it was cooked perfectly crispy!

I will be doing this again...often.
I think next time I will line the bottom of the pan with tin foil. Let the grease harden and just fold up and throw away.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mississippi Mud Cookies

12/4/12 was National Cookie Day, I made these cookies to commemorate.

My whole house smelled chocolatey and delicious!

I did find that you had to work quickly with this dough, if it got too warm, or got too cold, it separated. I would suggest having more than one baking pan ready to go.

1 Cup semisweet chocolate morsels
½ Cup butter, softened
1 Cup sugar
2 Large eggs
1 Tsp vanilla
1 ½ Cups all-purpose flour
1 Tsp baking powder
½ Tsp salt
1 Cup chopped pecans
½ Cup milk chocolate morsels
3 Mini marshmallows for every cookie

1. Microwave semi sweet chips in a small microwave safe glass bowl until smooth, stirring every 30 seconds
2. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating until blended
4. Beat in vanilla and melted chocolate
5. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture.
6. Stir in pecans and milk chocolate morsels
7. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto parchment paper lined baking sheets
8. Press 3 marshmallows onto each cookie top
9. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes
10. Remove to wire rack to cool

Original Recipe

Hubby made sure they were "fit for general consumption"...they got two big thumbs up!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Baking Powder

Don't waste time by using baking powder that has lost its potency.
If baking powder is more than 6 months old (or if you are unsure...which I have been guilty of), test it by mixing 1 teaspoon baking powder with 1/2 cup hot water.
If bubbly, the baking powder will work.

Here are the tools needed....

...and we have GOOD baking powder!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chunky Chocolate Gobs

I was browsing on and the name of this caught my eye.
Anything called a chocolate gob HAS to be good!
I adapted the original recipe to fit my family's taste...I think any gooey candy bar can be used successfully.
I also used the half vanilla, half chocolate (store brand) cream filled cookies, it gave a little color.

These were as incredible as the name implies...we all loved them.

¾ Cup unsalted butter
⅓ Cup shortening
1 Cup granulated sugar
⅔ Cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 Large eggs
2 Tsp vanilla extract
2 Cups all purpose flour
⅔ Cup unsweetened chocolate
1 Tsp baking soda
¼ Tsp salt
2 Cups cream filled chocolate sandwich cookies (chopped)
3 Large or 5 Mini Milky Way bars
1-2 Cups semisweet chocolate morsels

1. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy
2. Gradually add sugars, beating until light and fluffy
3. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until blended
4. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients, gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended
5. Stir in cookies, candy bars, and desired amount of chocolate morsels
6. Chill dough 30 minutes
7. Drop dough by ¼ cupfulls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper
8. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until barely set.
9. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes, transfer to wire rack to cool completely


This recipe was shared on: Let's Dish

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tartar Sauce

Once again, is this even classified as a recipe?

Anytime we have fried fish at home, we have tartar sauce. It's so basic, but it's a comfort food thing. You understand, I know you do!

I can't justify buying the ready made in the store, not when it is this easy to make!

1 Cup mayonnaise
1-2 Tablespoons sweet relish
Lemon juice

1. Mix all ingredients, lemon juice is to taste
2. This is better if it sits in the fridge overnight



Bring on the fish!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chipotle Sloppy Joes with Crunchy Coleslaw

I found this recipe in a Woman's World magazine and decided to give it a try.

Hubby is opposed to corn in almost anything, so we had a "pizza is on speed dial" compromise.

We all ate, and decided we liked it!

Changes I would make:
1. None of us were crazy about having the slaw on the sandwich. When I make it again, I will leave it off.
2. The slaw itself didn't have much flavor. I would boost the vinegar, salt, and pepper.

¼ Cup plain non fat yogurt
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tsp cider vinegar
½ Tsp hot sauce
⅛ Tsp salt
⅛ Tsp pepper
1 ½ Cup prepared coleslaw mix
½ Red pepper, diced

1 Lb ground beef
¼ Cup chopped onion
¾ Cup ketchup
½ Cup frozen corn
½ Cup canned black beans (rinsed and drained)
½ Cup tomato sauce
1-2 Tsp minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
½ Tsp cumin
¼ Cup chopped cilantro
¼ Tsp salt
¼ Tsp pepper
Hamburger buns

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in bowl
2. Add coleslaw mix and red pepper, toss to coat
3. Cover, refrigerate until ready to serve

1. Heat large non stick skillet over medium heat until hot.
2. Add beef and onion, cook, stirring occasionally
3. Pour off drippings
4. Stir in ketchup, corn, beans, tomato sauce, chipotle peppers, and cumin, bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes, stirring often
6. Stir in cilantro, salt, and pepper
7. Place meat mixture on bottom half, top with coleslaw, and top of bun.


Coleslaw ingredients
Mixed and ready to go
Sloppy Joe Ingredients
Simmering away
Ready to eat!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The wooden spoon trick

It seems everywhere you turn on Pinterest, there are amazing helpful hints.
So glad someone THOUGHT of them...but has anyone actually tried it to see if it worked?

Making pasta tonight I decided to try the wooden spoon trick
(Don't act like you don't know what I am talking about!)

They say: If you place a wooden spoon over the pot of boiling pasta, the starch will not boil over.

The result: It works!

I kept boiling at a high heat, just to test it out and it never once even rose over the side of the pan.
Nice to know I don't need to dump oil into every pot of boiling pasta anymore!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Split Pea Soup

I have an odd eater for a child.
She LOVES spinach, lima beans, tofu, cabbage, and pickled beets.
She does NOT like scallops and lobster however. This makes for a much smaller grocery bill!

When she was very little, she came to me and asked me to make her split pea soup. To this day, it's still her favorite. This recipe is the one we came up with together.
She is an awesome kitchen helper!

1 (1 lb) bag of dry split peas
1-1 ½ Cups diced cooked ham
1 Chicken bouillon cube
1 small onion (diced)
½ Cup shredded carrots
2 Cloves garlic, minced
6 Cups water
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Rinse peas, sort thru to make sure there are no tiny rocks!
2. Add all ingredients to a big pot and bring to a boil.
3. Continue to cook for hours until peas create a “mush” and carrots are pretty well dissolved into the soup.
4. Season with salt and pepper.


Split pea soup ingredients...minus the onion. Why do I always forget something!

You can always add more broth if you would like it thinner

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Turkey Pepperoni

I like pepperoni.
Cheese trays and pepperoni are BFFs!

What I don't like is the grease and heaviness that comes with pepperoni.
With the turkey pepperoni there is no grease!

I bought it without telling anyone and served it at a party. Everyone liked it...ha!

It's been a staple in my life for almost 2 decades....I won't go back...nooo!!!

They even make it in the pepperoni stick and also the teeny tiny mini's for salads and mini pizza!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Beef Stew

This is yet another one of those recipes where I will TRY to get measurements, but you might have to fudge around with until it seems proper to you.

I make this the night before in the crock pot and store it in the fridge until the next day. Plug in the crock pot and I am good to go.

Sometimes I will roll the meat in flour in order to help thicken the broth.

1 Package of stew beef
1 Bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 Onion (diced)
3 Bouillon cubes
6 Cups of water
Italian seasoning
Dash of browning liquid

Mix all ingredients in a crock pot.
Cook for 6-8 hours
Thicken and season to taste


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stock, Bouillon, or Base?

This is one of those general questions that I never have thought to ask.
My daughter is really getting into the kitchen as of late, and she DOES ask these things.

I decided to type this handy little post because she cannot be the only one who has wondered.

Chicken Stock:
Made from whole chickens, veggies, and seasonings.
Stock is used as the base for SO many recipes.

Chicken Bouillon:
Normally comes in cube form and is used to flavor soups and stews by dissolving them in boiling water. They can be really salty though, so if you are salt restrictive, try to purchase low sodium brands. Basically, bouillon is a stock that has been dehydrated and shaped into a cube form.

Chicken Base:
This is a highly concentrated stock used for soups, stews, sauces and casseroles. Chicken base can be found in powder or cube form.
To make a chicken base, start with the basic ingredients for making stock. Let simmer for at least a few hours, until the liquid is reduced and the vegetables have dissolved. Strain before freezing.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sweet Apple Turnovers

I love all the random recipes that I find in my "recipe box of joy".
Some have a story...others, like this one, were collected because they sounded interesting.
Then they were kept because they were yummy!

1 Refrigerated pie crust
2 Tart apples: Peeled, finely chopped
⅓ Cup packed brown sugar
½ Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Egg, beaten
4 Teaspoons butter
2 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425
2. Roll pie crust into a 10 inch square on a lightly floured surface
3. Cut crust into 16  2 ½ inch squares
4. Combine apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and egg in a large bowl.
5. Toss to mix
6. Place pastry squares onto an ungreased baking sheet
7. Spoon 1 Tbsp apple mixture onto each square
8. Dot each square with ¼ Tsp butter
9. Fold each pastry over filling to form a triangle.
10. Brush pastry edges with some milk and press to seal
11. Brush pastry tops with remaining milk and sprinkle with sugar
12. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes


Friday, January 18, 2013

Flour: What really IS the difference?

All Purpose: Just what it says! When a recipe calls for flour, this is what they mean. All purpose flour has an average protein content, which makes it able to adapt to a wide range of recipes; from bread, cookies, cakes, and as a thickener (roux).

Cake Flour: This has the lowest protein content, and also undergoes a unique bleaching process. The consistency is very soft and fine, much like powdered sugar. This is used most for light cakes, like angel food.

Self Rising Flour: This is used more for biscuits (hence the RISING part). Really, all this is is an all purpose flour with salt and baking powder mixed in.

Bread Flour: This has the highest protein content, which makes for a lot of elasticity and rise.

Whole Wheat: Due to the high protein content, this is not directly exchangeable with white flour.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chicken and Asparagus Bowties

As a loving mother and wife, that means I have to make the necessary sacrifices.
In this case, it's the inclusion of lemon and asparagus. Two very DIRTY words in my vocabulary!
(Have I ever told you I am anti-citrus?)

But, they love them I do the thing.

In this case...I ate without being afraid!
OK...I admit...I pushed the asparagus around to the edge of my plate.
The lemon flavor wasn't too much, much to my pleasant surprise!

8 oz Bowtie pasta
1 Lb Asparagus (tough ends trimmed, cut into 2 inch long pieces)
1 Lb Boneless chicken breast halves
½ Tsp Lemon pepper seasoning
1 Tbsp + ½ Cup olive oil and vinegar dressing
3 Tbsp Dill weed (or ½ cup chopped fresh)
1 Tbsp Lemon zest
2 Tbsp Lemon juice
½ Cup thinly sliced red onion
4 Cups baby spinach
½ Cup crumbled goat cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Add asparagus during last 3 minutes of cooking time.
2. Drain pasta, rinse under cold water until cool
3. Sprinkle chicken with lemon pepper seasoning
4. In large, non stick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp dressing over medium high heat
5. Add chicken, cook, turning once, until cooked thru
6. Let chicken rest 10 minutes
7. Cut into ½ inch slices
8. In large bowl, mix salad dressing, dill, lemon zest and juice
9. Add chicken, pasta, and asparagus. Mix until coated.
10. Arrange spinach on plate. Top with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with goat cheese.

Recipe adapted from: Cut out of a Woman's World magazine

Ingredients...don't let it intimidate you

It turns into this...mmmm!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spice Conversions

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon + ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon + ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg + ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 whole bay leaf
    • ¼ teaspoon crushed bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives
    • 1 Tbsp chopped green onion tops
  • 1 small clove garlic
    • ⅛ Tsp garlic powder or dried garlic
  • 1 Tsp garlic salt
    • ⅛ Tsp garlic powder + ⅞ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh herbs
    • 1 Tsp dried herbs or ¼ tsp ground herbs
  • 1 Tsp dry mustard
    • 1 Tbsp prepared mustard
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
    • 1 Medium onion chopped or 1 Tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1 Tsp dry parsley
    • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley
  • ½ Tsp pumpkin pie spice
    • ½ Tsp ground cinnamon + ¼ tsp ground ginger + ⅛ tsp ground allspice + ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Vanilla bean
    • 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 Tsp bottled steak sauce

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Spinach Dip

My mother used to make this all the time for parties when I was growing up. My friends and I would request it ALL THE TIME for sleepovers.
We thought she was just the most amazing mother (well, she was) but we thought she was supermom because we thought this was a HUGE undertaking for her to make.

Then I grew up.
Now I laugh at how freaking easy this is...but smile because I thought she was so amazing.

I make this for all my own parties now. I always serve it in a bread bowl. We have one particular friend, John, who "calls" the bread bowl at every party. He brings it home and chews on the soft yumminess all the next day!

I brought this to my friend Leslie's house once, and she liked it so much she asked me to bring it again. She let it slip though, that her daughter refuses to eat any water chestnuts. Easy peasey, I made this all, kept a bit out for darling daughter and then added the water chestnuts.

So glad something so simple can bring forth so many memories!

Serve it in a bread bowl with slices of bread, veggies, and wheat thins on the side.

10oz Frozen chopped spinach
16oz Sour cream
1 Cup mayonnaise
1 Package Knorr vegetable soup mix
1 can (8oz) water chestnuts (Chopped)

1. Mix all ingredients well
2. Chill at least 2 hours
3. Serve with your favorite dippers


Come party with me HERE!

Adapted from: Knorr

Monday, January 14, 2013

Misc Conversions

Misc conversions:

  • 2 Cups tomato sauce
    • ¾ tomato paste + 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chili sauce
    • 1 cup tomato sauce + ¼ cup brown sugar + 2 Tbsp vinegar + ¼  teaspoon cinnamon + dash of ground cloves + dash of allspice
  • Ketchup (for cooking)
    • 1 Cup tomato sauce + ½ cup sugar + 2 Tablespoons vinegar

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Italian Crescent Casserole

I had this meal at a friend's house, and asked her for the recipe
(if someone out there can counteract my blonde and remind me which of you it was, I will give credit!)
I made it for my family, and it's a yummy weeknight solution.

This also works well as a help meal as it travels and reheats well.

For the purposes of this blog, and my want to be able to credit everyone properly, I assumed that this was a Pillsbury recipe (due to the use of crescent rolls). I googled it and came up with this, so, here I am giving credit to Pillsbury!
Browning the hamburger and onions
Cheese and sour cream mixture

1 Lb ground beef
¼ Cup chopped onion
1 Cup tomato pasta sauce
6 oz (1 ½ cup) shredded mozzarella
½ Cup sour cream
1 Can crescent rolls
⅓ Cup grated parmesan
2 Tbsp butter (melted)

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Cook ground beef and onion, drain
3. Stir in pasta sauce, cook until heated
4. In medium bowl, mix mozzarella and sour cream
5. Spoon cheese mixture over beef
6. Unroll dough over cheese mixture
7. Spread butter and parmesan over dough
8. Cook for 18-25 minutes

Print me

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Juicy Lucy Burger

What feels like a million years ago, I started experimenting in the kitchen. I thought it would be fun to make a twist on a normal hamburger and have the cheese be like a meat wrapped present INSIDE the burger.

It was always a hit when I made them for my daughter, and a bigger hit when I would bring them to cook outs.
I played with the cheeses...if you wanted melty, use American or Velveeta.
Bleu cheese gave it a savory bite.
Salsa and monterey jack gave it a Mexican flair.
It was F-U-N

Watching TV one night, I think it was Diners, Drive ins and Dives, and I saw something called a "Juicy Lucy" burger. Sad me realized my fun little idea was not original.

I still make them, but changed what I call them, and am more than willing to credit recipes like this one. Going by a recipe like that makes it more authentic. Mine is simple...season as you see fit.

Seasonings to taste
Melting cheese (like American)

1. Form a thin burger patty, with an indent in the middle
2. Place a good amount of cheese into the indent
3. Form another thin burger patty, place on top of the first one
4. Seal sides and cook


Come party with me HERE!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dairy Product Conversions

We are still not panicking about missing abound!

  • 1 Cup buttermilk
    • 1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice + enough milk to make 1 Cup
    • Let stand 10 minutes
    • OR 1 Cup milk and 1 ¾ tsp cream of tartar
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
    • Heat ⅓ Cup and 2 Tbsp evaporated milk + 1 Cup sugar + 3 Tbsp butter or margarine: Until sugar and butter dissolve
  • Sour Cream
    • Match equal amount of plain yogurt

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Never Fail Fudge

My aunt makes THE best fudge. We all wait all year for her to make we can eat too much of it!
Imagine my surprise when she finally "spilled the secret" and told us it was THIS recipe!

We all can make auntie's famous fudge now, but it always tastes better when it's made with Auntie's love!

2 ½ Cup sugar
¾ Teaspoon salt
½ Stick butter
15 oz Can evaporated milk
1 Jar (7.5 oz) Marshmallow Fluff
¾ Teaspoon vanilla
12 oz Semi sweet chocolate pieces

1. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
2. In large saucepan, combine the first 5 ingredients.
3. Stir over low heat until blended.
4. Increase heat to medium and bring to a full rolling boil. Be careful not to mistake escaping air bubbles as boiling.
5. Boil slowly, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
6. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and chocolate until chocolate is melted.
7.Turn into a greased pan and cool.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Baking Product Conversions

Sometimes we all get stuck...
It's ok...there is help!

  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ tsp cream of tartar + ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 oz Semi Sweet chocolate
    • 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa + 1 Tbsp butter, margarine, shortening, or oil
  • 6 oz Semi Sweet  chocolate chips (melted)
    • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate + 2 Tbsp shortening + ½ Cup sugar
  • ¼ Cup unsweetened cocoa
    • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate + decrease whatever fat is in the recipe by ½ Tbsp
  • 1 Cup light corn syrup
    • 1 Cup sugar heated to a syrupy consistency + ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
    • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 7 oz jar Marshmallow Creme
    • 16 oz package of marshmallows, melted + 3 ½ light corn syrup
  • 1 Cup mini marshmallows
    • 10 Large marshmallows
  • 1 Cup chopped pecans
    • 1 cup regular oats, toasted
    • Also to be used for people with nut allergies
  • 1 Cup powdered sugar
    • 1 Cup sugar + 1 Tbsp cornstarch: mix well
  • 1 Cup white sugar
    • 1 Cup corn syrup + decrease liquid in recipe by ⅓ cup