Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mini Caramel Pecan Rolls

Love this new easy recipe!  I have had this recipe for quite some time and finally decided to try it over the holidays.  Amy used to be in my Sunday school class, and she also loved to cook.  We often shared recipes.  Amy has since moved, and she and her family are enjoying the beauty of Colorado.

I debated Cheese Blintzes (which we love), homemade cinnamon rolls, monkey bread but due to time and the Christmas crazies, I decided to try this quick and easy version of pecan rolls. They are just too yummy... but I love pecans.  Next time, I would try to line the pan with foil or wax paper so I could have handles and lift the rolls out and flip them over so the yumminess would be on top!  I didn't do that this time but they were still very enjoyable!

Mini Caramel Pecan Rolls

2  - 8 oz. tubes crescent roll dough
5 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup (or more :)) of chopped pecans
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar/2 tsp cinnamon - mixed

Melt 5 Tbsp butter in a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Add brown sugar, water and pecans to same pan and mix.  Roll out crescent rolls flat - pressing the seams together of 2 rolls to form 8 rectangles.  Brush with the other melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Roll up long-ways. Slice into small one inch rolls and place evenly on top of pecan mixture in pan. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until nice and golden brown.

Printable Version

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Marinated Cheese

This is one of my very favorite recipes. This is one of the recipes you can be creative with and do just about whatever you want.   I love it because you can make it ahead and it is so festive.  It is also makes a great gift in a cute jar with a baguette.  I like serving this with baguette slices because the baguette soaks up all of the juicy goodness.  Give this one a try and be creative!

(once again, I apologize - picture was taken with my phone.  I hope you get the general idea.!  This is the Marinated Cheese with the kalamata olives.

Marinated Cheese #1

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup Paul Newman's Family Italian Dressing (or other favorite Italian)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips, chopped
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp dried basil (throw in some fresh if you have it)
1/2 tsp salt
16 - 26 oz of different cubed cheeses (fresh mozzerella pearls, white sharp cheddar, smoked gouda  - mix  orange and white cheeses)

Mix together and store in a container with a nice seal.   This is best if marinated for at least six hours or overnight. Serve with your favorite baguette slices.

Marinated Cheese #2

I saw this version in a Southern Living Christmas Cookbook.  It is pretty much the same concept but they put a jar of pitted kalamata olives with the cheeses and instead of making the dressing, they used a bottle of Paul Newman's olive oil dressing.  I also loved this variety but then I am a huge olive fan!

Printable Version

Monday, December 26, 2011

Asiago Bagel Breakfast Bake

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday.  I made this Asiago Bagel Breakfast Bake recently for a friend get together.  You should totally surprise your family and make this for them on morning during the holidays.  Serve it with Sausage Pinwheels or bacon and fresh fruit.  If you haven't made Sausage Pinwheels for your family yet, I highly recommend them.  We have them several times a year but they are definitely a holiday morning staple!

I make a traditional breakfast casserole or even a Breakfast pizza on occasion but I have to say, I love this Asiago Bagel Breakfast Bake.  It is easy and has a great flavor!  Chris brought this recipe home from work.  A coworker brought it to work and Chris raved about it so I knew I had to make it.

Once again, my picture isn't the best.  It seems I am always in a hurry - for guests or dinner but I guess you can get a general idea.

Asiago Bagel Breakfast Bake

8 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp fresh chopped tarragon or 1/2 tsp dried
1/4 tsp paprika
freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 oz Monterrey Jack Cheese, grated
6 oz. Asiago cheese, grated
4 Asiago Cheese bagels (I got these from Panera)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, milk, salt, tarragon, paprika and season with pepper.  Grate and mix the cheeses in another bowl.   Cut the bagels in bite-size pieces. Grease a 2 qt casserole or souffle dish.  Starting with the bagel pieces, alternate layering the bagel pieces and grated cheese into the dish.  Pour the egg mixture evenly over everything.  Cover the dish and refrigerate overnight.  Preheat oven to 350 and bake uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour til eggs are set and top is golden brown.

Printable Version

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas - from my family to yours!

                Meg - 14                 Jenna - 16                Annie - 17

Friday, December 23, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

These are fabulous!  My friend Donna makes something similar all of the time for her son, and I have always loved them.  Recently a preschool mom brought me a few of these and my family devoured them. She shared the recipe with me that she found on Pintrest.  I made them and dipped about half in chocolate and left the other half in the freezer.  I dipped the first ones in dark chocolate but my girls begged me to dip the rest in milk chocolate.  They were yummy either way - you just DIP however - you will want to make your family happy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 sticks butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

14 oz dark chocolate candy coating for dipping

Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl using mixer on medium speed til light and fluffy.  Add milk and vanilla. Stir in flour, soda and salt.  Mix on low speed or by hand til mixed and add chocolate chips.  Cover and chill dough for one hour.  Lightly flour your hands after dough is chilled and form/roll dough into 1 inch balls.  Arrange on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and freeze for 30 minutes.  Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler according to directions. Using a toothpick, dip cookie balls into chocolate using a spoon to help cover them trying to remove excess chocolate from the bottom of the truffle.  Return the cookie dough ball to wax-paper lined baking sheet.  Chill and store in refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to one week.

Printable Version

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Buttery Thumbprint Cookies

We have Secret Sisters during Christmas at preschool.  My Secret Sister last year was Chris and she surprised me with these yummy buttery cookies.  I have been thinking about them since last Christmas.  I think they are heavenly - soft and buttery!  Please try them!  They are pretty quick and easy and only make about 3 dozen cookies.  Top them with your favorite preserves.  I tried apricot, blackberry and raspberry.  I truly liked them all but think my favorite was apricot!  Even if you aren't a fruit-cookie type person, I think you will love these due to the buttery goodness!

Buttery Thumbprint Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
fruit preserves, any flavor

Preheat oven to 375.  Cream together butter, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla.  Add flour a little bit at a time.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place onto cookie sheet.  Using your finger or a similar item, make a well or indention in the middle of each cookie.  Fill with 1/2 tsp of your favorite preserves.  Bake for 8 minutes or until golden brown on bottom.  Drizzle with glaze while warm and allow to cool on a wire rack.


2 Tbsp milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix and place in a ziploc bag.  Make a tiny snip in corner of bag and drizzle each cookie with glaze.

Printable Version

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lace Cookies

This is such a great recipe!  Our Jenna loves them and is always asking me to make them.  Actually, my whole family loves them.  They do take a little more time since you only use 1/2 tsp for each cookie and then after baking, they have to cool five minutes before peeling them off the foil.  If you happen to have a double oven, that would definitely help speed the process.  They are amazing and totally worth the effort!  We did get this recipe from Jenna's club volleyball coach back when she was twelve.  Coach Jen made this recipe for all of her social gatherings.

*I have seen this dipped in chocolate so I dipped only a few.  I knew my family would give me grief if I dipped them all.  I love them as is but they were also quite tasty with the chocolate.  I just dipped once side in melted chocolate and helped to even the chocolate out with my finger!

Lace Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup quick oats
    Stir, then add:
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp flour
    Stir, then add:
1 egg, beaten

Cover baking sheet with foil - shiny side up.  Using a measuring spoon, place 1/2 tsp of dough on foil 3 inches apart.  Bake for about 8 minutes at 350.  Please keep an eye on these as they burn easily.  Leave them on foil for 5 minutes before gently peeling off.

Printable Version

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shrimp Christmas Tree

I made this festive shrimp tree years ago and thought I would try it again when I heard my friend Tammy was having a party.  I love to cook and help my friends entertain. Tammy was kind enough to indulge me.  The tree turned out great.  Tammy had a wonderful party with great food and this Shrimp Christmas Tree was a nice centerpiece in her buffet line. I guess the bad thing is that it is kind of a last minute "put together" but it is so worth it.  Grab a friend to help you out during your next holiday gathering!   Also, excuse my poor photography once again.  I took this picture with my phone just as the party was starting so I didn't get a good picture.  I do see a few holes where I should have put more shrimp or another cherry tomato.  I promise this is so much better looking in person.  Be creative!

Shrimp Christmas Tree

18 inch or so styrofoam cone covered in green wrapping paper
4 lbs shrimp - cooked, peel and deveined  - with tails on
festive toothpicks
cherry tomatoes
a tree topper

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tippin's Cornbread

I got this yummy recipe from Leslie, a co-teacher at preschool.  My girls love cornbread so I knew they would love this.  I have always made good Southern cornbread in an iron skillet but it isn't the sweet kind.  My girls, especially the middle daughter loves the sweet, corn bread.  This recipe must be a re-make from Tippin's Restaurant.....  AND - my girls did love it.  It is sweet but not overly sweet - I think you will be very impressed.  This makes a large 9 x 13 so great to take to party or serve with your favorite soup.  Be sure to cook it long enough.  I cooked mine for 30 and my tester came out clean then the middle of mine sank :(.  Be sure to cook it for the 35-40 minutes.

Tippin's Cornbread

2 boxes single Jiffy yellow cake mix
2 boxes single Jiffy cornbread mix
2/3 cup milk
1 cup water
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil

Mix the milk, water, eggs and oil in a large bowl.  Add the cake mixes and gently mix just til the dry ingredients are blended.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes.

Printable Recipe

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pecan & Salted Caramel Candies and Pintrest

If you have not found Pintrest yet, I highly recommend it.  I just love it and I know you will too.  My oldest two girls are also addicted.  What is Pintrest?  I found this definition on their website....

 Pinterest is a viritual pinboard.  Pintrest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

I am constantly on Pintrest and I have already found several recipes.  I made these yummy little treats this past weekend for a Sunday School Party.  They are easy and just delightful!  Please visit King Arthur Flour for this recipe.  I did change it a bit  based on some of the comments I found on the website but still the same general idea. This is a great new holiday candy!

Pecan and Salted Caramel Candies (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

pecan halves
1 bag of Kraft caramels
sea salt
Ghiradelli 60% cacao chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325.  Lightly grease or line with parchment paper. Flatten caramels using a rolling pin, glass or whatever works for you.  I used the bottom of a glass and then made the edges more pliable with my fingers.  Place 2 pecan halves side by side on cookie sheet - repeating as often as you have room on your cookie sheet.  Top with a flattened caramel and heat in oven for about 5 minutes.  Remove and top with 3 chocolate chips; return to oven for about 1 minutes then sprinkle with sea salt;  Top with another pecan half

Friday, December 2, 2011

Frosted Double Chocolate Cookies

Annie is our oldest daughter and turning 18 in January.  Annie is so busy with school, college applications, etc that I was surprised when she picked up a Nestle Toll House Holiday Recipe book she saw while at the grocery store.  She saw a recipe that looked awesome and decided to make them.  I wasn't even home and she made them entirely by herself.  We LOVED them.  They were so yummy that we devoured them quickly. The only problem is the recipe only made 15 cookies - WHAT recipe only makes 15 cookies!!  We were just getting started... and they were gone. Great new recipe but I would totally double the recipe if going to the trouble!

Frosted Double Chocolate Cookies (adapted from Nestle Toll House Holiday)

2 cups Nestle Toll House semi sweet morsels, divided
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional - we didn't use)

Chocolate Frosting:

1 Tbsp butter
1 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 374.  Microwave 3/4 cup morsels in a small uncovered, mw safe bowl for 1 minutes and stir; MW at additional 15 minute intervals to melted.  Cool to room temperature.  Combine flour, soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until creamy.  Beat in chocolate and egg.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in 3/4 cup morsels and nuts - drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased  (I always grease) baking sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes or until edges are set but centers are soft.  Cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes then removed to a wire rack.  Cool completely.  Thinly frost centers of cookies.


Microwave remaining 1/2 cup morsels and butter in medium, uncovered bowl on high for about 30 seconds. Stir until smooth - may need to microwave in 15 second intervals til melted and smooth.  Add powdered sugar, milk and stir until smooth!  YUM!

Printable Version

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bow-Tie Pasta with Sausage and Feta Cheese

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been going through all of my old Southern Living.  I found this recipe for Bow-Tie Pasta with Sausage and Feta Cheese.... and spinach.  I liked the idea so I gave it a try.  I really enjoyed it but I love all of these ingredients.  It is a bit tangy so you do need to like balsamic vinegar.  This isn't a pasta that the sauce totally adheres to the pasta.  The flavor is there but not a tons of sauce.  I reheated this the next day and enjoyed it even more - I think the pasta had absorbed more of the sauce.

Bow-Tie Pasta with Sausage (adapted from Southern Living)

1 (12 oz) pkg of bow-tie pasta
3/4 lb ground Italian sausage - casing removed
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (14 1/2 oz) can chicken broth
1 (9oz) pkg fresh spinach (I used baby spinach)
6 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/4 tsp salt
4 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Prepare pasta according to directions.  Meanwhile, cook sausage in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring often, 8 - 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is not longer pink.  Add onion, and saute 5 minutes.  Add garlic, saute 1 minute and stir in vinegar cooking for 3 minutes.  Add chicken broth and cook 5 minutes.  Stir in spinach and next 3 ingredients;  Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Stir in cooked pasta and serve immediately.  Serve with favorite garlic bread and enjoy!

Printable Version

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Warm Caramel Sauce

I know we are all stuffed from a wonderful Thanksgiving feast but I just have to share this recipe  - it is.... AMAZING!  I am not even a huge fan of bread pudding but this recipe - especially with the warm caramel sauce is heavenly.  Another perfect holiday recipe for you to enjoy.  I made this in a round deep casserole dish.  I like more crunchy top layer so I would probably make it in a smaller rectangle dish in the future. The caramel sauce is a wonderful addition - perfect for a bowl of ice cream too!

My friend Barb got this recipe from her sister.  I made this several years ago and tucked the recipe away.  I am sorry I didn't share it with you sooner!  Enjoy!


2 Cups half-half
1-15 oz can pumpkin—use ¾ of can
1 cup and 2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp vanilla
10 cups cubed Hawaiian bread

Mix together and bake in round casserole dish for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Caramel Sauce
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup whipping cream

Whisk together and add cream stirring until sugar is dissolved and creamy.

Serve warm caramel sauce over the Bread Pudding.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Festive Slow Cooker Side

I recently found this recipe in my favorite magazine - Southern Living. I thought it would be nice to have a side dish for the holidays that could prepared in a slow cooker - since my ovens are always so busy. This isn't a typical recipe for me to try. I have never cooked a parsnip in my life - so this was an adventure. We were very pleased! I got nice reviews from my family. This recipe made a large amount so I took the extra to share with my preschool teacher friends. They also seemed to enjoy this great new fall recipe - I know you will too!

Balsamic Root Vegetables (adapted from Southern Living)

1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes
1 lb parsnips
1 lb carrots (I used a lb bag of baby carrots)
2 large red onions, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries ( I put more :)
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsely ( I goofed and forgot this step :)

Peel first 3 ingredients and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Combine parsnips, carrots, onions and cranberries in a lightly greased 6 qt slow cooker; layer the sweet potatoes over top. Whisk together sugar and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl; pour over vegetable mixture and do not stir! Cover and cook on HIGH 4 to 5 hours or until vegetables are tender. Toss with parsley just before serving!

Printable Version

Secret Recipe Club

This month I was assigned a wonderful blog from Denmark for the Secret Recipe Club.  I was a little thrown at first but thanks to Heidi at Heidi's World, she includes Google Translate on her blog and I
had such fun looking around.  Heidi loves to cook and I know you will so enjoy her blog,  Please visit and enjoy a little bit of Denmark.  **Heidi did make a comment below that if you choose to make this recipe, please visit the visitor's part of her blog to help with measurements.  She said that I would used isn't accurate so please visit Heidi's blog if you choose to give these yummy bagels a try!

Heidi had so many recipes to choose from.  There were some that were easier to translate than others. I decided to make Mini Wheat bagels.  I had never made bagels and thought I would give it a try. They were awesome!  Mine weren't as pretty as Heidi's.  Next time I would take more time to make the dough nice and smooth.  Also, I have to confess that I royally goofed.  She said to cook them at 200 degrees.  I thought that was a little low but I had never made bagels before.....After the first batch was in the oven for a while, I started to question myself.  AND... of course - Heidi meant 200 degrees Celsius.  I then switched my oven to 390 degree F.... and ended up with wonderful bagels.

Wheat Bagels

1 tsp active dry yeast
3 cups milk
just over 3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
approximately 9 cups flour

spice mixture for topping:

2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt

Warm milk to between 100 -110 degrees F.  Pour into a bowl and dissolved the yeast in the warm milk allowing to sit for 5 minutes.  Add the softened butter, sugar, salt and egg yolk to the mixture.  Add dough slowly and knead until cohesive, soft and smooth.  The dough is kneaded by hand for 6 - 8 minutes and approximately 5 minutes if using a mixer at high speed.   Line a bowl with a little canola bowl, add the dough mixture and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour. Punch the dough down and form into 16 equal balls and place on a floured surface. Press a hole into the center of each ball, dragging to from a larger hole.  Cover the dough balls with a tea towel and let rise for about 10 -15 minutes.  Bring water in a large pan to a boil.  Boil dough for 2 minutes, flip then two minutes on the other side. Lift them out, drain and lay on a butter lined cookie sheet. Bake at 390 for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden.  Sprinkle topping on bagels halfway thru baking - otherwise the topping might burn. Bagels should sound hollow when knocked on the bottom.

Printable Version 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Updated Green Bean Casserole

Everyone loves Green Bean Casserole - right? I have never been a huge fan of Cream of Mushroom Soup. I found this recipe in my all favorite Southern Living and I was so pleased with the results. Southern Living has you make it in a slow cooker with frozen French style green beans. While I like the idea of a slow cooker during the holidays when your ovens are so busy, I wanted it that very night AND... I couldn't find frozen French-cut green beans. As always, I improvised. I was quite pleased. I will share the Southern Living slow cooker version and my adapted oven version.

Green Bean Casserole (adapted from Southern Living)

3 cans French style green beans, rinsed and drained very well - squeeze
1 ( 10 oz) container of Light Alfredo sauce
1 ( 8 oz) can diced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 (6 oz) can French fried onions, divided
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a medium size casserole dish with a cooking spray.  Mix first 5 ingredients and half of onions.  Pour into pan and bake for 35 minutes or until bubbly.  Top with rest of onions and chopped pecans and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until golden. Enjoy! 

Green Bean Casserole (slow cooker version)

2 ( 16 oz) pkgs frozen French cut green beans,thawed
1 ( 10 oz) container refrigerated Alfredo Sauce
1 ( 8 oz) can diced water chestnuts, drained
1 ( 6 oz) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp pepper
1 ( 6 oz) can French fried onions, divided
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Stir together first 6 ingredients and half of onions, spoon mixture  into a lightly greased 4 qt slow cooker.  Cover and Cook on low 4 1/2 hours or until bubbly.  Heat pecans and remaining half of onions in a small non-stick skillet over med-low heat, stirring often, 1 to 2 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.  Sprinkle over casserole just before serving.

Printable Version 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Easy Shrimp Creole

What a great new recipe! This recipe was sent to me by a dear friend that I haven't seen in years. I taught high school with Diane many years ago. I was a new teacher, right out of Baylor, and Diane was my saving grace. She is also a great cook. She emailed me this recipe a while back but not everyone loves shrimp in my house but I decided to give it a try anyway. Everyone loved it (Except Jenna - she didn't try it :) This recipe is definitely a keeper - good and easy!

Easy Shrimp Creole

1 stick butter ( I used a half)
1 small onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

Saute these ingredients until tender.

1 can Ro*Tel - undrained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp chili sauce
salt/pepper to taste

Add these ingredients and simmer 10 minutes. Mixture will be thick but will thin when shrimp are added.

*1 1/2 to 2 lbs raw shrimp, shelled and deveined

Add shrimp, cover and cook 15 more minutes until shrimp is no longer pink. Do not over cook. (I didn't want to mess with raw shrimp so I bought a 1 lb bag of frozen, cooked, shelled and deveined shrimp. I thawed it, cut off the tails, added and heated it through) Serve over rice!

Printable Version

Thursday, November 10, 2011

State Volleyball

Annie is a senior at a new high school.  This is our second year to be open and the first year to have seniors.  She has had such an exciting volleyball season.  We made it to STATE and they played their first match today... and WON.  We have a tough game tomorrow but win or lose, play again on Saturday.  We are lucky to be involved with such a great school.  Go STORM!  WIN STATE!

And yes, it has been a busy week so no new recipes.  I did make a couple of our old favorites that you should check out.......  Chicken Pot Pie and Mexican Cornbread :)

Annie - Captain and Libero

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Texas Sheet Cake

We just celebrated my husband's birthday.  I usually make a 3 layer German Chocolate cake but opted for a Texas Sheet Cake this time.  I know many of you have a recipe for Texas Sheet Cake but if you don't, I highly recommend this one as my family has been making it for years.  My mom knows this recipe by heart!  I love it - I promise you can't go wrong with this yummy recipe!  Happy Birthday Chris!

Jenna, Meg, Chris and Annie
Happy Birthday to my scruffy husband - "NO-SHAVE" November (Men's Health Campaign at work)

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake

In a large bowl, sift together:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. or less cinnamon

In a saucepan, bring to a boil stirring. Pour over dry ingredients mixing well:

2 sticks butter
1 cup water
3 level Tbsp cocoa

Another bowl, mix together then add to chocolate mixture:

2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray an 11 x 15 jelly roll pan with cooking spray.  Pour in mixture and bake for 25 - 30 or until tester comes out clean.  Make frosting while cake is cooking.  Pour warm frosting over warm cake.


In a saucepan, melt over low heat until edges sizzle:

1 stick butter
6 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp cocoa,level

Take off heat and add stirring:

1 box powdered sugar ( best if sifted)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Printable Version

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recently, my preschool director greeted the teachers with warm chocolate chip cookies.  What a nice treat - at any time of day!   Miss Alice is probably the sweetest lady I know.  She is always thinking of others and to have warm cookies when we walk in the door - nothing beats it.  This is a recipe she had from years back, and I thought they were extra yummy.  But then, I think most warm chocolate chip cookies are amazing. This recipe uses Buttered Flavored Crisco and a little hot water.  I substituted dark brown sugar for her light brown sugar but either would work. I made these recently for a Husker Football Party and got great reviews from my friends and family!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup Buttered Flavored Crisco
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp hot water
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix Crisco, sugars, eggs and vanilla.  Add  rest of ingredients.  Drop by tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 8 - 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Printable Version

Friday, October 28, 2011

Harvest Salad - Broccoli, Grape and Pasta Salad

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this new salad recipe.  It is a great twist to the typical broccoli salad.  I made it for a preschool birthday lunch and we loved it.  I finished up the rest when I got home!  :)

Broccoli, Grape and Pasta Salad (adapted from Southern Living)

1 cup chopped pecans
8 oz bow-tie pasta
1 lb fresh broccoli
1 cup light mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
8 cooked bacon slices, crumbled ( I used 1 cup precooked crumbled bacon)

Preheat oven to 350.  Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes of until lightly toasted, stirring halfway through;  Prepare pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets into small pieces using the tip of a paring knife.  Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, red onion, vinegar and salt.  Add broccoli, hot cooked pasta and grapes, stirring to coat. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. Stir in pecans and bacon just before serving.

Printable Version

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Secret Recipe Club

This is my third post with The Secret Recipe Club and I am having such fun.  This month I was assigned to visit Mangia.  I so enjoyed Chelsy's blog as she is a Texas gal and so am I.  Chelsy is an avid foodie and she is from a large Italian family.  Chelsy is a much healthier cook than myself.  I had never cooked with many of the ingredients she uses so I thought I would give some a try.  I do hope you will visit Mangia and take a look around. 

As I mentioned, Chelsy uses ingredients that I have heard of but never purchased.  I have always wanted to cook with Agave Nectar so I thought her Almond Coconut Delight Cookies looked wonderful... as I love coconut.  I had also never cooked with almond flour or grapeseed oil. This was an adventure!  Also, I am used to cookie recipes making like 3 dozen cookies but this recipe made only 14 cookies....which is great as we usually eat TOO many.   All went well!  I thought the cookies were very yummy - reminded me of a macaroon.  They weren't as sweet as most cookies I make but still very good.  I did use sweetened coconut.  I thought my girls would turn up their noses as they are used to cookies with butter, eggs, etc.  I was pleasantly surprised -  I got good reviews. 

Again, please visit Chelsy and her fun blog.  I know you will enjoy it.  Mangia!

Almond Coconut Delight Cookies

Makes about 14 cookies

1/4 c. grapeseed oil
1/4 c. agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. almond flour
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. shredded coconut ( I used sweetened coconut... that I had on hand)
1/4 c. golden raisins ( I used Craisins that I had on hand)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Using an electric mixer, combine oil, agave, and vanilla.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine almond flour, sea salt, baking soda, walnuts, coconut, and golden raisins.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
5. Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sausage Bundt Cake

What a great, new, easy recipe!  When I was in Texas for my reunion, my friend Emily mentioned this Sausage Cake.  She couldn't believe I didn't have this recipe.  She shared with me that when her sweet mom, Jane, was still living.... She would make this every Sunday and then she and Emily's dad would enjoy a piece every morning... all week long.  This recipe was one of her mom's favorites to take to friends... as it is easy to store and easy to re-heat.  Emily's dad still makes a Sausage Cake every week. Emily has made it like 50 times.  She recently made it for her college freshman.  She sliced it, put the individual pieces in ziploc bags so Alex could microwave it for breakfast throughout the week.  How exciting for a college freshman to have such yummy homemade food!

This is also one of those great recipes that you can adjust according to your favorite tastes - use bacon or ham, swiss or havarti, etc. Be creative and enjoy!

Sausage Cake

2 cans of Pillsbury Grands Jr. Biscuits
1 lb breakfast sausage, browned and drained
5 - 6 eggs, slightly beaten
2 - 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Spray a bundt pan with a cooking spray with flour.  Lay one can of biscuits around the bottom of the pan - slightly overlapping; Top with cooked, drained sausage, then beaten eggs; top with shredded cheese; Top with the other can of biscuits - just slightly overlapping as you go around the bundt pan.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes; Cook 10 -15 minutes and then run a knife around edge of cake.  Turn out onto a plate. Serve warm with your favorite fruit!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

This has been a very busy but exciting volleyball season.  Our oldest is a senior and plays libero on her high school volleyball team.  They are having an amazing season, and we are having such fun.  One thing the girls like to do when they gather is.... EAT.  They love it when I make Monster Bars.  Another two favorites for volleyball tournaments is a Penne Pasta Toss  (which I usually quadruple because they scarf it down) and Fruit Dip with a huge bowl of strawberries.

Well, this last tournament, one of my volleyball mom friends made a new bar, we are SO in love with this new bar recipe.  It is easy, makes a huge amount and it has caramel, chocolate and oatmeal - YUM!  Thank you Margie for this wonderful, new, easy recipe.  Meg, our youngest, said..... "I think I like this better than Monster Bars!"  That is huge - We LOVE Monster Bars!

Again, thanks Margie for sharing!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Caramel Bars 

1 1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 c. oatmeal
2 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 jar of Mrs. Richardson's caramel sauce
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix the 6 ingredients to make a dough.  Spread 3/4 of the dough into greased large (17 x 12) jelly roll pan.  Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees.  

Melt one jar of Mrs. Richardson's Caramel Ice Cream Topping in the microwave according to directions on back of jar.  Spread caramel over baked dough.  Sprinkle with 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips.  Dot balance of remaining dough on top of caramel and chocolate chips.  Bake another 15 minutes.  Allow to cool on a cooling rack for several hours or until bars set up. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gayle's InFamous Spaghetti Sauce

Well, I am so sorry for the delay in my posting again.  Just busy, busy!  I was in Texas for my high school reunion this weekend and had SOOOO much fun. Loved seeing all of my old classmates and reminiscing!  Loved it!

This recipe for spaghetti sauce comes from a preschool teacher friend.  I made it the night before I left for TEXAS and my girls loved it. Our preschool staff does a Secret Sister gift exchange during Christmas, and I always have such fun with it.  Gayle had my name this past Christmas.  Knowing that I love recipes and enjoy cooking, Gayle made this darling scrapbook for me with some of her family favorites.  I have so enjoyed it. I plan to still post a few recipes from her nice album over the next months. Gayle is very crafty and a wonderful preschool teacher.

Gayle's spaghetti sauce is easy and yummy. My girls loved it because Gayle puts sugar in her sauce. My hubby doesn't usually like sweet sauce but he enjoyed it as well.  Gayle suggests 1/3 cup sugar.  I only put a 1/4 in when I made it and we still loved it.

Gayle's Infamous Spaghetti Sauce

1 lb hamburger, cooked and drained ( can substitute Italian frozen meatballs)
chopped onion
1 ( 15 oz) can Hunt's tomato sauce
1 ( 6oz) can Hunt's tomato paste plus 1 can water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 clove minced garlic (or 1 tsp garlic salt or powder)
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 "shakes" Tabasco sauce
1/3 cup sugar (or a little more or less - depending on sweetness level desired)

Brown hamburger and onion, drain.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least one hour.  Serve with favorite pasta. *Best if made the day before

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oatmeal Sugar Cookies

What a great new recipe!  I got this recipe a while back from my friend Kathy.  She said they are her daughter's favorites.  I didn't try them right away as I am such a chocolate nut.....I usually want chocolate in my oatmeal cookies.  I decided to to give them a try recently when my mom was here.  I made them for a volleyball tournament.  WE LOVED THEM!  The team loved them.  The cookies have a great texture...soft but crunchy.  I do still think they would be yummy with chocolate chips and/or chopped pecans but they were also perfect as is.  Definitely add this cookie recipe to your collection.

Oatmeal Sugar Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups oatmeal

Cream sugars with shortening.  Add eggs.  Sift baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and flour together.  Combine dry ingredients with creamed mixture.  Stir in oatmeal - Add vanilla.  Form dough into balls the size of walnuts and roll into granulated sugar.  Bake at 350 on a greased cookie sheet until light brown.  Do Not Overbake - cook only about 8 minutes.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Secret Recipe Club

This is my second month to be a part of The Secret Recipe Club.  I love visiting other blogs and trying recipes but the SRC helps me reach out to new blogs.  I love it.  The month I was assigned Deli-Cute-Essen.  What a great blog! I loved looking all through the blog - tons of cute things and great vegan recipes.  I don't know much about vegan recipes but I loved reading through the different ingredients.  However, I decided to make another cake again this month.  I went with a Mocha Cake.  We loved it.  I couldn't keep my girls out of the frosting - thank goodness we had a little left over!  I chose not put the egg in the frosting - I added a little milk but could probably have left the milk out.  My frosting appears to be a little thinner but still Oh So Yummy!

Also, please visit Deli-Cute-Essen as her picture of this wonderful cake is WAY better than mine!  My girls were diving in as I was trying to take a good picture! :)

Mocha Cake


2 1⁄4 cups flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
1/3 cups instant coffee
1 1/3 cups water
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mayonnaise
3 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled.         

Sift flour with baking soda. Dissolve coffee in water.
Beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Blend in mayonnaise and
chocolate. Add flour mixture alternately with coffee, one third at a time on low
speed of electric mixer. Pour into two greased and floured  9-inch pans. Bake at 350 F for about 35 minutes.

4 squares unsweetened chocolate
1⁄2 cup milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1 cup butter
3 cups icing sugar
1 egg

Melt chocolate with milk and coffee over hot water. Blend until smooth. Cool.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat at high speed of
electric mixer for about 1 minute. Add chocolate mixture to butter mixture.
Blend well.

To Assemble Cake
Cut each layer horizontally to make 4 layers. (I didn't split them and ended up with just two layers) Spread each layer with 3⁄4 cup of frosting and cover top and sides of cake.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


My husband always likes it when I take a hearty appetizer to a party.  This is the perfect choice for your parties this football season.  I cannot tell you how wonderful this is - the men especially love it.  Give this a try for your next gathering!!


1 pkg. of pork tenderloins
1/3 cup sherry
2/3 cup soy sauce
½ tsp. ground ginger
red food coloring

Toasted sesame seeds and hot mustard

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix marinade in a large Ziploc bag and add pork tenderloins.  Marinate 30 minutes.  Take tenderloin out and put on broiler pan and discard marinade.  Put a pan of water in the oven on the rack under the pan of tenderloin to help keep them moist.  Bake tenderloins for 40 minutes turning every 15 minutes.   Allow the tenderloins to cool slightly and then slice thinly.  Serve on a platter with a small bowl of toasted sesame seeds and a small bowl of hot mustard.

You could probably half the marinade or double the meat.  This is great for a party!! 

Yummy – dip each slice into hot mustard and then into sesame seeds.      

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Honey Curry Chicken

All of my good friends have been raving on and on about this recipe from our friend Kathy.  Kathy is the great photographer that did Annie's senior pictures.  Please visit Kathy Johnson Portraits - especially if you are local.

Anyway, my friends were all saying their families were loving this Honey Curry Chicken.  Well, I have to say that I am not a huge fan of curry.  I have a snack mix recipe that has curry in and I do love it - World's Best Snack Mix.  If you haven't tried this snack mix - please make it for your next football party.  You will be addicted!

I made the Honey Curry Chicken and we did love it.  I will double the sauce next time as we are a "saucy" type family.  Everyone wanted more sauce to go with their chicken and rice.  The sauce kind of caramelized around the edge of the pan so I would definitely double the sauce next time. Add this recipe to your easy family favorites!

Honey Curry Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1/2 - 3/4 stick butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder

Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Mix butter, honey, mustard, salt and curry powder. Spray 8 x8 pan with cooking spray or even line pan with foil. Pour mixture over chicken.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour.  Serve with white rice and your favorite vegetable.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hummingbird Cake

I haven't been the best blogger lately.  With the beginning of school, volleyball season for our senior and the start of my preschool year - just a little on the busy side.  I have still been cooking - just not getting it on the blog fast enough.

On that note, I have to say this cake is..... AMAZING!  I had two ripe bananas instead of the normal three I use when I make banana bread.  I remembered this recipe from years back and thought I would give it a try.  I loved it.  It was so moist and flavorful and so yummy.  I did share a quarter of it with our good friends.  Greg gave me a bad time - telling me I was going to have to use a lot of hummingbirds to make a cake. :)  I promise - no hummingbirds were harmed in the making of this cake!

Hummingbird Cake

In a large mixing bowl,  mix by hand...
1 1/2 cups oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

Mix well.  Add...
2 bananas, mashed
1  ( 8 oz) can crushed pineapple, with juice
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.  Pour well-mixed batter into 3 greased and floured 9 inch cake pans.  (I like to like the bottom of my cake pans with wax paper for ease in removal).  Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until done.  Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 pkg (16 oz) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine cream cheese and butter and beat until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.  Spread between layers and an on top.  You can spread on the sides too... if you have enough!  Top with chopped pecans.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

South of the Border Lasagna

I am always looking for new and exciting recipes for dinner.  Like I mentioned before, my girls would rather me stick to a few old favorites but everyone is very nice when I try something new.   Sometimes it is "blog worthy" and I have to admit, sometimes it is not. This recipe came from my friend Donna.  Donna is a great Southern cook!  She has some wonderful family recipes and she is great about digging through her jillions of cookbooks to find another perfect recipe.  My girls aren't very hip on lasagna but I thought they might enjoy this Mexican version and they did.  Serve with Mexican Rice and a green salad.

South of the Border Lasagna

2 lbs. ground chuck
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Chili powder
3 cups tomato sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 to 1 Tbsp salt
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
4 oz can chopped green chilis
12 corn tortillas
vegetable oil
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp dried Cilantro
8 oz Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

In large skillet, brown meat over med-high heat.  Drain.  Add onion and saute 5 min or until translucent; add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Sprinkle with chili powder and mix well. Add tomato sauce, sugar, salt, olives and chilis.  Simmer uncovered 15 min.  Heat oven 350.  Spray a 13 x 9 with cooking spray.  In a small skillet, heat 1 - 2 Tbsp oil.  Soften tortillas one at a time, flipping with tongs and then allow to drain on a paper towel lined plate. Mix cottage cheese, beaten egg and dried cilantro. Place 1/3 meat mixture into pan, top with 1/2 Monterey Jack cheese, then 1/2 of cottage cheese mixture and top with 1/2 of tortillas.  Repeat ending with meat on top.  Cover with cheddar cheese and bake for 30 minutes.  Allow to stand 15 minutes before cutting.  Toppings - Scallions, sour cream, black olives, etc.

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