Holiday Layered Jell-O

This Jell-O is one of our Thanksgiving menu traditions. Everyone LOVES it!! The middle layer is divine. I'm adding it to our Christmas Eve menu this year.

1st Layer:
1. Make one large (6 oz) package of Lime Jell-O according to package directions.
2. Pour into oblong dish and let set until firm.

2nd Layer:
1. Combine 1 large package of Lemon Jell-O and 2 cups of boiling water.
2. Add 1/3-1/2 package of marshmallows; stir until dissolved.
3. Add 8 oz cream cheese; stir until dissolved.
4. Cool and add 1 c Cool Whip
5. Pour over set green layer

3rd Layer:
1. Make one large package of Cherry Jell-O according to package directions.
2. Pour over firm middle layer and let set until firm.

Top Jell-O with Cool Whip. Eat and Enjoy!!

You could switch Jell-O colors to make this fit for different holidays...

Pumpkin Crumble

This is another non-traditional Thanksgiving dessert that is just delicious! My best friend, Emily, brought it to my house on evening & we really couldn't get enough!

3/4 butter, melted
1 pkg yellow cake mix
29 oz can pumpkin
1 c sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t ground ginger
3 eggs
12 oz can evaporated milk
1 c chopped nuts, your choice

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine butter & cake mix in a large bowl & refrigerate 10-15 minutes
  3. Mix pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, & ginger.
  4. Add eggs to pumpkin mix & stir well.
  5. Slowly add evaporated milk & stir until well mixed.
  6. Pour into a greased 13x9 pan
  7. Crumble cake/butter mixture over entire pan
  8. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Pumpkin Dip

This recipe comes courtesy of my husband's niece, Alison. Thanks, Alison!

1 Pkg of Cream Cheese
2 c powdered sugar
15 oz can of pumpkin

  1. Mix all ingredients
  2. Enjoy with graham crackers, ginger snaps, or nilla wafers!

Oriental Orange Sauce

Do you love that orange chicken you get in greasy food courts? Stay in tonight & give this sauce a try. Just spoon a little over pan fried chicken pieces or steamed veggies & rice.

1 1/2 c water
2 T orange juice
1 T orange zest
1/4 c lemon juice
1/3 c white vinegar
2 ½ T soy sauce
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 t candied ginger, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 t red pepper flakes
3 T cornstarch + 2 T water

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan except cornstarch/water mix.
  2. Bring to a boil & slowly stir in cornstarch mixture.
  3. Simmer until thickened.
  4. Serve hot!

Whole Wheat Pancakes

These hearty pancakes are surprisingly good. Others have substituted applesauce for the oil. I prefer 100% oil--not as healthy, but yummier in my opinion.

1 c milk
1 c whole wheat
2 eggs
1/2 c milk
1/2 c oil
1/2 t salt
4 t baking powder

1. Blend 1 c milk and wheat on high for 4 minutes in a blender.
2. Add other ingredients.
3. Blend until mixed.
4. Prepare pancakes as usual.

Emily's Chocolate Bundt Cake

This cake is moist and delicious. No one will guess that it's not really made from scratch.

1 box devil's food cake mix
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
1 c sour cream
1 c vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 c warm water
2 c chocolate chips

1. Mix together the cake, pudding, sour cream, oil, eggs and water.
2. Stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Pour batter into a well greased bundt pan.
4. Bake for 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. Cool before inverting onto a plate.
6. Dust with powdered sugar.

Raspberry Mousse

I'm sure you can use any type of berry for this recipe, but this time of year is raspberry season. Every recipe is better with really fresh ingredients, so use a local fruit that is in season. You could also use this as a dip or spread on graham crackers.

2 c raspberries
1/4 c sugar
1 T unflavored gelatin (1 packet)
2 c whipped cream, Dream Whip, or whipped topping

  1. Combine raspberries & sugar in a pot & heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved & raspberries are well smashed.
  2. Pour raspberry mixture into a large bowl & let cool in the refrigerator 5 minutes.
  3. Mix about half of the whipped cream into the raspberry mixture & stir to combine well.
  4. Carefully fold in the remaining whipped cream.
  5. Chill in bowls until set (about an hour).
  6. Top each serving with reaming berries & serve.

Roasted Sweet Tomatoes

I don't know if any of you have found these tiny, super sweet tomatoes at the farmer's market this season (I get mine from the Graber Organic FarmsCSA), but if you see them, snatch them up! This recipe for roasted tomatoes is super simple & perfect for canning. I buy the tomatoes by the pound, can half, eat some fresh from the oven, and serve some on bread topped with a little mozzarella & fresh basil. Mmm, mmm!

Tomatoes (very small like cherry, grape, or small Romas)
Olive oil
Garlic cloves, peel still on
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Wash tomatoes & cut in half.
  3. Arrange cut side up on parchment covered baking sheet with 1 or two cloves garlic.
  4. Drizzle a little olive oil over each tomato half.
  5. Bake about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  6. Remove from oven & smash garlic with a fork then stir gently to distribute garlic.
To Can:

  1. Fill 8 oz. or smaller jars with tomatoes.
  2. Mix leftover pan juices with enough olive oil to cover tomatoes & add 1 T bottle lemon juice or vinegar. (yes, I know I'm not supposed to can in oil, but I do anyway. I use 4 oz jars, though.)
  3. Pressure can at 5 pounds pressure for 10 minutes.
  4. Save to bring the flavor of summer to a cold winter day.
COOK'S NOTE: You can do this with larger tomatoes, but only slice them in half. You want them to act like little "cups" holding the juicy sweet interior. You may have to bake for longer, but pay attention when you do the smaller ones & you'll know what they're supposed to look like when They're done.

Enchilada Sauce

This recipe is a special request by sturdy but volatile Angela who until last night believed enchilada sauce only came from cans. Since my sisters & I learned how to whip this up sans-recipe, the measurements are my best guess so tweak it however you like!

2 T oil (any kind)
1 t granulated garlic (I like to use 2 pressed cloves of garlic. Add fresh garlic with the flour)
1 t beef bouillon
1/4 c flour
1/4 c chili powder
2 c water or broth (any flavor)

  1. Heat garlic & bouillon in oil until very hot.
  2. Add flour & stir constantly until browned.
  3. Mix in chili powder & brown just until incorporated.
  4. Pour in water or broth & whisk well until no lumps remain.
  5. Simmer until it reaches your desired thickness (5-10 minutes).

Roasted Veggies

Feel free to use any combination of 6-8 veggies, like butternut squash, small tomatoes, any color peppers, sweet or white potatoes, eggplant, carrots, whatever you want. I just put this on top of sliced Margarita Chicken & rolled it onto a tortilla for a really filling dinner.

4 peppers, sliced
2 onions, quartered
4 Roma tomatoes quartered
1/4 c olive oil
1/8 c balsamic vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix oil & vinegar well.
  3. Add veggies to sauce & toss.
  4. Bake close to element 20-35 minutes stirring when veggies seem to be getting to crispy.
  5. Remove from oven & enjoy as a side dish, on top of oiled pasta, or even in fajitas!

Pizza Hut Crust

1/4 c dry milk
1/2 t salt
1 T sugar
1 pkg yeast
1 1/3 c water (105 degrees)
2 T oil
4 c flour

Put yeast, sugar, salt and dry milk in a large bowl. Add water and stir to mix well. Allow to sit for 2 minutes. Add oil and stir again. Add flour and stir until dough forms and flour is absorbed. Turn out onto a flat surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Divide dough into 3 equal balls. Cover bottom of 3 9-inch cake pans with oil, spreading evenly. Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball. Place in cake pans. Spray outer edge of dough with Pam. Cover with a plate, place in warm area and let rise for 1-1 1/2 hours. Bake pizzas at 475 degrees for 10 minutes.

Watermelon Punch

This summer's end treat can be enjoyed by everyone or used as a base to make watermelon margaritas! Serve it plain or mix it with a bit of sparkling water for a bubbly sensation. You could even use bits of frozen watermelon as fancy ice cubes!

1 c sugar
1/2 c water
2 c lemon juice
1 watermelon (size doesn't matter)

  1. Mix water & sugar together in a small saucepan & heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Remove flesh from watermelon & discard seeds. (Or save them to plant in the spring!)
  3. Add watermelon & sugar to a blend & blend into a homogeneous liquid.
  4. Mix lemon juice & watermelon in a large pitcher & add water to make 2 or 3 quarts (whatever tastes good to you).

Margarita Chicken

This doesn't taste much like a margarita, even though it's practically soaked in one, but you won't care one bit once you sample the juicy tenderness that this marinade imparts! Serve as a main course or slice & serve on a bed of lettuce with 24-Hour Dressing.

1/4 c vegetable oil
1 T honey
1 T lime juice
1/4 t paprika
1 to 2 t tequila (optional)
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large baking dish.
  2. Add chicken & turn to coat completely.
  3. Let set in refrigerator 1 hour to overnight.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees 20 to 30 minutes.

24-Hour Dressing

With the heat of summer just around the corner, I don't feel much like cooking (or eating) hot foods. At this time of year, my family subsists mostly on salads with homemade dressing, but this one can be used on cabbage and fruits like apples & pears as well!

1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c sugar
1/8 c grated sweet onion
1/8 c cider or white vinegar
1 t celery salt
1/2 t mustard powder

  1. Combine all ingredients in a tightly lidded jar & shake well until sugar dissolves.
  2. Refrigerate 24 hours to let flavors meld.
  3. Shake well to combine before serving.
Cook's Note: I used the #3 cone on my Griscer to grate half an onion for this recipe, but my
family thought it was too much onion. Perhaps cut the amount of onion in half or
chop it instead of shredding it. Alternately, you could try rinsing the grated onoin
off a bit before adding it to the sauce.

Sweet & Smokey Barbecue Sauce

This yummy babecue sauce is thick & sweet with a nice after bite to it. Keep some of this on hand at all times to accent your meats or whip up quick meals. Top frozen chicken breasts with 2 tablespoons sauce, wrap in foil, & bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes for a super quick meal or mix with ranch dressing for a unique salad dressing. You can even just dip toasted french bread in it for an evening snack!

1 c granulated sugar
1 T dry minced onion
1 T bottled Real Bacon Pieces
2 T Liquid Smoke
2 T bottled Red Hot Sauce (not Tabasco)
1/4 t Tabasco sauce
1/4 c corn syrup
1/4 c water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan & simmer to desired consistency (about 5-10 min).

Basic BBQ Sauce

This recipe uses 24 oz. of Ketchup so you'll have plenty to spare. Trust me, you will want this on everything. This is a really basic recipe that you can spice up using bourbon, Cajun seasoning, Italian herbs, steak sauce, or just enjoy it plain.

1 T + 1 1/2 t Olive Oil
6 Cloves Garlic
1 1/2 small onions; finely chopped
1 T + 1 1/2 t Mustard Powder
1 1/2 t Red Pepper Flakes
3 T Brown Sugar
24 oz. Ketchup
1/2 c Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 c Cider Vinegar
1 T + 1 1/2 t Molasses
1/2 t Black Pepper
3 T Hot Sauce (not Tabasco)

  1. Saute onion & garlic in olive oil.
  2. Add remaining ingredients & mix well.
  3. Use immediately or simmer to desired consistency.

Only need about a cup of sauce? Use the measurements below to make just what you need.

3/4 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 3/4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon molasses
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (not Tabasco)

Southern Sweet Tea

4 individual tea bags, any flavor you like
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup sugar
10 2/3 cups water

  1. Combine the tea bags, baking soda, sugar, and 2-4 cups of the water in a small saucepan & bring to a boil.
  2. Cover the pan once it begins to boil & remove from heat.
  3. Let tea sit for 10 to 60 minutes.
  4. Strain tea through a washrag or piece of cloth to remove any loose leaves.
  5. Add remaining water & stir well.
  6. Enjoy over ice!

Marinara Sauce

3 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
1 (6 pound 4 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3 1/2 T minced fresh parsley
2 1/8 t dried oregano leaves
1/4 t dried basil leaves
1 3/4 t salt
1 whole bay leaf

Heat oil over medium heat until hot. 
Add onions & saute until onions are clear, about 5 minutes. 
Add garlic & cook just until garlic becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients & bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low & simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. 
Remove bay leaf & serve (you can puree this in a blender or food processor to your desired consistency).

Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing

Put all these ingredients in a screw top jar & give it a good shake for an Italian restaurant worthy dressing. For a full meal, fry one chicken breast in 3T olive oil & 1t granulated garlic until done, slice or chop, & serve on top of the greens. A couple of breadsticks & you'll feel like you're at the Olive Garden!

1 c mayo
1/2 c Vinegar
1/3 c Water
2 1/2 T Parmesan cheese, grated
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t salt
1 t lemon juice
1 t granulated garlic
1/2 t dry mustard
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t parsley
1/4 t pepper
1/8 t basil
1/8 t oregano
1/8t red pepper flakes

Pan Fried Manicotti Noodles

Cook these noodles like you would crepes. It takes some getting used to, but it will be totally worth it! Roll these noodles around any meat or cheese filling you like (I used a lasagna recipe)  & enjoy restaurant-style goodness in your own kitchen. Leftover noodles can be frozen for later flat or filled. Let thaw before using.

1 c water
5 eggs
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 t salt
  1. Mix water & eggs together in a blender.
  2. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, blending well, until all flour is incorporated.
  3. Grease a light skillet with a thin coating of Crisco on a paper towel (you will be lifting this frequently) & heat over medium heat.
  4. Remove pan from heat & pour 1/8 to 1/4 cup noodle batter into center turning pan to make a smooth, pancake-like mass.
  5. Cook noodles 10 seconds on each side being careful not to let them brown (they should be the pasty yellow color of cooked pasta).
  6. Stack noodles on a warmed platter to keep warm.
    *Don't forget to run the greased paper towel over the pan every 5 or so noodles!*
  7. Spread about 1 tablespoon of filling onto each noodle, roll, & place in a baking dish.
  8. Cover noodles with tomato, cheese, or cream pasta sauce when pan is full.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Cherry Tea Bread

I made this for Mother's Day and it seems it was a hit!

· 1/2 cup walnuts -- coarsely chopped
· 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
· 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 1 1/4 cups sweet cherries in juice -- drained
· 8 tablespoons unsalted butter -- softened
· 3/4 cup sugar
· 1/4 cup honey
· 2 large eggs
· 1/3 cup fresh orange juice

Preheat oven to 350°. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. In a second bowl, combine the cherries and the nuts. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy; add the sugar and honey gradually, beating the mixture until it is very light. Add the eggs, one at a time. With mixer at lowest speed, add the flour mixture (reserving 1/4 cup), alternating it with the orange juice. Toss the cherry-nut mixture with the reserved 1/4 cup of flour, and fold it into the batter. Turn the batter into a buttered and floured loaf pan, approximately 9 x 5 x 3 inches. Bake the bread in the center of the oven for 1 hour. Cool the loaf for 15 minutes in the pan; unmold the bread on a rack to cool completely. Wrap the cherry bread loaf in plastic wrap and keep for a day before serving.

Teriyaki Chicken Marinade

This great marinade is enough for 1 or two large chicken breasts. I use one large chicken breast & serve it on top of a bed of lettuce & spinach topped with DeAnn's Oriental Creamy DressingVoilà! Dinner for four on only $3.00! Eat it up!

1/4 c Olive Oil
1/2 c Soy Sauce
1/4 c Honey
1/8 c Cider Vinegar
1 t Ground Ginger
1/4 t Granulated Garlic

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large plastic bag.
  2. Marinate chicken 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Grill or pan-fry chicken 20 to 30 minutes until done.

Oriental Creamy Dressing

3 C. mayonnaise

½ C. shoyu (soy sauce)

¾ C. sugar

1 Tbsp. sesame seed oil


White pepper to taste

Black sesame seeds

Mix and add some water if needed

Warm Bacon Dressing for Spinach Salad

3 T Balsamic Vinegar
3 T White Vinegar or white wine
3/4 t sugar
1/4 t pepper
1/8 t salt
3 T Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
4 T Real Bacon Bits
1 clove garlic, chopped or pressed

  1. Mix vinegars, sugar, pepper, & salt together & set aside.
  2. Sauté onion & bacon in olive oil until onion is translucent.
  3. Add garlic & sauté until fragrant.
  4. Add vinegar mixture to pan, cover & remove from heat.
  5. Let dressing cool for 10 to 20 minutes.
  6. Pour over spinach greens mixed with shredded cheese & chopped egg.
  7. Serve immediately.

Pasta Fagioli Soup

1T olive oil
1 slice bacon
1 onion
1 celery rib
2 carrots, grated
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
32 oz chicken stock
2 c water
1 t salt & pepper
1 c tubular pasta
1 can white beans
1 can kidney beans
1/4 c parsley
Parmesan cheese

Heat oil over moderate heat. Add bacon, onion, celery, carrots, & garlic and cook 4 minutes. Add oregano & rosemary and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and stir 1 minute. Add stock, water, salt, pepper & pasta. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir in beans and parsley. Heat through, then serve with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Farmer's Market Sauce

This sugarless sauce is doubly sweet if you grow your own produce, but I like to buy mine at the local Farmer's Market.  When making this sauce, it is very important to use ripe, homegrown or locally grown Roma tomatoes to get the appropriate level of fruity sweetness without the addition of sugar that can make the sauce taste candy-like.  Supermarket tomatoes leave you with a flat flavor. Fresh basil & parsley are best, but you can find a great prepared substitute in a tube at most grocery produce sections.

10 Roma tomatoes
2T olive oil
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 T Balsamic Vinegar
a handful of fresh basil coarsely chopped
1 handful fresh parsley (skip this if you don't have fresh parsley)
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
cooked whole wheat pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice & water
  3. Plunge tomatoes into boiling water & boil until skin splits
  4. Remove tomatoes with split skins as they split & plunge into ice water until cool enough to handle
  5. Remove peels from tomatoes, chop to desired size, & set aside to develop juice
  6. Heat olive oil in a large pan
  7. Add onion & cook until slightly translucent
  8. Add minced or pressed garlic & stir
  9. Carefully add vinegar, stir, & cook 1 minute
  10. Stir in basil until incorporated
  11. Add tomatoes & simmer 10 minutes
  12. Serve hot over whole wheat pasta or can for a mid-winter treat
Don't add meat to this delicious sauce. Instead, serve it as a side dish for any meat. I like to serve it with Parmesean Chicken.

Sweet & Tangy Deviled Eggs

As Easter approaches, we all want to decorate boiled eggs, but what do you do with them when you're done? Give this tasty egg recipe a try!

6 larges Eggs
3 1/2 T Mayo
1 1/2 t Dijon Mustard
3/4 t Dill Relish
1 T Sweet Relish
1 1/2 t Sugar
salt & pepper to taste 
  1. Poke a small hole in the larger bottom of each egg
  2. Place in a large, deep pan & cover with cold water
  3. Bring water & eggs to a boil
  4. Remove eggs from heat, cover, & let sit 10-12 minutes
  5. While eggs sit, combine all other ingredients in a bowl
  6. Scoop eggs from pan using a slotted spoon & plunge into cold ice water for 5 minutes
  7. Peel eggs & slice in half lengthwise
  8. Scoop cooked egg yolks into bowl with mayo mix
  9. Mash yolks & mix well until smooth
  10. Pipe mayo mixture back into empty egg shells
  11. Sprinkle with paprika for color & serve!

Hot Cheese Dip

I served this with some of my Beer Batter Quick Bread that I had tossed a bit of rosemary, garlic, & parsley into before cooking.  It was g-r-e-a-t! But we did feel like we needed to go for a little jog afterwards!

2 c shredded jack cheese *see note
1 c mayonnaise
1 clove garlic
2 T Parmesan cheese
1   onion, very finely chopped
1/2 c bacon pieces ( I used the kind you get in a huge bag at Sam's Club.)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a 2 quart casserole dish.
  3. Bake, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes until everything is warm & bubbly.
  4. Serve hot with fresh bread.
 * I imagine you're all the way down here to find out what kind of cheese I'd like you to use. Well, I wanted to use cheddar, but all I had was mozzarella, so I used that. But I think it would come out well with just about any kind of cheese you have.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

You will be really surprised at the great difference between the homemade variety & the store bought kind. Like fresh bread straight from the oven, these tortillas can easily be consumed with nothing but butter slathered on their warm surface.  The secret, however, to making the perfect tortilla dough is this: use the same measuring cup to measure the flour and the water.  I know it flies in the face of all Martha Stewart cooking etiquette, but it really is essential.

4 c flour
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
3 t lard or shortening
1 1/2 c very hot water (not boiling)

  1. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Work shortening into the flour mix on a countertop or in an electric mixer.
  3. Add the water a little at a time to allow the flour to absorb it.
  4. Knead 4 minutes or use the dough hook on your mixer.
  5. Pinch dough into 10 pieces & roll them into balls.
  6. Smash balls on a floured surface and roll flat with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thick (maybe thinner, but not thicker).
  7. Grease a griddle or large pan with lard or shortening (like you would a bread pan) then heat to very hot but not quite smoking.
  8. Lay rolled tortillas on hot griddle and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  9. Flip & cook the other side.
  10. Keep tortillas hot by covering with a warm towel while the rest are cooking.

Baked Spaghetti

1 lb hamburger
1/2 onion
1/4 c green pepper (I've never made it with the pepper)

Brown and drain

1 can mushroom soup
1 can tomato soup
1 can water

Add--heat and simmer.

Add 8 oz of cooked spaghetti
Put into baking dish.

Top with cheese.
Bake 350 degrees for 30 min.

Mom's Mexican Casserole

(This is one of my husband's favorites)

3 cups Doritos, crushed
1 pound hamburger
1 small can Pace salsa
I can refried beans
2 cups shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Brown Hamburger
3. Mix salsa and beans in a small bowl
4. Layer Doritos in bottom of 9x13 in. pan
5. Layer hamburger
6. Layer Bean mixture
7. Final Layer cheese
8. Bake until cheese is good and melty!

Beer Batter Quick Bread

You can mix up the dry ingredients & give as a gift with a can of beer, or mix it up in your own kitchen for a yummy family treat. When served with Hearty Vegetable Beef Stew from the Mommy, What's For Dinner blog, you end up with nothing less than a great feast for a rainy Midwestern day.

3c self-rising flour
(click here if you don't have self-rising flour)
1/2 c sugar
3T melted butter
12 oz beer

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine flour & sugar.
  3. Add beer & stir to combine well.
  4. Arrange batter evenly in a loaf pan.
  5. Pour melted butter over the top.
  6. Bake for 50 to 60 minuets until top is brown & yummy looking.
Optional Add Ins
2 T prepared pesto
1 cup finely chopped onions, 1 T grated Parmesan cheese, & 1 t garlic salt
1/2 t each basil, oregano, thyme, & marjoram
1/2 t dried sage & 1 t celery seeds
1 clove garlic, 2 T parsley, 1/2 T dried rosemary

Mexi Mac & Cheese

Serve this quick meal on top of tortilla chips. It makes an excellent "walking taco" and everyone can top it with their favorite Mexican condiments: lettuce, green onions, sour cream, salsa, tomatoes, or even more cheese.

1 box Macaroni & Cheese (7.25 oz)
1 pound Ground Beef
1 packet
Taco Seasoning (about 1/3 of the recipe)
1 cup water
Tortilla chips

  1. Make Mac & Cheese according to directions on box.
  2. Brown ground beef.
  3. Mix water & taco seasoning into cooked beef.
  4. Arrange tortilla chips on plates & top with mac & cheese and hamburger.
  5. Add any desired condiments & enjoy!

Roasted Potato Seasoning Mix

I keep little packets of this stuff on hand for those days when I don't know what to make as a side dish for food. It works equally well alongside deep winter casseroles as it does presented with summer grilled steaks.

1/2 T dried thyme
1/2 t granulated garlic
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 t coarse salt (about 1/4 to 1/2 t table salt)

To Make Potatoes:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash & cube 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (russet, Yukon gold, & sweet potatoes all work equally well).
  3. Mix packet with 3 T olive oil & toss potatoes in mix to coat.
  4. Spread potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet & bake 20 minutes.
  5. Stir potatoes & bake 20 minutes more.

    Cheeseburger Salad

    As we round off January & head on to February, I begin to crave the meaty goodness of grilled burgers in the summertime. To help satisfy my craving indoors, I whip up this little treat & try to pretend I'm somewhere warm! Cheeseburger Salad
    1 clove Garlic
    3/4 t Chives
    1/4 t Pepper
    1 pound Ground Beef, crumbled
    1 slice Bacon, crumbled (about 1 t Bacon Bits)
    1 T Soy Sauce

    1/2 T Vegetable Oil
    3/4 t Brown Sugar
    1/4 t Balsamic Vinegar

    4 oz. Cheddar Cheese, shredded
    1 bag Salad Greens
    1 Tomato, sliced
    1 Red Onion, sliced

    3 T Olive Oil

    1 T Mayo
    1T Ketchup
    1t Mustard
    1t Pickle Relish
    1. Mix dressing ingredients together & refrigerate.
    2. Mix together Garlic, chives, pepper, ground beef, & bacon.
    3. In a large pan, heat soy sauce, oil, brown sugar, & vinegar.
    4. Add meat mixture & brown thoroughly.
    5. Top salad greens with meat mixture.
    6. Sprinkle with tomatoes, onions, & cheese.
    7. Enjoy with refrigerated dressing!
    TIP: You could probably make your own croutons by cutting hamburger buns into cubes, brushing with vegetable oil, onion powder, & garlic powder then toasting them in the oven until they are crispy!
    This recipe appears on The Exec Moms blog. Click here for more recipes that are so easy you can make them even if you can't make toast!

    Tuscan Bean Soup

    This is the perfect hearty soup for a cold & dreary afternoon. I'm not totally sure what makes this soup "Tuscan," but when I tasted it, it reminded me of the kind of thing they would serve at Olive Garden. It was really good, but it should definitely be served with a savory bread of some sort. Perhaps breadsticks or toasted slices of Pesto Bread.

    1 leek, white & light green parts only, sliced lengthwise & chopped
    1/2 onion, chopped or sliced
    1 carrot, chopped into chunky bits
    1 celery stalk, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
    1/4 c olive oil
    4 c beef or vegetable broth
    4 c water
    2 c prepared beans (any kind you like)
    1 can tomatoes, drained (14.5 oz can)
    1 T balsamic vinegar
    1. Saute leek, onion, carrot, & celery in olive oil until tender (about 5 minutes).
    2. Add garlic & stir just until garlic is fragrant
    3. Add broth & water, cover, & boil lightly until reduced by half (about 30 minutes)
    4. Stir in tomatoes & beans, simmering until warmed through.
    5. Stir in vinegar & serve immediately.

    Pesto Bread

    I have now lost the original recipe for this, but that is okay. It called for a lengthy process that included stuffing the bread with a fresh pesto sauce. We all know now that I do not have the patience for stuff like that, so I throw it all in one bowl & let it be easy! This would be the perfect accompaniment to the Tuscan Bean Soup, but I know my parents ate the whole loaf hot from the oven & slathered with butter!

    5 cups all-purpose flour (or half wheat & half regular)
    2 1/2 t active dry or bread machine yeast
    2 T sugar
    2 t salt
    2 c hot tap water
    3 T olive oil
    2 T dried basil or 1/4 c fresh chopped basil
    1/3 c Parmesan cheese, grated
    1 clove garlic
    1. Turn on oven light.
    2. In a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, mix half of the flour with the yeast, sugar, & salt.
    3. Add the water, olive oil, basil, cheese, & garlic.
    4. Mix, adding more flour 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough forms a shaggy mass.
    5. Remove flat beater & attach dough hook.
    6. Knead dough with dough hook about 8 minutes, adding remaining flour when dough becomes sticky (this dough will remain sticky).
    7. Cover mixer bowl & place in oven until dough doubles in bulk (about 20 minutes).
    8. Punch dough down, divide in half, shape into loaves, & place in greased loaf pans.
    9. Cover pans & place in oven to rise until dough reaches toe top of the pan (20 to 40 minutes).
    10. Remove covering from pans & heat oven to 375○.
    11. Bake loaves 40 to 50 minutes.
    12. Let cool in pans about 10 minutes.

    Whole Wheat Bread

    This is my mom's recipe. I have fond memories of coming home after school, smelling this bread and eating a warm slice with butter and honey.

    1. In 1/2 c warm water sprinkle 2T yeast and a little brown sugar. Set aside.
    2. Blend 5c hot water & 7c whole wheat flour
    3. Add 2/3 c oil
    2T salt
    1 c powdered milk
    2/3 c brown sugar (or honey)
    1 egg
    4. Add yeast mixture.
    5. Add 5-6 c whole wheat or white flour.
    6. Mix on low for 10 minutes (add more flour if necessary)
    7. Put in greased bowl and let raise for 2 hours.
    8. Form into loaves (I usually do 5).
    9. Let raise for about 30 minutes (not over tops of pans).
    10. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

    Erik's Saucy Meatballs

    Erik is my sister's husband, but this recipe actually comes from his mother. I thought that "Treva's Husband's Mom's Saucy Meatballs" was a little long! I haven't made it yet, but Treva assures me that it is really yummy!

    1 bag frozen meatballs (microwave)
    1 26 oz jar Spaghetti sauce
    2 cups your favorite shredded cheese
    1 or 2 (12 oz) packages Refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
    Oregano & garlic powder for sprinkling

    1. Pre-heat per biscuit instructions (400 degrees)
    2. Cook meatballs in microwave according to directions
    3. While meatballs are cooking, quarter biscuits
    4. Put meatballs in a 9 x 13 baking dish
    5. Pour sauce over meatballs
    6. Layer cheese with the biscuit quarters
    7. Sprinkle biscuits with oregano & garlic powder
    8. Bake per biscuit instructions or until biscuits on top are golden brown

    Andrea's Favorite Pasta

    1 T olive oil
    8 oz frozen sausage
    1 garlic clove
    1/4 t sage
    1/3 t thyme
    Other seasonings to taste
    2 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
    1 lb cooked penne pasta
    1 c heavy cream
    Parmesan cheese

    Heat oil; cook sausage. Add spices, cook 1 min. Add tomatoes. Reduce heat, simmer 20 minutes. Add cream to sauce. Simmer until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste. Add 2/3 c pasta water and pasta. Heat through. Top with Parmesan cheese.

    Pizza Casserole

    So, I published this recipe previously, but this one is slightly different...and improved. I have omitted the brown sugar in favor of oregano as my sister suggested. I also have started serving it on top of pene pasta so I can call it Dinner instead of just being a snack. You could even make this a Supreme Pizza Casserole by adding mushrooms, olives, and green peppers!

    1 pound ground beef
    4 cloves garlic - chopped
    1 onion - chopped
    1/2 t salt
    1/2 t sage
    1/4 t oregano
    1/4 t pepper
    dash ginger
    dash ground anise

    4 oz pepperoni - chopped
    1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes - drained
    1 c shredded mozzarella
    1 box penne pasta, prepared

    1. Brown beef with the garlic, onion, salt, sage, oregano, pepper, ginger, & anise
    2. Add the chopped pepperoni to the pan & heat through
    3. Place pasta in a baking dish & top with the meat mix & tomatoes then the cheese
    4. Pop in the oven until the cheese is brown & melty

    Bread Dipping Oil

    I made frozen bread dough for many people for Christmas & everyone has thoroughly enjoyed it! This dipping oil can be used instead of butter to enhance the flavor of any bread. I'm not sure how long it keeps, though...there's never been any leftover!

    1/2 c olive oil
    1/4 to 1 t crushed red pepper
    1 t black pepper
    1 t dried oregano
    1 t dried rosemary
    1 t dried basil
    1 t parsley flakes
    1 t granulated garlic
    1 t minced garlic or 1 1/2 t garlic salt
    1 t coarse salt (omit if using garlic salt)
    1. Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until very hot but not bubbly.
    2. Use hot or let cool (oil will have changed to a greenish color).

    Restaurant-Style Chicken Strips

    This simple recipe was so yummy that we felt like we had gone out to eat! Don't worry about the coconut - you really can't even tell it's there - but you do need it for this one.

    1 stick butter, melted
    1 t paprika
    1/2 t cayenne pepper
    1 pkg Ritz crackers (just a single sleeve)
    1/2 c shredded coconut (I use sweetened kind since it's easier to find)
    1 1/2 lbs. chicken, sliced into strips

    Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

    1. Mix butter, paprika, & cayenne pepper together.
    2. Process crackers & coconut in a food processor or blender until very finely chopped.
    3. Dip chicken in butter (you should mix it again to get the spices to combine) then coat with the cracker mix.
    4. Arrange on a broiler pan or wire rack.
    5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown & crispy.
    6. Serve hot with Sweet & Tangy Honey Mustard Dip.

    Sweet & Tangy Honey Mustard Dip

    Use the resaurant-style dip as a condiment for hot dogs & chicken or add a little more oil & use as a salad dressing!

    1/2 c mayo or miracle whip
    1/8 c dijon mustard
    1/8 c vegetable, olive, or dressing oil
    1/8 c honey
    1/8 t garlic granules
    1/8 t paprika

    Stuffed Bread Braid

    I made this with pepperoni & mozzarella cheese then sprinkled a little Parmesan on top. It was a hit & done in under an hour!

    3-1/4 c all-purpose white flour
    1 T white sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 1/2 t Rapid Rise yeast (1 package)
    1 c warm water
    1 T butter, melted
    1/4 c Pizza or Spaghetti Sauce
    8 oz. Pepperoni, italian sausage, or any other combination of meat you would like
    4 oz. shredded mozzarella
    1 egg, beaten
    1/2 t garlic salt
    1 T shredded Parmesan

    1. Pre-heat your oven to the lowest temperature possible then turn off & crack door.
    2. In a stand mixer, mix 2-1/4 cups of the flour with the sugar, salt, and yeast.
    3. Attach the flat mixing blade & stir in the warm water and margarine.
    4. Mix in only enough of the remaining 1 cup flour to make a soft dough.
    5. Attach dough hook and knead for 4 minutes.
    6. On a greased baking sheet, roll or press the dough to a rectangle of 10 inches by 14 inches.
    7. Spread sauce down the center third of the dough.
    8. Top with a layer of pepperoni and cheese.
    9. Make slices in the dough from the filling to the dough edges at 1-inch intervals.
    10. Fold the dough strips at an angle over the filling, alternating sides for a braided look.
    11. Brush the top with the egg white and sprinkle with the garlic salt & Parmesan cheese.
    12. Place loaf in warmed oven 15 minutes.
    13. Remove dough from oven & preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    14. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until done.
    15. Cool slightly before serving.
    16. Serve slices with more spaghetti sauce for dipping.

    Chicken Stir-Fry

    I recently discovered that the secret to chicken stir-fry without the rubber chicken taste is an easy pre-marinade to tenderize the chicken. Give this one a try & make yourself a believer!

    2 chicken breast, thinly sliced (its easier to cut when partially frozen)
    1 t baking soda
    1 t corn starch
    1 t white wine or vinegar
    2 t olive oil

    2 T chopped chives
    1/4 c soy sauce
    1/4 c white wine or vinegar
    2 T brown sugar
    1/8 t ground ginger
    2 cloves garlic
    1 pkg frozen stir-fry veggies (14 oz.)

    1. Mix baking soda, corn starch, & wine together.

    2. Add sliced chicken to baking soda & mix to coat.

    3. Mix the oil, chives, soy sauce, wine, brown sugar, ginger, & garlic together.

    4. Rinse the chicken well & toss in oil mixture.

    5. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

    6. Heat oil in a large pan.

    7. Add chicken to pan reserving sauce.

    8. Cook until chicken until nearly done then add frozen veggies & remaining sauce.

    9. Bring mixture to a simmer, cover, & cook 4 to 6 minutes.

    10. Serve over wheat berries or white rice.

    Happy New Year!

    New Year