Friday, December 30, 2011

Chocolate Crackles

The recipe for this cookie comes from Farm Journal Christmas Cookbook, which I bought in 1973, before  any of my four children were born!!  It happens to be THE favorite cookie of my three sons.  It is also  embarrassingly simple how easy this cookie is.  I hope you can try this delicious tasting cookie from one of my favorite cookbooks.

1 (1 lb. 2 1/2 oz.) pkg. devil's food cake mix
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 T. water
1/2 c. shortening
confectioners sugar

Combine cake mix, eggs, water and shortening.  Mix with a spoon until well blended (I actually use my mixer for this part).

Shape dough into balls the size of small walnuts.  Roll balls in confectioners sugar (coat liberally).

Place on greased baking sheets.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

Makes about 48 cookies.
These are soft-textured, brownie-like cookies

I am sharing this with:
Sweets for Saturday
Tea Party Tuesday
Mrs. Fox's Sweets Party
Rock 'n Share Party
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Baked Gouda

I received this recipe from a co-worker long ago & it quickly became a family favorite!  It's so easy to put together & impressive to serve.  As an appetizer, you can serve it with a light wine & seedless grapes. 

1 7-ounce round Gouda cheese
1 8-ounce Pillsbury Crescent rolls
1 egg

Heat oven to 350 degrees.   Cut cheese in half horizontally to form two circles; remove wax.
Separate dough into 4 rectangles.  Firmly press perforations to seal.   Place one rectangle on top of second; repeat with remaining rectangles, making two double-thick rectangles.
Press each into a 6-inch square; place cheese circle in center of dough.

Pull corners of dough to top of center of cheese.  Press dough tightly against cheese.  Twist dough in center to seal, twisting off excess dough.  Press seams to seal.
Repeat to make second Gouda wrap.  If desired, press out excess dough.  With canape cutter or paring knife, cut out decorative shapes; place on top of each Gouda wrap.

Brush with beaten egg.  Place 3" apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake ate 350 for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 10 minutes before serving.  Cut into wedges to serve.

Apricot Gouda:

Coat the top of each Gouda cheese with 2 t. of apricot preserves & top with the dough.   Bake as directed, omitting the egg wash.  After baking, coat the top of the baked Gouda with 1 T.  honey & sprinkle with 1 T. toasted, sliced almonds.

This serves 8 as an appetizer or 4-6 as a snack.
Yummy, oozing cheese!

I am sharing with:

Tea Party Tuesday
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Monday, December 26, 2011

Chow Mein Noodle Cookies

If I had to pick a favorite cookie, this one would be one of my top picks.  I started making this when I was a Girl Scout.   Of course, all the rage now is salt on top of cookies.  Who knew that this cookie was fashionable before it's time, because it has salty nuts in it?!!  This recipe also makes adorable nests for Easter time.  This is a great, easy, no-bake recipe.    I personally like the butterscotch/chocolate combo, but you may like peanut butter/chocolate.

1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips                                                       
1 (5-ounce) container Chow Mein Noodles                         
1 cup of  dry roasted peanuts

Melt the chips together in a microwave-safe bowl.    I do this  on 50% power at 1 minute intervals, stirring in between.  When melted,  add the Chow Mein noodles & the peanuts and stir until everything is coated.

Drop the cookies by spoonsful onto cookie sheets that have been covered with wax paper.  Chill in fridge until firm & then transfer to covered containers.  YUM!!!

I am sharing with:
Mrs. Fox's Sweets Party
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday
Sweets for Saturday

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pine Cone Cheese Ball

I got this recipe from a Southern Living  magazine and have been making it during the holidays for many, many years.  It is so good, easy & really pretty.  You can make one large pinecone or 2 smaller ones.  Some of our grandkids love it, too, so I make one for them.  Here's this wonderful recipe.

1 (8-ounce) container vegetable cream cheese                         
1 (8-ounce) container onion & chive cream cheese
   (the original recipe called for roasted garlic , but
    I can't ever find it!!)
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
3 green onion, chopped
2 cups pecan halves, toasted
Fresh rosemary sprigs

Stir together 4 ingredients.  Shape into an oval; chill 2 hours.

Arrange pecan halves over cheese oval in overlapping rows beginning at the bottom & working upward.  Arrange rosemary sprigs at top of pinecone.  Serve with crackers.

Yield:  16 servings.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Caramel Fudge Squares

I tasted these at a party years ago & had to get the recipe.  They are so scrumptious, chewy & wonderful!!  Recently I saw on, that my blogging friend, Anita,  used Kraft Caramel  Bits in place of the caramels that need to be unwrapped.  Woo-hoo & Alleluia!!!! I'm telling you, the bits are such a time-saver, you won't believe it.  If you need a decadent bar cookie to add to your repertoire, I hope you give this a try.

1 package of Kraft Caramel Bits (or a 14 oz. pkg of caramels)
1 pkg. of German Chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 c. evaporated milk, divided                                                        
1/2-1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chocolate chips

Grease a 9 x 13" pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine caramel bits & 1/3 cup evaporated milk.  Cook over low heat, stirring often until caramel melts & is smooth.

Combine dry cake mix, butter, the other 1/3 cup of evaporated milk & nuts.  Stir just until mixed.  Press half of dough into pan.  You will have to use your hands to pat it down.  Bake 6 minutes. 

Spread caramel mixture over all & sprinkle chocolate chips on top.  Top with remaining half of dough.  Spread gently to cover.  I usually just plop the dough by spoonfuls. 

Bake for 15-18 minutes.  Let stand until cool.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to make cutting easier.  Cut into bars.  Eat at room temperature for pure yumminess!!

Makes about 40 bars, depending on size cut

I am sharing with:
Tea Party Tuesday
Mrs. Fox's Sweets Party
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday
Sweets for Saturday

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Easy Santa Hats

I first saw these at  a friend's blog & then again at  I wanted to try them for a luncheon I was attending, but did them a super quick & easy way.  You could use a buttercream  or a cream cheese frosting in place of the aerosol whipped cream, but those watching their sugar intake appreciate the whipped cream!!  The only problem with the aerosol whipped cream is that you need to do this right before serving, as it starts to dissolve when sitting. 

I pouch (10.25 oz.) of brownie mix                               
Strawberries, cleaned & stems removed
aerosol whipped cream

Mix up the brownies according to directions on pouch.  Spoon batter into 24 miniature  muffin cups (you could also spread batter into prepared pan & then cut the round shape with a small glass).  Bake the brownies according to directions.  Mine baked in about 15 minutes.  Let cool a few minutes in pan & then carefully remove from muffin tin.  Let cool completely.

Pipe a circle around the brownie.  Place strawberry on top, stem side down.  Pipe a dab of whipped cream on top for Santa's hat. 

Makes 24

I am sharing with:
Seasonal Sundays
Tea Party Tuesday
Mrs. Fox's Sweets Party
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday
Sweets for Saturday

Friday, December 16, 2011

Creme Brûlée

I still have mint growing in a pot!

I usually only make this once a year because it is TOO GOOD!  The recipe is from Tyler Florence & it is simply divine. Even though it is rich & sinful,  you can make small servings & still get the pleasure of enjoying it! If you've never made creme brulee, it is really quite easy.   I hope you try this (my adapations are in red) fabulous recipe!!


  • 9 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup superfine white sugar (I use regular sugar)
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean (I have also substituted a tablespoon of vanilla )


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream together egg yolks and sugar with a whisk until the mixture is pale yellow and thick.

Pour cream into a medium saucepan over low heat. Using a paring knife, split the vanilla bean down the middle, scrape out the seeds and add them to saucepan. Bring cream to a brief simmer, do not boil or it will overflow. Remove from heat and temper the yolks by gradually whisking the hot vanilla cream into yolk and sugar mixture. Do not add hot cream too quickly or the eggs will cook.

Divide custard into  ramekins, about 3/4 full. (Somehow, Tyler Florence uses 6 ramekins, but ( I get 10-11 servings from this recipe & some of my ramekins are bigger than 6 ounces!).  Place ramekins in a roasting pan and fill pan with enough (hot) water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the creme brulee is set,  but still a little wiggly in the center,  about 40 minutes. You may want to cover loosely with foil to prevent browning. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Transfer the ramekins to the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours (I even make them a day ahead & chill in the fridge.)  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar on top of each chilled custard (brown sugar is yummy, too!)  Hold a kitchen torch 2 inches above surface to brown the sugar and form a crust.  Garnish with fresh fruit &  a sprig of mint , if desired.   Serve at once.
Torching the sugar

NOTE:  You also can put the sugared creme brulees  under the broiler & watch very carefully!!

I am sharing this with these wonderful blog parties:
Tea Party Tuesday
Mrs. Fox's Sweets Party
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday
Sweets for Saturday

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Favorite Spritz

I love making spritz cookies!!  They are so easy, no rolling involved & you have lots of cookies in a small amount of time.  I've tried many spritz recipes over the years, but always come back to this one as my favorite.  The touch of orange zest & the hint of cinnamon just make this cookie special.  The recipe comes from my very old Mirro cookie pamphlet that came with my old Mirro cookie press, which sadly broke.  I do have a new, snazzy one that is very easy to use, but I kind of miss that old aluminum one with the orange top!!  My hubby really doesn't much care for spritz cookies because he thinks they're "too bland".  However, he loves this recipe.   The recipe in the pamphet is called Snowflakes.   I hope you give  it a try!

1 cup shortening (or butter, softened)
1 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 t. vanilla
1 t. orange zest (I use the zest of one orange)
2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream shortening (or butter), cream cheese & sugar well.

Beat in egg yolk, vanilla & orange zest

Gradually blend in flour, salt & cinnamon which have been sifted together.

Fill press.  Form cookies on ungreased cookie sheets.  Sprinkle with any colored sugar now, before baking.

Bake for 10-12  minutes.  I only bake for 10 minutes, as I like them that way!!!  The original recipe said to bake for 12-15 minutes, but I think that's too long.

Makes 6-7 dozen
I made some royal icing, but truthfully, they taste better with just the colored sugar!

I am sharing with these wonderful blogs:

Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday
Tea Party Tuesday
Mrs. Fox's Sweets Party

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Jam

A scone with this jam & a cup of tea...bliss!!!

My hubby & I have been making this every Christmas for probably over 35 years now.  It's a wonderful gift for co-workers, neighbors, friends & family.  We love it & it seems like everyone that receives it, loves it, too.  Here's the recipe, if you'd like to give it a try:

Before you start, make sure you have clean, sterilized jars & put the lids in a small pan  of boiling water.  I then keep the lids on simmer, while making the jam & keep hot water  in the jars until ready to use.
1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen strawberries, thawed (I now use a 23-24 oz container of sliced strawberries in sugar, thawed)
4 cups sugar
1 (3-ounce) package liquid pectin

Process cranberries in a food processor with the knife blade until they are coarsely chopped.

Combine cranberries, strawberries & sugar in a dutch oven; bring to a boil & cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat; add pectin to mixture.  Return to a full rolling boil; boil 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat & skim off foam with a metal  spoon.

Quickly pour jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4" headspace.  Wipe jar rims.  Cover at once with metal lids, and screw on bands.  Process in boiling-water bath for 5 minutes (or see NOTE).

Yield:  7 half pints

NOTE:  For a quick way to process the jam, check this recipe here, and follow step #7.    It works for me every time!!

I am sharing with these delightful blog parties:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dishes from Christmas Past

 When I pull out my Christmas dishes every year, I have such fond memories! Years ago, when we first moved to Texas, my dear hubby & I scrounged around, after Christmas,  to many Target stores,  to collect a set. We both absolutely LOVE these dishes!! My daughter & I found even more to add to the collection.  Sadly, Target quit selling them,  but  at least I have ours!

I love this cheerful plate with the "sponge" border
A friend stenciled these cute napkins

I made this "Big Star" quilt in Christmas prints
A wooden Santa in a hurricane with pine cones

I am sharing with these wonderful blog parties:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cranberry BBQ Chicken

This is such a festive, EASY meal for the holidays!  You wouldn't think that something so simple could taste SO good, but it does!!!  I don't know where I got this recipe, but it's a good one.  Here it is:

Yield: 6
Author: Kitty
Cranberry BBQ Chicken

Cranberry BBQ Chicken


  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 T. oil
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 c. BBQ sauce


  1. Brown chicken in hot oil. Season with salt & pepper. Place in 9 x 13" dish. Sprinkle with the onion.
  2. Combine the sauces & pour over the chicken. Cover with foil & bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove foil for the last 30 minutes. Check the chicken to make sure the juices run clear.


NOTE: I really think this could be prepared in a slow cooker & cooked on low, all day. I would skip the browning.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cranberry Orange Scones

Mmmm, I love baking during the holidays!!  The flavor or cranberry & orange together is especially wonderful.  I decided to hunt for a fabulous scone recipe with this combination.  I have tried several in the past & they just weren't what I was expecting.  I then found Ina Garten's recipe which can be found here & I was in scone heaven!!  I cut the recipe in half to make 8 scones, which are LARGE!! 

Here's the recipe:                                             

2 cups + 2 T. flour                                                 
2 T. sugar** + additional for sprinkling
1T. baking powder
1 t. kosher salt
the zest of one orange
12 T. cold, unsalted butter, diced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c. cold heavy cream
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 T. milk or water, for egg wash
heaping 1/4 c. confectioners' sugar
2 t. orange juice

**NOTE:  If you like sweeter scones, double the sugar.  I think the taste is perfect as is.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix 2 cups of flour (save the 2 T. for later), sugar, baking powder, slat & orange zest.  Add the cold butter & mix on lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas.  Combine the eggs & the heavy cream & with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour & butter mixture.  Mix until just blended.  The dough will look lumpy.  Combine the cranberries with the 2 T. flour, add to the dough & mix on low until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface & knead into a ball.  I just patted the dough out into a circle which was about 3/4" thick.  This was very easy to do & then I didn't have to clean a rolling pin!!  Cut the circle into 8 wedges.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between each scone.  (You could make 2 smaller circles & then cut 6 scones from each to make 12 smaller scones.)

Brush the tops with the egg wash & sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes & then whisk together the confectioners' sugar & orange juice & drizzle over the scones.

Be prepared to bite into  the most luscious scone !!

I am sharing with:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Vanilla Cake Donuts

Hurray, my donut pan arrived from Amazon just in time to make donuts with three of my grandkids!  They spent the night & we whipped up the batter & icing for them to decorate their donuts the next morning.  I got the basic recipe from, but slightly adapted it to include no spice for the little ones.  Here's the adapted recipe:

2 c. cake flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
3/4 c. buttermilk                                                     
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 T. oil (or melted butter)
1 t. vanilla

Sift together the dry ingredients (my trick is to just use a whisk in the bowl & this mixes & aerates the dry ingredients...easy peasy!!).

Whisk in the rest of the ingredients.

Pour the batter into a greased (or sprayed) donut pan, two-thirds full.  You will use half the batter.  Save the rest for your next batch.

Bake at 425 degrees for 7-9 minutes.  Let cool in the pan for a few minutes & then turn the donuts out.

Simple Glaze

Mix powdered sugar & hot water together to get a pourable consistency.  Spread on donuts & let the kids decorate with sprinkles.

Chocolate Glaze

Melt a few chocolate chips in the microwave with a tiny bit of butter.  Add this to the leftover powdered sugar glaze for the chocolate lovers.

Woo-hoo...I can't wait to make more flavors of donuts.

Make 12 donuts
Happy donut helpers!!!

I am sharing with:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Cheer

This is a vignette I have on my kitchen island. The cute chef snowman, with menu board,  was a gift from my daughter several years ago. The miniature tree is decorated with tiny, old-fashioned cooking utensils (again from my daughter) & I have a new Anthropologie candle (half price!!) in sweet vanilla cinnamon...Mmmmm!!!

My Chef Santa stands on the counter above my sink, along with my sugar mold with candles & some greenery. Again, the Santa was a gift from my dear daughter! The Santa bell was a gift from my MIL many years ago.

I am sharing with:

Ham & Bean Soup

My hubby loves ham & bean soup.  I basically make it like my Mom always did.  Since we had a ham for Thanksgiving, I was presented with the ham bone, since everyone knows that I like to make soup.  It 's a good hearty soup for the Winter months.   It's especially good with a slice of corn bread.  Here's how you make the soup:
2 lbs. Great Northern beans
1 onion, chopped
a couple of stalks of celery, cleaned & cut into large pieces
1 meaty ham bone
salt & pepper
about 2 T. dried parsley

Pick through the beans to remove any small stones & rinse the beans well.  Cover with about 8 cups of water in a large stockpot or dutch oven.   Bring to a boil & boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat & cover the pot with a lid.  Let sit for 1 hour.

Drain the water from the beans.  Add fresh water to cover the beans by several inches.  Add the onion, celery & ham bone.  Bring to a boil & then cover & reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer the ham & beans for 5-6 hours.  Remove the ham bone from the pot to cool for a bit & then chop the ham.  Remove the large pieces of celery.

Meanwhile, smash some of the beans with the back of a spoon  to make the soup thick & creamy.  Add more water, if necessary, depending on how thick or thin you like your soup.  Add the chopped ham back to the pot.  Add freshly ground pepper , taste for salt & add if needed.  Add the dried parsley & heat through.

This makes a lot of soup!!  You may want to cut the recipe in half.

I am sharing with:
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Here's a great, quick bar recipe.  The  important thing about this one is don't use a mixer.  Just do everything by hand.  Here's this delicious recipe to try for the HOLIDAYS !!!


Makes 2 dozen  

2 sticks butter (plus more for greasing the pan)
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (if you use salted butter, omit the salt in the recipe)
1 teaspoon  vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour  
2 large eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch-by-12-inch baking pan well with butter. Set the pan aside.

Melt the two sticks of butter in a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl covered with a paper towel. Remove the bowl from the microwave, and add the brown sugar. Stir well. Add the baking powder, salt and vanilla extract, stirring until completely incorporated. Stir in the flour, again stirring until it is well mixed.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl, and beat them well with a fork or whisk. Add the eggs to the batter and stir with a spoon until they are completely incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips (and the nuts, if using).

Spread the batter in the greased pan. The batter will be stiff and sticky. 

Bake until the top begins to get golden brown and the blondies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20 to 25 minutes. (Baking time will vary depending on your oven and the type of pan.) Do not overbake. Cool for at least 20 minutes, and cut into small squares. Store in an airtight container or cover well with plastic wrap. These bars freeze very well and improve in flavor after the first day. 

Per blondie: 216 calories (41 percent from fat), 10 g fat (6 g saturated), 38 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 31 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 59 mg sodium.

This is an adapted recipe from Desperation Dinners.
 I am sharing with:
Sweets for Saturday
Recipe of the Week
Tea Party Tuesday
Crazy Sweet Tuesday
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pecan Pie

For the edge, I used pie crust cutters from Williams-Sonoma
Mmmm, of all the pies in the world, I think I love pecan THE BEST !!  What is it about's richness, it's nuttiness, it's gooey-ness...I don't know??  However, I will be happy to share the recipe that I like to use.  It's actually adapted from Dear Abby's pecan pie recipe that was printed in her column.  Here's my adapted version:

9" unbaked pie crust
1 cup light corn syrup                                                
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 t. salt
2 t.vanilla

1 heaping cup pecan halves, chopped

In a large bowl, combine corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, salt & vanilla.  Put the chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie crust.  Pour the filling on top of the nuts.

Bake the pie at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until set.  If the edges of the pie crust start to brown too quickly, cover with foil for the remaining cooking time.  I like to use one of those pie crust protector rings.

Cool the pie for several hours on a cooling rack before slicing.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

I am sharing with:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hot Chocolate on a Spoon

Recently I was perusing the aisles of a country store & saw this cute idea, which sold for $1.99.  I thought that it would make a really cute gift idea.  I had some chocolate Wilton candy melts already & decided to check out Dollar Tree for the rest of the items.   Sure enough, DT had the marshmallows, spoons & candy canes.   Here's what you need to make these cute spoons:

Aren't these cute?
plastic spoons
peppermint candy canes
mini marshmallows
chocolate for melting (Wilton candy melts, chocolate bark, even chocolate chips
wax paper
plastic wrap

Crush some peppermint candy canes & set aside.

Melt your candy melts or whatever chocolate you are using in a microwave-safe container.  I like to use a small, narrow juice glass.  Microwave your chocolate according to directions on package.  I usually microwave at one minute intervals, using 50% power until chocolate is melted.

Take your spoon & dip it into the chocolate, coating liberally.  Place on a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax paper.  Place 3 mini marshmallows down the center of the spoon & sprinkle with the crushed peppermint. You want to do this before the chocolate hardens.  Of course, if you don't like peppermint candy, leave it off.    Repeat for however many spoons you want to do. 
This is a fun project to do with kids!!!!

Place the spoons in the freezer for about 5 minutes to set the chocolate.

Wrap spoon in the plastic wrap & tie with a bow.

Give the spoon with directions to: " Add the spoon to hot milk & stir  for a delicious hot chocolate drink."  I think it would be nice to have a little tag with the title & directions  attached to the spoon.

For a gift, add the spoon to a pretty mug
I am sharing with:

 Pink Saturday
Sweets for Saturday
Seasonal Sundays
On the Menu Monday
Metamorphosis Monday
Tea Party Tuesday
Tabletop Tuesday
Crazy Sweet Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesday
Rock 'n Share Party
Bunny Hop Wednesday
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Burrito Bowls

If you need a fun buffet for the holidays, I have a WINNER for you!!  I first saw this recipe while watching Ten Dollar Dinners on The Food Network.  The original recipe can be found here. 
You could prepare this meal ahead & put the rice, pork carnitas & black beans in one of those triple buffet heating elements.  The pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese & green onions could be on the side for garnishing.  Even vegetarians would be happy because they could fix their burrito bowl how they enjoy it.  I scaled this recipe down for my hubby & I, but I hope to fix this again for my whole family soon!

For the pork, I used what I had  from this recipe.  I had a quart-size bag frozen & thawed that.


3 cups cooked white rice
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 T. orange zest
1 can black beans, heated & drained
Pico de Gallo, recipe follows
2 cups pork carnitas, recipe follows
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 green onions, chopped

Pico de Gallo

1 t. salt
2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed & chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, ribs & seeds removed, finely chopped
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled & cut into small cubes
1 lime, juiced
3 T. chopped fresh cilantro

Toss the tomatoes with the salt.  Add the onion & jalapeno & combine.  Place the avocado on top & cover with the lime juice to coat the avocado.  Sprinkle on the cilantro & stir.

Pork Carnitas

2 cups cooked pork
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. ground cumin
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
vegetable oil

Mix all the ingredients together.  In a large saute pan, heat 2 T. vegetable oil over high heat.  Press the meat into the oil & fry until crusty on one side.

Directions for assembling

In a medium bowl, toss the rice with the cilantro & orange zest.  Divide the rice evenly among 4 serving bowl.  Top with the black beans & half the pico de gallo.  Add warm carnitas & top with the rest of the pico de gallo.  Sprinkle on the cheese, add a dollop of sour cream & garnish with green onions.

Enjoy this fun, party food!  Serves 4.

I am sharing this with:
On the Menu Monday
Wow Us Wednesday
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Monday, November 21, 2011

Baked Eggs

 Eggs are my most essential ingredient. I eat one every morning & they are so versatile!!   You could eat one for breakfast, lunch or dinner & they're such a good source of protein.  Of course, we also need them for baking, cooking. etc.    I am never without them in my fridge.  Here's a recipe that you could use for any meal:
Baked eggs served with  toast & cup of tea, what could be better?

This is for each serving:

1 egg
salt & pepper
1 t. cream or butter

Butter a small ramekin & then crack an egg carefully into it.  Season & then sprinkle the cream or butter on top. 

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 15-18 minutes.  You may want to add some grated cheese the last 5 minutes.  Check for desired doneness as the white should be set & the yolk soft.  Serve in baking dish.

I am sharing with:
Foodie Friday

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Scalloped Potatoes with Pork Chops

I have been making this recipe, which is  from Farm Journal's Great Home Cooking in America, for years.  It is not a cheesy scalloped potato, but rather one with a gravy.  It is one of those good, homey meals that's perfect for Fall & Winter.  I only make half the recipe now, since it's just the two of us.  Here's the full recipe:

6  pork chops, cut 1/2" thick
2 T. cooking oil
salt & pepper
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
2 c. chicken broth
6 c. sliced potatoes
1 medium onion, sliced & separated into rings

Brown pork chops on both sides in hot oil in a 12" skillet.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste.  Remove chops to a plate.

Melt butter in the same skillet.  Stir in flour, 1 1/2 t. salt & 1/4 t. pepper.  Add chicken broth & cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. 

Place potatoes in bottom of 11 x 7 x 1 1/2" baking dish.  Top with onion rings.  Pour chicken broth mixture evenly over top.  Top with pork chops.  Cover with foil.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.  Remove cover & continue baking 30 minutes or until meat is tender.  (It may take much less than 30 minutes.)

Makes 6 servings.

NOTE:  Since I only make 3 pork chops, I use the same skillet for baking.  This saves on clean-up!!!

I am sharing with:
On the Menu Monday
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Eggs a la Goldenrod

This is a favorite of ours!  How it got the name, I don't know.  The recipe comes from my freshmen year at St. Mary of the Springs College, later re-named Ohio Dominican College.  I went there for one year before transferring to Ohio State.  The course that I took was called Food for the Family, and this recipe was in the manual.  It's probably my all-time favorite way to eat eggs.
Here's the recipe, but first I will tell you how to cook the perfect hard-cooked  egg.

Cook's Illustrated  has the best method for hard cooking eggs to perfection.  You will have bright, yellow yolks without any unsightly  green around  the edges.

Hard Cooked Eggs

Place eggs in medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil over high heat. 
Remove  pan from heat, cover & let sit for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with 1 qt. water a & tray of ice cubes.  Transfer eggs to ice bath.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Tap eggs all over against the counter to crack surface & gently roll back & forth.  Peel from the air pocket end.
I like to use a pastry blender to chop the eggs.

Basic Medium White Sauce

2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1/4 t. salt
1 c. milk

Melt butter in saucepan.  Add the flour & salt & stir until smooth.

Add milk gradually, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil, stirring.  Continue cooking for 5 minutes over low heat.

Eggs a la Goldenrod

Make the white sauce.
Chop 3 hard-cooked  coarsely, saving out the yolk of one egg.
Combine the chopped hard-cooked egg with the cooked white sauce.  (I like to add some grated cheese).
Serve over toast.  Grate or force the saved-out yolk through a sieve over the  white sauce/egg mixture.

I am sharing with:
On the Menu Monday
Tea Party Tuesday
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Guilt-Free Pumpkin Whip

This recipe is from  & oh my, is it ever GOOD!!!!  I served it in sherbet/champagne goblets, but it would be wonderful in a gingersnap  or graham cracker crust or even as a filling in cream puffs!!  I hope you try this super easy & yummy dessert!!!!  Here's the recipe:
Enjoy a bite of low-cal yumminess!!!

1 (3.4-oz.) package instant sugar-free, fat-free cheesecake-flavor pudding (I used white chocolate sugar-free, fat-free)
1 cup fat-free milk (I used 2%)
1/2 of a 15-oz. can solid pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (I used freshly grated)
1/2 of an 8-oz. container sugar-free whipped topping

Combine pudding mix and milk in a medium bowl; whisk until well blended.  Stir in pumpkin, cinnamon & nutmeg.  Add whipped topping and mix thoroughly.

Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to two days.

Serves 6

This dessert would be wonderful for those who are diabetic or watching their sugar intake.

I am sharing with:
On the Menu Monday
Tea Party Tuesday
Tabletop Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesday
Rock 'n Share
Full Plate Thursday                                                     
Foodie Friday
Seasonal Sundays
Newbie Party

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chicken & Stuffing Casserole

This is a wonderful dish to take to someone when you need to bring a comforting meal.  All that's  needed is a salad & a dessert to complete the meal.  Here's the recipe for this fabulous chicken:

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 jar marinated artichokes, drained
1 jar mushrooms, drained                                                                  
6 slices Swiss cheese
1 can Golden Mushroom soup
1 cup chicken  broth
1/2 of a 12- ounce package of Pepperidge Farm Country Style Stuffing
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Arrange chicken in pan.  Top with artichokes & mushrooms.  Layer with cheese.

Combine the soup & broth.  Pour over the chicken.  Top with stuffing mix.  Drizzle with the butter.

Cover pan with foil & bake for 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  Uncover pan for last 5 minutes.
Serves 6 generously!

recipe adapted from

NOTE:  Cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup would work in place of the Golden Mushroom soup. 

I am sharing this with:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall-Apart Tender Slow Roast Pork

This recipe was originally found in the Dallas Morning News & is from Shirley Corriher, who is a food writer & food sleuth.  I had a pork butt roast in the freezer & decided to try the recipe. I figured that if it's good enough for Shirley Corriher, it must be good.  Here's the recipe:
After cooking, I added barbecue sauce  to part of the pork

1 (4-pound) pork butt roast
1/4-1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce                     
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup apple juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange shelf slightly below center.

Place pork roast in a dutch oven.  Sprinkle pork on all sides with the Worcestershire sauce.  Press brown sugar on top & sides of the pork.  Pour apple juice down the side to the bottom of the dutch oven and not over the meat.  Cover tightly.

Place in the oven & immediately reduce heat to 200 degrees.  Roast for 5 hours without opening the oven.  Remove.  If meat does not pull apart easily, cover & return to the oven & roast 30 more minutes.

Check again, & if meat is still not at the pull apart stage, roast an additional 30 minutes more as needed.

Depending on your oven, the roast may take as long as 7 hours to reach the pull apart stage.  (I personally feel like it's a good idea to just leave it for that long.)

Pull meat apart & remove bone.  Stir in salt, which is essential for the dish.

Makes 6 servings.

NOTE:  This can also be done in a slow cooker & set on HIGH for 30 minutes, then reduced to LOW for the day or overnight.

After I pulled it apart, I separated it into freezer bags to use for several meals.  I also strained the juice & put it in the fridge.  After it was cold, I took off the top layer of fat.  I will be posting about  the meals that I make with this.

For the first meal, I added some barbecue sauce & a little of the juice from the pork roast to make pulled  pork barbecue.

I am sharing this with:
Seasonal Sundays
On the Menu Monday
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Monday, November 7, 2011

Triple Cute Award

I was privileged to receive the Triple Cute Award from two very dear bloggers, Sudha and Pat .  I do very much appreciate their thoughtfulness in presenting this award to me.

I will be sending this along to seven blogs that I feel have super cute blogs.  I hope that they in turn will post about it and pass the award along to seven  blogs that they feel are deserving.  If you have already received this award, please forgive me!

Here are the seven blogs that I feel deserve this award:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sweet Cinnamon Quick Bread

This is an old recipe that I have in my file.  If you need a quick gift to bring, maybe you could try this delicious bread.  It's really perfect for any season.  Those of you that love cinnamon, should really like this.  I hope you try it!

Makes 4 small loaves
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup buttermilk **
1/3 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs


2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons butter or margarine, softened

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease & flour bottom only of 9 x 5- inch loaf pan.  Lightly spoon flour into cup; level off.  In large bowl , combine all bread ingredients & beat for 3 minutes on medium speed of mixer.  Pour batter into prepared pan. 

In small bowl, combine all streusel ingredients until crumbly; sprinkle over batter & swirl lightly to marble.   Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from pan immediately.  Cool completely before slicing.  Wrap & refrigerate leftover bread.

Tips: ** To substitute for buttermilk, use 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice plus milk to measure 1 cup.  I also always have on hand powdered buttermilk & you use 4 T. of it with 1 Cup of water.

NOTE:  I made 4 small loaves to give as gifts (this way, I can keep one, too!!).  I baked the small loaves for 30 minutes, but still did the toothpick test.
Ready for gifting
People always appreciate food as a gift

I am sharing with:
On the Menu Monday
Tea Party Tuesday
Tabletop Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesday
Rock 'n Share Wednesday
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Favorite Pot Roast

Isn't this the perfect time of year for cooking comfort food?  I love a good pot roast.  It's so great to come home to that fabulous aroma at the end of a day.  Here's an easy recipe for one.  I like to brown mine in a dutch oven & then use my oven as a "slow cooker". This way I can brown  the meat & use the same pot.  I'm lazy that way!!!   If you prefer, you can brown the meat in a skillet & then transfer it to a slow cooker.  Here's the recipe:

1-2 T. vegetable oil
3-4 lbs. chuck roast
pepper (I don't use salt because of the sodium in the soups)
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 cup of water or beef broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3-4 carrots, peeled & cut in chunks
3-4 potatoes, peeled & cut up

Heat the oil in a dutch oven (or skillet).  Season the meat with pepper.  Brown the meat on all sides.

If using a slow cooker, transfer the meat to that & continue on.

Mix the dry onion soup mix, the water or broth & the cream of mushroom soup in a small bowl.  Pour over the meat.  Add the carrots & potatoes.

Cover & cook in a 220 degree oven for 8-10 hours.  If using a slow cooker, cook on low for the same amount of time.  When finished,  we like to serve this in a bowl because of all the yummy gravy

NOTE:  Sometimes I leave out the potatoes & make mashed potatoes or  noodles & serve the pot roast over those.

I am sharing with:
On the Menu Monday
Rock 'n Share Wednesday
Full Plate Thursday
Foodie Friday
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