Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cranberry Salsa - serve over cream cheese

Recently, my Sunday School friend, Sara, made this for our Christmas party.  I LOVED it!  Sara found the recipe at Jamie Cooks It Up!  I visited Jamie's blog.  She has some great family recipes!  I especially love Jamie's humor and her description of chopping up the cranberries - check it out!

I love the sweet and savory of this Cranberry mixture so I decided to call it a salsa.  I divided the recipe and served it over one block of cream cheese on two separate occasions.  This recipe wasn't difficult. I could see.... just keeping this in my fridge over the holidays so I would always have an appetizer on hand.  I think I would love this on a turkey sandwich, too!

Yummo - give it a try - plus it looks so pretty!!

Cranberry Salsa - adapted from Jamie at Jamie Cooks it Up

1 12 oz package fresh cranberries
1/4 C green onion, chopped
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/4 C sugar
1/4 t cumin
2 T lemon juice
dash salt

2   8 oz packages cream cheese, softened

Using a food processor (I used my Ninja), chop the cranberries to your desired consistency.  I liked mine in small pieces.  Add rest of the ingredients (except cream cheese) and mix well.  Store in an airtight container for at least 4 hours or over night.  Don't omit this step as the cranberries need to absorb the sugar and soften and sweeten with time.

When ready to serve, take a softened cream cheese and spread evenly with a knife over a platter or dish, creating thin layer.  Top with desired amount of cranberry salsa.  Serve with Wheat Thins, favorite cracker or tortilla chips!

Printable Version  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cream Cheese Ball - Amazing!

I have such a fun job!  I work with amazing women at the preschool but since the preschool is in a church, I work with an amazing children's staff here at the church.  We had a birthday celebration yesterday for the sweetest of sweets, Christy!  Another dear friend, Jenni, brought this amazing Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cream Cheese Ball.  If you love chocolate, peanut butter and toasted pecans - oh my stars - you will love it! I loved it!  Jenni and I are always talking recipes.  I am so thankful she shared this fun new recipe with me. Be sure to add this to your holiday festivities!!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheese Ball

1  8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 C butter, softened
1/4 C creamy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
3/4 C powdered sugar 
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/2 C chocolate and peanut butter chips
1 Tablespoon chocolate liqueur (optional)
2/3 finely chopped pecans, toasted 

Graham Cracker Sticks 

1. Beat cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter at medium speed of an electric beater until creamy.
2. Stir in sugars, cocoa, chips, and if desired, liqueur. Cover and chill two hours or until firm.
3. Shape chilled mixture into a ball, and roll in toasted pecans. Serve with graham crackers.

*The picture above is a doubled recipe

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Pioneer Woman - Peppermint Fudge - Super Easy and Yummy

I LOVE The Pioneer Woman - Ree Drummond.  If you aren't familiar with her books and her website, please visit The Pioneer Woman.  Ree is this cute fun mom that lives on a ranch in Oklahoma with her family. All of her recipes are fabulous.  She is also on The Food Network.  I feel like I could hang out with her and we would be friends.  She reminds me of someone I would have grown up with!

Anyway, I recently saw this super easy recipe on Facebook.  I don't love fudge - I would usually go for a chocolate chip cookie instead.  This fudge seemed easy so I made it for my Sunday school party this past weekend.  I have to say - I loved it!  2 ingredients - plus the peppermints!  How easy is that!  I served it on a tall pedestel cake platter - very festive!

Peppermint Fudge - adapted from The Pioneer Woman

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1    14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
8 peppermints

The Pioneer Woman uses a double boiler.  I used the microwave and it worked beautifully.  Line an 8 x 8 pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.  Put the unwrapped peppermints in a ziploc bag.  Use a rolling pin or mallet to break into small pieces. Pour chocolate chips and milk into a microwavable bowl and microwave for one minute and stir; Microwave another 30 seconds to a minute and stir; Once all is melted and blended, immediately pour into the prepared 8 x 8 pan. Sprinkle with crushed peppermints.  Using the flat side of an off-set spatula, gently press the peppermints into the top of the fudge.  Refrigerate for two hours. Lift the foil from the pan and cut into small bite-sized pieces.

*Visit The Pioneer Woman for wonderful pictures and step by step instructions.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Layered Pesto Dip

I LOVE this dip!!  I love everything in it!  I have a new friend that sells Premier Jewelry and she shared the recipe with several of us.  Debi is great at her job and I have so enjoyed getting to know her.

This recipe is fabulous.  You could totally switch it up to your liking.  I added feta cheese as a layer and you could totally add sundried tomatoes as a layer or parmesan cheese or switch the pine nuts to toasted almonds.  Be creative!  This is the perfect, easy, holiday appetizer!!  I even made it a day ahead - except I didn't top it off with toasted pine nuts until just before serving!!

Layered Pesto Dip

Layer these items in a round flat dish or souffle dish or even a glass pie pan.

1.  8 oz cream cheese, softened, spread thinly
2.  Prepared pesto (I used the one from Costco)
3.  Crumbled feta cheese
4.  Slivered grape tomatoes
5.  Toasted Pine Nuts

Chill!  Serve with your favorite cracker!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Another Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

My girls love Baylor!  Jenna's best friend at Baylor (other than Annie) is Kylee!  Kylee has already been to Omaha twice - we love Kylee!  We were in Baylor not too terribly long ago and Kylee had made chocolate chip cookies.  I thought they were amazing!  She made HUGE cookies.  While I like HUGE cookies, I usually use a smaller cookie scoop so I can get more cookies out of a recipe!!

These cookies have a great flavor.  While I try not to cook much with Crisco.... these cookies are made with Butter Flavored Crisco and only brown sugar.  They have a different flavor then you are used to.... but oh so yummy!  Kylee also suggests the larger Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips mixed with a few regular semi-sweet.  Try them - you will love them!

Chocolate Chip Cookies - adapted from Kylee

3/4 cup Butter Flavored Crisco
2 cups unpacked brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 cups flour, leveled
1 cup Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Cream together Crisco, brown sugar and egg.  Add vanilla and mix well.  Add baking powder, salt, and milk - mixing together.  Add flour and mix well.  Add chocolate chips.  Using a medium size cookie scoop, scoop dough and place on baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 8 - 10 minutes.  Edges will start to brown :)  Enjoy!

Printable Version

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

I love pecans and pecan pie anything.  I found several recipes online but decided to go with this one.  I typically like brown sugar in the crust and thought this one would be a winner.  I was right!  The bottom had a little bit of a chewy, caramelized texture.  These bars are fabulous.  Be sure to spray the pan very well!!

Visit Just a Pinch for amazing recipes.  These Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars are by Kelli Thomas at Just a Pinch.  

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars - by Kelli Thomas on Just a Pinch


1 1/2 cups flour
1 stick butter
1/4 cup brown sugar


3 eggs
3/4 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
11.5 oz pkg semi sweet chocolate chunks
1  1/2 cups pecans, coursely chopped

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 13 x 9 pan very well.  Beat the flour, butter and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl until crumbly.  Press into the pan and bak for 12 - 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

For filling, beast the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla with a wire whisk.  Stir in chocolate chunks and pecan pieces.  Pour over the baked crust.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set.  Cut into bars when cool.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

North Woods Wild Rice & Chicken Soup

As I have mentioned before, I am a preschool director.  I am so blessed to work with 17 wonderful teachers and another great group of children's staff.  The teachers know I am a foodie so we are always talking food and recipes.  One of my newer teachers, Molly, shared this family favorite soup. Her family loves it and I knew mine would too.  Molly doubles it and usually adds a little extra cream cheese.  There are only three of us with the older two at college so I didn't double it.  We loved it!  It is a very hearty soup - kind of chowder like.  Mine did get a little thick so I added another cup of chicken broth.  Serve with crusty French bread and a salad!!

North Woods Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups chicken broth (or more if gets too thick)
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 cup Uncle Ben's Original Wild Rice, cooked
1 cup chicken, cooked and chopped
4 oz cream cheese

In a 4 qt Dutch oven, melt butter.  Add onion, celery and carrots, stirring over medium heat until carrots and celery are tender.  Stir in flour, salt and pepper.  Add broth all at once.  Cook and stir until bubbly.  Stir in evaporated milk, wild rice, cooked chicken and cream cheese.  Cook over medium heat until cream cheese is melted.  *Recipe can easily be doubled

Printable Version

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pressure Cooker - Potato and Corn Chowder

Most of you might not know but I love QVC.  I don't order daily but I do order regularly.  I find they have great products and great prices.

I recently ordered a pressure cooker from them.  I also ordered a cookbook - Comfortable Under Pressure by Meredith Laurence.  

I love the pressure cooker.  I am still figuring it out but I am loving it so far.  I have made a soup, a roast and veggies and potatoes.  I think the pressure cooker will be great for the holidays when I am using both ovens and possibly my Crock Pot too.

Everything has been yummy.  I am going to share the recipe for the soup - Potato and Corn Chowder. I thought this soup was fabulous!  I think you could totally adjust this soup to the stove top - maybe a little less liquid.  Pressure cookers are known for needing at least a cup of liquid or more.

Potato and Corn Chowder - for a Pressure Cooker - adapted from Meredith Laurence

8 strips bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely diced
3 carrots, finely diced
3 celery ribs, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups corn kernels, frozen or fresh (I used frozen)
3 cups small yellow potatoes, diced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp flour
2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 quart chicken stock/broth
1 cup half and half or heavy cream (I used cream)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I used a small amt of dried)

Preheat the pressure cooker using the BROWN setting.  If no brown setting or doing on a stove top, brown the bacon until crispy.  When crispy, remove bacon pieces with a slotted spoon.  Add onion, carrots, celery, peppers, garlic, corn and potatoes to the cooker.  Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes and then sprinkle with thyme, salt, cayenne, flour and pepper.  Stir well to distribute evenly over vegetables. Add the chicken stock and lock the lid in place.  Pressure cook on high six minutes.  Release the pressure with a quick release method and carefully remove the lid.  Stir the soup and use a potato masher to crush some of the potatoes.  Add the half and half or cream.  Season with more salt and pepper if needed.  Garnish with the reserved bacon pieces.  Serve with green salad and crusty bread.

TIP - if planning to serve right away, half and half works great.  If you want to re-heat the sopu for later on or plan on having leftovers, you might use cream instead.   Cream doesn't separate when it gets reheated.

Serves 6 - Quick and Easy

**There are no instructions for adapting to stove top.  I would brown bacon in a large stock pot like mentioned above.  Remove pieces and saute' veggies and corn til tender.  I might cook the potatoes separately and add them in. Add the chicken broth and spices and simmer.  I would add cream and simmer a bit longer

Printable Version

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Bloomin' Baked Caramel Apples

While the girls were in town, we had eaten out a couple of times so we decided to cook dinner at home.  We had steak, cheesy potatoes, yummy garlic-cheese bread and roasted green beans.  We had eaten enough or had enough sugar so I decided to try a new Fall dessert.  I saw this one on Facebook too.  Facebook has lots of yummy recipes lately.  If I am on my phone, I usually just take a quick screen shot so I can refer to it later.  I followed the link to a fun blog - The Gunny Sack.

This was easy and fabulous.  The recipe call for two apples.  There were six of us sharing this dessert. I knew we didn't need a lot but I thought I better at least make three apples.  I just doubled the sauce that I put on top!!

I TOTALLY recommend visiting The Gunny Sack.  Tonia has great pictures and more detail regarding this recipe.  She has step by step pictures on cutting the apple, etc.

Please try this yummy FALL treat!!

Instead of adding the recipe to my blog, I am just going to direct you to The Gunny Sack.  She has fabulous details!

**I want to point out the yummy crusty sweetness that is baked in on the apple - see it on the left edge.  The entire apple was fabulous.... but my favorite part was the "crust" that was made from the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour mixture that is poured over the apple before baking - YUM!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was at a work party with my hubby a few weeks ago.  Susan and John are fabulous hosts.  They love to entertain.  They always have fabulous food and this time, they even had a magician!!

Susan had great side dishes and desserts.  I would love to have asked for all of her recipes but decided to just ask for her cookie recipe.  These cookies were large, slightly brown on the bottom and edges and soft in the middle and on top.  Her cookies looked way better than mine.  I will have to try to perfect them.  I think hers tasted better too.  Mine were way yummy and didn't last long but I will still have to work on it a little more.

Our two college age girls came home for Fall Break.  They are loving Baylor but it is SO nice to have them home.  We all love Fall in Nebraska!!  We shopped, we ate, we did the pumpkin patch, we watched Baylor football on tv, we ate more, we watched movies, we ate again......You get the idea.  I had four desserts made for them when they walked in the door.  I loving have some of their favorite treats.  Jenna brought a friend home so I had to make even more fun goodies.  So, I made these yummy cookies and I filled up our cookie jar.  They are gone!!  I cannot wait to try them again!!

One other thing, I don't normally make cookies where I have to refrigerate the dough.  I am usually in a hurry and don't want to take the time.  I think the refrigeration and then baking these gems at 400 made them unique to the chocolate chip cookie family!!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla (I use 2)
2 2/3 cups flour (I use 3)
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (I omit)

Cream butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
Stir in chips and walnuts.

Spoon dough and shape into balls.  (I flatten slightly).  Place in airtight container, separating layers with waxed paper.  Cover and refrigerate minimum of 12 hours or overnight (I only do overnight).

To bake, place dough on parchment paper-lined baking sheets (very important, do not omit).  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes (I do 7-8).  Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks; cool.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

*I wasn't sure which size cookie I wanted.  I made some with my medium cookie scoop and my large cookie scoop.  I just varied my cooking time.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Slow Cooker Gravy Pork Chops - Easy

I saw this recipe on Facebook.  The title was "Most Amazing Pork Chops Ever".  When I read the title, I was enticed and had to try it.   I couldn't remember who put the recipe on Facebook so I searched the internet and found the recipe came from The Crockin' Girls.  With only five ingredients and a Crock Pot, I knew I was good.  The ingredients are definitely higher in sodium so you may want to adjust according to your diet.  I did use a few low sodium items.

My picture isn't great.  I should have taken a picture of the pork chops with the mashed potatoes and roasted green beans.

This was quick and simple and a yummy comfort meal.

"Most Amazing Pork Chops Ever" from The Crockin' Girls
4 bone in pork chops
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
1 pkg dry pork gravy mix
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray.  Place pork chops in the bottom.  Mix the remaining four ingredients in a mixing bowl and pour over the pork chops.  Cover and cook on low 6 - 8 hours.  Serve with mashed potatoes!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chocolate Coconut Pecan Gooey Butter Bars

Well, as you can tell from this post and previous posts, I am a little obsessed with Gooey Butter Bars and all of the different varieties.  I love coconut, chocolate and pecans so I decided to add these ingredients to the basis recipe.  I did and they were heavenly.  I think these may be my favorite so far. I think I might try Chocolate Raspberry next!  Give these yummy bars a try!

Now, if you haven't made the traditional Gooey Butter Bar, please give those a try first.  With Fall quickly approaching, you can try Pumpkin Gooey Butter Bars or Peanut Butter Chocolate Gooey Butter Bars.   You can be creative too!!

Chocolate Coconut Pecan Gooey Butter Bars

1 (18 1/4-ounce) package chocolate cake mix (I used Devil’s Food)
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup chopped pecans

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar

1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Add pecans and mix.  Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.  In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together.  Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Add the coconut and mix well.  Spread cream cheese mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over-bake 
as the center should be a little gooey. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Easy Beef Stroganoff

I got this recipe over 20 years ago from my Baylor roomie.  I am not sure if Jennifer still makes this but it was the perfect quick weeknight meal - only a few ingredients. My family approved!

I did roast broccoli like I do my cauliflower and green beans.  It was good.... but not my favorite.  I am not sure if you have roasted kale before but it reminded me a little of roasted kale.  You might love it - give it a try!

Easy Beef Stroganoff

1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg of dry Lipton Onion Soup Mix
egg noodles

Brown ground beef and onion.  Add mushrooms toward the end of cooking the beef and onion; drain; add soup, sour cream and Lipton Onion Soup Mix.  Mix thoroughly.  Reduce heat to warm.  Cook egg noodles according to directions.  Serve mixture over noodles... or toss all together like I did.  If too thick, can always add a little milk, cream or more sour cream.

Printable Version

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Simple Roasted Cauliflower

As I have mentioned in previous posts, we roast veggies one to two times a week.  Green beans, cauliflower and asparagus are our favorites.  One of our pastor's wives at church says she loves roasted broccoli so I am trying that tonight.  I will let you know how it turns out!

I cannot tell you how much I love roasted cauliflower.... and I don't love cauliflower raw.  Truly, I just cut it up in small bite-sized pieces, toss with 1 - 2 Tbsp of olive oil, toss with sea salt and bake at 425 for about 20 - 25 minutes.  Cauliflower takes longer than the green beans.  We like lots of nice roasted spots.  I also like smaller pieces - over large pieces.  I know you will love it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Gooey Butter Bars

What a crazy month!  We got our two oldest back to Baylor!  If you can only imagine - getting two girls back to school - unfurnished houses - and lots of clothes - and stuff!  Oh my stars!  We took two cars and a U-Haul!  It was crazy but we got them down there on a Friday, organized and unpacked both places on a Saturday and Chris and I drove back on a Sunday.  I thought this move was harder then when I moved them separately.  Loved having them home this summer and it was just harder taking them back!  They love Baylor so that makes it easier!  Meg is senior in high school and has a fun year ahead of her!  Lots of decisions for her too!

Preschool Teachers started back this past Monday.  I was in need of routine and I was so glad to have them back!  Our sweet kiddos come Tuesday!

We had a great workday Monday.  Preschool treated the teachers to breakfast and lunch.  I had these fun lanterns filled with a few goodies - ready for them on the table when they came in.  We are blessed to have amazing teachers!

We had a light breakfast and pizza/salad for lunch.  I did make our favorite English Toffee and I tried a new version to the traditional Gooey Butter Bar.  I love peanut butter and chocolate so I just knew these would be yummy.  I think heated with some vanilla ice cream might be the best.  If no vanilla ice cream, top with a dollop of Reddi-Wip!  Enjoy!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Butter Bars (recipe from

1 (18 1/4-ounce) package chocolate cake mix (I used Devil’s Food)
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.  In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together.  Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Spread peanut butter mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over-bake 
as the center should be a little gooey.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, fresh whipped cream or Reddi-Wip!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Salted Caramel Banana Bread

Once again,  I had three over-ripe bananas.  I made Crater Cake recently and my go-to favorite Banana Bread recipe - which I just realized isn't on here yet.  I was looking around on the internet....Coconut Banana Bread, Peanut Butter Banana Bread, Brown Sugar Banana Bread, etc.  Then, I spied a recipe for ....Salted Caramel Banana Bread.  I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website.  I followed the recipe pretty exact.  I think the only thing I did differently - I added a little more milk to the frosting so I could have a thinner frosting!

I loved it!  I have to say that my girls probably prefer plain - BANANA BREAD!  They are often wanting me to stick to the basics.  "Mom, could you please make regular banana bread... or regular chocolate chip cookies?"  They enjoy my cooking and love that I try new recipes but I think on occasion, they love it when I am not being creative in the kitchen!!

Visit Betty Crocker here .... and try this fantastic Salted Caramel Banana Bread!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Boxer Barbeque in Council Bluffs, Iowa

We are often looking for that perfect small "dive" to enjoy some amazing food.  Chris works in downtown Omaha and had been just over the river to try Boxer Barbeque.  Being from Texas, we have eaten a lot of BBQ.  Chris raved and raved about this BBQ so we ventured with some friends over to Council Bluffs.  Believe me - our trip was not a disappointment!  The food was fabulous!  I had brisket, Chris had a two meat plate with brisket and baby back ribs with a side of bacon potato salad and baked beans.  One of our friends had a three meat dinner with brisket, baby back ribs and shanks - with onion rings and the other had Barbeque Nachos.  The cornbread was sweet with this amazing buttered topping ( took four pieces home to the girls - they love that sweet cornbread)  AND - we don't normally order dessert but they had a big sign suggesting "Bread Pudding - fried..... with a praline caramel sauce served with vanilla ice cream".    This was truly one of the most amazing desserts ever!  I am not always a fan of bread pudding - but these crunchy edges, with the sauce and.... a little ice cream!  OH MY STARS!  This was a HUGE loaf!  The four of us ate half and we took the rest home for my sweet hubby to enjoy the next night!

Please visit Boxer Barbeque - you will love it!  We so enjoyed visiting with the owner.  He loves what he does and enjoyed telling us about his Boxers he has home.  He is getting a new Boxer puppy in the near future!

Oh - and they cater too!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Crunchy Broccoli Casserole

My friends Shelley and Parker often cook most of their food for the week - on Sunday.  They are both busy at work during the week, and they like to plan ahead.  I was visiting last weekend, when this yummy thing came out of the oven.  And of course, I asked if I could taste it.  I love the flavor... and especially the crunch.  I made it for my family the next night!

Crunchy Broccoli Casserole

1st layer - 1 head of broccoli, blanched (cook for just about five minutes in boiling water, rinse w/cold)
2nd layer - 1 cup cheese crackers (all I had was Goldfish - would probably use Cheez-Its)
3rd layer - 1 small pkg slivered almonds
4th layer - Mix: 1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used cream of onion), 1/2  cup of shredded cheese,
1 small  2 oz jar diced pimento, 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Spray medium size baking dish (I used an oval French Corning Ware) and add in the four layers.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and browning around the edge.

Printable Version

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blueberry Cream Cheese Butter Cake

I think this recipe caught my eye on Facebook - I actually don't remember. Wherever it was.... it connected me to The Southern Lady Cooks.   I don't normally make fruit cakes or fruit desserts because my girls always want chocolate.  Chris likes fruity desserts but he doesn't always say a whole lot - like the girls.  In fact, when I made this dessert, our middle daughter Jenna said, " Mom, what is this?  This isn't a typical Routh dessert!  Fruit?  walnuts?"  A friend came over and I offered her a piece of cake (the friends know that we usually have yummies around) and Jenna said, "Just know that this isn't a typical Routh Dessert!"  SO funny - these girls!

Anyway, so much as to say, this cake was really yummy.  The tart and sweet was especially good.  It was was gooey and moist - reminded me of a pudding cake that you can sometimes buy in the grocery store.  I did refrigerate it after a couple of days and Chris enjoyed it everyday for breakfast and for a late night treat.  Jenna, on the other hand, only had one bite.  I made her a batch of Everything Cookies 
\the next day - a family favorite!!

The glaze was tart and fabulous.  I had so much... that it was overflowing.  Plan to have a larger plate or poke bigger holes than I did.

P.S.  My preschool teachers gave me a silicone bundt pan a couple of years ago - LOVE IT!!  I can't tell you how easy it is to get the cake out - no more worrying about a bundt cake sticking!!

Blueberry Cream Cheese Butter Cake (adapted from The Southern Lady Cooks)

1 box Kroger Butter Recipe Cake Mix
3 eggs
2/3 cup evaporated milk (small can)
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
3.5 oz box of Vanilla Instant Pudding and Pie Filling
1   8 oz pkg of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray your pan well - with a floured baking spray.  In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, and eggs.  Mix well with mixer.  Add milk and melted butter, cream cheese, water and continue mixing.  Batter will be thick.  Fold in blueberries and walnut pieces.  Pour into well greased pan.  Bake for 55 - 60 minutes or until center is cooked.  Run a knife around the edges.  Let stand 15- 20 minutes before removing from the pan.  Poke holes in cake with a toothpick and pour glaze over cake.  Use remaining glaze to pour over each individual piece.


1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar (more or less to get right consistency)

Mix ingredients in a small bowl stirring with a whisk until well combined and desired consistency.

Printable Version

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti

I don't make fancy spaghetti.  My version is usually just a quick dinner for during the week.  I was looking around the internet and found this yummy version.  Chris has been enjoying cream cheese on his pizza lately - with his standard pepperoni and jalepeno.  Cream cheese is a fabulous addition to pizza - so I figured let's try it in spaghetti.  Nothing like a little added fat and calories - right?  We eat grilled chicken and roasted vegetables most nights of the week anyway!!

I thought it was a fabulous spaghetti!  It was still easy since I used jarred sauce.  I made mine with ground beef but I think I would like some Italian sausage mixed in.  I always sprinkle the top with some Italian seasoning to give it lots of good extra flavor.

I found this recipe over at Gonna Want Seconds.  Visit Kathleens blog.  Her picture of this meal is better than mine - her family votes this recipe their favorite spaghetti!  Give it a try!!

Also, I doubled this recipe and froze an extra pan for later.  I love doing this.  I just didn't top with Parmesan or the French Fried Onion Rings.

Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti (adapted from Gonna Want Seconds)

8 oz dried spaghetti, cooked according to pkg directions(don't rinse - toss with a little olive oil to keep                                                                  it from sticking together)
1 lb ground beef (or Italian sausage or a mix)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1   24 oz jar of favorite spaghetti sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced sweet red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature, cubed
2 Tbsp milk
1 - 11/2 cups Parmesan Cheese - shredded
Italian Seasoning
1 cup French Fried Onions

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook Spaghetti according to package directions.  In a large skillet, brown meat with oregano and salt and pepper, drain fat, add tomato sauce and set aside.  In another medium skillet, heat the olive oil to medium high heat, add peppers and onions and saute until tender.  Add cream cheese and milk and stir until well combined.  Set aside.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  Pour about 1/2 cup of meat/sauce mixture in the bottom of the pan.  Layer all of the spaghetti next- spreading it out evenly.  Spread all of the cream cheese/veggie mixture next, spreading it out evenly. Next, add the rest of the meat sauce and spread it evenly over the top.  Now, sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and Italian seasoning.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.  Take out of oven and sprinkle with French Fried Onions - bake for another five minutes - watching so onions don't burn.  Enjoy!

Printable Version

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Coconut Cream Pound Cake

Chris and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary on Sunday, June 29th.  I made a cake to celebrate!  Everyone in our family likes pound cake .... and coconut.  I searched and found this Coconut Cream Pound Cake on All-Recipes.  It sounded like exactly what I was looking for.  It was perfect - dense, yummy, buttery, coconutty - we enjoyed it all week.  I think Chris ate a piece for breakfast everyday with his coffee.  Yummy!

Coconut Cream Pound Cake (adapted from All Recipes)

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
3 cups white sugar
6 eggs

1.Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan.
2.In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until well blended. Add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the coconut extract. Mix in flour and baking powder until just moistened, then stir in coconut. Spoon batter into the prepared pan.
3.Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack.

Printable Version
1 teaspoon coconut extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups flaked coconut

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Salted Nut Roll Bars

Hi friends - I apologize for not posting as much this summer.  My girls are all home and I just want to spend as much time with them as possible.  I am still cooking a lot - just not always trying new recipes.  If you are new to my blog - please visit back to some of my first-posted recipes.  These are some of my favorite.

Here are a few reminders that I have been making this summer....Chili Cheese Frito and Corn Salad, Some Great Pasta, Sausage Pinwheels, Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Corn and Cucumber Salsa.  I made Chris' favorite Banana Pudding ,,,,,and Mexican Cornbread is a favorite stand-by.   Also, please try the Black Bean and Corn Salsa and Craisen Salad this summer.  And, I made King Ranch Casserole this week - another favorite Mexican dish!  We are making these yummy RIBS today.....

My friend Amy made these fun bars for a pool party last weekend.  I loved how yummy and easy they are.  This is an easy no-bake recipe like Scotch-a-Roos.  I have been trying to not each much sugar - well these little babies about did me in last Saturday.  I kept taking a little bite.... and another little bite - you know what I mean.  They just hit the spot.  I love that I can just keep these items on hand and whip this up anytime!

Salted Nut Roll Bars

16 oz peanuts (I used dry roasted)
3 Tbsp butter
1 pkg peanut butter chips
1  14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1  10 oz bag mini-marshmallows

Grease a 9 x 13 bars.  Sprinkle half of the peanuts in the bottom of the pan.  In a saucepan or in the microwave, melt butter and peanut butter chips.  Add condensed milk and stir til mixed.  Take from stove (or MW) and stir in marshmallows and toss til coated.  Pat mixture down into peanuts in pan - until you have a layer of marshmallow mixture on top of peanuts.  Top with the rest of peanuts and pat firmly down into marshmallow mixture with a spatula.  Chill to firm.  Cut and enjoy!

Printable Version

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

First off, I want to apologize for not posting more.  All three of my girls were home in May and I cooked many of their favorites instead of always trying new recipes.  I love having everyone home. Annie is now traveling with Baylor Business in Europe - taking six hours - but mainly having so much fun.  She is loving it - from swimming in Lake Geneva to paragliding in Interlaken and on and on. Jenna is taking senior pictures this summer.  She is having so much fun with her photography.  She just took the Megabus to Chicago this week - having a great time!  Meg just left for a high school church mission trip to Nicaragua.  SO - we are empty nesters this week.  I love my wonderful husband but I love having the girls and their friends here.  Meg will  be a senior this year - so not empty nesters just yet!

At the end of school, I was enjoying some time on Pintrest.  Everyone loves Pintrest.  Pintrest led me to a great blog with great recipes... Cookies & Cups.  There were so many fun recipes but I printed off two to try.  I will make the other one soon.

In Texas, we love Texas Sheet Cake.  When I saw this recipe for Texas Sheet Cake Cookies - I knew I had to try it.  This recipe only make 24 cookies but I went for it anyway.  If you love Texas Sheet Cake, you will love these cookies.  They are so yummy.  My family thinks they are pretty rich so they enjoyed each cookie with a tall glass of cold milk or they warmed them in the microwave and served with vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy - and be sure to check out Cookies & Cups!

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies (Adapted from Cookies & Cups)

Ingredients for Cookies:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted

Ingredients for Icing

1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
3 Tbsp milk (I ended up putting a little more)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.  In a bowl, use a mixer and beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, scraping sides.  Add in egg and vanilla and continuing mixing.  Mix in baking powder and salt.  Turn mixer to low and slowly add in flour - Dough will be the thick.  In Microwave, melt chocolate chips on high at 30 second intervals ...until melted. Stir after each 30 seconds and mix directly into cookie dough until evenly mixed.  Drop by a measured tablespoon sized mounds onto baking sheet.  Bake for 7-8 minutes or just until cookies appear set. They will be soft on the inside - DO NOT OVERBAKE!!  Transfer to wire rack.

For Icing..Combine butter, cocoa powder and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking until melted together.  Remove from heat and and whisk in powdered sugar.  (May need a little extra milk to reach desired consistency)  Spoon over cookies and allow icing to set before serving.

**Store at room temperature for up to 3 days

Printable Version 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Earthquake Cake - Great Gluten Free or Regular

Leslie is a teacher at preschool with me.  We have several teachers that eat Gluten Free.  We have our monthly birthday celebrations so Leslie decided to bring this Earthquake Cake - Gluten Free.  She used a Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix and we all thought it was great.  I honestly couldn't tell the difference - probably because of the powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, coconut and pecans. Those five ingredients can make anything taste good!!

I made it for my family.  I cooked it a little long - as you can tell by looking at the top.  It was still heavenly and my family devoured it.  Chris enjoyed his warm with vanilla ice cream  Our two oldest girls had just gotten home from college and couldn't wait to try it.  They would tell me with one breath, "We are eating healthy" and then with the next breath, sneaking a bite of cake or asking me to buy Peanut Butter M & Ms!!

Thanks Leslie for this yummy new recipe!!

Earthquake Cake

1 chocolate cake mix, mixed according to directions
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup coconut
1  8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix cake according to directions. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle pecans and coconut on the bottom of the pan.  Pour cake mix over pecans and coconut.  In a bowl, mix softened cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar. Drop by spoonfuls on top of cake mix.  Top with chocolate chips and bake for 55-60 minutes.  Enjoy!!

Printable Version

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Amazing White Queso - the BEST!!

I recently helped with a friend's daughter's graduation party.  She made three recipes of this Queso and it was gone.  Everyone loved it.  I made it for my girls and we have been snacking on it all week.

Try it soon - it is the best Queso!!

Queso ( I believe this may have come from Southern Living)

2 lbs. deli white American Cheese ( I like Boars Head)
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2   10 oz can Rotel Original
3/4 cup milk
1/2 - 1 tsp ground cumin ( I like it with 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground pepper

Place all 7 ingredients in a 6 quart slow cooker and cook on low for 3 hours, stirring every hour. (I did mine in the microwave)

If want to make ahead, place in container and freeze up to one month.  

Printable Version

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Yummy Granola

My mother-in-law is a great cook.  She is often telling me about a good recipe.  She shared this granola recipe with me not too long ago and I love it.  I cooked mine a little long so it is a little brown - but still tastes great.  I liked to mix mine with vanilla yogurt or mix with a few craisins and chocolate chips for a yummy snack.  I haven't tried it yet - but I bet you could substitute coconut sugar for brown sugar and agave nectar for honey.  Who knows - worth a try!

Granola Mix

Preheat over 250 degrees.  Mix together .....

3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 c + 2 tbs. dark brown sugar
1/4 c + 2 tbs. honey
1/4 c canola oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 c Craisins (add these AFTER the other ingredients are baked)

Bake 1 hour stirring every 15 mins.

Place on parchment paper to cool. **If you leave it in pan,  it really sticks to pan and hard to get off pan.  I used a baking sheet with sides.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Coconut Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

This cake is ....AMAZING!  I think I saw the recipe on Facebook - which linked me to Just a Pinch.  I love coconut and how Just a Pinch described the cake - dense and creamy.  I LOVE IT!  It reminds me of a silky, dense poundcake - like my mom's Cream Cheese Poundcake - which is also heavenly.

Just a Pinch recommended cutting into squares and frosting.  I did a few like this - and this would be perfect if I wanted to put the squares on a platter to take somewhere.  But - I took a few pieces to friends and left the rest for my hubby.

Truly, the dense, silky texture of this cake is heavenly.  I will have to make this in a week when our other two girls get home from college.  They will love it!

Please visit Just a Pinch!

Coconut Cream Cheese Sheet Cake - adapted from Just a Pinch

1 cup butter, softened
6 oz cream cheese, softened
6 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract ( I used  1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp coconut extract)
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1/8 cup coconut milk or cream of coconut ( I used cream of coconut)

Frosting ( Just a Pinch recommends doubling this - I forgot - but I did double the toasted coconut)

1/4 cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla or coconut extract ( I used coconut)
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup coconut, toasted (followed toasting instructions on bag - I did 1 cup)
**can add a few tablespoons of milk if needed for texture- I added a little cream of coconut)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  Cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time, vanilla and then mix in flour.  Spread batter into prepared 9 x 13 pan.  Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.  As this cake cools, it will fall.  That is normal for this cake.  Cool on cooling rack.

Frosting - Beat together butter, cream cheese, extract and add sugar.  Mix until well blended.

Toast the coconut - Follow the directions on the bag of coconut;  I toasted mine in the toaster oven at 350 for about 7 minutes - turning very often.  Watch carefully - as it will burn.

Frost cake in pan or gently remove cake from pan and cut the cooled cake into squares.  Top each square with frosting and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Printable Version

Monday, May 5, 2014

Easy Mexican Lasagna

As I have mentioned several times, I am the director of a preschool.  I love it!  Our classes all make a gift for mom for Mother's Day.  One of our four year old classes made a cookbook for the moms. They collected recipes from each family and then had each child describe his/her favorite recipe.  The cover was a cute picture of each child in a chef hat.

Recently, I made a new cookie recipe from the cookbook - Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Pudding Cookies and they were oh so yummy.  This week I tried Mexican Lasagna.  It was easy and yummy.
Since we have two away in college, I decided to half the recipe and made a square pan instead of a 9 x 13 - it worked perfectly.  I will give you both versions below!  Enjoy!

Mexican Lasagna  (9x13 version)

2 lbs. ground beef
chopped onion
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can enchilada sauce
1 pkg of taco seasoning
2 small cans diced green chiles
flour tortillas
shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Brown ground beef with chopped onion or minced onion, drain.  Tear or cut tortillas long like lasagna noodles.  Spray a 9 x 13 with cooking spray.  Line pan with a layer of torn tortillas.  Add a layer of ground beef mixture, then a layer of shredded cheese.  Repeat layers.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, black olives and cheese.

**For a square pan, I used one pound of ground beef, one can cream of mushroom soup, 1 can red enchilada sauce, 1/2 envelope taco seasoning, 1 can diced green chiles.  I had some cream on hand so I added a 1/2 cup cream,  Everything else is just about the same!

Printable Version