Yummy Juice

I made this for a few Christmas parties and it was a hit!

2 Cups Cranberry Juice
3/4 Cup Sugar
46 oz. Pineapple Juice
1 Cup Lemon Juice
2 qts. Ginger Ale

Get everything cool in fridge. Mix just before serving. I also added raspberries to float on top and I doubled the recipe and it made a ton!!


Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

This has become a staple in our family. It's so easy and so good. Definitely a comfort food.

-4-5 c. diced potatoes
-3-4 c. baby carrots (I sliced mine)
-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1 tsp. garlic salt
-1 tsp. black pepper
-2 Tbs. dry onions (or 1 sm. onion chopped)
-2 cans cream of chicken soup
-1 1/2 cups frozen peas
-1 pkg. Pillsbury refrigerated biscuits
Shredded cheddar cheese

Fill crock pot 2/3 full of veggies. Place chicken on top, sprinkle with garlic salt, pepper and dry onion. Spread cream of chicken soup on top. Cook on high about 4-5 hours, or low 6-8 hours. Shred chicken using two forks. Add peas. Replace lid and cook 20 minutes. Bake biscuits according to pkg. directions. Break biscuits in half and cover with crock pot mixture and top with cheese.


Gingerbread Cookies

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. molasses
1 egg yolk
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Cream butter and sugar. Add molasses and egg yolk. In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Chill for at least an hour. It's a fairly sticky dough so you might need to chill it a little longer.

Preheat oven to 350. Roll dough to 1/4" thick and cut with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2" apart on a baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. If you bake them on the short end they will stay soft and chewy and if you bake them on the longer end they will be nice and crispy.

Allow to cool about 5 minutes on pan and then transfer to wire rack and cool completely. Once they're cooled you can decorate.


White chicken chili

I don't know about you guys, but I've been craving chili! I have the same old recipes that I've used for a couple years and none of them were really hitting the spot. I decided to take a chance on this beauty... so glad I did! It's a delicious spin on chili for sure. I hope you like it as much as we did!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Great Northern Beans, undrained
2 cups cooked, diced or shredded chicken (or turkey)
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup salsa (I use Pace Chunky Mild, less spice for the kids!)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remainder of the ingredients, except the mozzarella cheese. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup comes to a simmer. Add the mozzarella cheese one handful at a time, stirring to let each addition melt before adding the next. Stir to combine and make sure all the cheese has melted and serve.


Ginger Cookies

1 1/2 c. Butter, softened
2 c. Sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. Molasses
4 c. Flour
2 T. Ginger
4 t. Baking Soda
1 t. Salt
2 t. Cinnamon

Cream butter & sugar. Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Add molasses, mis well.
In another bowl, soft dry ingredients together.
Add to butter mixture and mix well until all incorporated.
Roll into 1" balls and roll in sugar to coat.
Bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes.
Slightly underbake, and when you take them out, drop the tray on the counter so they flatten out!


Ultimate Hot Chocolate

2 1-oz. squares of unsweetened baking chocolate
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
4 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla

Method 1: Using a Hot Chocolate Machine

In your microwave or in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the chocolate and the sweetened condensed milk until the chocolate is completely melted (about 2-2 1/2 minutes in the microwave). Whisk together to combine completely and set aside.

Combine water, chocolate mixture, and vanilla in your hot chocolate machine and turn it on, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Method 2: Using Your Stovetop

In your microwave or in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the chocolate and the sweetened condensed milk until the chocolate is completely melted (about 2-2 1/2 minutes in the microwave). Whisk in vanilla, combine completely, and set aside.

In a larger saucepan, bring 4 c. water to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate mixture.

Either way you make it, serve in mugs with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired. Serves about 6.


Mexican Hot Chocolate: Add 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper in with the vanilla.

Mint Hot Chocolate: Replace vanilla with 1 tsp. mint (NOT spearmint) extract

Peppermint Hot Chocolate: Replace vanilla with 1 tsp. peppermint extract. Serve with a candy cane instead of a spoon to stir.

Almond or Hazelnut Hot Chocolate: Replace vanilla with 1 tsp. almond or hazelnut extract.


Chicken Enchiladas

4 Chicken Breasts
1 lb Mild Cheese, grated
1 Onion, chopped (can use less)
1 Small Can Chopped Green Chilies
Mix above ingredients together except half of the cheese. Put this filling into 12 white tortillas. Place in buttered baking sheet, seam down.
Mix the following for sauce:
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Can Cream of Chicken soup
1 Cup Chicken Broth
1 Pint Half and Half (can use caned milk)
Mix with a wire whisk and pour over enchiladas in the casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and return to oven just long enough to melt cheese.


Cranberry Almond Pound Cake

If you haven't ever tried this, oh man! are in for a real treat!

2 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. + 2 T. unsalted butter
3 t. almond extract
6 eggs
1 c. sour cream (full-fat is best!)
1/4 c. water
1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 c. flour
2 c. cranberries (fresh or frozen)


2 T. water
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Mix sugar, butter and almond extract. Add eggs and sour cream, mix well. Mix in water. Add baking powder, baking soda and salt, mix. Add flour and mix well. Fold in cranberries (rinse first to make sure there aren't twigs or bad berries in the bunch). Butter/flour a bundt pan. Pour the batter into the buttered pan and bake at 325 for 1 hour or more. Test with a toothpick. Rest for a few minutes in the pan before inverting and cooling on rack. When barely warm, drizzle with glaze.

AMAZING Minestrone Soup

This soup is good the first night, but it is fabulous as leftovers. If there's any way to make this ahead of time, let it chill, and then re-heat it, I HIGHLY recommend you do that. It is THIS very thing that makes this a great freezer meal; just prepare the soup entirely, allow it to cool, and then freeze it in a freezer-safe container. When you're ready to eat it, just place the frozen soup in your Crockpot and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

1 lb. Italian sausage
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves minced garlic
4 c. water
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1-2 small zucchini, quartered and chopped
1 can beef broth
1 10-oz. can bean with bacon soup
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/8-1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Remove casings from sausage and crumble the meat. In a large soup pot, brown Italian sausage with onions and garlic. Carefully drain, if necessary. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, cover, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and breadsticks or French bread.

Additionally, you can make this in a slow cooker. Just brown the sausage, onion, and garlic in a frying pan, drain, and then transfer to a slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients and cook all day on low.

Try it! You're husband will love you as much as mine did after I made this and neither one of us really liked minestrone soup before. It's a keeper.


Buffalo Chicken-Blue Cheese Meatloaf

What you'll need:

Olive oil spray
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2 1/2 tablespoons buffalo wing sauce plus more for topping
1 lb. extra lean ground chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces (1/2 cup) crumbled blue cheese

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 9x5 loaf pan with olive oil spray.

Combine the oats and milk in a medium mixing bowl and stir to mix. Let stand for 3 minutes or until the oats begin to soften. Stir in the wing sauce until well mixed. Add the chicken, celery, carrot, onion, egg whites and salt. With a fork or clean hands, mix the ingredients well. Add the blue cheese and gently mix to combine.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread so that the top is flat. Bake for 40 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through and no longer pink. Cut into approximately 8 slices and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 263 calories, 35 grams protein, 14 grams carbs, 6 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 485 mg sodium.

Bananas 'N Cream English Muffins

The biggest loser did it again! This was freaking delicious... even my 2 year old loved it!

What you'll need:

1/2 a whole grain english muffin
1 & 1/2 teaspoons light cream cheese
1/4 medium banana sliced
pinch of cinnamon

Place the toasted muffin half on a small plate and spread the cream cheese evenly over the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon and then place banana slices on top... serve immediately!

Per serving: 95 calories, 4 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fat, 5 grams fiber, 113 mg sodium


Sweet and sour meatballs

adapted from Lion House Recipes
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (you don't want the beef to be too high in fat because the fat will all pool at the bottom of the baking dish after baking - big time gnarlyness in my book)
3/4 cup quick oats
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Form into about 12 balls, each about 2 inches in diameter. Place in a casserole dish. Cover with sauce (below). Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Serve over rice.

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Combine ingredients and blend thoroughly. Heat in a small saucepan until combined and sugar is dissolved and pour over meatballs.


Eclair Torte

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3 cups cold milk
2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 to 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the water, butter and salt to a boil. Add flour all at once and stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny. Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack. If desired, remove puff from pan and place on a serving platter. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until light. Add milk and pudding mix; beat until smooth. Spread over puff; refrigerate for 20 minutes. Spread with whipped topping; refrigerate. Drizzle with chocolate syrup just before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.


lemon cakes....

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk or plain low-fat yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
finely grated lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus 2 Tbsp juice for the glaze
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 6-cup jumbo muffin tin. (I used six regular and the rest in a mini muffin tin) In a med bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon zest and juice. Set aside.With an electric mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of the buttermilk mixture.Divide evenly among the muffin cups. Bake 20-25 min (less for mini muffins) until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before topping with glaze.In a small bowl, stir powdered sugar with the remaining 2 Tbsp of lemon juice until smooth. Pour over the cakes, spreading to the edges with a small knife. Let glaze set before serving.

I actually made these a while ago and forgot to post them...I certainly have not forgotten how amazing they tasted, though. I love lemon desserts, but do think there is such a thing as too much lemon. The glaze was a little too tart for me with the lemon juice. Next time I will just make the glaze with milk...but that's just me. If you LOVE the extra tartness of lemon juice, leave it as is. I also wanted to get more than 6 cakes, that's why I made them in 6 regular size muffin cups and the rest in a mini muffin tin. Just watch the cooking time. It will definitely cut down on the cooking time so watch them closely if you make them into mini cakes.

lemon/garlic pasta.....

3 Tbsp butter
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp fresh thyme; chopped
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 c cooked pasta (gemeli, linguine, etc)
2-3 grilled chicken breasts

Melt butter in a small pan. Add garlic and saute. Add lemon, pepper, thyme and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Add sauce to hot pasta and toss gently. Top with remaining cheese and grilled chicken and serve immediately.

When life gives you lemons...make and bake a lot of stuff with fresh lemon juice and zest...duh! This was another winner. Go easy on the garlic and lemon juice. Both come through with a very strong flavor when cooked this way. Unless you absolutely know you like a strong garlic flavor, start with one clove. For the lemon, I recommend starting with one Tbsp, taste it, and if you want a stronger lemon flavor then add more.

Puffed French Toast

Golden and crispy on the outside with a sugary crunch, and heavenly soft in the middle.

2 eggs
2 ½ Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. milk
1 c. flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
12 slices Texas style toast, cut in half diagonally
3/4 c. sugar
4 tsp. cinnamon

First mix cinnamon and sugar together in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. In a large skillet or frying pan, heat about 1/4" of vegetable oil (not olive oil) over medium heat. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, milk, flour, and baking powder. Test oil heat by flicking some water into the frying pan. If it pops, reduce the heat. If hardly anything happens, turn up the heat. If it sizzles, it's just right.

In a large skillet or frying pan, heat about 1/4" of vegetable oil (not olive oil) over medium heat. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, milk, flour, and baking powder. Test oil heat by flicking some water into the frying pan. If it pops, reduce the heat. If hardly anything happens, turn up the heat. If it sizzles, it's just right.

Working quickly, take each 1/2 slice of bread and soak it both sides in the milk/egg/flour mixture. If you leave it in too long, it will get soggy, but you want to make sure enough of the egg mixture has soaked into the bread. Gently shake to remove excess batter and place in hot oil. Cook until puffed, golden brown, and a nice, crispy crust has formed on each side (probably 3-5 minutes per side; you really need to babysit them and make sure they're cooking correctly) and then remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. While cooking remaining French toast, keep cooked pieces warm in an oven set to the lowest temperature it will go.

When ready to serve, roll each piece in cinnamon sugar mixture.

I then slice mine into strips. Kids love them.

Drizzle with maple syrup, honey butter, or your favorite topping.


Sloppy Joes

Brown 1 lb Ground Beef (or turkey) and some onion (can use dehydrated)
Mix in, 1 Can Chicken Gumbo Soup. 2 Tbsp Ketchup, 2 tsp Mustard and Salt & Pepper.
Heat all together until hot and bubbly. Serve on Hamburger buns.


Hot Chocolate Brownies

These are hands down THE BEST brownies I have ever had.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup half and half or heavy cream (heated in microwave for 30 seconds)
2 Tablespoons hot chocolate mix (I used Ghiradellis)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Hershey's Dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (scant)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with foil, and spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook the butter, stirring frequently, for 6-8 minutes, or until light golden brown. Stir in half and half and hot chocolate mix. Stir until well combined. Remove from heat.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. In a large bowl, combine sugars, egg, and vanilla, and beat together, using an electric mixer on high speed, for 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add melted butter/hot chocolate mixture, and beat 1 additional minute. Gradually beat in flour, until just combined.

Spread batter into pan, and bake at 350 degrees F, for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs attached. Cool on a wire rack, or do what I did: Cool pan in an ice-water bath; when cool, freeze the pan for an hour or two in the freezer. I think this process gives brownies a better texture.

To make the ganache, heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, until hot, but not boiling. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and chocolate chips, until well combined and smooth. Pour the ganache over the top of the cooled brownies. Freeze or chill, until set, before slicing.

*Another option: I froze the brownies for 20 minutes, frosted and cooled at room temp. These are amazing!*

Artichoke Dip

If you have never tried this dip, don't turn up your nose & run.....just make it.
I promise, you will soon be a's sensational.

1- 16 oz. package cream cheese
½ cup mayo
1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 -10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
3 to 6 cloves of roasted garlic, chopped fine
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Transfer to an oven-safe souffle dish and bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot with toasted baguette slices.


Coffee Cake

2 Cups Bisquick
2/3 Cup Milk
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Egg
Mix together and pour into a sprayed bundt pan.
2/3 Cup Bisquick
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp soft butter
Mix and sprinkle on batter
Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes.

Beef Manicotti

1 lb Ground beef or turkey
1 slice bread, crumbled
1 egg, beaten
Little bit of milk
16 oz mozzarella cheese
Manicotti Noodles, cooked
1 Jar (28 oz) spaghetti sauce
Brown meat, drain and set aside. Beat egg with milk. When meat is cool, add bread crumbs, egg and milk, half of cheese. Spread small amount of spaghetti sauce on bottom of a 9x13 pan. Carefully fill noodles with meat mixture, lay them in pan. Cover with spaghetti sauce. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, until heated through. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to oven till cheese is melted.


Rachie's homemade mozzarella sticks

Leisa requested this recipe from me, so I had to share! These are fairly quick and very easy to make and more delicious than you can imagine!

What you'll need:
A block of mozarella cheese
Italian style bread crumbs
4-6 eggs
Vegetable oil
Dipping sauce of your choice (ranch, marinara, etc)

The reason there aren't any specific measurements is because I made these on a whim after watching an old boyfriend make them a loooooong time ago. You don't really need any specifics anyway!

What you do is cut the block of mozarella into about 3-4" long, 1/2-1" wide sticks... eyeball it. Beat the eggs in a bowl and roll each stick in the egg until fully covered. After covered in egg, roll in bread crumbs. Repeat dipping in egg and then in bread crumbs once more.

If you have some time, stick the battered sticks in the freezer so they'll stay together a little better in the hot oil. If not, they will still turn out well but you'll need to eat them immediately.

If you have a deep fryer, turn it to 350 degrees and submerge a few sticks at a time for about 10 seconds and remove them quickly. Let them sit on a paper towel to drain a little of the oil before eating. If you don't have a deep fryer, heat oil on the stove top and test one stick by submerging it and then breaking it open to see if the heat is about right to both melt the cheese and to brown the batter.



Easy Asparagus

I don't know about the rest of you, but I never tried asparagus until I got married. Even then, I was hesitant. Not to mention, I didn't know the first thing about cooking it. My husband has cooked asparagus like this since I can remember ever trying it and it's always been my favorite! I've had asparagus at restaurants and they always seem to serve it a little on the crunchy side (comparable to celery's crunchiness), but I prefer it just a little bit chewier.

All you need is a handful of asparagus (with the blunt ends chopped off), about a quarter cup of soy sauce and about one clove of garlic, minced.

All you do is throw the asparagus right into the pan with the soy sauce and the garlic and pan fry it to your preferred texture. I usually let it fry for about 5-6 minutes. That way it's a little easier to bite into. The less you cook it, the more crunch it will be, but again, that's all based on your preference.

This is the quickest, easiest, yummiest way to eat asparagus in my opinion! Enjoy!


Pie Crust

9-Inch Single Pie Crust

1 1/4c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c.+ 1 Tbsp. butter-flavored shortening
Ice water (probably about 1/4 c.)

Making the Dough

Combine flour and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Cut in shortening (room temperature) until you get pieces that are about pea-sized.

Start sprinkling the ice water by about a tablespoon at a time over the flour/shortening mixture. Very, very gently, turn the dough with your fingers so it gets exposed to the water. You're NOT mixing, just trying to moisten all of the flour/shortening mixture. Gradually, all of the flour mixture will be moistened.

Gently pat the dough into a ball (it should come together easily but not be sticky). Wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until you're ready to use.

Rolling the Dough
When you're ready to roll out your pie crust, lightly flour your work surface and place the dough ball on the surface. One of the keys in making pie crust is to handle the dough as little as possible. Don't freak out TOO much; like I said, this recipe for crust is pretty forgiving, but at the same time, the less you touch it, the more tender and flaky it will be. Starting in the center, roll the dough out into a circle shape, about 1/8" thick. When you've reached your desired thickness, place the rolling pin in the middle and gently fold the crust over the rolling pin. Lift the dough onto your pie plate and unfold it (gently; notice a theme here?).

The Edge of Reason
Unless I'm planning on doing something fancy schmancy with my edges, I just run a sharp knife around the edges of the pie plate, cutting off the excess dough. Then I use my thumb and fingers to make kind of a big, wavy edge on the crust, but that's just how I do it; there are lots of pretty pie edges.

Pre-baked Crusts
Sometimes a recipe will call for a pre-baked crust. Some people place "weights" (either little balls specifically designed for this purpose, or even beans) in the pie to keep it from puffing and shrinking, but I've found that with this recipe, I don't need them. Just prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes or until golden-brown.

If You Can't Take the Heat...
You'll want to keep an eye on your pie as it's baking because sometimes, the crust gets brown long before the pie is done. If you see this happening, take some tin foil and punch a hole a couple inches in diameter in the middle. Remove pie from oven and carefully, loosely place the shield over the pie (loose because you still want the steam to be able to escape). This will keep the edges from getting too brown while the middle finishes cooking.


Italian Chicken Marinade

So simple and so good!
  • 1 (16 ounce) bottle Italian-style salad dressing
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
In a shallow baking dish, mix the salad dressing, garlic powder, and salt. Place the chicken in the bowl, and turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours. (For best results, marinate overnight.)
  1. Preheat the grill for high heat.
  2. Lightly oil grate. Discard marinade, and grill chicken 8 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear.


Chocolate Carmel Topping

1 Can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Jar (12 oz) Caramel Ice Cream Topping
3 Squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate.
In a saucepan, combine the milk, caramel topping and chocolate. Cook over low heat until chocolate is melted.
Serve with fruit, pretzels, angel food cake or ice cream. Makes about 2 ½ cups.
If you want the topping to stay warm for a long period of time for a party or bbq pour it in a small crock pot after it's melted. Store left overs in the fridge.


Guiltless Alfredo Sauce

2 C low-fat milk (not skim)
1/3 C (3 oz) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
2 T flour
1 t salt
1 T butter
3 garlic cloves
1 C grated Parmesan cheese

Toss the milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender.
Process until smooth and set aside.

In a non-stick sauce pan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds, you don't want to burn it. It should be nice and bubbly.

Then add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be much thicker.

When it's nice and thick (it should look as thick as a normal alfredo sauce) remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, stir it up and then cover immediately. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Also, if you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

I use this sauce for so many things. Here's a few ideas:

-Over pasta (obviously)
-As a dip for breadsticks
-As a sauce on pizza (or dip these in it)
-Mix it with pesto for a creamy pesto sauce (so good)
-Mix it with marinara for a creamy marinara sauce

Honey Butter

Honey Butter

2 cubes real butter, (close to room temp- works best when slightly chilled still.)
2/3 cup honey
¾ cup powdered sugar

(If your butter is too soft, you'll end up with a gooey mess, so I just leave it out on the counter for about 20 minutes or so before beating and it turns out nice and fluffy)

Just place it all in a bowl and beat with an electric hand-mixer for about 30 seconds. Serve at room temp.


Taco Soup

1 lb. hamburger
1 cup chopped onion
1 pkg. taco seasoning
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans corn
2 cans stewed tomatoes (Mexican style)
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream
tortilla chips
hot sauce

In large pot brown hamburger. Add onions and cook until they are clear.
Add taco seasoning and a little bit of water, let simmer for a few minutes until flavors are combined.
Open all cans and dump in pot, don't drain any of them.
Turn pot to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes until at a soup like consistency.

Optional ingredients:

green onions, bell peppers, or any other favorite Mexican ingredient

Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, and hot sauce.


Chicken Poppy Seed Salad

Spinach leaves
Romaine leaves
Grilled chicken, sliced (grill with lots of lemon pepper seasoning)
Red onion, sliced thinly
Crispy bacon, crumbled
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Toasted almonds (or you can sugar the almonds. Put sliced almonds in a pan with lots of granulated sugar (about equal amounts). Cook on medium heat until sugar melts, coating the almonds as they brown.)

The Dressing:

1 1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dry mustard
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tb Maui or Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cups canola oil
3 Tb poppy seeds

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a blender, then slowly add the oil, blending until thick. Stir in poppy seeds. Toss all ingredients together with generous amount of dressing before serving.

*This makes a lot of dressing! If you need a really big salad for a party then start with a large bunch of spinach, large head of romaine, 4 chicken breasts, 1 lb bacon, etc. I rarely make a salad that big so that is why there are no "amounts". So have fun with it - you're going to love it!

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

1 roll refrigerated pizza dough (or make your own)
marinara/pizza sauce
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 T olive oil or melted butter
1/2 t garlic powder
1 t dried Italian seasoning
mozzarella cheese
Pizza toppings of your choice: ie, ham and pineapple, pepperoni slices, sausage, etc.

*You can use regular pizza dough, or thin crust. I used thin crust.

Preheat oven to heat specified on pizza dough package. Usually it's 400 degrees. If you make your own dough, 400 is usually a good heat as well.

Unroll your pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll the dough so it's about 12" by 8". You're going to want to cut it into 24 squares, so just eyeball it if you need to. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 24 squares.

Place cheese and desired toppings on each square. (Note that you're not putting the marinara sauce on the dough- it's for dipping after) Just eyeball how much. You just need to be able to enclose the toppings in the dough so keep that in mind.
When all of your dough squares have cheese and toppings on them, carefully lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings. Pinch to make sure each ball is sealed shut and then place them seam side down in a lightly sprayed pie pan (or similar sized dish).

Brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil or melted butter (I've used both and there's not much difference in result) and then sprinkle with the garlic and Italian seasoning and top with Parmesan cheese.

Cook them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Keep an eye on them! Doughs vary, so I'd check them after even 10 minutes.

Serve warm with warmed marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

Classic Pasta Salad

You're in luck Am....I just made this for tonight's dinner. I think it is the best Pasta Salad around.

2 bags frozen mixed pasta and veggies (I use Bird's Eye)
2 small zucchini, halved and sliced
1 small carton grape tomates, washed
1 can olives (I like 'em whole, but you could do a couple small cans of sliced olives), drained
1 package of pepperoni, halved
1 small red onion, halved and vertically sliced or diced
About 6-8 medium mushrooms, sliced
1 large bottle Italian dressing (preferably Bernstein's, possibly Newman's, I made my own...recipe below.)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add frozen pasta and veggies. Bear in mind that these have already been partially cooked, so they do not need to cook very long--maybe 3-4 minutes. The ONLY way to ruin this salad is to cook the pasta too long. Drain and rinse. Allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine zucchini, grape tomatoes, olives, pepperoni, red onion, and mushroom slices. Add pasta and veggies. Toss to combine. Add Italian dressing and combine thoroughly. Chill for at least 4 hours or up to 3-4 days. Serves 10-12.

1 c. canola oil
1/4 c. white vinegar
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning (add more if needed)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 cloves garlic
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese (either fresh or from a can)

In a blender, combine vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, mustard, salt, seasoning salt, black pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Blend. While blender is running, slowly add oil in a steady stream. Turn off blender and add Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese. Pulse blender 2-3 times and that's it!

In need of salad recipes

Hey all I am in need of some good summer salad recipes. If anyone has some good ones I would love the recipes. Thanks!


Enchilada Casserole

What you'll need:

10 corn tortillas
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 (4 oz) can green chiles
1 lb. cheese
1 pt. sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/2 can olives

What to do:

Brown hamburger. Add onion and simmer 5 minutes. Drain Grease; add enchilada sauce, chiles, soup and milk. Simmer 5 minutes; tear tortillas in pieces. Put thin layer of meat sauce on bottom of 9x13 dish, then add layer of tortilla pieces, more meat sauce, then cheese. Repeat; at the end, add cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from over and spread sour cream. Garnish with lettuce, tomato and olive if so desired!

"Healthified" Salsa-Beef Chili

This was super easy to make and tasted wonderful! With only 260 calories per serving (about 2 cups), you won't feel bad going back for seconds!

What you'll need:

1 lb extra-lean (at least 90%) ground beef

1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cans (14.5 oz each) Muir Glen® organic no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained

1 jar (16 oz) Muir Glen® organic mild or medium salsa

1 can (15 oz) Muir Glen® organic tomato sauce

1 can (15 oz) Progresso® dark red kidney beans, drained, rinsed

1 can (15 oz) Progresso® black beans, drained, rinsed

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Reduced-fat sour cream, if desired

Chopped green onions, if desired

1. In 4-quart nonstick Dutch oven, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain. Return to Dutch oven. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute.

2. Stir in all remaining ingredients except sour cream and green onions. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. To serve, top individual servings with sour cream and green onions.


Luscious Slush Punch

2 ½ Cup White Sugar
6 Cup Water
2 (3 oz) pkg Strawberry Gelatin Mix
1 (46 oz) Pineapple juice
2/3 Cup Lemon Juice
1 qt Orange Juice
2 (2 liter) Bottles Sprite
In a large sauce pan combine sugar, water and gelatin mix. Boil for 3 minutes. Stir in pineapple juice, lemon juice and orange juice. Divide mixture in half, freeze in 2 separate containers. When ready to serve place frozen contents of one container in a punch bowl and stir in 1 bottle of sprite until slushy.


Swiss cheese fondue

This is seriously SO yummy... my new favorite fondue recipe!!!

What you'll need:

1 lb. swiss cheese, grated
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups whipping cream or buttermilk
1 clove garlic, minced

What to do:

Toss swiss cheese with cornstarch, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. In a saucepan or chafing dish, heat cream/buttermilk with garlic clove over low heat. When hot, add swiss cheese mixture. Sitr constantly until cheese is melted. Serve over a warmer.

Dip with french bread, crackers, steamed veggies, kielbasa sausage chunks, apples or whatever else you desire!


Don't Have a FIRE???


4 cups honey graham cereal
3 tablespoons margarine
6 cups miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Coat a 9x13 inch dish with cooking spray. Place cereal into a large bowl; set aside.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt margarine. Add marshmallows and corn syrup and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Remove from heat and pour over waiting cereal; stir well to coat. Press into prepared pan. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Chocolate Pudding POPS

1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
2 cups cold milk
1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping

BEAT pudding mix and milk in medium bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in COOL WHIP.
SPOON into 5 paper or plastic cups. Insert wooden pop stick or plastic spoon in center of each cup.
FREEZE 4 hours or until firm. Remove from cups before serving.
How to Remove Frozen Pops from Cups
Place bottoms of cups under warm running water for 15 sec. Press firmly on bottoms of cups to release pops. (Do not twist or pull pop sticks.)


Red Hot Raspberry Jello

Does anyone make Jello anymore?

I never do, but I have had these ingredients for a while so I decided to make it for a family party.

And guess what...only two servings left when we came home. Maybe we should all make Jello more often!

2 6oz. packages raspberry Jello
3.5 c. hot water
7-8 oz. Cinnamon Red Hot candies
3 c. applesauce

Put water and red hots in a pan on the stove and let them come to a boil. As soon as it boils, poor the hot water over the two packages of jello that you have placed in a bowl and stir until dissolved (about 3 minutes). Add the applesauce and stir. Pour into 9x13 pan and refrigerate until set. Cut into squares and serve topped with whipped cream.

Cornbread Salad


1 (1 oz.) pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dry salad dressing mix
1 c. sour cream
1 c. mayonnaise
1 (9 inch) pan Tex-Mex or your own homemade cornbread, crumbled
2 (16 oz.) can pinto beans, drained
3 lg. tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
1/2 c. chopped green onions
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cans Del Monte whole kernel golden sweet corn, drained

Combine salad dressing mix, sour cream, and mayonnaise. Set aside. Place half of crumbled cornbread in the bottom of a large serving bowl. Top with half of beans. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, pepper, and onions: layer half of this mixture over beans. Layer half of cheese, bacon, corn, and reserved salad dressing. Repeat layers using remaining ingredients. Garnish as desired.
Cover and chill 2-3 hours before serving.
Yields 10-12 servings.

I used Honey cornbread for a more sweet taste, and I did not add green peppers.

Santa Fe Wraps

From Paula Deen

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 1/2-ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 (4 1/4-ounce) can chopped olives
1 cup (4-ounce) shredded pepper jack cheese
2 tablespoons salsa, plus salsa for dipping, optional
1/2 cup green onion tops, sliced
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
2 packages flour tortillas

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy. Then add sour cream, green chilies, olives, pepper jack cheese, salsa, and onion tops.

Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer. Stir in spinach. Spread mixture evenly over the surface of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas tightly and cut each tortilla crosswise into 6 slices.

Skewer each wrap with a wooden toothpick. Serve immediately or chill. Serve with salsa for dipping, if desired.

*Can be served with cooked, shredded chicken as well.


Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

1 Coffee Mug
4 tablespoons flour(that's plain flour, not self-rising)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
Some nuts (optional)
Small splash of vanilla
Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well . Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and mix again.Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes on high. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to share!)


Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken
1 C grated pepperjack cheese

small corn tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or are coming unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Then roll it up as tight as you can. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Dip'em in salsa, sour cream, guacamole. Makes approx. 16


Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 Cups Flour
½ Cup Sugar
1 Tbs Baking Powder
½ tsp Salt
1 Cup Milk
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Large Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 400. Grease 12 standard size muffin cups or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a medium bowl, mix milk, oil, egg and vanilla.
Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add the milk mixture all at once stirring just until mixed and dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Do not over mix. Spoon batter into prepared pan, about ¾ full. Bake muffins until tops are golden and firm, 17-20 minutes.
Makes about 1 dozen.


Handy Substitutions

I don't know about you but I always find myself flipping to the back of a cookbook trying to find an easy substitution for something when I suddenly find myself without rum. I mean baking powder. ;)

But now you don't have to search for a solution either. You can bookmark this page and the next time you need 1 cup of miniature marshmallows but only have 10 large ones, you'll know where to turn!

Baking Products
  • Baking powder, 1 tsp.: 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar + 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • Semisweet chocolate, 1 oz.: 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate + 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • Unsweetened chocolate, 1 oz. or square: 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa + 1 Tbsp. butter, margarine, shortening, or oil
  • Semisweet chocolate chips, 6 oz., melted: 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, 2 Tbsp. shortening, + 1/2 c. sugar
  • Unsweetened cocoa, 1/4 c.: 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate (decrease fat in recipe by 1/2 Tbsp.)
  • Corn syrup, light, 1 c.: 1 c. sugar heated to a syrupy consistency with 1/4 c. water (GENIUS!!)
  • Cornstarch, 1 Tbsp.: 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • Marshmallow cream, 7-oz. jar: 16 oz. package marshmallows, melted, plus 3 1/2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • Marshmallows, miniature, 1 c.: 10 large marshmallows
  • Pecans, chopped, 1 c.: 1 c. regular oats, toasted (in baked products); this is another smart one, especially for people with nut allergies!
  • Powdered sugar, 1 c.: 1 c. sugar + 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, processed in food processor
  • White sugar, 1 c.: 1 c. corn syrup; decrease liquid in recipe by 1/3 c.

Dairy Products

  • Buttermilk, 1 c.: 1 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice, plus milk to make 1 c. (let stand 10 minutes); 1 c. milk + 1 3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • Sweetened condensed milk, 14 ounces: Heat 1/3 c. +2 Tbsp. evaporated milk, 1 c. sugar, 3 Tbsp. butter or margarine until sugar and butter dissolve
  • Sour cream: Plain yogurt


  • Tomato sauce, 2 c.: 3/4 c. tomato paste + 1 c. water
  • Chili sauce, 1 c: 1 c. tomato sauce, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. vinegar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, dash of grown cloves, dash of allspice
  • Ketchup (for cooking): 1 c. tomato sauce, 1/2 c. sugar, 2 Tbsp. vinegar


  • Allspice, ground, 1 tsp.: 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon + 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • Apple pie spice, 1 tsp.: 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
  • Bay leaf, 1 whole: 1/4 tsp. crushed bay leaf
  • Chives, chopped, 1 Tbsp.: 1 Tbsp. chopped green onion tops
  • Garlic, 1 small clove: 1/8 tsp. garlic powder or dried garlic
  • Garlic salt, 1 tsp: 1/8 tsp. garlic powder plus 7/8 tsp. salt
  • Herbs, fresh, 1 Tbsp.: 1 tsp. dried herbs or 1/4 tsp. ground herbs
  • Mustard, dry, 1 tsp.: 1 Tbsp. prepared mustard
  • Onion powder, 1 Tbsp.: 1 medium onion, chopped or 1 Tbsp. dried minced onion
  • Parsley, dry, 1 tsp.: 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
  • Pumpkin pie spice: 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/8 tsp. ground allspice, 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Vanilla bean, 1: 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp.: 1 tsp. bottled steak sauce

Alcohol (use water, white grape, or apple juice to make up the rest of the amount of liquid called for in the recipe)

  • Amaretto, 2 Tbsp.: 1/4-1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • Bourbon or Sherry, 2 Tbsp.: 1-2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Brandy, fruit-flavored liqueur, port wine, rum, or sweet cherry, 1/4 c. or more: Equal amount of unsweetened orange or apple juice plus 1 tsp. vanilla extract or corresponding flavor
  • Brandy or rum, 2 Tbsp.: 1/2-1 tsp. brandy or rum extract
  • Grand Marnier, 2 Tbsp.: 2 Tbsp. unsweetened orange juice concentrate
  • Kahlua, 2 Tbsp.: 1/2-1 tsp. chocolate extract plus 1/2-1 tsp. instant coffee dissolved in 2 Tbsp. water
  • Red wine: Equal amount of red grape or cranberry juice
  • White wine: Equal amount of white grape or apple juice