Friday, July 31, 2015

Cheddar Potato Rolls

These were EXCELLENT rolls.  They came together quite easy and tasted wonderful.

Cheddar Potato Rolls
1 cup warm water (110°F)
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
4 cups (18 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 medium russet potato (7 to 8 ounces)
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (8 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided Beth used mild
2 tablespoons melted butter

In a medium bowl, combine the water, yeast, and 1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) of the flour and stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size with large bubbles on the surface, 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prick the potato all over with a fork. Microwave until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then peel the potato and grate on the large holes of a box grater.

Combine the butter, sugar, salt and mustard powder in a stand mixer. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and grated potato until combined, then beat in the yeast mixture and 1 1/2 cups cheddar until incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually beat in the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour until the dough starts coming together in a soft, sticky ball. Shape into a loose ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 24 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, dusting with flour as needed, and arrange in the baking dish so they are slightly touching. MAKE AHEAD: At this point the shaped rolls can be covered and refrigerated overnight, let sit at room temperature for 1 hour or until puffy. If already at room temperature, let rise for about 30 minutes, or until puffy.

Spray a sheet of foil with nonstick cooking spray and loosely cover the rolls, oiled-side down. Bake until just firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Uncover, brush with the 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar. Continue baking, uncovered, until the rolls are golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 20 more minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Another make-ahead option: Parbake, covered, for 30 minutes, then let cool and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature, brush with the butter and bake, uncovered, 40 minutes, sprinkling with 1/2 cup cheddar during the last 15 minutes.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Traditional Tejano Carne Guisada (Braised Beef for Tacos)

I had 2 pounds of stew meat in the freezer and this recipe was perfect!  I did NOT brown the meat and onions, just put all ingredients in the crockpot and let it cook all day.  Tender and perfect for supper!
Traditional Tejano Carne Guisada (Braised Beef for Tacos)

salt and pepper
2-3 pounds cheap steak or roast, chopped into bite size pieces*
1 large onion, chopped well
3 cups water
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1/2 or 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons good quality beef bullion
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Stovetop Instructions:
Heat a large, high-sided skillet (or a wide-bottomed pot), over medium high heat.

Salt and pepper the beef chunks.

Add about a tablespoon of oil to the pan and swirl. It should start to shimmer if the pan is hot enough.
Add 1/3 of the seasoned meat to the pan. Place the pieces of meat so that they are not touching each other
Turn the pieces with tongs to brown all sides. Remove to a plate and repeat 2 more batches, adding more oil as necessary.
Remove the final batch of meat, then add the onions to the pan, adding more oil first if there is none left.
Saute the onions over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, or until mostly cooked through. Do your best to scrape up the browned bits.
Return the meat to the pan. Add the water, tomato sauce, garlic powder, salt**, beef bullion, pepper, and cumin.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. You want there to be some movement. If the mixture is completely still, turn it up a little. I had my burner set just below medium.
Simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is tender and the gravy has thickened. Stir occasionally.
To serve authentically, put the meat, some rice, cheese, and guacamole in a warm flour tortilla.
It's important to note that this is not a shredded beef recipe; "Carne Guisada" literally means "Stewed Beef" so you want it to be just like beef stew, but without any veggies.

Slow Cooker Instructions:
Don't add 3 cups of water! Read on:
Brown the meat and saute the onion as instructed above.Beth did NOT brown the meat---just put it in the crockpot. Add the meat and onion to a crock pot. In a glass measuring bowl, measure out 1/4 cup HOT water. Add the beef bouillon and dissolve. Add the tomato sauce, garlic powder, salt**, pepper, and cumin to the measuring cup. Stir and combine, then pour over the meat in the crock pot, stirring to coat.
Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
Remove the lid for the last half hour of cook time, and turn the heat up to high. This is to burn off some of the excess liquid. If it's at a consistency you like, you can skip that step.
It's important to note that this is not a shredded beef recipe; "Carne Guisada" literally means "Stewed Beef" so you want it to be just like beef stew, but without any veggies.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Salsa Cube Steaks

I had some cube steak in the freezer and hadn't planned ahead to put them in the crockpot. This was quick and easy.

Salsa Cube Steaks

Submitted By: Tracie Commins on

1 pound beef cube steak
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
water as needed

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. Place the steaks in a 9x13 inch baking dish and season with cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the pepper and onion over the meat and pour salsa over all, adding some water as needed to the bottom of the baking dish. Cover with foil.
3. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Soft-Baked Andes Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I made these so we could send some with Don on his last work trip.  They are delicious, but we forgot to send them.  They freeze well, so maybe he will get some on his next trip!
Soft-Baked Andes Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups and 1/4 cups (285g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups (340g) chopped Andes Mints OR Andes Mints Creme de Menth Baking Chips
1/4 cup (60ml) milk (if needed, see note)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, then the egg yolk, mixing for about 1 minute after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the baking soda, baking powder, salt, flour, and unsweetened cocoa powder. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix for about 1 minute on low speed. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. By hand, fold in the Andes Mints.

Drop by rounded tablespoon-fuls* onto ungreased baking sheet or silicone mat. Bake for 10-12 minutes until sides *slightly* begin to brown. I took mine out of the oven at exactly 10 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and transfer to a wire rack. Cookies stay fresh & soft in a sealed container at room temperature for 1 week. Cookies freeze well, up to 2 months.

Additional Notes:

*The dough is very, very thick and should come together easily. However, if it is TOO thick to handle, add up to 1/4 cup milk before adding the Andes Mint Chips.

*If making larger cookies, I suggest dropping dough by 1/4 cup measurements and shaping into a ball. Bake for 11-12 minutes.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Low Carb Spinach Lasagna

Kathleen made this for dinner one night for just the two of us.  I LOVED it.  It is good for breakfast, too.  It would cut easier if one would let it sit for 15 minutes after it comes out of the oven....if you can wait that long(which I couldn't )

Low Carb Spinach Lasagna

Submitted by: SAVANNAH_ANN03 on       

1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons onion, chopped
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon pepper
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Brown the hamburger with the onion; drain off the fat. Mix in the garlic powder and spaghetti sauce; season to taste and heat until bubbly. Meanwhile, soften the cream cheese in a medium-size microwaveable bowl for about 40-60 seconds. Stir until creamy; beat in the egg and pepper with a spoon until well mixed. Blend in the spinach. Spread half of the meat mixture evenly in the bottom of a greased, 8 x 8" glass baking pan. Spread the spinach mixture over the meat; top with the mozzarella, then the rest of the meat. It may not completely cover the top, but that's ok. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Bake at 350º about 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Number of Servings: 8

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Kathleen put this together as our salad to eat with lasagna one night.  Fresh garden tomatoes and basil! Yum!
Kathleen Johnson

1 large tomato, washed and hulled
10-15 baby basil leaves
1/4 cup cubed or shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Pour the balsamic into a small pot and simmer until reduced by half (3-4 minutes). Thinly slice the tomato and layer tomato, mozzarella and basil on a plate. Pour the cooled balsamic reduction over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, serve immediately.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Red Pepper Pasta Bake

Kathleen put this together rather quickly one night.  Jenna and her friend, Shelby, were headed to Arkansas and we ate this before they left after work.  Yummy!  Our changed are in bold print.
Red Pepper Pasta Bake

6 ounces penne pasta
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers We used 16 oz jar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil, divded
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces spicy Italian sausage, casings removed We did not use this, but served with chicken.
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick spray.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.

To make the red pepper sauce, combine red peppers, Parmesan, honey and red pepper flakes in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt and pepper, to taste. With the motor running, add 2 tablespoons olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified; set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add sausage and cook until browned, about 5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks. Stir in pasta and red pepper mixture until well combined.

Add pasta to prepared baking dish and top with mozzarella. Place into oven and bake until cheese has melted, about 5-10 minutes.   We did not do this.  We just poured the sauce over the pasta and served.

Serve immediately.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Honey Roasted Peanuts

Jenna needed honey roasted peanuts for a snack mix she was making. I had NO honey roasted but LOTS of plain salted. She used this recipe and they are better than store bought. See what she did in bold print.


Honey Roasted Peanuts

1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 pound shelled raw peanuts, skins optional
1 to 2 tablespoons granulated raw sugar

1. Grease a baking dish and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat honey, butter, vanilla and 1 teaspoon salt over medium-low heat, until melted.

3. Stir in peanuts, then pour them out into a single layer in the baking dish.

4. Roast peanuts for 15 to 25 minutes, or until golden, shaking the pan a few times to stir the nuts. Remove from oven, stir to break up clumps, and let cool slightly.

5. Sprinkle on remaining salt and sugar and toss to coat, then serve warm.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Caramelized Onion and Bacon Smothered Pork Chops

I made these for Don and me on a night the girls were gone(they don't care for pork chops)  These were easy to make and tasted great.
Caramelized Onion and Bacon Smothered Pork Chops

6 slices bacon, chopped
2 small onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 pepper
4 bone-in pork chops, 1 inch thick
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream

In a large sauté pan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove to a bowl, reserving bacon grease.

Add onions to bacon grease and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes, until onions are soft and golden brown. Add onions to bacon in the bowl.

Increase heat to medium high and sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Add chops to pan and brown on the first side 3 minutes. Then turn chops over and reduce heat to medium, cooking on the second side until internal temperature reaches 135F, about 7 to 10 more minutes. Remove to a platter and tent with foil.

Add broth to pan and scrape up any browned bits. Add cream and simmer until mixture is thickened, 2 or 3 minutes. Return onions and bacon to pan and stir to combine.

Top pork chops with onion and bacon mixture and serve.


Serves 4. Each serving has 6.3 g of carbs and 1.02 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 5.28 g.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Chocolate Chip Caramel Crumble Bars

 I made these as my second treat to take to church.  They were EXCELLENT!
Chocolate Chip Caramel Crumble Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups quick-cooking oatmeal
¾ cups packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup Kraft Caramel Bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the flour, oatmeal, and brown sugar. Add the softened butter to the mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Measure out 1½ cups of the crumb mixture and set aside in a separate bowl.

Pour the remaining crumbs into the prepared baking dish and press evenly into the bottom of the dish. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, in the same bowl of the stand mixer, cream the softened cream cheese and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix well.

When the crust is done baking, remove from the oven and pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and caramel bits evenly over the cream cheese mixture, then finish by sprinkling the reserved oatmeal crumbs over the top of the chocolate chips and caramel bits.

Bake for 30-35 or until completely set in the middle of the pan and very lightly golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate the baking dish for at least 3 hours so that the bars can firm up.

Once chilled, cut into bars and serve

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Banana Blondies

 I made these to take to Sunday School a few weeks ago.  They were very well liked.   I doubled the recipe and made them in a 9 x 13 pan.  Cooking time stayed the same.
Banana Blondies
½ cup butter, melted and if desired browned
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
1 cup flour
½ cup mashed banana (1 medium banana)
Brown Sugar Frosting
¼ cup butter
½ cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8x8 baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside

In bowl of stand mixer combine melted (or browned) butter and sugar. Mix until combined. Add in egg and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated. Stir in salt, flour and banana until batter is smooth and even. Spread in prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until center is set. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool.

Frost the blondies when they are mostly cooled.

Brown Sugar Frosting
In a medium saucepan melt butter. Add brown sugar and milk and stir until mixture comes to just a boil. Remove from heat, allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Stir in powdered sugar with a whisk.

Spread on top of blondies and allow frosting to set and blondies to cool completely before cutting into squares.

If you choose to brown the butter, melt butter in saucepan and continue cooking, once it's melted by swirling the butter in the pan until butter reaches a deep golden brown color.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Wild Rice Pancakes

Kathleen saw this recipe and has been wanting to make it for a while. She made it a few Saturdays ago, and I was impressed. They were GOOD! This recipe makes quite a bit, so be prepared to freeze some pancakes or make fresh all week!

Wild Rice Pancakes

1 cup Wild Rice
3 cups All-purpose OR (if You Have It) Cake Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
4 Tablespoons Sugar
3-1/2 cups Whole Milk
2 whole Eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
Butter, For Serving
Maple Or Pancake Syrup

Cook wild rice according to package instructions (do not add salt or cook in broth. Just cook in plain water.) Set aside.

Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl.

Mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring very gently until just combined. Add more milk if batter seems too thick. It should definitely be thick but easily pourable.

Add melted butter to the batter, stirring gently to combine.

Gently stir in cooked wild rice. (Add half at first and see how you like the looks of the batter. Then slowly add in as much as you want.)

Cook on a buttered skillet over medium-low heat until golden brown.  Kathleen found they cook best over medium heat spread very thin, almost to a crepe consistency. Serve with an obscene amount of butter and warm syrup.
Posted by on

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Low Carb Blender Sherbet

I wanted something sweet the other night and had the ingredients for this.  I used sugar free strawberry jello and LOVED this.
Low Carb Blender Sherbet

1 small box sugar free gelatin (4 serving size) any flavor
1 T Heavy whipping cream
½ tsp vanilla
⅓ cup boilng water
⅓ cup ice cold water or sugar free soda
1½ cup crushed ice
Additional non caloric flavoring or sweetener (opt.)

Pour dry gelatin into a small mixing bowl.

Add ⅓ cup boiling water and stir until gelatin is dissolved.

Pour ⅓ cup cold water (or soda) over dissolved gelatin along with the vanilla and cream as well as any other non-caloric sweeteners or flavorings you desire.

Place 1½ crushed ice in blender and pour gelatin mixture over ice. Blend until smooth and serve immediately or put covered in freezer.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 90 Carbohydrates: 0

Saturday, July 18, 2015


I had all the ingredients and made this to go with chicken one night for dinner.  We liked it.
14-16 ounce package frozen broccoli florets
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
4 green onions, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 pieces bacon, chopped and fried until crisp
Cook the broccoli 4-5 minutes or just until tender-crisp; drain very well. Put in a greased 2-quart casserole. Mix in the cream cheese, cheddar, green onion, salt, pepper and bacon. Bake at 350º for 20-30 minutes, until bubbly. Makes 4-6 servings
Can be frozen

Per 1/4 Recipe: 278 Calories; 22g Fat; 14g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 4g Net Carbs
Per 1/6 Recipe: 185 Calories; 15g Fat; 10g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 3g Net Carbs

Friday, July 17, 2015

Egg-Crust Breakfast Pizza with Pepperoni, Olives, Mozzarella, and Tomatoes

I made this for breakfast the other day and did NOT need lunch that day.  This is very good and filling.
Egg-Crust Breakfast Pizza with Pepperoni, Olives, Mozzarella, and Tomatoes

You'll need an 8-inch nonstick omelet pan to make a breakfast pizza that looks like mine. (When I used a bigger pan, I didn't like it as well with more egg.)

1-2 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan)
2 eggs, beaten well
4-5 small grape tomatoes, thinly sliced Beth used diced tomatoes
6 slices turkey pepperoni, cut in half to make half-moon pieces(Beth used regular)
6 - 8 black olives, thinly sliced
1 oz. low-fat mozzarella, cut into small cubes Beth used shredded
Spike Seasoning, to taste (about 1/2 tsp.)
dried oregano, to taste (about 1/4 tsp.)

Preheat broiler in oven or small toaster oven. Break eggs into a small bowl and beat well. Slice tomatoes and olives, cut pepperoni in half, and cut mozzarella into small cubes. 

Add olive oil to the omelet pan and heat over medium heat until the pan is starting to get hot, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, season with Spike Seasoning and oregano, and cook until eggs are starting to set on the bottom, about 2 minutes.

Sprinkle on half each of the tomatoes, pepperoni, olives, and mozzarella, followed by a second layer with half of each. (Be sure there is plenty of cheese on the top layer.) Cover the pan and cook until the eggs are mostly set and cheese is starting to melt, about 3-4 minutes.

Put pan under the broil and cook until the cheese is nicely melted and the top is starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes with oven broiler or 4-5 minutes in a small toaster oven broiler. Serve hot.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Moistest Chocolate Mug Cake

The girls made these the other night for a snack.  Simple, easy and tasted great.
The Moistest Chocolate Mug Cake

¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. granulated sugar (you can add 1 tbsp. more if you like it a bit sweeter)
⅛ tsp. salt
¼ cup + 1 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
*We added bit of vanilla (1/2 tsp) and added 10 additional seconds in the microwave.
1 tbsp. hazelnut chocolate spread *Kathleen and Jenna used cookie butter- SO yummy!

In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.

Whisk in the milk and vegetable oil until all ingredients are combined and batter has no clumps.
Pour batter into a microwave-safe mug. Mine was a 14-ounce mug. You want enough head space for the cake to rise without pouring over.

Add 1 tbsp. of hazelnut chocolate spread in the middle of the batter. Just drop it in the middle, no need to push it down and sink it in the batter.

Place a paper towel into the microwave and set the mug on top (this is to catch any batter if your mug cake overflows).

Microwave mug cake for 70 seconds on high (PLEASE READ NOTES CAREFULLY BELOW)
Carefully remove from microwave and enjoy!

Please note that ALL microwaves are different therefore can yield different results and can overcook this mug cake if you aren't careful. My microwave is 950 watts and I cooked mine on 100% power for 70 seconds. Knowing this information, it may help you better judge how long to cook yours for and at what power.

You can totally omit the tablespoon of chocolate hazelnut spread if you want or use a different spread of your choice (peanut butter, biscoff, etc.). I just thought it made the cake even more moist but the cake itself is moist enough without it!

**This recipe is specifically made for the microwave. I developed it for the microwave. I don't know cook time or temperature for an oven...I'd imagine it'd be a very quick cook time at a low temp., but since I didn't test the recipe for an oven, I cannot give specifics. Sorry!

No eggs? Correct. There are NO EGGS in this recipe. Why? Egg is what makes the mug cake spongy. If you think about it, when you bake a full-sized cake, you typically use 1 or 2 eggs...for a mug cake to use 1 egg is A LOT

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

I had all the ingredients to make this and am SO glad I did.  We all liked this.
Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup KRAFT Sun-Dried Tomato dressing, divided
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil leaves

Place a large sheet of heavy-duty foil over half of grill grate; heat grill to medium heat. Meanwhile, place chicken in resealable plastic bag. Add 1/4 cup dressing and seal bag. Turn bag over several times to evenly coat chicken with dressing. Refrigerate 10 minutes (I marinate it all day if I remember in time). Remove chicken from bag; discard bag and dressing.

Grill chicken on uncovered side of grill for about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/4 dressing, tomatoes, cheese and basil.

Turn the chicken over and place cooked-side up, on foil on the grill. Top with tomato mixture. Close lid. Grill 8 minutes or until chicken is done.

*Sometimes we add a splash of balsalmic vinegar to give it a bit more zip.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Outrageous Cherry Dr Pepper Cake

This was a great cake.  We liked the cherries in the cake.  The only complaint was that the frosting was WAY too sweet.  Next time I will try a less sweet option.
Outrageous Cherry Dr Pepper Cake

1 (15.25 ounce) box super moist chocolate fudge cake mix (dry)
12 ounces Dr. Pepper Cherry® (room temperature)Beth used diet
1 (18 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, divided
2 (1 cup) sticks salted butter (room temperature)
7 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13x2 baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine cake mix and soda. Whisk until combined. Set aside.

Remove 24 cherries from the jar, remove stems and cut cherries into fourths. Add cut cherries to cake batter. Whisk again until combined.  Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Smooth with spatula so cake is even. Place cake in the center of the oven and bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Place baking pan on a cooling rack and allow cake (still in pan) to cool, about 2 hours. If you need to rush that you can pop it in the fridge or the freezer.

Meanwhile: Add butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or place in a large bowl and use and hand mixer). Beat butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar 1 cup at a time until it is all incorporated (beating between each addition). Add 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) maraschino cherry juice from the jar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Frost the cake with all of the icing and garnish with remaining cherries.

Serve and enjoy!

COOK'S NOTES: Do not add the ingredients that the cake mix calls for. This recipe is just for the dry mix.

If icing is too thick, add more cherry juice 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency, beating in between each addition.

If it is too thin add powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency, beating in between each addition

Monday, July 13, 2015

Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls

This was a new recipe that we made on the 4th of July.  I changed it up a bit by frilling the steak rolls and we all loved these. 
Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls

1 1/2 – 2 lb skirt steak Beth used 2 pounds and got 12 pieces
Salt & Pepper (according to taste)
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Any steak seasoning you like
1 tbsp olive oil

For the Veggie filling
1 carrot
1 bell pepper
1/2 a zucchini (depending on size)
5-6 green onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp Italian herb seasoning

For the Balsamic glaze sauce
2 tsp butter
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup beef broth

Start by prepping the steak. I trimmed as much fat as I could and cut the steak into 3 inch wide strips.  You can then tenderize the meat with a meat hammer
Season the steak pieces generously on both sides with salt, pepper and worcestershire sauce. And let them sit in the marinade for atleast 30 mins if not a couple hours.

While the steak is marinating you can prep the filling for them. Chop up the carrot, bell pepper and zucchini into matchstick size pieces, little longer than the width of the steak strips. Cut the green onion in a similar size and slice them in half length wise. For the garlic, simply peel and crush the cloves with the flat side of your knife, just enough to bruise them. Beth used a garlic press

 Now for the sauce, melt the butter in a small sauce pan on medium heat.
 Add the finely chopped shallot and sautee it for a minute or 2 until they turn soft and translucent.
 Add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and beef stock and stir to mix everything well.

 Allow the sauce to come to a boil and reduce to almost half its volume. You’ll notice it starts becoming thicker and have the consistency of syrup. The butter also starts separating and comes to the top. Turn the heat off and transfer the sauce to a bowl.

In the same pan (no need to wash it) add a touch of olive oil and toss in the garlic cloves to allow them to flavor the oil for a few minutes.

Turn the heat up to high and toss in the carrots, bell pepper and zucchini (there’s no need to cook the green onion) and stir fry the veggies for no longer than 2-3 minutes. Season them with the the itlalian herb seasoning and salt and transfer the veggies to a bowl.

To assemble the steak rolls, simply take a strip of the marinated steak and lay it with the short side towards you. Place the veggies (dont forget the green onion!) in the middle and oll the beef up over the filling, securing it with toothpick. Repeat the same with the other rolls.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a touch of oil swirling to coat bottom. When hot, add beef rolls, seam side down, not touching and pan fry for a couple minutes. Then turn roll and cook it on all sides in the same way. Cook until you’re desired done-ness. I cooked mine medium well and seasoned it with some mesquite seasoning for a touch of a smokey flavor. Beth grilled these and they were perfect

Remove the toothpick and serve with the balsamic glaze sauce spooned over the top of each roll.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Best BBQ Chicken Kebabs Recipe

This is one of the two new recipes we tried for 4th of July.  These were a big hit.  See my notes on what we changed.
The Best BBQ Chicken Kebabs Recipe

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika **  We used all sweet and added a dash of liquid smoke
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
4 teaspoons sugar
2-3 slices raw bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

Trim chicken of excess fat, then cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the salt. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Turn all grill burners to high, close lid, and heat for about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on, but turn off other burners.

Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine the paprikas and sugar. Place the raw bacon in a food processor and pulse for about 30-45 seconds, until a smooth paste forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl twice throughout. Add the bacon paste and spice mixture to the chicken. Mix with hands or spatula until the ingredients are blended and chicken is coated.

Thread the chicken onto the skewers, rolling or folding as needed to maintain 1-inch cubes.

Grill the chicken over the primary burner with lid closed, turning one-quarter of a turn every 2 minutes or so, until browned and slightly charred (about 8 minutes total for chicken breast and 10 minutes for thighs). Brush the top of kebabs with BBQ sauce; flip and cook until sauce is browned in spots, about 1 minute. Brush second side with sauce; flip and cook for another minute or so, until cooked through.

Remove kebabs from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve, passing remaining BBQ sauce separately, if desired.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Gooey Crispy Ritz S'mores Bars

 Jenna put these together for a treat last week.  Use the foil and they will pop right out of the pan! They were delicious!  We used Cookie Butter in place of the peanut butter.

Gooey Crispy Ritz S'mores Bars

2 cups finely crushed Ritz Crackers (approximately 2 sleeves)
½ cup butter, melted
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 cups Marshmallow Fluff
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup crunchy peanut butter Beth used cookie butter
2 cups Rice Krispies

Line a 9x9 pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set this aside.

In a large bowl combine the crushed crackers, butter and sugar. Firmly press this mixture evenly into the prepared pan and chill it for 30 minutes.

When the crust is chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and spread the Fluff evenly on top. Place this back in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

In a large microwave safe bowl combine the chocolate chips and the peanut butter. Place this in the microwave on full power for 1 minute. Stir the mixture until the chocolate is melted. If 1 minute was not long enough heat for an additional 20 seconds, or until the chocolate is melted.

Stir the Rice Krispie cereal into the chocolate mixture evenly and spread on top of the Fluff layer.
Place back in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set.

Cut into squares only when ready to serve.
Keep this in the refrigerator, airtight. As it comes up to room temperature the Fluff gets gooey, which is delicious, but a little messy!

You can sub in 1½ cups of mini marshmallows for the Fluff to keep these less gooey! This is a great option if you are serving these on a platter for any period of time.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Spaghetti Corn

If you like Velveeta and the 'normal corn casserole', you will like this.  It is like a mixture of corn casserole and macaroni and cheese.
Spaghetti Corn

1-15oz can whole kernel corn drained
1-15 oz can cream style corn
1/4 c melted margarine
1 cup shredded velveeta cheese Beth cubed the velveeta
1 cup broken spaghetti

Mix all together in a 2 qt casserole. Bake 350 1/2 hour covered. Remove cover bake another half hour...angel hair pasta doesn't work very good in this

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Homemade Sweet Dinner Rolls

I LOVE using my breadmaker to mix up rolls. This was a great recipe and we all liked it. They heated up well, too.

Homemade Sweet Dinner Rolls

Roll Dough Recipe:
1 Cup sour milk (mix 1 C. 2% or whole milk with 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice and let sit for 5 minutes)
4 Tablespoons of softened butter (let it sit out for 20 minutes or so, do not microwave to soften)
1 egg
3 1/4 C. flour
1/3 C. sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon Rapid Rise active dry yeast

Breadmaker Instructions:  You simply dump in all of the ingredients in the order listed and start the dough cycle on the machine.  The machine mixes the dough and lets it rise.  After about an hour, the machine is done doing its work and it’s time to form the dough into rolls. Beth used this method.

Handmixing Instructions:  Mix 1 teaspoon sugar, yeast, and 1/2 C. warm water and leave untouched for 5 minutes.  Reduce milk by 1/2 cup – warm until lukewarm, add lemon, and let sit.  After 5 minutes, stir the yeast mixture into the milk mixture and stir in a large bowl.  Add in egg and butter; stir well.  Combine remaining dry ingredients and gradually stir into the wet ingredients.  When about half of the dry ingredients have been stirred in, sprinkle flour on a work surface and dump the dough out of the bowl – it will be really sticky at this point.  Work the remaining flour mixture into the dough, kneading and turning the dough, and adding flour mixture until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Form the dough into a ball.  Grease a large clean bowl with butter and place the dough inside.  Flip it over once so all of the dough has some butter coating it.  Place a damp towel over the bowl and place it in a warm draft-free location to rise.  You can turn on your oven to its lowest setting for a couple minutes and place the dough bowl in there or just set it in a warmer part of the kitchen/house.  The dough will double in size over about an hour’s time.  Once it has risen, punch the dough down and you are ready to form the dough into rolls.

Forming the Dough into Rolls:  Grease an 9″ x 13″ glass casserole dish with butter.  Dab the tips of your fingers in some butter and pluck a golf ball size piece of dough from the bowl.  Form it into a smooth ball by wrapping the dough from the top and sides around and into the bottom center.  It’s kind of hard to explain, but you’re kneading the roll in your hands and forming a smooth top on the ball at the same time.  The dough can be a little sticky – be sure you regrease your fingers for every roll and work the dough just on your fingertips.  Place the roll into the pan.  I make 20 rolls for each batch of dough.  You may have to redistribute some of the dough to make evenly formed rolls to fill the pan – that’s fine.  Once your pan is full, place a dry towel over the top and place the pan in a warm, draft-free location to rise once again.  This takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  When you can gently press your finger into the roll and the dough does not bounce back up, they’re ready to bake.

Baking the Rolls:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Remove the towel from the roll pan before baking.  Bake rolls for 12-15 minutes.  The rolls are done when the tops are deep golden brown and the bottoms of the rolls are mostly cooked.  When you’re baking in a clear glass pan, you can peek at the sides and bottom edges to see if there’s a little browning.  It can be hard to tell and you’ll likely need to bake a few batches to get a feel for the level of doneness you want.  I like my rolls just a little dough-y, but some people don’t.  Granny used to tap on the rolls in the oven to check for doneness; I do this, too, but I have no idea what I’m listening/feeling for, it’s just a gesture.  ha!
A Couple Notes:  A few things that I think make a significant difference in the outcome – 1.  milk with a higher fat content is preferable, 2.  use real butter, 3.  use a glass baking dish, 4. undercooked is better than overcooked.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Philly Cheesesteak Meatloaf

I saw this recipe on the Taste of Home bulletin board and new I would try it for dinner.  It was very good and quite tasty.

Carol, Taste of Home BB

2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1/4 c. finely chopped green bell pepper*
1/4 c. finely chopped red bell pepper*
2 garlic cloves, minced then "pasted"
1 large egg
1/2 c. tomato sauce
3/4 c. quick oats
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1  tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef  Beth used 2 #
3 slices provolone cheese, cut in half


1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 heaping c. thinly sliced onion
1 heaping c. mixture of thinly sliced red, green, orange and yellow bell peppers*
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a meatloaf pan or a broiler pan or rack with nonstick cooking spray.  If using a rack. place it in a baking pan lined with foil.  Set pan aside.

For the meatloaf, heat a medium skillet of medium-high heat.  Add the oil, then add the chopped peppers and onions. Sauté them over medium heat until tender, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic, then cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Beat the egg in a medium mixing bowl.  Add the tomato sauce, oats, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Stir until well mixed. Stir in the cooked vegetables.  Crumble the ground beef over the egg/vegetable mixture and mix lightly just until combined.

Place the meat mixture into the meatloaf pan or press the mixture into an 8x4-inch loaf pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, then turn the loaf out onto the prepared broiler pan rack.  When I make meatloaf, I put the meat in the pan in layers and use a fork to lightly press and even out each gives you nice firm slices  that don't crumble when the meatloaf is sliced.

Bake @ 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reaches 160 degrees.

"Shingle" the slices of provolone over the top of the loaf.  Return to the oven and bake @ 350 degrees for 5 minutes longer or until the cheese melts.

Let the meatloaf stand for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

While the meatloaf is resting, make the topping.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the oil, sliced onions, sliced peppers, slat and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 5-8 minutes.

Slice the meatloaf and serve each slice topped with some of the pepper and onion mixture.  8 servings.

 *NOTE: Use whatever bell peppers you color, or a mixture of colors. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Beef Brisket

I made this last week with a 6 pound brisket so I doubled the dressings.  This was a delicious brisket and I will make this again!
Beef Brisket
2 1/2-3 lbs. Beef brisket (NOT corned beef)
Garlic salt and pepper to taste
3/4 Cup of Italian salad dressing
3/4 Cup of French salad dressing

Sprinkle Beef Brisket with Garlic Salt and pepper. Put in crockpot.

Mix together in a bowl the Italian and French Salad dressings; pour over meat.
Cook on low all day in crockpot (or high for 4-5 hours)

Slice brisket, pour sauce over meat when serving.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Peaches and Cream Pie Bars

I took this to a potluck at church. Everyone liked them. Next time I will bake them just a tad longer since the middle was a bit doughy.

Peaches and Cream Pie Bars

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 (21 ounce)  peach pie filling

Cheesecake Center:
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs milk

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Beat in vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine flour and salt. Add to the creamed mixture. Mix until combined.
In a medium sized bowl beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add the egg and beat until combined.

Grease a 15x10x1 pan or 9×13, whichever one you decide to use. If using a 9x13, cooking time will be longer Spread 3 cups batter in the bottom. (Beth had to wet her hands to press this out)Spread the cream cheese layer on top and lastly Spread with pie filling. Drop remaining batter on top of pie filling.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 (If using a 9x13 increase time to 35) minutes or until toothpick comes clean.

Cool on wire rack. Combine powdered sugar and milk for the glaze and drizzle over the bars.
I like to let the bars cool completely and refrigerate them for 3 hours for easier cutting

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken

I made this last week and we all liked it.  It is great warmed up and used on a salad, too.
Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken

1/2 cup of any Whole Grain Mustard
1/2 cup of Honey
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
1 Garlic Clove, smashed and minced
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve 4 tablespoons of sauce and then pour the rest over the chicken, toss and cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 30-45 minutes at room temp.

Preheat the grill on medium- medium high heat, grill chicken for about 6 to 7 minutes per side or until chicken is done. Pour the reserved 4 tablespoons of honey-mustard sauce over chicken and let rest under foil for about 5 minutes.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Glorious Baked Cheese Cauliflower

I had some cauliflower to use up and found this recipe.  We really, really liked this and will make it again.
Glorious Baked Cheese Cauliflower

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into flowerets
4 T butter (1/2 a stick)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
2 cups milk
1/2-1 T regular or Dijon mustard, to taste
1 1/2 cups (6 oz. block) extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated Beth used mild

1 cup soft fresh bread crumbs
1 T fresh chopped parsley
1/2 t paprika
2 T melted butter
pinch of salt

Boil or steam cauliflower in water until just tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Grease a 2-quart baking dish. Heat oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir until smooth and just bubbly. Add salt, pepper, and milk. Cook the sauce, stirring, until thickened and bubbly. Add the mustard and cheese and continue cooking, stirring, until cheese is melted.

Combine the cauliflower with sauce and spoon into the prepared baking dish.

Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over the cauliflower mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the casserole is bubbly and topping is browned. Bake in lower half of oven so top doesn't over brown.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

These were requested by Don as his Father's Day treat. We loved the nutty flavor that the browned butter gave them.

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 eggs, room temperature
2½ cups all purpose flour
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chip
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally. The butter will start to foam and then start browning. You will be able to smell a nutty aroma when it's ready. Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.

Cream the butter and sugars together.

Add in extracts and eggs and continue mixing until well combined.

Combine flour, corn starch, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and use a fork to stir together.
Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing just until combined.
Fold in white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside
Scoop out cookie dough, about 2 to 3 tablespoons each, and place on parchment-line cookie sheet.
Baked for 11-13 minutes or until just a hint of browning starts. Cookies may appear under baked but don't worry. Let sit on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Frito Chili Pie

Kathleen had been hungry for this and we finally made it last week while Don was home.  It was very good--makes quite a bit, but is great left over!

Frito Chili Pie

2 pounds Ground Chuck
3 cloves Garlic, Minced (optional)
1 can (12-14 Oz. Size) Tomato Sauce
1 can (10 Ounce) Ro-tel (diced Tomatoes And Chilies)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Oregano
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder (more To Taste)
1 can (14-ounce) Kidney Beans, Drained And Rinsed
1 can (14-ounce) Pinto Beans, Drained And Rinsed
1/4 cup Masa (corn Flour) Or Regular Corn Meal
1/2 cup Warm Water
Individual Bags Of Fritos
Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Diced Red Onion (Optional)

Brown ground chuck with garlic in a pot over medium-high heat. Add tomato sauce, Rotel, salt, oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add drained and rinsed beans. Stir to combine, then cover and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Mix masa with water, then add to the chili. Stir to combine and simmer for a final 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

Serve by slicing the Frito bags open lengthwise. Pile in chili and cheese, and diced onion if using. Serve immediately with plastic forks. We just put the chili over the fritos, or some of us dipped the fritos into the chili