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