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Rated: E · Draft · Biographical · #2283553
first time entry - NaNoWriMo
Preface: This is my first time putting something like this together. There are A LOT of recipes in this writing. A fair percentage I've done, or a variation of what is listed as the recipe. Some are new to me, and I want to try them out as soon as possible. Please bear with my ramblings and crazy thought processes of going through the recipes. This is totally a new "baby" of an idea; with all of the messes that come with it. I thank you in advance for your patience.


Introduction: This cookbook has been a long time in the making. About forty years, roughly. One of my first memories after having gotten married was nearly throwing up handling a whole chicken to cut up...LOL. Boy, was that a long time ago. I believe my cooking skills have improved somewhat since that long ago incident. Food has always played and integral part of our family dynamics. Whether we were making a "Dietician's Nightmare breakfast, or something as simple as macaroni and cheese with hotdogs, our family life was centered a lot on food. A lot of the recipes that I am sharing come from Allrecipes.com or Taste of Home.com. They have somewhat become my "bibles" when it comes to trying out new things. I also find for when I find I have a limited amount of things to cook, I check out the "homesteading" channels on YouTube. I've found a lot of helpful ideas. I have also learned how to make my own butter and soft cheeses. (I don't have a "press" for making the hard cheeses yet, but perhaps one day.

I've also learned that there is more to a kitchen than a crockpot and a roaster and Dutch oven. Air Fryers, Instapots and I've even seen "smart ovens" that do the cooking and holding for you. And I thought having a bread machine was "up town" LOL. Don't forget the dehydrators and the freeze dryers. A pantry stocker's dream come true.

There is quite a bit of different things here. Food, of course - Meals to sweets; even a few adult drinks, as well as something for the kiddoes. there are also so self-care recipes and gift ideas included as well. I am hoping that this is a well rounded cookbook, and that anyone can use it. I also wanted to share some sites for homesteading ideas and pantry stocking as well. I think that nowadays it isn't a bad idea of being prepared, without going to the crazy extremes.

I have a lot of sweets in this collection. About 6 years ago, I was diagnosed with diabetes. I've slowed down the making of sweets, but on occasion, I do have something "bad", as to keep from going overboard by denying myself any kind of sweet. Not sure my doctor would agree, but the saving of my mental health does seem to help a bit (at least I think/hope so).

I've lived in various places throughout the United States. Michigan, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. I also spent a year and a half in both Italy and Germany. My oldest daughter was born in Mississippi. My son (middle child) was born in Ansbach/Katterbach (West Germany at the time) before the wall came down. My youngest daughter was born in Louisiana. I've gotten a few recipes together from my travels, and hopefully you will enjoy them as much as my family has. Right now, there is no rhyme or reason to the order of these recipes. I guess that's what editing is for.

I guess the easiest thing to do is break down recipes from the different places that I've been. Most of my life has been in Michigan, and what could be more comforting than a bowl of Mom's goulash? Or a crockpot stew? Then for the holidays, there are always the chewy molasses cookies or Dad's peanut butter fudge, or Mom's Christmas candy. These items definitely bring back memories for me.

Mom's Goulash:

Elbow macaroni (varies, depending on how many to feed)

1 lb ground burger, fried up and crumbled.

1 qt jar of tomatoes, chopped up, liquid and all

salt, pepper to taste

Cook macaroni, drain; return to pot. Add burger and tomatoes and salt and pepper. Stir until well mixed. Most of the liquid should be gone, and macaroni tender. Mom always had bread/butter on the table with this, and I also liked adding parmesan cheese on top of mine. Mom and dad always seemed to prefer a teaspoon of white sugar on theirs.

For a large family, Mom and dad always seemed to have something going in the crockpot. I remember the old, round, green one with a glass lid. As time went on, the crockpots would be updated, but there is always one in the house. I have one in my house, as well.

Crockpot stew:

2lb-ish roast (I usually went for cheapest cut of meat)

potatoes, washed and diced (keeping skin on optional)

1 large onion, diced into chunks

bag of carrots, washed, peeled, diced into small chunks

3-4 stalks of celery, diced into small chunks

Salt, pepper to season, or Mrs. Dash Table Blend

3-4 cups Water with beef bullion cube, or beef broth

If you have the time, or the inclination, you can sear the roast on both sides...I usually just added seasonings to the meat and put it into the crockpot.

I would then add potatoes, carrots, onion, and celery to about 2 inches below rim of crockpot. I would then cover with broth/water until covered. Then place lid and turn on high heat. I would let this cook all day, while I was at work. When got home, I'd either serve it with bread/butter or rolls, depending on the mood. I would also thicken up the broth to make a tasty gravy to go over the dinner. That got the kids and me through several chilly days in Michigan, I can tell you.


Chicken Cordon Bleu

nonstick cooking spray

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

6 slices Swiss cheese

4 slices cooked ham

½ cup seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a 7x11-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness.

Sprinkle each piece of chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place 1 Swiss cheese slice and 1 ham slice on top of each breast. Roll up each breast, and secure with a toothpick. Place in the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle chicken evenly with bread crumbs.

Bake in the preheated oven until chicken is no longer pink, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and place 1/2 Swiss cheese slice on top of each breast. Return to the oven until cheese has melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove toothpicks and serve immediately.



Instant Pot New York Ricotta Cheesecake

nonstick cooking spray

2 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreo®)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

12 ounces ricotta cheese

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sour cream

⅛ teaspoon almond extract

⅛ teaspoon lemon extract

⅛ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

Coat a 7-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Place crushed cookies in the bottom and mix in melted butter until you have an even thickness of crust across the bottom. Cut parchment paper and place it around the rim, resting on top of the crust; this will help the cheesecake separate easily from the sides of the springform pan.

Mix ricotta, cream cheese, and sugar together. Add cornstarch, vanilla, flour, sour cream, almond extract, and lemon extract. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix until just combined; don't overmix. Pour cheesecake batter into the crust.

Place a trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot®. Add 1 1/2 cups water. Place the springform pan into the Instant Pot® on top of the trivet. Close and lock the lid.

Select high pressure according to manufacturer's instructions; set timer for 40 minutes. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for pressure to build.

Release pressure using the natural-release method according to manufacturer's instructions, 10 to 40 minutes.

Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour, then cover it and place it in the refrigerator to cool completely before serving.



World's Easiest Peanut Butter Blossoms

1 (18 ounce) jar smooth peanut butter

1 ¼ cups white sugar

2 eggs

½ cup white sugar

36 milk chocolate candy kisses (such as Hershey's Kisses®), unwrapped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Stir peanut butter, 1 1/4 cup white sugar, and eggs together in a bowl; roll into small balls.

Place remaining 1/2 cup white sugar in a bowl and roll balls in sugar until coated. Arrange balls 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until very lightly browned on the bottom and the edges are beginning to crack, 12 to 14 minutes. Immediately press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie. Cool on the baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 15 minutes.



Easy Almond Thin Cookies

1 egg white, room temperature

⅓ cup coconut sugar

½ teaspoon almond extract

½ cup almond flour

1 tablespoon slivered almonds, chopped

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

Whisk egg white, coconut sugar, and almond extract together in a bowl. Fold almond flour into egg mixture until just combined; spread batter into baking dish. Sprinkle almonds over top of batter and press down lightly.

Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack using the parchment to lift it out of baking dish. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.



Tatyana's Momma's Truly Excellent Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter

½ cup confectioners' sugar

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

Beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and flour together in a bowl until smooth; add vanilla extract and almond extract. Knead dough until well combined, about 10 times. Shape or cut dough into small cookies; arrange on a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until edges of cookies are lightly browned, 20 minutes.






Blackberry Crisp

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup brown sugar

¾ cup all-purpose flour, divided

½ cup butter, softened

4 cups fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Combine oats, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup flour in a bowl. Cut butter into oat mixture using a pastry blender until mixture is moistened and crumbly.

Spread blackberries into an 8-inch square baking dish and mix in the remaining 1/4 cup flour until berries are coated. Sprinkle crumb topping over berries.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.




3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Mix peanut butter, sugar, and egg together in a bowl using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet; flatten each with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern.

Bake in the preheated oven until edges are firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet briefly before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.


Great Grandma's Peach Cobbler

1 (29 ounce) can sliced peaches in juice, drained, reserving juice

1 cup self-rising flour

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

½ cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Arrange peach slices in a 9-inch round baking dish. Pour about half the reserved peach juice on top; discard remaining juice. Beat egg, flour, and sugar in a bowl until combined; pour over peaches. Drizzle melted butter over the flour mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 45 minutes.




Meyer Lemon Pie

1 ¼ cups white sugar

3 large eggs

3 ¾ fluid ounces Meyer lemon juice

¼ cup butter, melted

1 (9 inch) pastry shell, unbaked

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Place sugar, eggs, and lemon juice in a blender; blend until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Pour melted butter into the blender and blend for 30 seconds more.

Transfer lemon filling to pastry shell.

Bake in the preheated oven until filling is just set, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow pie to rest until completely set before serving, about 15 minutes more.



Chocolate Pretzel Treats

1 (15 ounce) package small pretzel twists

1 (8 ounce) package milk chocolate candy kisses (such as Hershey's Kisses®), unwrapped

1 (1.69 ounce) package candy-coated milk chocolate pieces (such as M&M's®)

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees F (80 degrees C).

Arrange pretzels on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place a candy kiss on the center of each pretzel.

Warm pretzels in the preheated oven until candy kisses are shiny and slightly softened, about 2 minutes.

Place a candy-coated chocolate piece atop the candy kiss on each pretzel; press down. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.



Marie's Peach Dump Cake

1 (29 ounce) can sliced peaches in heavy syrup, undrained

1 (18.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix

¾ cup butter, sliced into pats, or more if needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with margarine.

Pour peaches and heavy syrup into the prepared baking dish. Spread cake mix evenly over peaches. Arrange butter pats in even rows on the cake mix.

Bake in the preheated oven until top of cake is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.



Brownie Mix-Black Bean Brownies

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup water

1 package brownie mix

1 cup chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Blend black beans and water together in a blender until smooth; pour into a bowl. Stir brownie mix into black bean mixture until batter is smooth; fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips over batter.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted 2 inches from the side of the pan comes out clean, 25 to 27 minutes. Cool brownies completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.







Very Chocolate Ice Cream

1 cup milk

¾ cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon salt

3 egg yolk, lightly beaten

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Place egg yolks into a small bowl. Gradually whisk in about 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture, then return to the saucepan. Heat and stir until thickened, but do not boil.

Remove from the heat and stir in chopped chocolate until melted.

Pour into a chilled bowl and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 2 hours.

Stir in cream and vanilla. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.



Eclairs

Choux Pastry:

1 cup water

½ cup butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

Filling:

2 ½ cups cold milk

1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing:

2 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons hot water

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet; set aside.

Make choux pastry: Combine water and butter in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, stirring until butter melts completely. Reduce heat to low; add flour and salt. Stir vigorously until mixture leaves the sides of the pan and begins to form a stiff ball. Remove from heat.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until incorporated. Using a spoon or pastry bag fitted with a No. 10 or larger tip, spoon or pipe dough onto the prepared cookie sheet in 1 1/2x4-inch strips.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and continue baking until the bottoms sound hollow when lightly tapped, about 20 more minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Make filling: Combine milk and pudding mix in a medium bowl according to package directions. Beat heavy cream with an electric mixer in a separate medium bowl until soft peaks form. Beat in confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Fold whipped cream into pudding.

Cut tops off of cooled pastry shells with a sharp knife. Fill shells with pudding mixture and replace tops.

Make icing: Melt chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Stir in hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until icing is smooth and has reached desired consistency. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Drizzle chocolate icing over filled eclairs. Store in the refrigerator until serving.



World's Best Oreo Fudge

3 cups white sugar

¾ cup butter

⅔ cup evaporated milk

2 cups white chocolate chips

1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup crumbled chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreo®)

1 cup crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreo®)


Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Bring sugar, butter, and evaporated milk to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, stirring constantly; cook and stir at a boil until mixture is smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat; stir white chocolate chips and marshmallow creme into the sugar mixture until completely melted. Add vanilla extract; stir.

Gently fold 1/2 cup crumbled cookies into the white chocolate mixture until just incorporated; spread into the prepared pan. Sprinkle 1 cup crushed cookies evenly over the top. Press cookies lightly into the fudge. Cool at room temperature until set. Cut into small squares to serve.



Coconut-Cranberry Bars with Pecans

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

½ cup butter, melted

1 ½ cups sweetened dried cranberries (such as Craisins®)

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 ¼ cups pecan halves

1 cup flaked coconut

¾ cup white chocolate chips

¾ cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper or grease.

Mix graham cracker crumbs and butter together in a bowl; press into the prepared baking dish.

Stir cranberries, sweetened condensed milk, pecans, coconut, white chocolate chips, and bittersweet chocolate chips together in a bowl; gently spread over the graham cracker crust.

Bake in the preheated oven until edges are golden brown, 25 to 28 minutes; cool on a wire rack.



White Chocolate Popcorn

2 (3.5 ounce) packages plain microwave popcorn

17 ounces white chocolate chips

1 tablespoon butter

Pop 1 popcorn package at a time in the microwave on high until popping begins to slow down, about 2 1/2 minutes. Open bags carefully and transfer popcorn to a large plastic bag, discarding any burnt pieces or unpopped kernels.

Melt white chocolate chips with butter in top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula, until mixture is creamy, about 5 minutes.

Drizzle melted chocolate over popcorn. Close bag and shake until thoroughly coated, 3 to 4 minutes. Place in the refrigerator to cool, about 1 hour.



White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg

1 tablespoon brandy

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup dried cranberries

¾ cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 2 cookie sheets.

Beat brown sugar, white sugar, and butter with an electric mixer in a large bowl until creamy. Add egg and brandy and beat until incorporated.

Combine flour and baking soda in a separate bowl. Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined. Fold in cranberries and white chocolate chips. Drop batter by heaping spoonful onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, switching racks halfway through; cookies will still appear slightly doughy.

Remove from the oven and let cool briefly on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.



Chocolate Cookie Cheesecake

2 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 pounds cream cheese, softened

1 ¼ cups white sugar

⅓ cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

1 ½ cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs

16 ounces sour cream

¼ cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine 2 cups cookie crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; firmly press mixture evenly onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 5 minutes; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually mix in 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1/3 cup whipping cream, flour, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Pour 1/3 of batter into prepared pan. Top with 1 1/2 cups cookie pieces; pour in remaining batter.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes. Remove cake from oven. Combine sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla; spread evenly on cheesecake. Continue baking for 7 minutes. Turn oven off and leave in oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Combine 1 cup whipping cream and chocolate chips in a saucepan; stir over low heat until chocolate melts, and then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour mixture over cheesecake while still warm. Refrigerate until serving time. Should be at least 8 hours for refrigerator time, remove about 1/2 hour to 1 hour before serving, remove ring from springform pan, decorate to choice and get out your fork!








Coco-Cola Cake

Cola Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

1 cup butter

1 cup cola-flavored carbonated beverage

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ cups miniature marshmallows

½ cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cola Frosting:

½ cup butter

6 tablespoons cola-flavored carbonated beverage

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

4 cups confectioners' sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Make cola cake: Combine flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Place butter, cola soft drink, and cocoa in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Pour over flour mixture; mix well.

Stir in marshmallows, buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla until well combined. Pour batter into the prepared dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Spread cola frosting over hot cake.

Make cola frosting: Combine butter, cola soft drink, and cocoa in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Pour over confectioners' sugar in a large bowl; mix well. Stir in chopped nuts.



Zucchini Brownies


1 ½ cups white sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups shredded zucchini

½ cup chopped walnuts

Frosting:

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ cup margarine

2 cups confectioners' sugar

¼ cup milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Mix sugar, oil, and 2 teaspoons vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Combine flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl; stir into sugar mixture. Fold in zucchini and walnuts; spread batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until top is dry and edges have started to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make frosting by whisking 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine in a pan over medium-low heat until smooth and glossy; set aside to cool.

Blend confectioners' sugar, milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla together; stir into cooled cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.



Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 pound shredded, cooked chicken

1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed

1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce

1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups water

1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 bay leaf

1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

7 corn tortillas

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed

Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, green chiles, onion, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth; season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours.

When the soup is almost finished, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle tortilla strips over soup before serving.



Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup


2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained

1 (16 ounce) can chili beans

1 (15 ounce) can black beans

1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 onion, chopped

1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning

3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese (Optional)

1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

1 cup crushed tortilla chips

Place diced tomatoes, chili beans, black beans, corn, beer, tomato sauce, and onion into a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning; stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top, pressing down slightly until just covered.

Cover and cook on Low for 5 hours.

Transfer chicken breasts to a chopping board and allow to cool long enough to be handled; shred chicken with two forks and add back into soup. Cover and continue cooking for 2 hours.

Serve in bowls topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips.



Chicken Stew with Dumplings

1 (3 pound) rotisserie chicken

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, diced

2 ribs celery, sliced thin

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

¾ pound new potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

¾ cup milk, or more as needed

2 tablespoons dried dill

De-bone chicken and cut into chunks or shred. Set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat; cook and stir onion and celery until soft, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons flour and whisk continuously to make a thick roux, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in chicken broth, whisking to remove any lumps. Add 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, basil, thyme, potatoes, and mixed vegetable. Cover and cook the stew over medium heat until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in chicken meat and continue to simmer.

Meanwhile, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; cut in 3 tablespoons butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk and dill. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough into the simmering stew. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Cover and cook until the dumplings are tender, 8 to 10 minutes more.




Steak Soup

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 ½ pounds lean boneless beef round steak, cut into cubes

½ cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

4 cups beef broth

2 cups water

4 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped celery leaves

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon dried marjoram

1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

1 ½ cups peeled, diced Yukon Gold potatoes

1 ½ cups sliced carrots

1 ½ cups chopped celery

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the foam disappears from butter. Cook and stir beef and onion in butter-oil mixture until browned, about 10 minutes.

While beef is cooking, mix together flour, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle flour mixture over browned beef; stir to coat and set aside.

Pour beef broth and water into a large soup pot. Stir in parsley, celery leaves, bay leaf, and marjoram. Stir in beef mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender, about 45 minutes.

Mix in corn, potatoes, carrots, celery, and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and soup is thick, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve hot.



Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 ½ pounds boneless lean beef, cubed

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

6 cups water, divided

3 (10.5 ounce) cans beef broth

1 cup barley

6 medium carrots, chopped

6 medium green onions, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add beef and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle garlic powder, salt, and pepper over the beef; stir to combine. Transfer seasoned beef to a slow cooker.

Add a few tablespoons water to the skillet. Stir over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits with a spoon. Transfer liquid and any browned bits to the slow cooker.

Add the remaining water, broth, barley, carrots, green onions, celery, and parsley. Cover and cook on Low until vegetables and barley are tender, 6 to 8 hours.

Stir in thyme just before serving.




Seven Layer Bars

½ cup unsalted butter

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 ⅓ cups shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Put butter in 13x9-inch baking pan and place in oven until melted. Swirl to coat bottom and sides with butter.

Spread graham cracker crumbs evenly over bottom of pan. Layer chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and walnuts over crumbs. Pour condensed milk over walnuts and sprinkle with coconut.

Bake in preheated oven until edges are golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Cool and cut into 36 bars.





Homemade Dumplings

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon white sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon margarine

½ cup milk

Stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in milk and mix until a batter forms that is thick enough to be scooped with a spoon. Allow batter to rest for 3 to 5 minutes.

Drop batter by spoonfuls into boiling stew or soup. Cover and simmer without lifting the lid for 15 minutes. Serve.





Air-Fried Raspberry Brie Bites

1 (8 ounce) round Brie cheese

1 (8 ounce) package phyllo dough, thawed

1 cup raspberry jam

1 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons honey

flakey salt to taste

Slice the brie into squares about ½ inch thick and 1 to 1 ½ inches wide.

Roll out 1 sheet of phyllo dough vertically on a large work surface. Brush the bottom half of the dough with melted butter, then fold the top half over onto itself.

Place 1 piece of cheese in the bottom center of the dough, about 2 inches from the edges. Spoon about 2 teaspoons raspberry jam onto the cheese. Brush melted butter around the rest of the dough.

Fold in the bottom 2 inches of dough over the cheese, then fold in both sides. Brush more butter onto the remaining dough, then carefully roll the filling upwards until it is wrapped fully. Brush more butter on top and set into the air fryer try.

Set air fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Air fry in batches to avoid overcrowding until golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Garnish with a thin drizzle of honey and a pinch of flakey salt. Serve immediately.


Easy 3-Ingredient Cheese Pinwheels

½ (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 (8 ounce) container cream cheese with herbs

6 ounces sliced Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Dust a flat work surface lightly with flour. Unroll puff pastry and roll out to a rectangle. Spread a thin layer of herbed cream cheese over the puff pastry. Cover with Swiss cheese slices, leaving a 1-inch border. Roll puff pastry up tightly like a jelly roll.

Slice puff pastry roll in 1/4-inch-thick slices and lay on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven on the center rack until lightly browned and puffed up, 15 to 20 minutes.



Spinach Pinwheels

2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls

1 (7 ounce) package garlic herb cheese spread

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Split crescent dough in half along center perforation. Flatten one rectangle, sealing perforations. Spread with 1/4 of the cheese spread and sprinkle with spinach. Starting with long side, roll dough up, rolling back and forth several times to seal edges. Cut into 3/4 inch slices (about 15 slices per roll). Arrange the slices one inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Continue making the crescent roll ups until all of the ingredients are used.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve immediately or keep warm on a warming tray.



Nutella Pastry Christmas Tree

1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed

4 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread (such as Nutella®), or more to taste, at room temperature

1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll out one puff pastry sheet into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Lightly score puff pastry into the shape of a Christmas tree (triangle) with a wide base. Spread chocolate-hazelnut spread over the triangle in a thin layer with the back of a spoon.

Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry to a large rectangle and place on top of the first one. Carefully trace the shape of the chocolate-covered triangle underneath and cut out the Christmas tree shape and the trunk. Pull away excess pastry.

Lightly score 2 lines down the middle of the triangle to form a tree trunk that is narrower at the top and gets wider towards the base. Using the trunk as a guide, cut branches into the sides of the triangle.

Twist the branches away from you, trying to get in 2 turns on the lower branches. Continue moving up the tree, twisting away from you as you go.

Cut a small star out of the excess pastry; place it on top of the tree. Brush the star and the whole tree with beaten egg.

Bake in the preheated oven until puffy and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Slide onto a serving plate, using a piece of parchment paper if needed.


Spinach and Bacon Quiche

¾ pound sliced bacon

1 (9 inch) single refrigerated pie crust

6 large eggs, beaten

1 ½ cups heavy cream

5 dashes hot pepper sauce, or to taste

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach - thawed, drained and squeezed dry

1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese

½ cup chopped green onion

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Chop when cool.

Fit pie crust into a 9-inch pie dish and set aside.

Whisk eggs, cream, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.

Spread spinach over the bottom of pie crust. Top with bacon, Cheddar cheese, and green onion; pour in egg mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake quiche in the preheated oven until the top is lightly puffed and browned, and a knife inserted into the center of the quiche comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes.






Danish Kringle

Pastry:

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

1 cup butter

1 cup sour cream

Filling:

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups brown sugar

1 ½ cups chopped English walnuts, divided

Glaze:

1 cup confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons water

Sift flour into a large bowl; cut in 1 cup of butter with 2 knives or a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly, leaving pea-sized chunks. Stir in sour cream and mix well to form a sticky dough. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease or line a baking sheet. Prepare the filling by mixing 1 cup softened butter, brown sugar, and 1 cup chopped walnuts in a bowl until well combined; set aside.

Divide dough into three equal parts; return two parts to the refrigerator to keep cold. Quickly form 1/3 of the dough into a rectangle, and flour lightly. On a heavily floured surface, roll out to approximately 12x17 inches. Position lengthwise on the work surface. Along the long edges of the dough rectangle, use a sharp knife to cut 4-inch long angled lines about 1/2 inch apart. Spoon 1/3 of the filling along the length of the rectangle's uncut center. Alternating from one side of the dough to the other, fold each 1/2 inch wide strip towards the center, crisscrossing the filling in a braid-like fashion. Lightly press together the ends of the strips to seal. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the remaining walnuts. Repeat with remaining ingredients to form 3 braids. Arrange braids on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for approximately 30 minutes. While the pastries are cooling, prepare the icing: Mix confectioners sugar and water together until smooth and thin enough to drizzle; spoon or drizzle over cooled pastries.


Cinnamon Rolls II

1 cup milk

½ cup butter

1 cup water

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

6 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 cups dark brown sugar

½ cup butter, softened

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon butter, softened

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons milk

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in the butter; stir until melted. Add water and let cool until lukewarm.

In a large bowl, combine the milk mixture, yeast, white sugar, salt, eggs and 2 cups flour; stir well to combine. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Divide dough into two pieces. Roll each piece into a 12x9 inch rectangle. In a bowl, stir together the cinnamon and brown sugar. Spread each piece with half of the butter, half of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough, using a little water to seal the seam.

Cut each roll into 12 slices using a very sharp knife or dental floss. Place rolls onto two 9x13 inch greased baking pans. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

To make frosting; combine confectioner's sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Add milk gradually until frosting reaches a spreading consistency. Spread over warm (but not hot) cinnamon rolls.


Orange Pecan French Toast

1 cup packed brown sugar

⅓ cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

⅓ cup chopped pecans

12 (3/4 inch thick) slices French bread

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 cup fresh orange juice

½ cup 2% milk

3 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 egg whites

2 eggs

1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar for dusting

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, melted butter, and corn syrup. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish, and spread evenly. Sprinkle pecans over the sugar mixture. Arrange the bread slices in the bottom of the dish so they are in a snug single layer.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, egg whites, and eggs. Pour this mixture over the bread, pressing on the bread slices to help absorb the liquid. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C ). Remove the cover from the baking dish, and let stand for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.



Easiest Peanut Butter Fudge

½ cup butter

1 (16 ounce) package brown sugar

½ cup milk

¾ cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 ½ cups confectioners' sugar


Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; stir in brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently; remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla.

Place confectioners' sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour in peanut butter mixture and beat with an electric mixer until smooth; pour into an 8x8-inch dish. Chill until firm before slicing, about 1 hour.


Candy Cane Fudge

nonstick cooking spray

2 (10 ounce) packages vanilla baking chips

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 ½ cups crushed candy canes

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

1 dash red or green food coloring

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil; spray with nonstick spray and set aside.

Combine vanilla chips and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until chips are almost melted; remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth. Stir in candy canes, peppermint extract, and food coloring.

Spread evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Chill for 2 hours, then cut into squares.


Orange Cream Fudge

3 cups white sugar

⅔ cup heavy cream

¾ cup butter

1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme

1 (11 ounce) package white chocolate chips

3 teaspoons orange extract

12 drops yellow food coloring

9 drops red food coloring

Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, cream and butter. Heat to soft ball stage, 234 degrees F (112 degrees C). Remove from heat and stir in marshmallow creme and white chocolate chips; mix well until the chips melt. Reserve 1 cup of mixture and set aside.

To the remaining mixture add orange flavoring, yellow and red food coloring. Stir well and pour into prepared pan. Pour reserved cream mixture on top. Using a knife, swirl layers for decorative effect.

Chill for 2 hours, or until firm, and cut into squares.



Chocolate Cornstarch Pudding


½ cup white sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ cup cornstarch

⅛ teaspoon salt

2 ¾ cups milk

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in the refrigerator until serving.



Jalapeño Cheese Puffs

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers

3 green onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 (16 ounce) package wonton wrappers

1 quart vegetable oil for frying

Mix cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, jalapeño peppers, green onions, and garlic in a medium bowl.

Fill wonton wrappers with approximately 1 teaspoon of cream cheese mixture each. Fold wrappers into triangles and press the edges with a moistened fork to seal.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet. Drop 4 wontons at a time into the oil and quickly fry, turning once. Remove when golden brown and drain on paper towels.


Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

2 large eggs

2 cups milk

1 ½ cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs

10 egg roll wrappers

10 mozzarella string cheese sticks

1 quart vegetable oil for frying

Beat eggs in a mixing bowl. Whisk in milk, then set aside.

Place bread crumbs into a resealable plastic bag; set aside.

Separate and lay an egg roll wrapper onto a flat, clean work surface with one of the tips pointed towards you. Moisten the two far edges of the wrapper with water. Place a string cheese stick onto the corner nearest you, then roll it in 1/3 of the way. Fold over the right and left corners, then continue rolling to the end, pressing to seal. Repeat this step with remaining string cheese sticks and egg roll wrappers.

Heat oil in a deep fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Dip mozzarella sticks into egg mixture, then toss in bread crumbs.

Working in batches, fry breaded mozzarella sticks in hot oil until crisp and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.


Peppermint Eggnog Milkshake

¼ cup eggnog

1 ¾ cups vanilla ice cream

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

whipped cream (Optional)

crushed peppermint (Optional)

Combine eggnog, vanilla ice cream, and peppermint extract in a blender, blend until smooth.

Pour milkshake into a glass and garnish with whipped cream and crushed peppermint. Serve immediately.


Apple Pie Moonshine

1 gallon apple juice

1 gallon apple cider

2 cups white sugar

2 cups brown sugar

4 cinnamon sticks, or more to taste

1 pinch apple pie spice

1 (750 milliliter) bottle 190 proof grain alcohol

1 (750 milliliter) bottle vodka

Combine apple juice, apple cider, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, and apple pie spice in a large pot; bring to almost a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hour. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Stir grain alcohol and vodka into apple syrup; remove cinnamon sticks.

Pour apple pie moonshine into clean glass jars or bottles. Store in the refrigerator.



Hot Spiced Christmas Wine


2 oranges

2 (750 milliliter) bottles red wine

1 (750 milliliter) bottle white wine

1 (3 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

3 cinnamon sticks

½ teaspoon ground cloves

⅓ cup brown sugar, or to taste

¼ cup brandy

Use a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the oranges in strips, being careful to remove only the orange part, leaving the pith behind. Then, juice the oranges into a large, heavy-bottomed pot.

Pour the red wine and white wine into the pot with the orange juice. Place the strips of orange zest, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and brown sugar into the pot with the wine mixture; stir to dissolve the sugar.

Cover and heat over medium-high until heated through, but not boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and heat for an hour or longer to bring all of the flavors together. Adjust the sweetness by adding more brown sugar, as necessary. Strain and serve hot with a splash of brandy, if desired.




Wassail Punch


2 quarts apple cider

2 cups orange juice

½ cup lemon juice

12 whole cloves

4 cinnamon sticks

1 pinch ground ginger

1 pinch ground nutmeg


In a slow-cooker or a large pot over low heat, combine apple cider, orange juice and lemon juice. Season with cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer. If using a slow cooker, allow to simmer all day. Serve hot.


Candy Cane Cocoa

4 cups milk

3 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, chopped

4 peppermint candy canes, crushed

1 cup whipped cream

4 small peppermint candy canes

In a saucepan, heat milk until hot, but not boiling. Whisk in the chocolate and crushed peppermint candies until melted and smooth.

Pour hot cocoa into four mugs, and garnish with whipped cream. Serve each with a candy-cane stirring stick.




Savory Sausage Cups

1 (16 ounce) package Jimmy Dean® Premium Pork Regular Sausage

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

4 ounces garden vegetable cream cheese, softened

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper

¼ cup finely chopped green onion

2 (8 ounce) packages crescent roll sheets

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Add sausage to a frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir with a spatula, breaking apart the sausage until cooked, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Combine regular and vegetable cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, bell pepper, green onion, and cooled, crumbled sausage in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.

Unroll 1 crescent dough sheet and press into a 9x12-inch rectangle. Cut 6 rows across and 4 rows vertically to yield 24 squares. Repeat with the second package of dough.

Place 1 square in each cup of two nonstick 24-cup mini muffin tins, pressing it into the bottom and up the sides.

Drop 1 heaping teaspoon of sausage filling into each cup. Filling should be up to the top of the cup, but you do not need to press it down.

Bake in the preheated oven until the dough is golden brown, 11 to 13 minutes.

Cool for 5 minutes in the tins before removing to a platter.









Baked Ham and Cheese Sliders

¾ cup melted butter

1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds

1 tablespoon dried minced onion

24 mini sandwich rolls

1 pound thinly sliced cooked deli ham

1 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

In a bowl, mix together butter, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds, and dried onion. Separate the tops from bottoms of the rolls, and place the bottom pieces into the prepared baking dish. Layer about half the ham onto the rolls. Arrange the Swiss cheese over the ham, and top with remaining ham slices in a layer. Place the tops of the rolls onto the sandwiches. Pour the mustard mixture evenly over the rolls.

Bake in the preheated oven until the rolls are lightly browned and the cheese has melted, about 20 minutes. Slice into individual rolls through the ham and cheese layers to serve.


Mini Meatloaves

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

¾ cup milk

½ cup quick cooking oats

1 large egg

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound ground beef

⅔ cup ketchup

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons prepared mustard

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Stir together cheese, milk, oats, egg, and salt in a large bowl. Mix in ground beef until well combined. Form mixture into 8 mini meatloaves; place in the prepared baking dish.

Combine ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard in a small bowl; stir well. Spread over each meatloaf.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (72 degrees C).


Chicken Cordon Bleu

nonstick cooking spray

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

6 slices Swiss cheese

4 slices cooked ham

½ cup seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a 7x11-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness.

Sprinkle each piece of chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place 1 Swiss cheese slice and 1 ham slice on top of each breast. Roll up each breast, and secure with a toothpick. Place in the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle chicken evenly with bread crumbs.

Bake in the preheated oven until chicken is no longer pink, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and place 1/2 Swiss cheese slice on top of each breast. Return to the oven until cheese has melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove toothpicks and serve immediately.



Chef John's Chicken Kiev

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pinch salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 (8 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1 pinch cayenne pepper

2 cups vegetable oil for frying, or as needed

Grind garlic and pinch of salt together in a mortar and pestle until smooth; add parsley and mix well. Pound butter into garlic mixture with the pestle until well combined. Wrap butter mixture in plastic wrap; refrigerate until cold, at least 15 minutes.

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place 1/4 of the butter mixture in the center of the wider end of each chicken breast. Fold the narrower end of each chicken breast up over the butter to form a tight pocket around the butter; gather the sides of each chicken breast to the center to form a round ball. The top of each chicken ball will be smooth and the bottom will be gathered. Tightly wrap each chicken ball in plastic wrap; transfer to a plate and chill in the freezer until the gathered bottoms hold together and are slightly firm, about 30 minutes.

Whisk flour and 2 teaspoons salt together in a shallow bowl. Whisk eggs together in another shallow bowl. Pour panko bread crumbs into third bowl.

Remove chicken breast balls from plastic wrap. Gently press them into the flour mixture to coat; shake off any excess flour. Dip into beaten eggs, then press into bread crumbs. Place breaded chicken on a plate; cover with plastic wrap, and return to the freezer to chill until firm, about 15 minutes.

Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Working in batches, place chicken, gathered-side down, in the hot oil and cook until lightly golden, about 1 minute per side. Transfer chicken to the prepared baking sheet; sprinkle salt and cayenne pepper over the top.

Bake in the preheated oven until you can hear the butter start to sizzle on the baking sheet, 15 to 17 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Baked Stuffed Pork Chops

2 cups whole kernel corn

1 ½ cups dry bread crumbs

1 large egg, beaten

2 tablespoons butter, softened

4 thick cut pork chops

1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Combine corn, bread crumbs, egg, and butter in a medium bowl; mix until stiff and well combined.

Use a paring knife to cut a deep horizontal slit into each chop to create a pocket. Fill each pocket with corn mixture. Place chops in a cooking dish, then pour mushroom soup over top.

Bake in the preheated oven until chops are cooked through, about 45 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).



Spinach Cheese Manicotti


1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

½ cup minced onion

1 large egg

2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

½ teaspoon pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 (8 ounce) package manicotti shells

2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce

1 ½ cups water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Mix ricotta, spinach, onion, egg, parsley, pepper, and garlic powder together in a large bowl. Stir in 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Stuff mixture into uncooked manicotti shells.

Stir spaghetti sauce and water together in a bowl. Spread 1 cup sauce over the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Arrange stuffed manicotti in a single layer in the dish. Cover with remaining sauce, then sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

Bake in the preheated oven until shells are tender yet firm to the bite, 45 to 55 minutes.


Chef John's Cheese Blintzes

1 cup milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup cold water

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon white sugar

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

cooking spray

1 tablespoon butter, or as needed

Filling:

1 ½ cups ricotta cheese, strained if wet

½ cup cream cheese, at room temperature

1 large egg

3 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided, or more as needed

1 medium lemon, zested

1 pinch salt

Make the batter: Combine milk, flour, water, eggs, oil, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a blender. Blend until completely smooth, 1 or 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Let batter sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk ricotta cheese, cream cheese, egg, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, lemon zest, and salt together in a mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

When batter has rested, heat a 10-inch, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray and pour in about 1/4 cup batter. Immediately swirl batter around to coat the bottom of the skillet. Cook until the surface looks dry, about 1 minute. Flip crêpe and briefly cook the other side, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate. Repeat to cook and stack remaining crêpes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking dish.

Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons filling onto each crêpe, about 1 inch from the edge nearest you. Fold the edge over filling and flatten slightly. Fold in both sides, then roll crêpe into a small filled rectangle (blintz), ending with the seam on the bottom.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook several blintzes at a time until golden brown, turning gently, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven to firm up the filling, about 12 minutes.

Cool blintzes for 10 minutes, then dust lightly with remaining powdered sugar and serve.









Traditional Sauerbraten

3 pounds beef rump roast

2 large onions, chopped

1 cup red wine vinegar, or to taste

1 cup water

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon white sugar

10 whole cloves, or more to taste

2 bay leaves, or more to taste

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

10 gingersnap cookies, crumbled

Place beef rump roast, onions, vinegar, water, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper, sugar, cloves, and bay leaves in a large pot. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, turning meat daily. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry with paper towels, reserving marinade.

Season flour to taste with salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Sprinkle flour mixture over beef.

Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat; cook beef until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Pour reserved marinade over beef, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until beef is tender, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Remove beef to a platter and slice.

Strain solids from remaining liquid and continue cooking over medium heat. Add gingersnap cookies and simmer until gravy is thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve gravy over sliced beef.


Wiener Schnitzel

1 ½ pounds veal cutlets

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon minced parsley

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 cup dry bread crumbs

6 tablespoons butter

4 slices lemon

Place veal cutlets between 2 sheets of heavy plastic on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound cutlets with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a 1/4-inch thickness. Dip cutlets in flour to coat; shake off excess.

Beat together eggs, Parmesan cheese, milk, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a shallow bowl until combined. Place bread crumbs on a plate. Dip each cutlet into the egg mixture, then press in bread crumbs to coat. Place coated cutlets on a plate and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook breaded cutlets in butter until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to a serving platter and pour pan juices over them. Garnish with lemon slices.





My oldest daughter has developed an allergy to tomatoes. It is sometimes a challenge to find recipes that will work for her.

Meatloaf for Tomato Haters

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced green bell pepper

¾ cup Italian-style bread crumbs

¼ cup hot pepper sauce

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 pounds ground beef

1 (.75 ounce) packet dry brown gravy mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Mix onion, bell pepper, bread crumbs, hot pepper sauce, egg, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Add ground beef; mix.

Press beef mixture into a loaf pan. Sprinkle brown gravy mix over meat.

Bake in preheated oven until cooked through and browned, 1 hour. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.


No-Tomato Pasta Sauce

2 (15 ounce) cans sliced carrots, drained

1 (15 ounce) can sliced beets, drained

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

1 large bay leaf

Blend carrots in a blender until smooth. Add beets and blend until smooth.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in puréed vegetables, vinegar, Italian seasoning, and bay leaf; cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.

No-Tomato Pico de Gallo

(source: https://www.allrecipes.com/article/tomato-free-pico-de-gallo/)

For the pico de gallo, you'll need two cups of match-sticked radishes (two to three bunches), and match-sticked is just what it sounds like, so instead of cutting the vegetables in rounds, aim for stick-like pieces.

Place the cut radishes in a medium-sized bowl, and add ½ cup of fine-diced red onion and one teaspoon of minced garlic. To this mixture, add ½ cup of packed, minced fresh cilantro. Finally, squeeze three tablespoons of lime juice on top of everything, add a ½ teaspoon of salt (or to taste), and give everything a good few tosses.

If you want to add a little kick, Phoenix says you could easily add fresh, diced, hot peppers of your choice (jalapeno, serrano, etc.).

Enjoy with chips, on tacos, or in a burrito bowl. You could also get creative and add a heaping spoonful to a finished omelette, a loaded baked potato, or crostinis.

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Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

⅔ cup white sugar

6 tablespoons butter

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg, beaten

3 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift together flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together 2/3 cup sugar and butter. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture.

On a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half. Roll each piece into a log about 9-inches long and 1 1/2-inches wide. Place logs on the prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly. Brush with beaten egg.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden and firm to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes.

On a cutting board, slice each log crosswise at a diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices using a serrated knife. Place cut-side down onto the baking sheet. Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle over biscotti.

Return to the oven until toasted, 15 to 20 more minutes. Cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container.



Orange Almond Biscotti

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 ¼ cups white sugar

1 pinch salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ cup sliced almonds

1 tablespoon orange zest

3 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

¼ teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, almonds, and orange zest. Make a well in the center and add the eggs oil, and almond extract. Stir or mix by hand until the mixture forms a ball.

Separate dough into 2 pieces and roll each one into a log about 8 inches long. Place logs on prepared baking sheet and flatten so they are about 3/4 inch thick.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly, and remove from baking sheets. Slice diagonally into 1/2 inch slices with a serrated knife.
Set cookies on side back onto the cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes, turning over after half of the time. Finished cookies should be hard and crunchy.

Double Chocolate Biscotti

1 cup white sugar

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup margarine

¾ cup egg substitute

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ⅛ cups unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 (5 ounce) milk chocolate candy bar, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, olive oil and margarine until smooth. Stir in the egg substitute and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa and baking powder, gradually stir into the wet ingredients. Mix in the chopped candy bar. Chill dough for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 9 inch long log. Place the logs onto the prepared cookie sheet 4 inches apart and flatten to 1 1/2 inch thickness. If there is not enough room, put each one onto a separate sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven until somewhat firm. Cool on the baking sheets until cool enough to handle.

Remove baked loaves to a cutting board and cut each one crosswise into 1/2 inch slices with a sharp knife. Place the slices cut side down back onto the baking sheets, and toast on each side for an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container.



Amazingly Good Eggnog

4 cups milk

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

5 whole cloves

2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

12 large egg yolks

1 ½ cups white sugar

4 cups light cream

2 ½ cups light rum (Optional)

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine milk, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cloves in a saucepan over the lowest heat setting; stir and heat for 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-low and slowly bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl until light yellow in color. Add sugar and whisk until light and fluffy.

Pour some of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking quickly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Continue adding hot milk and whisking to combine until all milk is incorporated.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick, about 3 minutes; do not allow the mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves and let cool for about 1 hour.

Stir in cream, rum, remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate before serving, 8 hours to overnight.



Chocolate Eggnog Milkshake

1 ½ cups low-fat vanilla ice cream

¾ cup low-fat eggnog

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup, plus more for garnish

whipped cream (optional)

Combine ice cream, eggnog, and 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup in a blender, and process until well-combined.

Drizzle some chocolate syrup down the sides of the glass in a random pattern, and pour in the milkshake. Top with whipped cream, if desired.



Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri

2 large strawberries, hulled

¼ cup white sugar

¾ cup chilled lemon-lime soda

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 cubes ice

Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon-lime soda, and lemon juice in the container of a blender. Add ice and blend until smooth.

Pour into a fancy glass to serve.


Mock Champagne

2 (2 liter) bottles ginger ale, chilled

1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice, chilled

1 (64 fluid ounce) bottle white grape juice, chilled

To make Ice ring: Fill a ring-shaped cake pan to 1/2 with ginger ale. Freeze until partially frozen. At this stage you can place edible flowers, or pieces of fruit around the ring. Fill pan with ginger ale and freeze until solid. Place in punch bowl just before serving.

In a large punch bowl, combine 1 bottle ginger ale, pineapple juice and white grape juice.



Homemade Italian Cream Soda

10 ounces club soda

4 ounces heavy cream

4 fluid ounces raspberry syrup

2 cups ice cubes, or as needed

Stir together club soda, heavy cream, and raspberry syrup in a pitcher. Fill 2 tall glasses with ice and pour cream mixture on top.



Apple Julep

1 quart apple juice

1 cup orange juice

1 cup pineapple juice

¼ cup lemon juice

1 sprig fresh mint leaves

In a large pitcher, stir together the apple juice, orange juice, pineapple juice and lemon juice. Mix and pour into glasses full of ice to serve. Garnish each serving with a mint leaf.



Blueberry-Ginger Fizz

1 pint blueberries

1 cup water

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

¼ cup crushed ice

2 tablespoons orange juice

¼ cup club soda

1 slice orange (Optional)

Bring blueberries, water, sugar, and ginger to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, crushing the blueberries occasionally with a masher. Remove from heat and let cool, about 10 minutes. Pass the mixture through a food mill or fine mesh sieve to remove the skins of the blueberries. Set aside 1/4 cup syrup and store the remainder in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Place crushed ice in a glass. Add reserved blueberry-ginger syrup and orange juice. Top off with club soda and stir to combine. Garnish with orange slice.



Cran-Dandy Cooler

2 cups cranberry juice

1 cup pineapple juice

1 cup orange juice

1 (4 ounce) jar maraschino cherries

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle ginger ale

1 orange, sliced in rounds

In a gallon pitcher combine cranberry juice, pineapple juice, orange juice, cherry juice and lemon juice. Just before serving, slowly add ginger ale; stir to blend. Serve over ice in cups or glasses. Garnish with cherry and orange slices.



Michigan Fizz

3 tablespoons frozen cherry juice concentrate

1 cup ginger ale soda

Measure concentrated cherry juice into a tall glass. Fill glass with ginger ale and stir gently.



Simple Syrup

1 cup white sugar

1 cup water

Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.

Pour into a clean jar and seal with a tight-fitting lid; store in the refrigerator for up to one month.




Vegan "Eggnog"

1 cup canned coconut milk

1 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

salt to taste

1 tablespoon rum, or more to taste

Combine coconut milk, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, salt, and rum in a blender. Blend for 1 minute until well combined.




"Pantry Raid" Chicken Enchilada Casserole

1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce

¼ cup water

1 envelope taco seasoning mix

1 ½ tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound chicken breast tenderloins

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained

¼ cup cream cheese

1 cup shredded Mexican-style cheese blend, or more to taste

1 (7.5 ounce) package corn bread mix

1 egg

⅓ cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9x9-inch baking dish.

Mix tomato sauce, water, taco seasoning mix, and chili powder together in a saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat and brown chicken tenderloins on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Pour tomato sauce mixture over the chicken, bring to a simmer, and cook over medium-low heat until chicken tenderloins are no longer pink inside, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl and shred; return shredded chicken to the sauce. Mix in black beans and cream cheese until thoroughly combined.

Pour chicken mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with shredded Mexican cheese. Whisk corn bread mix, egg, and milk in a bowl, and spoon the batter over the chicken mix.

Bake in the preheated oven until the casserole is bubbling and the corn bread topping is browned and set, about 30 minutes.





Meatloaf Muffins

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed vegetable soup

½ cup chopped onion

1 cup dry bread crumbs

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 pinch ground black pepper

¾ cup ketchup (Optional)

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin pan.

Mix ground beef, soup, onion, bread crumbs, eggs, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Scoop mixture evenly into prepared muffin cups.

Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven to a minimum temperature of 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). If desired, remove from oven after 50 minutes, drizzle ketchup on the top of each muffin, and return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.


Dad's Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Meat Loaf

2 pounds ground beef

2 eggs

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 cup dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 small yellow onion, diced

6 slices bacon

8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into quarters

1 tablespoon ketchup

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Combine ground beef, eggs and 2 tablespoons of ketchup in a large bowl. Mix well, then add bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, oregano, basil, pepper, and onion. Set mixture aside. Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan with bacon, widthwise. Place half of the meat mixture across the top of the bacon. Lay 3 of the 4 pieces of Cheddar cheese across the center of the meat, lengthwise. Cover the cheese with the second half of the meat mixture and mold the meat into a loaf shape. Pull the ends of the bacon up and around the loaf. Spread 1 tablespoon of ketchup thinly over the loaf.

Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 60 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Remove from the oven.

Cut the final piece of Cheddar cheese into slices and place on top of the meat loaf. Return the meat loaf to the oven and continue baking until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the meat loaf to rest for 5 minutes before serving.







Parmesan Crusted Tilapia Fillets

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons paprika

salt and ground black pepper to taste

4 tilapia fillets

1 drizzle olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Whisk Parmesan cheese, parsley, paprika, salt, and pepper together in a shallow dish.

Coat tilapia fillets with olive oil and press into the Parmesan cheese mixture. Arrange coated fillets on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 10 to 12 minutes.


Kielbasa with Peppers and Potatoes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 (16 ounce) package smoked kielbasa sausage, diced

6 medium red potatoes, diced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Place kielbasa and potatoes in the pan. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

Mix bell peppers into the pan, and continue cooking until peppers are just tender, 5 minutes.



Simple Chicken Mayo with Parmesan and Bread Crumbs

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

2 ½ tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons mayonnaise, or more to taste

2 tablespoons bread crumbs, or more to taste

1 ½ teaspoons herbes de Provence

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place chicken breasts in a baking pan.

Mix Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise together in a bowl until well combined; spread evenly over chicken breasts. Coat with bread crumbs and sprinkle with herbes de Provence.

Bake in the preheated oven until chicken breasts are no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, 20 to 25 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).



Parchment Baked Salmon


1 (8 ounce) salmon fillet

salt and ground black pepper to taste

¼ cup chopped basil leaves

olive oil cooking spray

1 lemon, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Move an oven rack to the lowest position.

Place salmon fillet, skin-side down, in the middle of a large piece of parchment paper; season with salt and black pepper. Cut two 3-inch slits into fillet with a sharp knife. Stuff chopped basil leaves into the slits. Spray fillet with cooking spray and arrange lemon slices on top.

Fold the edges of parchment paper over fillet several times to seal it into an airtight packet. Place sealed packet onto a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven on the bottom rack until salmon flakes easily and flesh is pink and opaque with an interior of slightly darker pink color, about 25 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of fillet should read at least 145 degrees F (65 degrees C). To serve, cut open the parchment paper and remove lemon slices before plating.




Scrambled Eggs with Chorizo

cooking spray

¼ cup Mexican-style chorizo, or more to taste

6 eggs

salt to taste

Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; warm over medium-high heat. Add chorizo; cook and stir until browned, about 5 minutes.

Whisk eggs and salt together in a bowl. Pour into the skillet; cook and stir until eggs are set, about 5 minutes.





Basic Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup shortening

¾ cup cold milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening with fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Pour milk into flour mixture while stirring with a fork. Mix in milk until dough is soft, moist and pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead dough briefly, 5 to 7 times. Roll dough out into a 1/2 inch thick sheet and cut out biscuits with a floured cookie cutter. Press together unused dough and repeat rolling and cutting procedure.

Place biscuits on ungreased baking sheets and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes.




Grandma's Cornbread Dressing

3 cups crumbled cornbread

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, diced

½ cup chopped celery

2 large eggs, beaten

2 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon dried sage, or more to taste

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 7x11-inch baking dish. Place crumbled cornbread in a large bowl.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery and sauté until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add sautéed onion and celery to the crumbled cornbread. Stir in chicken stock, eggs, sage, salt, and pepper until well combined. Pour dressing into the prepared baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until dressing just starts to turn golden brown around the edges, about 30 minutes.



Fresh Cranberry Sauce

1 cup water

1 cup white sugar

1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries (such as Ocean Spray®)

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan; add sugar and cook until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.

Stir cranberries into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until cranberries have popped and sauce is chunky, about 10 minutes or longer for desired consistency. The longer you cook it, the less chunky it will be.

Pour sauce into a serving dish or jars and cover until ready to use; the pectin in the cranberries will make the cranberry sauce gel as it cools.

Mix cranberry sauce with a fork before serving.



Homemade Mac and Cheese

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni

¼ cup salted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 ½ cups milk, or more as needed

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

salt and ground black pepper to taste (Optional)

Bread Crumb Topping:

2 tablespoons salted butter

½ cup dry bread crumbs

1 pinch ground paprika

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

Make the macaroni and cheese: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes; it will finish cooking in the oven. Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish.

While the macaroni is cooking, melt 1/4 cup butter in a medium skillet over low heat. Whisk in flour and stir until the mixture becomes paste-like and light golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Gradually whisk 2 1/2 cups milk into the flour mixture, and bring to a simmer. Stir in shredded Cheddar and finely grated Parmesan cheeses; season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup more milk if needed. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni and stir until well combined.

Make the bread crumb topping: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs; cook and stir until well coated and browned. Spread bread crumbs over macaroni and cheese, then sprinkle with paprika.

Bake in the preheated oven until topping is golden brown and macaroni and cheese is bubbling, about 30 minutes.



Grandma Carol's Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup white sugar

⅔ cup pumpkin puree

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons butter

1 (16 ounce) package confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar for dusting, or as needed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 12x17-inch jelly roll pan and line with parchment paper; butter the parchment paper. Generously dust a kitchen towel with confectioners' sugar.

Beat eggs, white sugar, and pumpkin together in a bowl until creamy.

Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg together in a separate bowl; gradually stir into egg mixture. Stir to combine. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for exactly 10 minutes.

Immediately turn cake onto the prepared kitchen towel. Starting at a long end, roll up pumpkin cake and towel. Let rolled cake rest for 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, butter, 16-ounce package confectioners' sugar, and vanilla extract together in a bowl until smooth; fold in pecans.

Unroll cake; spread with the filling. Roll up cake (without towel). Cut off any jagged ends. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Cut cake in half if desired; sprinkle with confectioners' sugar before serving.


Bacon-Ranch Cheese Ball

8 slices bacon

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 (1 ounce) package dry ranch dressing mix

1 teaspoon dried minced onion

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ cup minced fresh chives

crackers for serving

Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon slices on paper towels and allow to cool. Crumble bacon slices when cool enough to handle.

Mix together cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, Ranch dressing mix, dried minced onion, garlic powder, and 1/2 of the crumbled bacon in a bowl until well combined. Place the other half of crumbled bacon in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Form cheese mixture into a round ball (it's helpful to use plastic wrap while shaping it). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Place remaining crumbled bacon on a plate and stir in minced chives. Remove plastic wrap from the cheese ball and roll it in the bacon and chive mixture, lightly pressing the topping to the cheese ball so it sticks.

Place the coated cheese ball on a serving dish and surround with crackers for dipping.



Simple Artichoke Dip

1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Mix artichoke hearts, mayonnaise, and Parmesan cheese together in a bowl until well combined. Spread mixture in a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly and golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.



Creamy Cheesy Spinach Dip

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 (10 ounce) packages frozen spinach - thawed, drained, and chopped

½ cup milk

6 ounces cream cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

¼ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease a 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish with 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and garlic in hot oil until lightly browned, 4 to 7 minutes. Add spinach and simmer until spinach is hot, about 5 minutes. Drain any liquid from the mixture and transfer to a bowl.

Pour milk into the pot and return it to medium heat. Melt cream cheese into milk; cook and stir together, about 3 minutes. Return spinach mixture to pot with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and Cheddar cheese; stir to combine. Season the mixture with Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly and golden brown on top, 20 to 25 minutes.






Healthy Berry and Spinach Smoothie

2 cups frozen berries

1 cup plain yogurt

½ cup orange juice

¼ cup fresh spinach, or to taste

5 strawberries

Blend berries, yogurt, orange juice, spinach, and strawberries together in a blender until smooth.


Ultimate Cold Relief Home Remedy Tea

8 ounces water, or as needed

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 cinnamon stick

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

Combine water, vinegar, honey, cinnamon stick, and garlic in a small saucepan. Heat to 100 degrees F (38 degrees C); remove from heat and pour into a mug.


Healthy Cocoa, Banana, PB Smoothie

1 cup milk

½ chopped frozen banana, or more to taste

2 tablespoons peanut butter

2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon honey

Blend milk, banana, peanut butter, cocoa powder, and honey together in a blender until smooth.




White Russian Pudding Shot

¾ cup milk

1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

¼ cup vodka

½ cup coffee-flavored liqueur (such as Kahlua®)

1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping (such as Cool Whip®), thawed

Beat milk and pudding mix together in a bowl using an electric mixer until pudding is thickened. Stir vodka and coffee-flavored liqueur into pudding; fold in whipped topping. Pipe or spoon pudding mixture into shot glasses. Freeze until ready to serve.





Pork Dumplings

100 (3.5 inch square) wonton wrappers

1 ¾ pounds ground pork

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion

4 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons sesame oil

1 egg, beaten

5 cups finely shredded Chinese cabbage

In a large bowl, combine the pork, ginger, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg and cabbage. Stir until well mixed.

Place 1 heaping teaspoon of pork filling onto each wonton skin. Moisten edges with water and fold edges over to form a triangle shape. Roll edges slightly to seal in filling. Set dumplings aside on a lightly floured surface until ready to cook.

Arrange dumplings in a covered bamboo or metal steamer so they don't touch to prevent them from sticking together; steam for 15 minutes, or until pork is cooked through.


Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

1 pound cubed beef stew meat

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed golden mushroom soup

½ cup chopped onion

¼ cup water

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

4 ounces cream cheese

Combine beef, soup, onion, water, and Worcestershire sauce in a slow cooker.

Cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 5 hours. Stir in cream cheese just before serving.



Microwave Bacon Brittle

½ pound bacon

1 cup white sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

1 pinch salt

½ cup chopped pecans

1 tablespoon bacon grease

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda



Brazilian Grilled Pineapple

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 pineapple - peeled, cored, and cut into 6 wedges

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.

Whisk brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl; transfer into a large resealable plastic bag. Add pineapple wedges to the bag; shake well to coat each wedge.

Grill pineapple wedges on the preheated grill until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Old-Fashioned Divinity Candy

2 cups white sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

½ cup hot water

¼ teaspoon salt

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

waxed paper

Combine sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook, without stirring, until mixture reaches 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) on a candy thermometer, or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a rigid ball. Frequently wipe crystals forming on the sides of the pan, using a pastry brush dipped in water. Remove from heat.

Just as the syrup is reaching temperature, begin whipping egg whites: In a large glass or stainless steel mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Pour hot syrup in a thin stream over beaten egg whites, beating constantly with the electric mixer at medium speed. Increase speed to high, and continue beating for about 5 minutes. Add vanilla; continue beating until the mixture becomes stiff and begins to lose its gloss. If it is too stiff, add a few drops of hot water.

Immediately drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. For a decorative flair, twirl the top with the spoon when dropping. Let stand until set and dry on the outside, at least 8 hours. Store in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature.


Hawaiian Rolls

3-4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp instant yeast

3 eggs

3/4 cup pineapple juice

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium mixing bowl using a whisk or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine 3 cups of all-purpose flour (note 1), dark brown sugar, salt, and instant yeast. Whisk well to combine the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
Pour the pineapple juice, buttermilk, and vanilla extract into the center of the dry ingredients. Add 2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, and the softened butter. (note 4). Save the egg white, use in step 11 to brush on the tops of the bread.
Use a large wooden spoon to mix ingredients to form a soft dough.
Then attach the dough hook on the stand mixer and knead the dough until the mixture appears elastic and forms a soft, smooth ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Adding up to one cup more flour as needed. It usually takes about 4 minutes.
Or use your clean hands to knead the dough for about 7-8 minutes until the dough is smooth.
(This is a stickier dough - it will not form the same cohesive ball as a harder, proofed dough. Avoid the temptation to add more than 5 cups of flour.)
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm area of your kitchen to rise for 2 hours.
Once risen, punch down the dough and divide into 20 equal balls of dough.
Grease a 9” x 13” casserole dish AND a 8” x 8” casserole dish and place the balls of dough equal distance apart in each.
Place the plastic wrap and kitchen towel back over the casserole dish and allow to rise again for 1 ½ hours
Preheat oven to 350°F
Brush the risen rolls with the egg white set aside in step 3.
Bake for 20-24 minutes, until rolls are golden brown on top and cooked through. Allow to cool for 2 minutes in the casserole dish before attempting to remove from the pans.
Serve as rolls or makes the best slider rolls.


Manicotti

5 ½ ounces manicotti pasta

1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese

8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon dried parsley

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce

Cook manicotti in boiling water until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Mix ricotta, mozzarella, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until well combined.

Pour 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce into an 11x17-inch baking dish. Stuff each manicotti shell with 3 tablespoons cheese mixture, and arrange over sauce. Pour remaining sauce over the top of the shells and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly, about 45 minutes.


Peanut Butter Haystacks

waxed paper

1 cup butterscotch chips

½ cup peanut butter

2 cups chow mein noodles

½ cup salted peanuts

Line a baking tray with waxed paper.

Place butterscotch chips and peanut butter in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir frequently, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching, until melted, about 5 minutes.

Stir noodles and peanuts into melted peanut butter mixture.

Drop dough by forkfuls onto the prepared tray. Allow to cool at room temperature until set.



Air Fryer Nutella®-Stuffed Wontons

6 wonton wrappers

2 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread (such as Nutella®)

cooking spray

Preheat the air fryer to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).

Lay out wrappers on a clean surface. Place about 1 teaspoon Nutella in the middle of each wrapper. Use a pastry brush or your finger to wet the edges of each wonton wrapper and fold in half, lightly pressing the sides together. Moisten the tips of the wrapper and press together. Set completed wrappers onto a clean plate and generously spray with cooking spray. Spray the bottom of the air fryer basket and set wontons inside.

Air fry until light brown, about 4 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before eating.



Cinnamon Sugar Cream Cheese Wontons

oil for frying

½ (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature

9 tablespoons white sugar, divided

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, divided

¼ (16 ounce) package wonton wrappers, at room temperature

Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Mix cream cheese, 8 tablespoons sugar, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon in a bowl until well blended. Spoon 1 teaspoonful of the filling into each wonton wrapper. Fold the wonton like a triangle and seal 2 edges together with water; squeeze the sides together to lock out the air. Wet the ends of the triangle; fold into the center 1 at a time.

Place the filled wontons carefully into the oil; cook until golden brown on 1 side, about 2 minutes. Turn wontons over and cook until the other side is golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Mix 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of fried wontons.



Apple Lasagna

8 lasagna noodles

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 egg, lightly beaten

¼ cup white sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 (20 ounce) cans apple pie filling

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ cup quick cooking oats

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground nutmeg

3 teaspoons margarine

1 cup sour cream

⅓ cup packed brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain, and rinse noodles, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the Cheddar cheese, ricotta cheese, egg, white sugar, and almond extract. Spread one can of apple pie filling in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer half of the noodles to cover the filling. Spread the cheese mixture over the noodles. Top with the remaining noodles, and spread the remaining can of apple pie filling over the top of those.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, 6 tablespoons brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix in margarine until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the pie filling.

Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool for 15 minutes. While the lasagna cools, stir together the sour cream and 1/3 cup brown sugar. To serve, cut into squares and top with sour cream as a garnish.


Frog Eye Salad

1 ¾ cups unsweetened pineapple juice

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons salt, divided

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 (16 ounce) package acini di pepe pasta

3 (11 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained

2 (20 ounce) cans pineapple tidbits, drained

1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup shredded coconut

Combine pineapple juice, sugar, eggs, flour, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Stir and cook over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add oil and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Add pasta and cook until al dente, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Combine cooked pasta, cooled egg mixture, mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, crushed pineapple, and whipped topping in a large bowl; mix well. Refrigerate until chilled, 8 hours to overnight.

Before serving, add marshmallows and coconut; toss and serve.





Baked Spaghetti

1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 (32 ounce) jar meatless spaghetti sauce

½ teaspoon seasoned salt

2 eggs

⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese

5 tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups small curd cottage cheese

5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender but firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir beef and onion in the hot skillet until meat is browned and onion is soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain excess oil from the pan; stir in spaghetti sauce and seasoned salt.

Whisk eggs, Parmesan, and butter in a large bowl. Add spaghetti and toss to coat.

Place 1/2 of the spaghetti mixture in the prepared baking dish. Top with 1/2 of the cottage cheese, 2 cups mozzarella, and 1/2 of the meat sauce. Repeat layers. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Continue to bake until cheese is melted and lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.




Homemade Four Cheese Ravioli

Ravioli Dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 pinch salt

2 eggs

1 ½ tablespoons water

1 teaspoon olive oil

Ravioli Filling:

1 (8 ounce) container ricotta cheese

1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

½ cup shredded provolone cheese

1 egg

1 ½ teaspoons dried parsley

Pesto-Alfredo Cream Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tablespoons prepared basil pesto sauce

2 cups heavy cream

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce

Egg Wash:

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Mound flour and salt together on a work surface and form a well. Beat eggs, water, and olive oil in a bowl. Pour 1/2 of the egg mixture into the well. Begin mixing egg and flour with one hand; use your other hand to keep the flour mound steady. Add remaining egg mixture and knead to form a dough.

Knead dough until smooth, 8 to 10 minutes; add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Form dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

While the dough is resting, prepare the ravioli filling: Mix ricotta cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, egg, and parsley until well combined. Set the filling aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in crushed garlic and pesto sauce and cook for one minute. Stir in heavy cream; increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in Parmesan cheese until melted. Remove the pan from the heat and keep warm.

Meanwhile, warm marinara sauce over medium-low heat in a separate saucepan.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Beat egg and 1 tablespoon of water together in a small bowl to make the egg wash.

Roll out the pasta dough into thin sheets no thicker than a nickel. To assemble the ravioli, brush the egg wash over a sheet of pasta. Drop cheese filling in 1-teaspoon portions onto the dough, 1-inch apart.

Cover the filling with the top sheet of pasta; use your fingers to press around each portion of filling, making the seal as airtight as possible. Cut out individual ravioli with a knife or pizza cutter. Use your fingers to seal the edges.

Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the ravioli and return to a boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the ravioli float to the top and the filling is hot, 4 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Grease a baking sheet. Place the cooked ravioli on the baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven until brown, about 4 minutes.

To serve, divide ravioli between four warmed serving bowls. Drizzle marinara sauce on top, followed by cream sauce.



Spinach Lasagna

15 lasagna noodles

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

1 cup chopped onions

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 cups fresh spinach

3 cups ricotta cheese

⅔ cup grated Romano cheese

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

3 cups tomato pasta sauce

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic and cook until onions are tender; drain excess liquid and cool.

At the same time, bring a small pot of water to a boil; add spinach and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and cool slightly; squeeze out any excess liquid and finely chop.

Combine ricotta cheese, Romano cheese, egg, salt, oregano, basil, and pepper in a bowl. Add cooled mushroom mixture and spinach; beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.

Lay 5 lasagna noodles in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta-spinach mixture over noodles, then sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Spread 1 cup pasta sauce over top. Repeat layers two more times, then cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Cool 15 minutes before serving.



Ham and Shell Salad

1 (8 ounce) package medium pasta shells

1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas, thawed

¼ pound deli ham, diced

1 cup diced Cheddar cheese

¼ cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Fill a pot with lightly-salted water and bring to a boil. Stir in the shell pasta and cook until the pasta is tender but firm to the bite, about 11 minutes; drain.

Stir the peas, ham, Cheddar cheese, onion, mayonnaise, vegetable oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; add the cooked pasta and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour, or until completely chilled, before serving.




Pecan Sandies Recipe
(source: https://www.everydayeileen.com/pecan-sandies-recipe/)

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated white sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup chopped pecans
2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl using a stand mixer with paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer with beaters attached, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and completely blended, about 5 to 7 minutes, the mixture will be a pale yellow.
Beat in the egg until blended, about 1 minute, and then the vanilla extract.
Fold in the pecans.
Gently mix in the flour.
Remove dough and roll into a log.
Cover with a piece of wax paper and refrigerate for at least 4 hours up to overnight. (see notes if you want to freeze the dough for later)
Preheat oven to 350°F/177°C.
Remove dough from the fridge and discard the wax paper.
Slice the cookie dough into ½ inch slices.
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes. Cookies will be golden.
Remove from the oven. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.


Cowboy Beans, Baked or Crockpot

https://www.everydayeileen.com/cowboy-beans-baked-or-crockpot/

1 pound ground beef 80/20 works well
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 (15.5) ounce can pork & beans
1 (15.5) ounce kidney beans, drained
1 (15.5) ounce can large butter beans, drained
1 cup ketchup
1 cup light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
salt and pepper, to taste

Slow Cooker Instructions
In a large skillet over medium-high heat add ground beef and saute until brown, no pink at all in the meat. Drain and discard excess grease.
To your slow cooker add the ground beef, diced onion, pork and beans, drained kidney and butter beans, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and water. Add salt and pepper, to taste
Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, stirring once. Serve!


Baked Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a Dutch Oven or an oven safe pot, over medium heat add ground beef and onions, saute until the beef is brown and onions are soft, about 6 minutes.
Add in the pork and beans, drained kidney and butter beans, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and water. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Stir to combine. Cover with lid and place in the preheated oven, center rack is best. Bake for 45- 60 minutes. The liquid will be bubbly and everything cooked through.
Serve and enjoy!

Apple Walnut Salad

https://www.everydayeileen.com/apple-walnut-salad-recipe/#recipe

Ingredients
4 cups mesclun greens
4 cups baby spinach
2 large apples
1 small shallot, peeled and diced
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
½ cup chopped walnuts
⅓ cup dried blueberries
Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoon s pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
⅓ cup avocado oil your favorite oil will work
black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste

How to make an Apple Walnut Salad
In a large salad bowl, add in mesclun greens, spinach, sliced apples, shallot, shredded carrot, chopped walnuts, dried blueberries.
Drizzle the Maple Vinaigrette on the salad. Mix to combine.
Ready to serve.

How to make Maple Vinaigrette
In a small bowl, whisk to combine minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, pure maple syrup, dijon mustard.
Whisk in the oil to combine all ingredients.
Taste the vinaigrette. Reseason if needed.






Hot Toddy Recipe


8 ounces water
1 ounce whiskey
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1 slice fresh ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 slice lemon

In a tea kettle or saucepan, over medium-high heat, add water. and bring water to a boil.
Bring water to a boil. Then remove the pan from the heat.
Pour the hot water into a large mug. Add the whiskey, lemon juice, honey, ginger, cloves, cinnamon stick, and lemon wedge. Give the mixture a good stir.
Serve and enjoy.

Shamrock Shake


2 cups vanilla ice cream
½ cup whole milk
6 drops mint extract
3 drops green food coloring
whipped cream, optional topping
maraschino cherry, optional topping

In a blender, add the ice cream, milk, mint extract, and green food coloring.
Enjoy right away or transfer to the freezer for later.
Top with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.



Bacon Cheddar Bagel Recipe

2 cups self-raising flour, plus additional for kneading
1 cup Greek yogurt
½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup bacon, cooked and chopped approximately 4 slices
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the self-raising flour and yogurt and knead for 6 minutes until a ball forms. Add additional self-raising flour as needed. (The moisture of your yogurt may affect the exact quantities.)
If you don’t have a stand mixer, you will need to knead the dough by hand for 6 minutes.
Once the dough forms a cohesive, elastic ball of dough, remove it from the bowl and place it on a workspace dusted with additional flour.
Divide the dough into 6 equal portions, then form each portion of dough into a bagel. Make them wider with a bigger hole than a normal bagel as they will get smaller with baking.
Place the formed bagels onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Brush the bagels with the egg white. Sprinkle on additional cheese and chopped bacon.
Bake for 10-14 minutes, until the tops of bagels are golden brown.
Serve with butter, cream cheese, or make an amazing egg sandwich.



Easy Orange Muffins

1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
½ cup granulated white sugar
½ cup whole milk
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 whole oranges
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 380°F/193°C. Use silicone muffin molds or use a 12-count muffin tin and either grease, spray with non-stick baking spray, or use cupcake liners, and set aside.
Use one orange, cut it in half and press the juice out of the orange into a small bowl, set aside.
You will need to peel the other orange, then slice it into chunks.
Add egg, sugar, milk, oranges pieces, juice, and butter in another medium bowl.
With a hand mixer or a whisk, mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients, mixing as little as possible, just enough to obtain a moist batter.
Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Spoon the batter into silicone or paper-lined muffin pans and bake at 380°F for about 25 minutes.
Let cool for a few minutes and remove from the silicone molds or muffin tin.
Ready to eat. Enjoy.




Candy Cane Fudge

nonstick cooking spray

2 (10 ounce) packages vanilla baking chips

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 ½ cups crushed candy canes

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

1 dash red or green food coloring

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil; spray with nonstick spray and set aside.

Combine vanilla chips and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until chips are almost melted; remove from heat and continue to stir until smooth. Stir in candy canes, peppermint extract, and food coloring.

Spread evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Chill for 2 hours, then cut into squares.




Stained Glass Candy

½ cup butter

1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips

1 (14 ounce) package flaked coconut

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 (10.5 ounce) package rainbow colored miniature marshmallows


Melt butter and chocolate chips in a pan over low heat. Let mixture cool slightly before stirring in walnuts and marshmallows. Set aside to cool completely.

Spread coconut on waxed paper. Divide cooled dough into two even portions. Form each portion into a long roll. Coat rolls with coconut. Wrap rolls in waxed paper and then again in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or longer. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices to serve.



Candy Coated Pretzels

1 (20 ounce) package miniature pretzel twists

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups dark brown sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

⅛ teaspoon salt

Preheat an oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet. Arrange pretzels in a single layer baking sheet.

Combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Do not stir once the sugar syrup begins to boil. Heat to 244 degrees F (117 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a firm but pliable ball.

Pour hot mixture over pretzels; toss to coat evenly.

Bake pretzels in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Stir; continue to bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and break into individual pieces. Cool on wire rack or parchment paper.



Candy Red Apple Martini

½ fluid ounce butterscotch schnapps

2 fluid ounces vodka

2 fluid ounces sour apple schnapps (such as DeKuyper® Sour Apple Pucker)

2 fluid ounces cranberry juice

Pour the butterscotch schnapps, vodka, apple schnapps, and cranberry juice into a cocktail shaker over ice. Cover, and shake until the outside of the shaker has frosted. Strain into a chilled martini glass to serve.



Quick and Easy Peanut Brittle

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup white sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup shelled peanuts

Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir sugar and salt with melted butter to dissolve completely. Remove saucepan from heat, add peanuts, and stir to coat completely; immediately pour onto prepared pan and spread into an even layer.

Refrigerate until brittle, at least 30 minutes. Separate from parchment and break into pieces.





Chicken Thigh and Dumpling Stew

3 tablespoons butter

2 pounds chicken thighs

8 slices bacon

3 carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 (14 ounce) can vegetable broth

1 (26 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 cup water

½ cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon paprika

1 (8.75 ounce) can sweet corn, drained

ground black pepper to taste

1 (10 ounce) can buttermilk biscuits

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in hot butter on both sides until just cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate and allow to cool slightly. Scrape chicken drippings into a large stockpot; set the stockpot aside. Use forks to pull chicken meat from the bones and chop into small pieces or shred; set aside.

Place bacon in the same large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon slices on paper towels; crumble and set aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings.

Place the large stockpot with chicken drippings over medium-high heat. Cook and stir carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in hot chicken drippings until onion is soft and transparent. Add vegetable broth, chicken, and reserved bacon grease; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 12 minutes.

Stir in condensed soup, water, heavy cream, and paprika. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in corn; season with pepper.

Tear each biscuit into quarters and drop into stew. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir occasionally until dough is cooked through and forms dumplings on the top of stew, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish servings with crumbled bacon.


Authentic Chinese Egg Rolls

4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided

3 large eggs, beaten

1 medium head cabbage, finely shredded

½ carrot, julienned

1 pound Chinese barbequed or roasted pork, cut into matchsticks

1 (8 ounce) can shredded bamboo shoots

1 cup dried, shredded wood ear mushroom, rehydrated

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 ½ teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon monosodium glutamate (MSG)

1 (14 ounce) package egg roll wrappers

1 egg white, beaten

4 cups oil for frying, or as needed


Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Pour in beaten eggs and cook, without stirring, until firmed up. Flip eggs over and cook for an additional 20 seconds to firm the other side. Set egg pancake aside to cool, then slice into thin strips.

Heat remaining vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir in cabbage and carrot; cook for 2 minutes to wilt. Add pork, bamboo shoots, mushroom, green onions, soy sauce, salt, sugar, and MSG; continue cooking until vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Stir in sliced egg, then spread the mixture out onto a pan, and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

To assemble the egg rolls: Place a wrapper onto your work surface with one corner pointing towards you. Place about 3 tablespoons of cooled filling in a heap onto the bottom third of the wrapper. Brush a little beaten egg white onto the top two edges of the wrapper, then fold the bottom corner over the filling and roll firmly to the halfway point. Fold the left and right sides snugly over the egg roll, then continue rolling until the top corners seal the egg roll with the egg white. Repeat with remaining egg roll wrappers, covering finished egg rolls with plastic wrap to keep from drying out.

Heat about 6 inches of oil in a wok or deep-fryer to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Fry egg rolls 3 or 4 at a time until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels.



Crispy Crab Rangoon

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 pound crabmeat, shredded

3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root

½ teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro

½ teaspoon dried parsley

½ teaspoon minced garlic

1 (14 ounce) package small won ton wrappers

1 quart oil for frying

Mix cream cheese, crabmeat, soy sauce, ginger, cilantro, parsley, and garlic together in a bowl.

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet or deep fryer to 360 degrees F (180 degrees C).

While the oil is heating, place 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cream cheese mixture into the center of a wonton wrapper. Moisten the wrapper edges and pull two corners together over filling to make a triangle. Pull two remaining corners up to join them, then press firmly to seal. Repeat to make remaining wontons. Place prepared wontons under a slightly moist paper towel until oil is hot.

Working in batches, fry 3 or 4 wontons at a time in hot oil until golden brown and crispy, 1 to 2 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer wontons to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve hot.



Green Onion Pancake

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup hot water

½ cup cold water

1 cup chopped scallions, or to taste

salt and ground black pepper to taste

¼ cup butter, softened

1 ½ teaspoons vegetable oil, or as needed

Place flour in a bowl. Add hot water slowly in a steady stream, mixing well after each addition. Add cold water; mix until no dry spots remain. Knead dough lightly by hand until a ball is formed. Place dough in an oiled resealable plastic bag; seal the bag and let dough rest for 30 minutes.

Place scallions in a bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Roll dough out onto a floured work surface into a thin rectangle using a rolling pin. Spread butter all over; sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Spread scallions over the dough, leaving top edge of the dough empty. Roll dough up carefully from the opposite edge, keeping scallions in place and pulling dough a little with every roll to make it tight.

Cut the roll into 3- to 4-inch-long pieces by hand; pinch and seal both ends. Lightly flatten each piece into a circular pancake.

Heat a nonstick saucepan with oil; cook pancakes until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Crush 2 sides of the pancakes with spoons or ladles until flaky.

Potstickers (Chinese Dumplings)

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 pounds ground beef

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root

1 shallot, minced

1 bunch green onions, chopped

3 leaves napa cabbage, chopped

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil

salt and white pepper to taste

1 pinch white sugar

1 (10 ounce) package round gyoza/potsticker wrappers

vegetable oil

¼ cup water

Place the shrimp in the work bowl of a food processor, and process until the shrimp are finely ground. Set aside in a large bowl. Working in batches, process the ground beef to a fine grind, and set aside with the shrimp. Combine the shrimp and ground beef with ginger, shallot, green onions, napa cabbage, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper, and white sugar, and mix the ingredients until thoroughly combined.

To fill the pot stickers, place a wrapper on a work surface in front of you, and place a scant teaspoon of filling in the center. With a wet finger, dampen the edges of the wrapper. Fold the dough into a half-moon shape, enclosing the filling, and press and seal to remove extra air and tightly seal the edges together. It's nice to fold several small pleats in the top half of the wrapper for a traditional look before you seal in the filling. Refrigerate the filled wrappers on a parchment-lined baking sheet while you finish filling and sealing the pot stickers.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet with a lid over medium heat. Place pot stickers into the hot oil, flat sides down, without crowding, and let fry until the bottoms are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the dumplings over, and pour the water over them. Cover the pan with a lid and let the dumplings steam until the water has nearly evaporated and the dumplings have begun to fry in oil again, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover the skillet, and let the pot stickers cook until all the water is evaporated and the wrapper has shrunk down tightly onto the filling, another 2 to 3 minutes.

Gnocchi

2 potatoes, peeled

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool, and mash with a fork or potato masher.

Combine 1 cup mashed potato, flour, and egg in a large bowl. Knead until dough forms a ball. Shape small portions of the dough into long "snakes". On a floured surface, cut snakes into 1/2-inch pieces.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Drop in gnocchi and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until gnocchi have risen to the top; drain and serve.




The Best Fresh Tomato Salsa

3 cups chopped tomatoes

1 cup onion, diced

½ cup chopped green bell pepper

¼ cup minced fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

4 teaspoons chopped fresh jalapeno pepper (including seeds)

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Stir together tomatoes, onion, green bell pepper, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper in a bowl.


Miso Soup

4 cups water

2 teaspoons dashi granules

3 tablespoons miso paste

1 (8 ounce) package silken tofu, diced

2 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces

Combine water and dashi granules in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and whisk in miso paste. Stir in tofu. Separate the layers of green onions, and add them to the soup. Simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.


Easy Pizza Sauce

1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

1 tablespoon ground oregano

1 ½ teaspoons dried minced garlic

1 teaspoon ground paprika

Mix together tomato sauce and tomato paste in a medium bowl until smooth. Stir in oregano, garlic, and paprika.


Chocolate Pecan Pie

1 cup light corn syrup

⅔ cup white sugar

⅓ cup margarine, melted

3 large eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup pecan halves

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Combine corn syrup, sugar, melted margarine, eggs, and salt in a mixing bowl; beat with an electric mixer until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans. Pour mixture into pie crust.

Bake in the preheated oven until set, 40 to 50 minutes.

Cool completely before serving.


Slow Cooker Homemade Beans

3 cups dry navy beans, soaked overnight or boiled for one hour

6 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1 ½ cups ketchup

1 ½ cups water

1 cup brown sugar

¼ cup molasses

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon salt

Drain soaking liquid from beans; place them in a slow cooker.

Stir bacon, onion, ketchup, water, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, and salt into beans until well mixed.

Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours; stir occasionally if possible.






Sweet and Sour Meatballs

1 pound ground beef

1 cup dry bread crumbs

1 onion, chopped

1 egg

salt and pepper to taste

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup water

½ cup ketchup

½ cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Make meatballs: Mix beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl until well combined; shape into 1 1/2-inch diameter balls.

Cook meatballs in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until evenly browned and cooked through.

Make sauce: Mix brown sugar, water, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and cornstarch together in a medium bowl until smooth.

Pour sauce over meatballs. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is thick, 3 to 5 minutes.



Baby Spinach Omelet

2 eggs

1 cup torn baby spinach leaves

1 ½ tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon onion powder

⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

Beat eggs in a bowl, and stir in baby spinach and Parmesan cheese. Season with onion powder, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Spray a small skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Once warm, add in the egg mixture and cook until partially set, about 3 minutes. Flip with a spatula, and continue cooking, 2 to 3 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, 2 to 3 minutes, or until omelet reaches desired doneness.


Parmesan Crusted Chicken

½ cup Hellmann's® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 (5 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

4 teaspoons Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Mix mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese together in a medium bowl until well combined.

Arrange chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Evenly top with mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs to coat.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden on top and chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.



Apple Walnut Canadian Butter Tarts

cooking spray

flour for dusting

1 pound prepared pie crust

2 cups apple juice

¾ cup packed brown sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large egg

1 tablespoon whipping cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Dust a work surface with flour and roll out pie dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Cut out 12 circles using a 4-inch round pastry cutter,

Transfer dough into lightly sprayed muffin tin. Press the dough gently into the bottom and sides. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Add apple juice into a saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until it has reduced to 3 or 4 tablespoons of apple syrup. Set aside.

Place brown sugar into a bowl and pour apple syrup on top of the sugar. Add melted butter, egg, cream, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until filling is liquid and smooth.

Pull pastry out of the fridge. Divide walnuts evenly on top of the bottom of the tart shells. Pour filling on top about 2/3 full. Tap the pan to smooth out filling.

Bake in the preheated oven until crust is cooked through and the filling is bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes then remove from the muffin tins and serve at room temperature.


Fresh Rhubarb Pie

1 ⅓ cups white sugar

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 (14.1 ounce) package double-crust pie pastry, thawed

4 cups chopped rhubarb

1 tablespoon butter


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Place an oven rack in the lowest position.

Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate with one pie crust. Combine sugar and flour in a bowl; sprinkle 1/4 of the sugar mixture over the prepared bottom crust.

Heap rhubarb on top and sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture. Dot with butter and cover with top crust.

Bake pie in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and continue baking until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold.





Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes

¼ cup butter

1 ¼ cups chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

4 cups beef broth

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

½ pound cubed cooked ham

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Pour 2 cans of the black beans into a food processor or blender, along with the can of tomatoes. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the onion is softened. Stir in the bean puree, remaining can of beans, beef broth, pumpkin puree, and sherry vinegar. Mix until well blended, then simmer for about 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Stir in the ham, and heat through before serving.

My Navy Bean Soup

1 (16 ounce) package dried navy beans

water to cover

7 cups chicken stock

½ cup margarine

4 carrots, chopped

1 onion, chopped

½ pound bacon

Clean and sort the beans. Place them in a large bowl with water to cover and soak for 3 hours.

In a large pot over medium heat, combine the beans and the chicken stock and allow to simmer.

Meanwhile, melt the butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until onion is caramelized. Add this mixture to the pot.

In the same skillet over medium high heat, saute the bacon for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is crisp. Drain the grease and add the bacon to the pot. Continue to simmer the soup over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the beans are tender and the soup has thickened.

Shipwreck Stew


2 pounds ground beef

2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed tomato soup

2 medium onions, chopped

5 large potatoes, cubed

2 (15.25 ounce) cans kidney beans, undrained
Crumble the ground beef into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until browned. Drain grease, and transfer beef to a slow cooker. Mix in the tomato soups (undiluted), onions, potatoes, and beans.

Cover, and cook on the Low setting for 4 to 5 hours, until stew is thick and potatoes are tender.

Rachel's Cranberry Chicken Salad


2 cooked chicken breast halves, chopped

½ cup mayonnaise, or to taste

2 green onions, chopped

½ cup sweetened dried cranberries (such as Ocean Spray® Craisins®)

¼ green apple, shredded

¼ cup chopped pecans

1 tablespoon lime juice

¼ teaspoon dried dill weed

1 pinch salt and black pepper, or to taste

Mix together chicken and mayonnaise in a bowl, stir to coat well. Stir in green onions, dried cranberries, apple, pecans, lime juice, dill weed, salt, and pepper.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for several hours or overnight (the flavor just gets better).

Dijon Chicken Salad

2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken

1 cup sliced celery

1 cup halved seedless green grapes

1 cup halved seedless red grapes

¼ cup dried cranberries

2 teaspoons dried chives

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¾ cup mayonnaise

½ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

Mix together the chicken, celery, green grapes, red grapes, cranberries, and chives in a bowl. Whisk together the honey, mustard, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl. Add the mustard mixture to the chicken mixture, stir to coat.


Date-Marshmallow Waldorf Salad

2 cups peeled, diced tart apples

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 pinch salt

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup chopped pitted dates

½ cup chopped walnuts

¼ cup mayonnaise

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup miniature marshmallows

Place the apples in a medium serving bowl and sprinkle with sugar, lemon juice and salt. Stir in the celery, dates and walnuts. In a separate bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer until it can hold a peak. Mix in mayonnaise and gently fold into the apple mixture along with the marshmallows. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.




Puff Pastry Apple Strudel

2 tablespoons butter
2 large sweet onions, halved and sliced
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and apples; cook and stir until tender, 12-15 minutes. Stir in walnuts, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
On 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, roll out each pastry into a 14x12-in. rectangle. Place half the onion mixture down the center of each rectangle; top with cheese and bacon.
On each long side, cut eight 1-3/4-in.-wide strips. Starting at 1 end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling; pinch ends to seal. Whisk egg with water; brush over braids. Bake until golden brown, 25-28 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.


Classic Cherries Jubilee

½ cup white sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ cup cold water

¼ cup orange juice

1 pound Bing or other dark, sweet cherries, rinsed and pitted (or use frozen pitted cherries)

½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest

3 cups vanilla bean ice cream

¼ teaspoon cherry extract

¼ cup brandy

Whisk sugar and cornstarch together in a wide saucepan. Stir in water and orange juice; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking until thickened. Stir in cherries and orange zest; return to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. While cherries are cooking, spoon ice cream into serving bowls.

Remove cherries from heat and stir in cherry extract. Pour in brandy and ignite with a long lighter. Gently shake the pan until blue flame has extinguished itself. Spoon cherries over ice cream.

Cherry Dump Cake

2 (21 ounce) cans cherry pie filling

1 (15.25 ounce) package white cake mix

¼ cup butter, melted

½ cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Spread cherry pie filling over the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan. Stir cake mix and butter together into a gooey, clumpy mixture. Break into pieces between your fingers and crumble evenly on top of the cherry filling. Sprinkle pecans on top.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown on top, 35 to 40 minutes.


Cherry Chicken Salad

3 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, diced

⅓ cup dried cherries

⅓ cup diced celery

⅓ cup toasted, chopped pecans

⅓ cup low-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon buttermilk

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

⅓ cup cubed apples (Optional)

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, dried cherries, celery, nuts, mayonnaise, milk, salt and pepper and apple if desired. Toss together well and refrigerate until chilled. Serve on toasted cracked wheat bread or croissants.



Mozzarella Sticks

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 cup dry bread crumbs
2-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
12 sticks string cheese
Cooking spray
1 cup marinara or spaghetti sauce, heated

Place flour in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, beat eggs and water. In a third shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and pepper. Coat cheese sticks with flour, then dip in egg mixture and coat with bread crumb mixture. Repeat egg and bread crumb coatings. Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet; spray with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 6-8 minutes or until heated through. Allow to stand for 3-5 minutes before serving. Serve with marinara or spaghetti sauce for dipping.


Chocolate Hummus

1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Assorted fresh fruit, crackers or pretzels

In a food processor, combine the first 5 ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Serve with fresh fruit, crackers or pretzels.


Ham-Spinach Crepe Cups


1 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon canola oil
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
filling:
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg
2 drops hot pepper sauce
2 cups diced fully cooked ham
5 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (about 1/2 cup)

In a bowl, combine milk, egg and oil; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to milk mixture and mix until smooth. Heat a lightly greased 8-in. skillet; add 1/4 cup batter. Lift and turn pan to evenly coat the bottom. Cook until lightly browned; turn and brown the other side. Place each crepe in a greased muffin cup or custard cup, arranging the top edge in flutes. Place a small ball of foil in the center of each cup to hold the shape. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove foil.
Meanwhile, for filling, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk; bring to a boil. Cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg and hot pepper sauce; stir until smooth. Stir in ham and spinach; heat through. Spoon into the hot crepe cups and serve immediately.


Fruity Sweet and Sour Sauce

½ cup white sugar, or to taste

½ cup white vinegar, or more to taste

½ cup maraschino cherry juice

½ cup pineapple juice

1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

¼ cup cold water

Mix the sugar, vinegar, maraschino cherry juice, and pineapple juice in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Place the cornstarch in a small bowl, and stir the water into it to make a smooth paste. Stir the cornstarch paste into the juice mixture, and bring to a simmer. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute.





Black Forest Cheesecakes

12 chocolate sandwich cookies with creme filling

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

¾ cup white sugar

⅓ cup baking cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling

½ cup whipped topping


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Line muffin cups with paper or foil liners.

Remove top from each sandwich cookie; crush tops and set aside. Place creme-topped cookies in the prepared muffin cups, creme-side up.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, cocoa, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Mix in eggs until blended. Fill the prepared muffin cups 3/4 full; sprinkle 1/4 cup reserved cookie crumbs on top. Discard remaining crumbs or save for another use.

Bake in the preheated oven until set, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Top each cheesecake with 2 tablespoons cherry filling and a dollop of whipped topping just before serving.






Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onions

2 (1 1/2 pound) pork tenderloins

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, or more as needed

3 medium Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored, and sliced into eighths

2 medium sweet onions, sliced vertically

3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Trim silver skin from pork tenderloins; pat dry using paper towels. Rub 2 teaspoons vegetable oil over tenderloins, then rub with sea salt.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook tenderloins in hot oil, rotating to brown all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer pork to a large plate.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to any drippings in the skillet. Cook apples and onions in hot oil, stirring occasionally, until onions turn translucent, about 5 minutes; add more oil if the skillet gets dry. Season with 1 teaspoon thyme and black pepper; stir gently to combine. Remove from heat.

Use a pastry brush to spread Dijon mustard evenly over tenderloins. Sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons thyme. Nestle tenderloins into the skillet with apple mixture.

Roast, uncovered, in the preheated oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of tenderloins reads at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C), about 15 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer pork to a large platter. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest.

Meanwhile, pour chicken stock into a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour into the skillet with apple mixture. Cook over medium-high heat until boiling, about 5 minutes; stir in butter until melted.

Slice pork and serve over apple mixture.

Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup shortening, cubed
1 cup boiling water
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/2 cups molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Confectioners' sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9-in. square baking pan; set aside. In a large bowl, mix butter, shortening and boiling water until smooth; cool slightly. Beat in eggs and molasses until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda; gradually beat into molasses mixture. Transfer to prepared pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack. If desired, sprinkle with confectioners' sugar before serving.



Firecracker Chicken

⅔ cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

3 large eggs, beaten

1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces

¼ cup canola or peanut oil

¾ cup honey

½ cup hot pepper sauce (such as Crystal®)

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (Optional)

4 cups cooked white rice

½ cup thinly sliced scallions

toasted white sesame seeds, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place a rack in the center of the oven.

Combine cornstarch, ginger, pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large resealable bag or large bowl. Place beaten eggs in a large shallow bowl or dish. Add chicken to bag and shake to coat.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high until shimmering.

While oil is heating, transfer 1/3 of the chicken to dish with eggs and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out chicken, allowing excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Place in the hot skillet in an even layer. Cook, turning once, until chicken is golden on both sides, about 2 minutes per side (chicken will not be cooked through at this point).

Transfer to a 9x13-inch baking dish. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet per new batch (3 batches total).

Stir together honey, hot sauce, vinegar, crushed red pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Pour over chicken in the baking dish and stir to coat.

Bake in the preheated oven until chicken is no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, stirring halfway through, 25 to 30 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Serve over rice and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.


Moo Shu Chicken

6 tablespoons cold water, divided

3 teaspoons sesame oil, divided

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 pound chicken breast tenderloins, cut into thin strips

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided

2 eggs, beaten

3 cups shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix

1 (4 ounce) can sliced shiitake mushrooms, drained

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon sherry

3 green onions, chopped

Whisk 2 tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, and cornstarch together in a large bowl. Stir in chicken and set aside.

Whisk remaining 4 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, and soy sauce together in a separate bowl. Set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add eggs and cook 3 minutes; flip and cook until firm and set, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into thin strips.

Add chicken mixture to the same skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken for 6 minutes; flip and cook until chicken is golden brown and juices run clear, about 6 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat remaining teaspoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, and sherry. Cook until cabbage starts to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Add chicken, eggs, and sauce mixture to cabbage mixture. Cook and stir until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Toss in green onions and serve immediately.












Mouth-Watering Stuffed Mushrooms

12 whole fresh mushrooms

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel; carefully break off stems. Chop stems extremely fine, discarding the tough end of stems.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped mushroom stems; fry until any moisture has evaporated, taking care not to burn garlic. Set aside to cool.

Stir in cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, onion powder, and cayenne. The mixture will be very thick; use a teaspoon to fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of stuffing. Arrange mushroom caps on the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until the mushrooms are piping hot, about 20 minutes.



Watergate Salad

1 (3.4 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix

1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, with juice

1 cup miniature marshmallows

½ cup chopped walnuts

4 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed

Combine crushed pineapple with juice, instant pudding mix, mini marshmallows, and walnuts in a large bowl. Mix until well combined, then fold in whipped topping.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours before serving.


Apple Pie Filling

18 cups thinly sliced apples

3 tablespoons lemon juice

10 cups water

4 ½ cups white sugar

1 cup cornstarch

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Toss apples with lemon juice in a large bowl and set aside.

Pour water into a Dutch oven over medium heat. Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl; add to water, stir well, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add apples and return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until apples are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Ladle into 5 freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Cool at room temperature no longer than 1 1/2 hours.

Seal and freeze. Can be stored for up to 12 months.



Toasted Ravioli

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 package (9 ounces) frozen beef ravioli, thawed
Oil for deep-fat frying
Optional: Fresh minced basil and additional shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup Bertolli Traditional Marinara Sauce

In a shallow bowl, mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and basil. Place flour and eggs in separate shallow bowls. Dip ravioli in flour to coat both sides; shake off excess. Dip in egg, then in crumb mixture, patting to help coating adhere.
In a deep cast-iron or electric skillet, heat 1/2 in. of oil to 375°. Fry ravioli, a few at a time, until golden brown, 1-2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. If desired, immediately sprinkle with basil and cheese. Serve warm with marinara sauce.




Old-Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

3 cups half-and-half

¾ cup white sugar

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs, beaten

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked

1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread coconut on a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Combine half-and-half, sugar, flour, eggs, and salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring for 2 minutes more.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 3/4 cup toasted coconut and vanilla; reserve remaining toasted coconut for garnishing the pie.

Pour custard into pie shell and chill until firm, about 4 hours.

Top with whipped topping and reserved toasted coconut.




Spiced Apple Cider Jelly Shots


1-1/2 cups cold apple cider or juice
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups ginger-flavored vodka
2 teaspoons Angostura bitters
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
Thinly sliced apple, optional

Directions
Pour apple cider into a large saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over top; let stand, without stirring, until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Whisk in sugar. Heat and stir over low heat until sugar and gelatin are completely dissolved, 8-10 minutes (do not boil); remove from heat. Stir in vodka; pour mixture into a 9-in. square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate, uncovered, until mixture is firm, about 2 hours.
To unmold, run a sharp knife along edges of gelatin; invert onto a cutting board and lift off pan. Cut into 64 squares; brush tops with bitters and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. If desired, garnish with apple slices.



Air-Fryer Cinnamon Almonds

1 large egg white
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups unblanched almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat air fryer to 300°. In a large bowl, beat egg white until frothy; beat in vanilla. Add almonds; stir gently to coat. Combine the sugars, salt and cinnamon; add to nut mixture and stir gently to coat.
Arrange almonds in a single layer on greased tray in air-fryer basket. Cook until almonds are crisp, stirring once, 25-30 minutes. Cool. Store in an airtight container.


Chicken Bacon Triangles

Source: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/chicken-bacon-triangles/

1/2 pound bacon strips, chopped
3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 cup condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
24 sheets phyllo dough, 14x9 inches
1/4 cup butter, melted
Ranch dip, optional

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; drain, reserving drippings. Saute chicken in drippings until no longer pink; drain.

Add the soup, cream cheese, garlic, onion, pepper and bacon to skillet; cook and stir until blended. Remove from the heat. Stir in mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses; cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Lightly brush 1 sheet of phyllo dough with butter; place another sheet of phyllo on top and brush with butter. (Keep remaining phyllo covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.) Cut into four 14x2 1/4-in. strips.

Place a scant tablespoon of filling on lower corner of each strip. Fold dough over filling, forming a triangle. Fold triangle up, then fold triangle over, forming another triangle. Continue folding, like a flag, until you come to the end of the strip. Brush end of dough with butter and press onto triangle to seal. Repeat with remaining strips of dough and with remaining sheets of phyllo.

Place triangles on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375° until golden brown, 15-17 minutes. If desired, serve with ranch.


Cajun Crab Poppers

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 can (8 ounces) lump crabmeat, drained
2 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
8 jalapeno peppers

Preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl, beat the first 5 ingredients until blended. Stir in shredded cheese, crab and bacon.
Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Spoon filling into pepper halves. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with additional parsley.



Orange Rosemary Carrots


1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot or red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-in. slices
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon thawed frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Minced fresh parsley


In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add shallot; cook and stir until tender, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
Stir in carrots. Add brown sugar, water, orange juice concentrate, rosemary, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, until carrots are crisp-tender, 15-20 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid is reduced by half, 1-2 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with fresh parsley.



Easy Slow-Cooker Cinnamon Rolls

Source: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/easy-slow-cooker-cinnamon-rolls/


1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
FILLING:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, softened
Optional: Cream cheese frosting and chopped pecans

Place a piece of parchment in a 3-1/2-qt. rectangular slow cooker, letting ends extend up side; spritz paper with cooking spray. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. In a large bowl, combine milk, remaining sugar, butter, egg, salt, yeast mixture and 2 cups flour; beat on medium speed until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky). Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.
For filling, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a 16x10-in. rectangle. Spread butter within 1/2 in. of edges; sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 slices. Place rolls side by side, cut side down, into slow cooker.
Cover slow cooker with a double layer of white paper towels; place lid securely over towels. Cook, covered, on high, until rolls are set and edges begin to brown, about 2 hours. To avoid scorching, rotate slow cooker insert a half turn midway through cooking, lifting carefully with oven mitts. Using parchment, lift rolls from slow cooker; cool slightly. If desired, top with cream cheese frosting and pecans.



No-Churn Eggnog Soft-Serve Ice Cream

Source: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/no-churn-eggnog-soft-serve-ice-cream/

2 cups eggnog
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup spiced rum
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Place all ingredients in a blender; process until thickened, 1-2 minutes.
Transfer to freezer containers, allowing headspace for expansion. Freeze until firm, several hours or overnight.



Pioneer Woman Sweet Potato Casserole

Source: https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/pioneer-woman-sweet-potato-casserole/

For the potatoes:

4 medium sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds total)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
For the topping:

1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter


Step 1: Bake the sweet potatoes

Step 2: Mash with the other ingredients

Step 3: Make the streusel topping - Add the brown sugar, chopped pecans, flour and sliced butter to a medium-sized bowl. Use a pastry blender or forks to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until they’re combined into a coarse mixture

Spread the sweet potatoes in a 13×9 baking dish. Sprinkle the pecan streusel evenly over the entire surface of the potatoes. Bake the potatoes for 30-35 minutes until the streusel is nicely browned and crunchy. Serve the sweet potato casserole immediately.

Cranberry-Orange Vodka Slush NOTE: Adult Beverage
Source: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cranberry-orange-vodka-slush/

9 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 can (12 ounces) frozen cranberry juice concentrate, partially thawed
1 can (12 ounces) frozen orange juice concentrate, partially thawed
3/4 cup thawed lemonade concentrate
2 cups vodka
8 cups lemon-lime soda, chilled

In a 5-qt. bowl, mix water and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Stir in juice and lemonade concentrates and the vodka until blended. Transfer mixture to freezer containers, allowing headspace for expansion; freeze overnight.
To serve, place 2/3 cup slush in each glass. Add 1/3 cup soda.




Sicilian Pizza (Sfincione)

Source: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/sicilian-pizza-sfincione/

2 loaves (1 pound each) fresh or frozen pizza dough, thawed
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, drained and crushed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 can (2 ounces) anchovy fillets, drained and broken into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
Fresh torn basil

Preheat oven to 425°. Grease a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Press dough to fit bottom and 1/2 in. up sides of pan. Brush with 2 tablespoons oil; top with tomatoes, onion and anchovies. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Combine bread crumbs and remaining 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle over pizza.
Bake on a lower oven rack until edges are golden brown and cheese is melted, 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with basil before serving.



Orange-Maple Cranberry Sauce

Source: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/orange-maple-cranberry-sauce/

2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Optional: orange slices and minced fresh parsley

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, until cranberries start to burst and mixture thickens, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If desired, garnish with orange slices, additional chopped walnuts and minced parsley.




Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


How to Clean Pumpkin Seeds
The most laborious part of roasting pumpkin seeds is prepping them. You first have to separate the seeds from the gooey mess inside of the pumpkin. Fortunately, we've got a few tricks up our sleeves for making this process as painless as possible:

1. Scoop the seeds. First, use a strong metal spoon to scoop as many of the seeds out of the pumpkin as you can. Be sure not to let the pulp dry before cleaning the seeds.

2. Soak the seeds. Place the mass of seeds and pulp in a large bowl. Run water over them and use your hands to swish the seeds around, removing any noticeable bits of pumpkin. The flesh will separately more easily from the seeds this way. Drain off excess water.

3. Rinse the seeds. Place the clean seeds in a colander and rinse until any remaining flesh is gone.

4. Optional: Boil the seeds. Simmer the clean seeds in salty water for 10 minutes. (See below for why you should do this).

5. Dry the seeds. Drain the boiled/cleaned seeds in a colander and use a towel to dry the seeds as thoroughly as possible to ensure they get nice and crispy when baked.

Step 1: Preheat the Oven
Start by preheating the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

Step 2: Coat the Seeds
Toss clean, dry seeds in a mixture of melted butter (or oil), salt, and any other seasonings of your choice.

Step 3: Arrange the Seeds
Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Be sure the seeds aren't overlapping so they turn out as crispy as possible.

Tip: For less mess, line the baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 4: Bake
Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Check on your seeds every 10 minutes, removing the baking sheet, stirring, and spreading them out again.

​​Tip: You can roast the seeds of any winter squash, not just pumpkin.


Carrot Cake

Cake:

2 cups white sugar

1 ¼ cups vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups grated carrots

1 cup chopped pecans

Frosting:

½ cup butter, softened

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 cups confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

Beat sugar, oil, eggs, and 2 teaspoons vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

To make the frosting: Beat butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped pecans. Frost the cooled cake.




Easy Cake Mix Cookie Bars

1 Box of cake mix

2 Eggs

Vegetable oil

Chocolate chips

Add the eggs to a large bowl and beat them for a few seconds.

Next, add the cake mix and the vegetable oil to the bowl and mix well. The batter will be thick.

Finally, add the chocolate chips and mix.

Spread the thick batter into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and bake for about 25 minutes



Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats

3 Tablespoons butter

10 ounces marshmallows (mini or big)

6 cups Rice Krispie cereal

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease and line a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper. (Grease first as it helps hold the paper down).

Add the butter to a large saucepan and melt butter on medium heat.

Next, add the marshmallows to the saucepan and melt, stirring often.

Add the peanut butter and mix until melted and combined.

Pour the Rice Krispies into the pan and mix until covered with marshmallows.

Carefully press the Rice Krispie mixture into the pan (it will be hot).

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for one minute, stirring at the 30-second mark. (Use a heat-safe and microwave-safe bowl).

Spread the chocolate over the treats and refrigerate to harden the chocolate.

Pull the treats out on the parchment paper and cut.



Easy Christmas Cookie Fudge Recipe

1-1/4 cups sugar cookie mix

12 ounce bag of white chocolate chips

14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Christmas sprinkles (optional)

Line a square 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

Add the white chocolate chips to a medium saucepan and heat on the stovetop on medium heat.

Next, add the sweetened condensed milk and stir to combine.

Pour the cookie mix into the pan and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the chocolate chips are melted.

Pour the melted fudge into the square baking dish.

Add the sprinkles to the top of the fudge and place it into the refrigerator to set up for about one hour.




Chocolate Candy Cane Martinis NOTE: Adult Beverage

3 cups half-and-half cream
12 ounces cake-flavored vodka
12 ounces chocolate liqueur
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 candy canes (regular size), finely crushed
3/4 cup white baking chips
1-1/2 teaspoons shortening

In a pitcher, combine cream, vodka and liqueur. Refrigerate until serving.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gradually beat in cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in 3 tablespoons crushed candies; pour remaining candies onto a small plate. Refrigerate whipped cream mixture until serving.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Spread onto a small plate. Spin rims of 12 cocktail glasses into melted chip mixture, then into crushed candies. Pour vodka mixture into prepared glasses; dollop with whipped cream mixture. If desired, garnish with additional candy canes.






Honey-Garlic Chicken Thighs


8 (5 ounce) boneless chicken thighs

salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed

½ medium onion, finely chopped

7 cloves garlic, chopped, or to taste

1 cup honey

½ cup soy sauce

1 pinch onion powder, or to taste

1 pinch garlic powder, or to taste

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

Cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown on one side, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip chicken, and add onion and garlic; continue to cook until chicken is mostly (but not fully) cooked and onion and garlic are soft, 5 to 7 minutes more. Remove chicken to a plate.

Add honey, soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, and onion powder to the skillet. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get the garlic and onion to mix with the liquid.

Put chicken back into the pan, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook until no longer pink in the center and juices run clear, about 10 more minutes, turning once halfway through. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a thigh should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Place on a serving tray and drizzle liquid from the pan on top. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving.

Skillet Ham, Cabbage and Potatoes

2 tablespoons margarine

1 onion, chopped

1 small head cabbage, coarsely chopped

¼ cup water

3 large potatoes, scrubbed and sliced

1 dash seasoning salt

1 dash paprika

2 cups cubed cooked ham

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onions in the margarine. When tender add cabbage and stir. Pour water over, cover and simmer gently on medium low for ten minutes.

Add potatoes and mix. Cover again and allow to simmer for ten more minutes. Additional water may be needed. Sprinkle seasoning salt and paprika over cabbage and potatoes. Allow to simmer covered for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until cabbage is soft and potatoes are nearly cooked. Mix ham in and finish cooking until ham is hot and potatoes are done.

Ezekiel Bread

4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

1 cup honey

½ cup olive oil

2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast

2 ½ cups wheat berries

1 ½ cups spelt flour

½ cup barley

½ cup millet

¼ cup dry green lentils

2 tablespoons dry great Northern beans

2 tablespoons dry kidney beans

2 tablespoons dried pinto beans

2 tablespoons salt
Mix water, honey, olive oil, and yeast in a large bowl. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes.

While yeast mixture sits, stir together wheat berries, spelt flour, barley, millet, lentils, great northern beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans together until well mixed. Grind in a flour mill.

Add fresh milled flour-bean mixture and salt to yeast mixture; stir until well mixed, about 10 minutes. The dough will be loose like a batter bread.

Pour dough into two greased 9x5-inch loaf pans.

Let rise in a warm place until dough has reached the top of the pan, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Bake in the preheated oven until loaves are golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes.


Granola Bars

2 cups rolled oats

¾ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup wheat germ

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup raisins (Optional)

¾ teaspoon salt

½ cup honey

1 egg, beaten

½ cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.





Black Forest Cake

Cake:

2 ⅛ cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 cup milk

½ cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Topping:

2 (20 ounce) cans pitted sour cherries

1 cup white sugar

¼ cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting:

3 cups heavy whipping cream

⅓ cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper. Place a medium bowl in the refrigerator to chill.

Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat until combined. Pour cake batter into the prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Run a paring knife around edges to loosen and invert carefully onto racks to cool completely, 1 to 2 hours.

While cake layers bake, drain cherries for topping, reserving 1/2 cup juice. Combine reserved juice, cherries, sugar, and cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until thickened. Stir in vanilla. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely before assembling cake.

Combine whipping cream and confectioners' sugar for frosting in the chilled medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form.

Split each cake layer in half horizontally using a long serrated knife. Tear one layer into crumbs; set aside. Gently brush loose crumbs off top and sides of remaining layers using a pastry brush or your hands. Reserve 1 1/2 cups frosting for piping decorations on cake; set aside.

To assemble, place one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread with 1 cup frosting; top with 3/4 cup cherry topping. Top with second cake layer; repeat layers of frosting and cherry topping. Top with third cake layer and frost sides of cake.

Pat reserved cake crumbs onto sides of cake. Spoon reserved 1 1/2 cups frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a star decorator tip. Pipe around top and bottom edges of cake. Spoon remaining cherry topping on top of cake.

Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.



Breakfast Casserole

OVEN 350 degrees

2 rolls ready-made biscuit (Grands are wonderful, but huge)

bag frozen tater tots

deli ham, diced or pkg of bacon cooked down, cooled and cut up

8 oz pkg shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever variety)

dozen eggs, well beaten

milk

salt/pepper to taste

In a 9x13 baking dish: line bottom with tater tots. Add ham/bacon (or both - YUM) and sprinkle with cheese. Add a splash of milk to eggs and pour over the top of casserole. Open biscuits and place evenly over top of casserole and place into oven. It is done when eggs are firm and biscuits are golden brown on top. They will be a bit soggy underneath on top of casserole, so if you don't care for that, you can bake biscuits separately. A yummy start to the weekend, or when school is out for the weather or holidays.

Home made bread was always a staple growing up. I remember Mom baking bread, and fussing at Dad, who would always cut a heel from a loaf and slather it with butter. Over the years, they've gone to getting the frozen bread dough and thawing it in a bread pan, letting raise and baking that way. Saves a lot of wear and tear on the wrists. I have had a bread machine, and I definitely miss it. (Hmm...)

Here are a couple of bread recipes and some variations on them:

Quick Bread Dough
Source: PantryChat on YouTube. Carolyn is such a sweet person, and I've learned a lot of tips from her since finding her on YouTube.

3 cups warm water

2 Tbsp active dry yeast

1/12 tbsp salt

6 1/2 cups flour

Mix until well combined; cover and let set on counter for about an hour. This may be put into the fridge and used when needed for up to 2 weeks (can't see it lasting that long, though).

Herb Flat Bread Variation
OVEN 350 degrees

Wet hands before handling dough

grapefruit (-ish) size ball of dough

Flatten out on a greased cookie pan

Drizzle and brush with olive oil

Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, flaked salt or pretzel salt.

Place right into oven until golden brown.

Variation #2

Garlic Parmesan Bread Rolls

Separately, melt 1/4 cup of butter with 2 tbsp garlic powder; set aside

Pull out enough dough for the number of people and place on floured board. Cut dough into the desired number of rolls.

Roll each ball into a log shape and place on greased cookie sheet.

Coat liberally with the garlic butter, sprinkle with parmesean cheese and sea salt, if desired.

Bake 7-10 minutes or until done.

Take out of oven and brush again with garlic butter mixture and serve.

This recipe is for Bread Machine Dough. I found it on Allrecipes.com (my recipe/idea bible). I have used it time after time, and have enjoyed it greatly.

1 Cup warm water (110 degrees F or 45 degrees C)

1 (.25 oz) package bread machine yeast

1/4 cup bread flour

1 tsp. salt

Place water, sugar and yeast into machine. Let yeast dissolve and form for about 10 minutes. Add oil, flour, and salt to yeast mixture. Select Basic/White bread setting and hit "start".

Remove loaf from machine after cycle is done, cool pan for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely.

NOTE: I have also made cinnamon rolls and pizza dough from this recipe...I just hit the "dough" cycle and allow the machine to do the work instead of my wrists. Makes clean up a lot nicer as well.

Hearty Hamburger Soup is something a little different from a chili, but can be just as flavorful. For making this, you need quite a large kettle to cook in.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 onion, minced

4 carrots, minced

3 celery stalks, thinly sliced

1/2 cup barley

3 10-ounce cans beef broth

1 10.5 ounce can condensed tomato soup (can be Campbell's or store brand)

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 cups water

1 bay leaf

1 Tbsp parsley

1 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp dried thyme

ground black pepper, to taste

Heat kettle/pot over medium-high heat and crumble in the ground beef. Cook and stir until beef is evenly browned and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease...(Not the sink - NOT recommended; from personal experience)

Stir in onion, carrots, celery, and the barley. Pour in beef broth, diced tomatoes, water and condensed soup. Season with bay leaf, parsley, garlic, thyme, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring frequently, Remove the bay leaf before serving.

I'm pretty sure this can be done in a crockpot, if you have a large enough one to do it in. Makes quite a bit, and would be great with some homemade bread and butter. Crackers would work too, if you don't have some bread.

Another yummy soup is Cream of Broccoli. No, not the condensed kind, although I'm sure it's ok. This one can definitely be done in the slow cooker. MMMmmm. Glad colder weather is just around the corner. LOL.

For this soup you will need:

1 Tbsp vegetable oil (olive or canola works, too)

1 small onion, diced

2 (10 oz) pkgs frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

2 (10.5 oz) cans cream of celery soup

1 (10.5 oz) can cram of mushroom soup

2 1/2 cups milk

1 cup shredded American cheese (or whatever you like)

On the stove: sauté the onion in the oil until soft. drain the best you can, then put onion in slow cooker.

Next, add broccoli and the cream of celery and cream of mushroom soup into the cooker. Add the milk slowly, and whisk until mixed well. Add the cheese and stir in.

Cover and cook 4 hours on low until broccoli is tender. Spoon into bowls and add more cheese if desired.



Slow cookers are a busy person's friend! I enjoyed using mine when the kids were growing up, and truthfully, it's nice to just be able to toss stuff into the cooker before work, and come home to a wonder smell throughout the house. I still use the slow cooker when I can, as clean up can be a lot easier to handle as well. I'm all about easy nowadays.

Here is another recipe that is good - whether fresh from the garden or items from the store. Basically, it's Ham, Potatoes, Green Beans.

New potatoes (small red ones), quartered

Fresh green beans (about 2 lbs)

Ham hocks (I prefer deli ham cubed and/or cooked and crumbled bacon)

Chicken bullion granules

1 tsp garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon seasoning salt (Tony Charchari's is a favorite in my home)

Black pepper to taste

Milk

Halve the green beans and put in crockpot cover with water/milk combo until beans are just covered. Add meat and onion and cook on high until simmering. Reduce heat to low and cook until beans are crisp, but not done (about 2-3 hours)

If using ham hocks, remove, add potatoes and cook for 45 minutes.

Take meat off bones, shred meat and return to cooker, if using the ham hocks.

Add seasonings to taste.

Using slotted spoon, put ham, beans and potatoes into a serving bowl. You can also use the broth, if you wanted to use a bowl instead of a plate.

Beef Stir-Fry

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound beef sirloin, cut into 2-inch strips

1 ½ cups fresh broccoli florets

1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks

2 carrots, thinly sliced

1 green onion, chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Heat vegetable oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat; cook and stir beef until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Move beef to the side of the wok and add broccoli, bell pepper, carrots, green onion, and garlic to the center of the wok. Cook and stir vegetables for 2 minutes.

Stir beef into vegetables and season with soy sauce and sesame seeds. Continue to cook and stir until vegetables are tender, about 2 more minutes.


Easy Microwave Chocolate Mug Cake

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup white sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

⅛ teaspoon baking soda

⅛ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon water

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large microwave-safe mug; stir in milk, canola oil, water, and vanilla extract.

Cook in the microwave until cake is done in the middle, about 1 minute 45 seconds.



Old Fashioned Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

½ cup butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 (20 ounce) can sliced pineapple

10 maraschino cherries, halved

1 cup sifted cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Melt 1/2 cup butter over very low heat in a 10-inch heavy skillet with a heat-resistant handle or a cast iron pan. Remove from heat; sprinkle brown sugar evenly into the skillet. Arrange pineapple slices to cover the bottom of the skillet. Distribute cherries around pineapples; set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside.

Separate eggs; place whites in a large mixing bowl and yolks in a smaller bowl.

Beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add white sugar gradually, beating well after each addition. Beat until medium-stiff peaks form.

Beat egg yolks at high speed until very thick and yellow. Using a wire whisk or rubber scraper, gently fold egg yolks and flour mixture into whites with an over-and-under motion until blended.

Fold 1 tablespoon melted butter and almond extract into batter, then spread batter evenly over pineapple in the skillet.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Loosen cake edges with a table knife. Cool cake for 5 minutes before inverting it onto a serving plate.

Blueberry Upside-Down Mini Cakes

2 cups frozen blueberries

1 lemon, zested and juiced, divided

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

½ cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1 pinch salt

½ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter six 4-inch ramekins and place in a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Mix blueberries, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons white sugar together in a small bowl.

Microwave 2 tablespoons butter in a microwave-safe bowl until melted, about 30 seconds. Stir in brown sugar. Spread equal amounts into the bottom of each ramekin. Divide the blueberry mixture evenly into the ramekins.

Beat 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup white sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix in lemon juice and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt; stir until combined. Mix in milk. Spoon batter into the ramekins over the blueberry mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes.

Let cool in the ramekins for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cakes; invert onto a plate.



No-Bake Cookies

1 ¾ cups white sugar

½ cup butter

½ cup milk

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

½ cup crunchy peanut butter

3 cups quick-cooking oats

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

waxed paper

Combine sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring often. Boil for exactly 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter. Add oats and vanilla; stir until well combined.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let cool until hardened.


Chocolate Cornstarch Pudding


½ cup white sugar

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ cup cornstarch

⅛ teaspoon salt

2 ¾ cups milk

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in the refrigerator until serving.


Very Chocolate Ice Cream

1 cup milk

¾ cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon salt

3 egg yolk, lightly beaten

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Place egg yolks into a small bowl. Gradually whisk in about 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture, then return to the saucepan. Heat and stir until thickened, but do not boil.

Remove from the heat and stir in chopped chocolate until melted.

Pour into a chilled bowl and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 2 hours.

Stir in cream and vanilla. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.



Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Cake:

1 cup white sugar

⅔ cup pumpkin puree

3 large eggs, beaten

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream Cheese Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar, or more to taste

2 tablespoons butter, softened

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 10x15-inch jelly roll pan.

Make cake: Blend together sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.

Mix flour and baking soda together in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and blend until smooth. Evenly spread in the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until cake springs back when lightly touched, 15 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.

Invert cake onto a cotton (not terry cloth) tea towel. Starting with a short edge, roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style; place seam-side down to cool, about 15 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, make filling: Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until smooth.

When cake has completely cooled, unroll and remove towel. Spread filling over cake, all the way to the edges. Roll cake up again without the towel. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, sift powdered sugar over the roll and slice into 10 portions.





Kung Pao Chicken

2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons white wine, divided

2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided

2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks

1 ounce hot chile paste

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts

4 ounces chopped peanuts

4 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Combine water and cornstarch in cup. Set aside.

Combine 1 tablespoon wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture in large glass bowl. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat. Cover dish and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and remaining cornstarch/water mixture in a medium bowl. Whisk in chile paste, brown sugar, and vinegar. Add water chestnuts, peanuts, green onions, and garlic and toss to coat.

Transfer water chestnut mixture to a medium skillet. Heat slowly over medium heat until aromatic.

Meanwhile, remove chicken from marinade. Add to a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

Combine water chestnut mixture and sautéed chicken together in one skillet. Adjust heat and simmer together until sauce thickens.



What's a crockpot without making a chili? I've made both red and white chilis. My daughter has developed an allergy to tomatoes since growing up, so I do a lot of "white" sauces for her. I still do red sauces as well, but I make sure that my daughter has something to eat as well...LOL.

Here is a recipe for White Chicken Chili

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (boneless skinless thighs are good, too) cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 onion, chopped

2 gloves garlic, chopped

2 (15.5) cans great Northern beans ( white chili beans work, too), rinsed and drained

1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth

2 (4 oz) cans green chiles (optional)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground oregano

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir chicken onion and garlic in hot oil until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear (maybe 10-15 minutes)

Mix beans, broth, chilies, salt, cumin, oregano, black pepper and cayenne pepper into chicken; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until flavors have blended, maybe 30 minutes.

Remove chili from heat; stir in sour cream and heavy whipping cream until incorporated. Add shredded cheese to top of bowl after serving for an extra tasty treat.


Red Chili

1-2 lbs ground meat

onions, diced

2 chili seasoning packets (I like 3-Alarm Chili mix)

2 large cans chili beans

2 large cans kidney beans (light red or dark red), drained

2 large cans

1 can crushed tomatoes

Shredded cheese (optional)

Sour Cream (optional)

Cook down the burger, then drain grease. Add the chili mix, following directions with water, and diced onions. Put into crockpot or large cooking pot. Add the beans, tomatoes and allow to cook through. When ready to serve, add cheese and sour cream if desired. serve with crackers or home made bread.



Ham and Cheese Stromboli

2 (16 ounce) packages refrigerated pizza crust dough

1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce

¼ pound cooked ham, sliced

¼ pound Capacola sausage, sliced

¼ pound salami, sliced

¼ pound pepperoni sausage, sliced

garlic powder to taste

¼ pound mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 onion, sliced

6 mushrooms, sliced

1 green bell pepper, sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Let dough rise according to package instructions, then punch down, and divide into 4 pieces.

On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a long oval shape. Spread each with sauce, then layer with ham, capacola, salami, and pepperoni. Sprinkle with garlic powder, then top with mozzarella, onion, mushrooms and bell pepper. Bring the long sides together over the center, and pinch together to seal. Turn over, so that the seam is on the bottom, and place on an ungreased baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut 3 diagonal slices to allow the steam to escape.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.



Unbelievable Spinach Calzones

1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese

2 eggs

2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

salt and pepper to taste

1 (32 ounce) package frozen white bread dough, thawed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and spinach. Set aside.

Divide the bread dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece out to about an 8 inch circle. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the ricotta filling onto each circle, fold over and seal the edges. Place onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until nicely browned on the tops and bottoms.


Meat and Veggie Stromboli

1 (1 pound) loaf frozen bread dough, thawed

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

5 slices pepperoni

5 slices Virginia baked ham

5 slices provolone cheese

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, or as needed

¼ cup chopped green bell pepper

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup sliced fresh mushrooms

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning

Place thawed bread dough in a bowl in a warm area and let rise until doubled in size, 30 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet.

Spread dough into a large rectangle on the prepared baking sheet.

Mix 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, egg yolks, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, and black pepper together in a bowl; spread mixture onto dough. Top Parmesan mixture layer with pepperoni, ham, and provolone cheese.

Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir green bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms in the hot oil until tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Spoon mixture over provolone layer.

Roll dough around the filling and place stromboli, seam side-down, onto the baking sheet. Brush the top of stromboli with egg whites; sprinkle 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning over stromboli.

Bake in the preheated oven until dough is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.




With the holidays coming, where would we be without sweets? Dad was always in charge of making fudge, and divinity. Mom did cookies and the Christmas candy. I learned how to make rock candy, and also chocolate covered cherries. For several years, we would come together as a family to make up Christmas goodies to disperse among the family. So here are a few recipes that we love, and love to share.

Hard Rock Candy

1 cup confectioner' sugar

3 3/4 cups white sugar

1 1/2 cups light corn syrup

1 cup water

2 teaspoons cinnamon oil (or other flavor)

1 teaspoon red food coloring (or other color)

Roll the edges of two 16 inch square pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil. Sprinkle the foil very generously with confectioner's sugar.

In a large heavy saucepan, combine the white sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Stop stirring, and boil until a candy thermometer reads 300-310 degrees F (149-154 degrees C). Remove from heat

Stir in the flavored oil and food coloring. Pour onto the prepared foil, and allow to cool and harden. Crack into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

This next recipe isn't for eating, but makes the house smell wonderful. Make sure to leave a straw-sized hole at the top of the ornaments to hang with a ribbon or string.

Christmas Candy Crunch

Source: https://hoosierhomemade.com/christmas-candy-crunch/

Chex Cereal – Corn or Rice is best, or a combination of the two, like I used

Mini Peanut Butter Cups – be sure they are a smallest ones that come unwrapped, it’s easier that way

Pretzels – mini are best, I used Snyder’s Itty Bitty Minis

Festive M&M’s – red and green, or any color you like

White Almond Bark – you can also use white chocolate chips. Almond Bark does melt a little easier than chips.

Gather your ingredients. Then line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You will want everything ready because this recipe will move quickly
Add all of the ingredients to a very large bowl.

Melt almond bark in the microwave. Start with 1 minute, then stir, then heat in 10 second intervals, stirring after each heating.

Stop when there are a few pieces remaining, then stir until they are completely melted and the chocolate is smooth.

Pour melted white chocolate over the mixture and stir well to coat completely

Spread mixture onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Let sit about 5-10 minutes to set.

Break pieces apart. Enjoy!


Cashew Brittle

Source: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cashew-brittle/

2 teaspoons butter, divided
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 to 1-1/2 cups salted cashew halves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons butter, divided

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 to 1-1/2 cups salted cashew halves

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease a baking sheet with 1 teaspoon butter.
In a microwave-safe bowl, mix sugar and corn syrup; microwave, uncovered, on high for 3 minutes. Stir to dissolve sugar; microwave 2 minutes longer. Stir in cashews and remaining butter; microwave on high for 40 seconds. Stir; continue microwaving in 20-second intervals until mixture turns a light amber color, about 1-2 minutes. (Mixture will be very hot.) Quickly stir in baking soda and vanilla until light and foamy.
Immediately pour onto prepared pan, spreading with a metal spatula; cool slightly. Refrigerate until set, 15-20 minutes.
Break brittle into pieces. Store between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container.



Creamy Orange Caramels

Source: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/creamy-orange-caramels/

1 teaspoon plus 1 cup butter, divided
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line an 11x7-in. dish with foil, letting ends extend over sides by 1 in.; grease foil with 1 teaspoon butter.
In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and remaining butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; boil gently, without stirring, for 4 minutes.
Remove from the heat; gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 244° (firm-ball stage). Remove from the heat; stir in extracts. Immediately pour into prepared dish (do not scrape saucepan). Let stand until firm.
Using foil, lift out candy; remove foil. Using a buttered knife, cut caramel into scant 1-1/2x1-in. pieces. Wrap individually in waxed paper; twist ends.


Pumpkin Pie Hot Chocolate NOTE: A GROWN-UP DRINK


Source: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/pumpkin-pie-hot-chocolate/


4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup vodka
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
Optional: Miniature marshmallows or whipped cream


n a 4-qt. slow cooker, combine all ingredients. Cook, covered, on low, 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot and chocolate is melted.
If desired, garnish with marshmallows or whipped cream.

Spicy Roasted Carrot Hummus


Source: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/spicy-roasted-carrot-hummus/


1 cup chopped carrot
3 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup sunflower kernels
Assorted fresh vegetables and pita wedges

Preheat oven to 400°. Place carrots and garlic in a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Roast until carrots are soft, 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Transfer carrot mixture to a food processor. Add garbanzo beans, lemon juice, tahini, water, hot sauce, salt and spices. While processing, add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Process until desired consistency. Transfer to a serving dish. If desired, drizzle with additional oil and hot sauce. Top with sunflower seeds. Serve warm or chilled with vegetables and pita wedges.




Non-Edible Cinnamon Ornaments

1 cup ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup applesauce

2 tablespoons glue

In a medium bowl, stir together the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Mix in the applesauce and glue. Work the mixture with your hands 2-3 minutes to form a ball. If mixture is too wet, and more cinnamon. If mixture is too dry, add more applesauce.

Lightly dust a clean surface with cinnamon. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters, and use a toothpick to make a hole at the top for hanging with a ribbon.

Dry in a slow oven (200 degrees F or 100 degrees C) for several hours, or air dry in a sunny spot for 4 or 5 days. When dry decorate with gingham and/or ribbon.

Oatmeal No Bake Cookies

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups white sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

3 cups quick cooking oats

1 cup shredded coconut (optional)

1/2 cup crunchy (or smooth) peanut butter

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

cooking spray

Sitr together oats, coconut, peanut butter and vanilla in a large bowl with a spatula until well combined.

Combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally and gradually bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, stir constantly and for no longer than 90-120 seconds (1 1/2- 2 minutes) This will keep the cookies from being crumbly. Remove from the heat and pour over the oat mixture; stir until well combined.

Drop large scoops onto the prepared baking sheets and flatten. Let cool to room temperature. Makes 2 dozen cookies

Sugar Coated Pecans

250 degree oven

Cooking spray

1 egg white

1 tbsp water

1 cup white sugar

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pound pecan halves

Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Whisk together egg white and water in a medium bowl until frothy. Mix together sugar salt and cinnamon in a separate bowl

Add pecans to egg white mixture; stir to coat. Transfer pecans to sugar mixture; toss to coat and then spread pecans out on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake in oven until crisp, about 1 hour; stir every 15 minutes.

Chocolate Covered Cherries are a little time intensive; and are best when allowed to sit for at least a week before eating.

2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

1/4 cup margarine

1 tbsp milk

1/2 tsp almond extract

4 (4 oz) jars maraschino cherries, drained

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tbsp. shortening

In a medium bowl, mix confectioner's sugar, margarine, milk and almond extract. On a lightly floured surface, knead the mixture into a large ball. Roll into 1 inch balls. Flatten the balls into 2 inch circles. Leaving the stems sticking out, wrap the cherries in the circles by lightly rolling in hands.

Place the wrapped cherries on wax paper and chill in the fridge at least 4 hours.

In a med saucepan over medium heat, melt chock chips and shortening. Holding cherries by the stem, dip them into chocolate and place back on wax paper. Chill until set, then place in container until ready to eat.

Easy Pumpkin Muffins

Easy to make, and yummy. For a variation, thin batter a little with milk to make a waffle batter. Yum!

1 pkg yellow cake mix (reg size box, not small)

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix together cake mix, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a large bowl until smooth. Spoon equal amounts of batter into prepared muffin cups.

Bake in oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean - about 20-25 minutes.

Mom's Christmas Candy

This is a labor-intensive project; the more people to work together, the better. Our family did this candy over time. One day was spent making the centers in different colors and flavors. These were then put in an airtight container until ready to dip. The amount of candy prepared is depending on how many people you want to give it to.

Centers:

1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk (Eagle Brand preferred)

1/2 lb butter

3 lb + powdered sugar

Flavorings and food colorings

Covering:

1 bag (24 oz) chocolate chips

1 brick paraffin wax (Gulf Brand)

Plenty of aluminum foil

Mix all the center ingredients and roll into quarter size balls Refrigerate until solid and ready to be dipped. Can be stored longer term in the freezer in airtight container. We always sorted by flavor; the overwhelming favorite of our family is the maple flavored candy.

Dipping sauce: melt chocolate and wax together in the top section of a double boiler. Make sure to keep water in the bottom section, or chocolate will burn.

When everything is ready, take the balls and dip into the chocolate sauce and place on wax paper until cool and dry.

When candy has all set, wrap in squares of aluminum foil and store in fridge/freezer.



Fantasy Fudge...This is the original recipe off the back of the marshmallow cream jar, before they switched it up.

3 cups white sugar

3/4 cup margarine

2/3 cup evaporated milk

12 oz bag semi sweet chock chips

1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow cream

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Grease a 9x13 pan

mix sugar, margarine, evaporated milk in large heavy saucepan over med. heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring mixture to full boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add chocolate chips; stir until chips are melted and mixture thoroughly combined. Add marshmallow cream until incorporated. Mix in walnuts and vanilla.

Transfer mixture to pan and smooth out. Let cool at least one hour before cutting into squares.

Apple Turnovers are a good breakfast treat.

2 tbsp lemon juice

4 cups water

4 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced

2 tbsp butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

1 (17.25) pkg frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine lemon and 4 cups water in large bowl. place the sliced apples in the water to keep them from browning.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain water from apples, and place them into the hot skillet. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring for 2 more minutes. Stir together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Pour into the skillet, and mix well. Cook for another minute, or until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat to cool slightly.

Unfold puff pastry sheets, and repair any cracks by pressing them back together. Trim each sheet into a square. Then cut each larger square into 4 smaller squares. Spoon apples onto the center of each squares. Fold over from corner to corner into a triangle shape, and press edges together to seal. Place turnovers on a baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between them

Bake 25 minutes in preheated oven, until turnovers are puffed and lightly browned. Cool completely before glazing.

To make glaze, mix together the confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Adjust the thickness by adding more sugar or milk if necessary. Drizzle glaze over the cooled turnovers.

French Toast Casserole

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup unsalted butter

1 (8 ounce) loaf crusty French bread, cut into bite-sized pieces, or more as needed

2 cups milk

6 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping:

1 tablespoon brown sugar, or to taste

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste

Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Make the French toast: Stir brown sugar and butter together in a saucepan over medium-low heat until butter is melted and sugar has dissolved, 2 to 4 minutes.

Pour butter-brown sugar mixture into the prepared baking dish. Scatter French bread pieces over top in a 1 1/2- to 2-inch layer.

Whisk milk, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl until well combined. Pour over bread pieces, then press bread down with a spatula so the bread absorbs the liquid. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate, 8 hours to overnight.

When ready to bake, remove French toast from the refrigerator and discard plastic wrap. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Make topping: Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the French toast.

Bake in the preheated oven until casserole is browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes, covering with aluminum foil at any point if the top is browning too much.

To serve, cut into squares and invert onto serving plates.




Well, on to another state: Louisiana! The cooking there is quite different than in Michigan, and there is lots of flavor and spiciness to be had!
I don't mind spice so much, but there are times where it can be quite the overload. I remember my first experience with Popeye's Fried Chicken - The mild to me was too much! Even the biscuit tasted spicy! LOL...no I don't think twice about it - Really do "Love that Chicken from Popeye's" as the jingle goes.

A couple of memories come to mind. This is where my kids' father's family is from. I remember helping out in the garden during the summers...and starting to plant things myself. Picking corn, beans, potatoes...helping to shell or cut up for freezer the different things. I remember feeling like a part of the family, even if I was an "outsider". It was work, but fun as well.

There is also a lot of teasing about what kind of meat you will find in Louisiana cooking - seafood, alligator, squirrel, opossum, especially in "Cajun cooking", but for those who are a little faint of heart...LOL...you will find that the meats can be exchanged, without losing the flavor of this distinctive cooking.


Louisiana Crawfish Etouffee

3 cups long grain white rice

7 cups water, divided

3/4 cup butter

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tbsp canned tomato sauce

1 lb crawfish tails (shrimp can be substituted, if crawfish out of season)

6 green onions, chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

1 1/2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (such as Tony Charchari's), or to taste

Combine rice and 6 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat.

Reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer until rice is tender and water has been absorbed (15-20 minutes)

While rice cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over med heat. Add onion and cook, stirring until transparent. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 min)

Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in tomato sauce and remaining 1 cup water. Add crawfish tails and bring to a simmer.

Stir in green onions and season with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning.

New Orleans Creole Gumbo

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup bacon drippings

1 cup coarsely chopped celery

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb andouille sausage, sliced

3 quarts water

6 beef bullion cubes

1 tbsp white sugar

salt, to taste

2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (Tobasco), or to taste

1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend (Tony Chachere's)

4 bay leaves

1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves

1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes

1 (6 oz) can tomato sauce

4 tsp file powder, divided

2 tbsp bacon drippings

2 (10 oz) packages frozen cut okra, thawed

2 tbsp distilled white vinegar

1 lb lump crabmeat

Worcestershire sauce

Whisk together flour and 3/4 cup bacon drippings in a large, heavy saucepan over med-low heat until smooth. cook roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich mahogany brown. This can take 20-30 min; watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat; continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.

Place celery, onion, bell pepper and garlic into the work bowl of a food processor and pulse until all veggies are very finely chopped. Stir veggies into the roux, and mix in sausage. Bring mixture to a simmer over med-low heat and cook until veggies are tender; 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine water and bouillon cubes in large Dutch oven or soup pot and bring to a boil over med-high heat. Stir until cubes dissolve, the whisk roux mixture into the boiling water.

Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in sugar, salt, pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Simmer soup over low heat for 1 hour; mix in 2 tsp of file gumbo powder at the 45-min mark

Melt 2 tbsp bacon drippings in a skillet over med heat add okra and vinegar and cook for 15 minutes. Remove okra with slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering gumbo

Mix in crabmeat, shrimp and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavors have blended, about 45 minutes Stir in 2 more tsp of file gumbo powder just before serving.

Serve with homemade bread, or garlic toast.

Jambalaya

2 Tbsp peanut oil, divided

1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning

10 oz andouille sausage, sliced into rounds

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces (can substitute chicken thighs)

1 onion, diced

1 small green bell pepper, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (16 oz) can crushed italitan tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp file powder

1 1/4 cup uncooked white rice

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

Heat 1 tbsp of peanut oil in a large heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the sausage and chicken pieces with Cajun seasoning. Sauté sausage until browned. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil, and sauté the chicken pieces until lightly browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
In the same pot, sauté onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic until tender. Stir in crushed tomatoes, and season with red pepper, black pepper, salt, pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce and file powder. Stir in chicken and sausage. Cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Last, but not least, is a Dirty Rice Recipe. You can use whatever meat you would like, or even a combination of meats.

Dirty Rice


1 tbsp veg. oil

6 oz boneless pork shoulder, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

1 tbsp paprika

2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1 andouille sausage, diced, or to taste

8 oz chicken livers, minced

2 cups long-grain rice

2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste

4 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

1 dash Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

Heat oil in a high sided pan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir pork until well browned and fat is rendered (5-7 minutes). Add onion, celery and bell peppers; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. stir in paprika, cumin, black pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, oregeno and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally until veggies continue to soften, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and add andouille sausage. Cook and stir to release some flavor, 2-3 minutes. Stir in chicken livers and rice until well coated. Season w/ salt , pour in broth and bring to a simmer over med-high heat. Add bay leaf and Worcestershire sauce. Cover tightly; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook w/o stirring until most of liquid is absorbed and rice is starting to get tender; about 25 minutes.

Add green onion and parsley; mix well. Continue cooking over low to med-low heat until rice is tender (10 minutes). Taste for seasoning and remove bay leaf before serving.

Easy Beignets

Canned biscuit dough

powdered sugar

vegetable oil

In a fryer with fresh oil - heat to med-high

cut the canned biscuits in two, and place in oil until golden brown. Carefully remove from oil and place on paper towels. Place powdered sugar in paper bag and shake until coated. Enjoy with some coffee!



Comfort foods...Who doesn't like them? Anything from macaroni and cheese, to cheesy potato soup. Apple crisp, anyone? You betcha! Just cozy up to a nice hot bowl of tastiness, and let the troubles of the day disappear. Crackers can go with a soup, but what would be better than a slice of warm home made bread to go with it? I can't think of anything better on a brisk, chilly day to warm you up from the inside.

Butternut Squash Soup


1 1/2 tbsp butter

1/2 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes

4 cups chicken stock

1/2 cube chicken bouillon

1 pinch ground cumin

1 pinch ground allspice

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat; cook the onion, garlic, and thyme in the hot butter until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and chicken stock; bring to a simmer and cook until the squash is tender, 10-15 minutes. Crumble the bouillon into the soup; season with cumin, allspice, salt and pepper; remove from heat.

Pour the soup into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than half way. Hold the lid of the blender in place with a kitchen towel and carefully start the blender using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth and pour into a serving bowl. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup in the pot.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 (10.5 oz) can condensed chicken broth

1 1/4 cups water

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 large boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked

1 cup white hominy

1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilie peppers

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips, or to taste

2 medium avocados, sliced, or to taste

1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, or to taste

2 Tbsp chopped green onions, or to taste

Heat oil in a stockpot over med heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, condensed broth, water, chili powder, and oregano; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Stir in black beans, cooked chicken, corn, hominy, chile peppers, and cilantro. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, Monterey Jack cheese, and green onions.

Slow Cooker Potato Cheese Soup

¼ cup butter

½ white onion, chopped

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 cups water

2 large carrots, diced

4 stalks celery, diced

1 tablespoon dried, minced garlic

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons chicken soup base

1 cup warm water

5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 bay leaf

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

6 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled


Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until translucent. Stir in flour until smooth, then gradually stir in 2 cups water, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper. Heat through, then stir in milk. Dissolve chicken base in 1 cup warm water, and pour into vegetable mixture.

Place potatoes in slow cooker, and pour heated vegetable mixture into potatoes. Place bay leaf in pot.

Cover, and cook 5 hours on High, or 8 hours on Low.

Remove bay leaf. Puree about 4 cups of the soup in a blender or food processor, and then stir pureed soup into contents of slow cooker. Stir in cheese and bacon until cheese is melted.

Split Pea Soup

2 ¼ cups dried split peas

2 quarts cold water, plus more as needed

1 ½ pounds ham bone

2 onions, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pinch dried marjoram

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 potato, diced

Place peas in a large stockpot and cover with several inches of cold water; let soak, 8 hours to overnight. Drain, rinse, and return peas to the pot.

Add 2 quarts of cold water, ham bone, onion, salt, pepper, and marjoram to the stockpot. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove ham bone; cut off meat, dice, and return meat to soup. Add celery, carrots, and potatoes. Cook slowly, uncovered, until vegetables are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Bean Soup I've substituted 15-bean soup mix for the navy beans for variety. It tastes pretty good as well. I do have a tendency to try different things with recipes; I may not have all of the ingredients, so I would substitute. Most times, it worked out well, or better. Only occasionally would I find that I was better off with original ingredients. Most home cooking is forgiving in that aspect, I find.


1 (16 ounce) package dried navy beans

7 cups water

1 ham bone

2 cups diced ham

¼ cup minced onion

½ teaspoon salt

1 pinch ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

½ cup sliced carrots

½ cup sliced celery

Rinse beans; transfer to a large stockpot and add water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes; remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.

Add ham bone, diced ham, onion, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until beans are soft, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Add carrots and celery; cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove ham bone from the pot and place on a cutting board until cool enough to handle. Remove any meat from the bones and cut into bite-sized pieces; stir into soup until warmed through.

Quick Yeast Rolls

1 cup hot water

3 tablespoons white sugar

2 tablespoons shortening

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon salt


Mix hot water, sugar, and shortening in a large bowl. Let cool until lukewarm

Stir in yeast until dissolved, then mix in flour, egg, and salt. Cover and let dough rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Grease 8 muffin cups. Divide dough equally into the prepared muffin cups. Let rise again until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown on top and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 10 minutes



Chicken Pot Pie


1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed. For chicken like this, you can substitute boneless, skinless thighs for the breasts. There is a lot more flavor in the dark meat of a chicken, so you can do that as well.

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup frozen green peas

½ cup sliced celery

⅓ cup butter

⅓ cup chopped onion

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon celery seed

1 ¾ cups chicken broth

⅔ cup milk

2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)

Combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery in a saucepan; add water to cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and drain.

While the chicken is cooking, melt butter in another saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thick, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place chicken and vegetables in the bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over top. Cover with top crust, seal the edges, and cut away any excess dough. Make several small slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake in the preheated oven until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Dutch Oven Pot Roast

1 (2 pound) boneless beef chuck roast

1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste

¼ cup all-purpose flour, or as needed

½ cup vegetable oil (such as Wesson®)

2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth

⅔ cup dry white wine (or red wine, if you prefer)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 (1.25 ounce) package beef with onion soup mix

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

4 dashes Worcestershire sauce

2 bay leaves

2 cups water to cover

1 (16 ounce) package baby carrots

2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered, or more to taste

Season roast with salt and pepper and coat with 2 tablespoons flour. Heat oil in a large 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven. Brown the roast on all sides in the hot oil, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in remaining flour to absorb remaining oil. Add beef broth, wine, onion, soup mix, marjoram, Worcestershire, and bay leaves. Add enough water to cover.

Cover and simmer on medium-low heat until tender, about 2 hours. Add carrots and potatoes. Continue to cook until vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. If gravy is too thin, uncover and continue to simmer until liquid evaporates and gravy thickens, about 20 minutes more. Remove bay leaves from gravy when serving.


Apples, apples everywhere! Granny Smith, HoneyCrisp, Gala, and Jona-Gold are my favorites. Applesauce, apple juice, apple cider, sliced apples with caramel sauce, Caramel Apples, plain, whole apples or baked in pies, breads and turnovers. You just cannot go wrong with apple recipes. My daughter has even used applesauce to replace eggs in a cake mix, and it turned out great! Here are a few apple-centered recipes you might enjoy.


Salted Caramel Apple Pie NOTE: This pie is completely from scratch, and is labor-intensive. You can get ready made pie crusts and caramel sauce from the store to cut down on the labor of this recipe.

Pie Crust:

2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour

2 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt

1 ½ cups cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

½ cup ice cold water, divided

Caramel Sauce:

1 cup white sugar

6 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature

½ cup heavy whipping cream, at room temperature

1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt

Filling:

10 medium Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored, and sliced

½ cup white sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 large egg, beaten

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Make the pie crust: Whisk flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add butter and toss until pieces are completely separated and coated with flour mixture. Using your hands, work butter into the flour mixture until well combined and butter pieces are no larger than a pea.

Gently stir in 1/4 cup cold water with a spatula until completely absorbed. Add remaining 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time, gently stirring between each addition, until dough begins to form into a ball. Depending on how humid it is in your kitchen or how hydrated your flour is, you might not need to use all of the water.

Transfer dough to a clean work surface and gently knead, being careful not to overwork it, until smooth and slightly tacky. Divide dough evenly into 2 pieces. Form each piece into a flat disk and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. (If chilling for longer than 1 hour, let dough sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before rolling in Step 9.)

While the dough is chilling, make the caramel sauce: Heat sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until completely melted and amber in color, 10 to 15 minutes. Add butter to melted sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until butter is melted and completely combined, about 1 minute.

Carefully add heavy cream to sugar mixture, stirring constantly, until bubbly, 15 to 30 seconds. Remove saucepan from the heat and stir in sea salt. Set caramel sauce aside to cool slightly at room temperature until ready to use.

Make the filling: Stir apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until well combined. Set apple mixture aside at room temperature, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Pour apple mixture through a strainer into a large bowl. Set apple mixture aside, and transfer the strained liquid to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Remove saucepan from the heat and set aside at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Position an oven rack in bottom third of oven.

Working with one dough disk at a time on a surface lightly dusted with flour, roll each disk into a 1/8-inch thick circle that measures 12 inches in diameter. Place one dough circle in a 9-inch pie pan and gently press dough into the corners and sides of the pan.

Stir together apples and reduced apple liquid in large bowl; arrange apple mixture in the pie crust, and drizzle with 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce. Place remaining dough circle over top and press into apple mixture and into edges of pan. Using your fingers, fold the edges under and crimp to seal. Brush the top and edges of dough with beaten egg and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cut eight 1-inch slits in the dough with a sharp paring knife to allow steam to escape. Place pie on a rimmed sheet pan.

Bake pie in the preheated oven until the top is light golden in color, about 20 minutes. Without removing the pie, reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and continue baking until dough is deep golden brown and filling is starting to bubble, about 25 minutes. Gently cover pie with aluminum foil, and continue baking until a knife inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, about 25 minutes.

Remove pie from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 2 hours. Serve pie with remaining caramel sauce, if desired.


Caramel Apples

8 large tart apples

8 wooden chopsticks for handles

2 cups packed brown sugar

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Dip apples in boiling water for a few seconds, using a slotted spoon, then dry with paper towels to remove any wax from the peels. Set apples aside to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Insert sticks into the bottom of each cooled apple through the core for a handle.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stir brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, and butter together in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to medium. Cook until a candy thermometer reads 248 degrees F (120 degrees C), stirring constantly to prevent burning, about 25 to 30 minutes. A teaspoon of caramel dropped in a glass of cold water, should form a firm ball. Remove caramel from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Working quickly, dip each apple into the hot caramel to completely coat the apple and about 1/2 inch of the wooden handle. Sprinkle apples with any desired toppings while still hot. Let caramel apples cool on the prepared baking sheet, about 1 hour. Use caution, caramel is very hot.

Apple Cobbler

6 large Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced (I love Granny Smith's tartness in baking, but you can use whatever apple you enjoy for this recipe)

3 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Layer apples in an ungreased 9x13-inch baking pan, sprinkling each layer with cinnamon-sugar.

Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, egg, and baking powder with a fork. Sprinkle over apples. Lightly sprinkle water over top.

Bake in the preheated oven until topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes.



Apple Crisp

10 cups all-purpose apples, peeled, cored and sliced (Again, my favorite is the Granny Smith)

1 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup water

1 cup quick-cooking oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Place sliced apples in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Mix white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, and cinnamon together; sprinkle over apples. Pour water evenly over apples.

Combine oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add melted butter and mix with a fork until crumbly; sprinkle evenly over apple mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven until top is golden brown and apples are bubbling around the edges, about 45 minutes.

For an extra treat, use the Caramel Sauce and/or Vanilla Ice Cream...ohhh boy!! Yum!!

Caramel Sauce

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup unsalted butter

¼ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Optional)

Combine brown sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan over medium heat.; bring to a boil. Cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Variations on Basic Caramel Sauce, if you are feeling adventurous!

Salted Caramel: A little coarse kosher salt is added for a more nuanced sauce. Taste, and add more salt if desired.

Vanilla Caramel Sauce: This caramel sauce is made with brown sugar, butter, and milk, with a touch of vanilla extract to enhance the flavor

Coffee Caramel Sauce: Stir 1 teaspoon of instant espresso powder into the cream and mix until dissolved. Proceed with your basic caramel recipe and add the espresso cream to make the sauce.

Apple Pie Muffins

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

2 cups diced apples

½ cup packed brown sugar

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl, stir together 2 1/4 cups flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate smaller bowl, mix together the egg, buttermilk, 1/2 cup melted butter, vanilla and 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar until sugar has dissolved. Pour into the flour mixture and sprinkle the diced apple into the bowl as well. Stir just until everything is blended. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin, filling the cups to the top.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour and cinnamon. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of melted butter while tossing with a fork until well blended. Sprinkle this over the tops of the muffins.

Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.


Apple butter is a wonderful topping for desserts, or even just a substitute for butter/jelly on toast. My mother-in-law found that she could use pears from her pear tree instead of apples for this recipe and it turned out great. Just a thought, there, if you find yourself with pears instead of apples.


Apple Butter

5 pounds Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 ½ cups white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 splash water

Once you've prepped your apples by coring (using a handy apple corer) and chopping them (no need to peel!), place the apple pieces into a large slow cooker. Add white sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and vinegar. Add a splash of water and mix well.

Cover and cook on High until apples are starting to soften and release liquid, about 1 to 2 hours. Reduce heat to Low and cook, uncovered, until all the apple flesh is dissolved, or about 5 to 6 hours. Stir occasionally.

Puree using an immersion blender until smooth. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until darkened and thick, about 4 hours more. Pass apple butter through a strainer or food mill if desired. Seal in a glass container and refrigerate until cool.


Molasses Cookies (Chewy)

1 ½ cups shortening

2 cups white sugar

½ cup molasses

2 eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

Melt the shortening in a large pan on the stove, and cool.

Add sugar, eggs, and molasses, beat well.

In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients together and add to the pan. Mix well and chill 3 hours or overnight.

Form into walnut-size balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 8-10 minutes.

Store in an airtight container to keep from getting overly crisp. If they do lose their softness, an easy way to restore it is to place one slice of fresh bread in the container with the cookies for a couple of hours or overnight and they will be soft again!

Toffee

1 cup sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter, may need a little more, to taste)

1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

9x13 bar pan lined with parchment paper

melt butter and sugar - keep stirring, so it doesn't burn! Let it come to a golden brown color

add vanilla and salt; stir in

pour into pan and spread edge to edge. Sprinkle with chocolate chips while still warm and cover to allow chocolate to melt for about 10 minutes; spread chocolate evenly over toffee

Refrigerate for about 2 hours to set; then you can break pieces apart.



Easy Homemade Ice Cream

500 ML (2.1 cups) whipping cream

150 g (2/3 cup) sweetened condensed milk

100 g (1 cup) strawberries

mix whipping cream until frothy with peaks. Add condensed milk and mix well. Add Strawberries and mix well. Pour mixture into a freezer safe bowl and cover well. Allow to freeze.

Scoop ice cream and enjoy.


Christmas "Rice Krispie" Wreath

I like traditional Rice Krispie treats; who doesn't? LOL. But I made an entertaining way to make a Christmas wreath out of this candy. Instead of using rice krispie cereal, I used just plain ol' Corn Flakes. The flakes gave the wreath the texture of a tree wreath. I also put green food coloring into the marshmallow cream to to give it a color boost. To make the "berries" on the wreath, I used the Red Hot cinnamon candies. It makes a very pretty display when done, and it is pretty tasty as well.

Corn Flakes - I usually buy a large box - family size

Marshmallows - 1 bag (I prefer the white mini marshmallows)

green food coloring

Red Hot candies (theater size box will be more than plenty)

1 stick Butter

(You can use Marshmallow Cream instead of melting the marshmallows in the butter)

I put the butter and marshmallows into the microwave in a glass bowl and do 30 second intervals until puffy and you can stir down.

Add green food coloring to melted marshmallows.

Add cereal to marshmallows and combine well.

Form into a wreath shape. Add red hot candies to look like berries on wreath. Allow to cool, and cover with plastic wrap.

Stuffed Green Peppers


4 green bell peppers, tops and seeds removed (reserve tops)

1 pound ground beef

½ cup chopped onion

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

½ cup long grain white rice

½ cup water

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 pinch salt

1 pinch ground black pepper

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Chop enough reserved green pepper tops to equal 1/4 cup; set aside. Discard remaining tops or use for another purpose.

Place hollowed-out green peppers in a microwave-safe dish; cover and cook in microwave until bright green and steaming, about 3 minutes. Set peppers aside.

Cook and stir ground beef in a skillet with onion and 1/4 cup chopped pepper tops over medium heat until beef is browned, the juices run clear, and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Drain excess grease.

Pour in diced tomatoes with their juice, rice, water, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover skillet, and simmer until rice is tender, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Stir Cheddar cheese into ground beef-rice mixture and spoon mixture into precooked peppers. Set peppers upright in an 8x8-inch baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.

au Gratin Potatoes My dad would take the helm and make this side dish for dinner. I remember watching him, and wondering how such plain ingredients could turn into something so tasty. Dad has magic in his fingertips, I believe.


4 medium russet potatoes, thinly sliced

1 medium onion, sliced into rings

salt and ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 1-quart casserole dish.

Layer 1/2 of the potatoes in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish; season with salt and pepper. Layer onion slices over top, then top with with remaining potatoes. Season again with salt and pepper.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Gradually whisk in flour and salt and cook, whisking constantly until raw flour flavor has cooked off, about 1 minute. Gradually add milk, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking well after each addition to incorporate; the gradual addition and whisking of milk will help avoid lumps in your sauce.

Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in cheese all at once; continue stirring until melted, 30 to 60 seconds. Pour cheese sauce over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven until potatoes are tender and sauce is bubbly, about 1 1/2 hours.

Fruit Cake - Love it, or hate it; it's a Christmas tradition. I happen to love a moist fruit cake. My family thinks I am a weirdo, but then again, I still like fruitcake...LOL


2 (8 ounce) containers candied cherries

1 (8 ounce) container candied mixed citrus peel

2 (2.25 ounce) packages blanched slivered almonds

2 cups raisins

1 cup dried currants

1 cup dates, pitted and chopped

½ cup brandy

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup molasses

¾ cup apple juice

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups packed brown sugar

6 large eggs

Combine cherries, citrus peel, and almonds in a medium bowl. Add raisins, currants, and dates, then pour in brandy and stir to combine. Cover and let sit for 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Grease an 8-inch fruitcake pan, line it with parchment paper, and grease again.

Dredge brandy-soaked fruit with 1/2 cup flour.

Whisk together remaining 2 cups flour, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir molasses and apple juice together in a separate bowl until combined.

Cream butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually blend in brown sugar and eggs. Add flour mixture in 4 batches, alternating with molasses mixture. Fold in floured fruit, then turn batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Remove cake from the pan, and lift off the parchment paper. Cool cake completely, then wrap loosely in waxed paper. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 months, or in the refrigerator for longer.

Bread Pudding I can remember watching Mom make this at home. I took the recipe with me and made it with my own family. On a cold blustery day, this hits the spot.

6 slices day-old bread, torn into small pieces

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

½ cup raisins (Optional)

2 cups milk

¾ cup white sugar

4 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Place bread pieces into an 8-inch square baking pan. Drizzle melted butter over bread and sprinkle raisins over top.

Whisk milk, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla together in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. Pour mixture over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until all bread is covered and soaking up the liquid.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed, about 45 minutes.


Rhubarb Crumble

3 cups diced rhubarb

1 ¼ cups white sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 large egg

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup quick-cooking oats

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup butter


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Combine rhubarb, white sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, egg, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon together in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread rhubarb mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, oats, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon together in a separate bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or two forks until topping is crumbly. Sprinkle topping over rhubarb layer.

Bake in the preheated oven until hot and bubbling, about 40 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

This Cherry Crisp recipe can be made differently by using other prepared canned pie fillings, so you can have a variety of flavors for the holidays. I also like the peach crisp made using this recipe.

Cherry Crisp

1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling

⅔ cup brown sugar

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup rolled oats

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg

⅓ cup melted margarine

¼ cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.

Pour pie filling into the prepared baking dish; spread evenly.

Stir together brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Mix in melted margarine. Spread over pie filling and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Bake in the preheated oven until topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.

Chicken Parmesan Recipe

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 large eggs

1 cup panko bread crumbs, or more as needed

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, or more if needed

½ cup olive oil for frying, or as needed

½ cup prepared tomato sauce

¼ cup fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

½ cup grated provolone cheese

2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Place chicken breasts between two sheets of heavy plastic (resealable freezer bags work well) on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound chicken with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of 1/2-inch. Season chicken thoroughly with salt and pepper.

Beat eggs in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Mix bread crumbs and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese in a separate bowl, set aside.

Place flour in a sifter or strainer; sprinkle over chicken breasts, evenly coating both sides.

Dip a flour-coated chicken breast in beaten eggs. Transfer breast to the bread crumb mixture, pressing crumbs into both sides. Repeat for each breast. Let chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat 1/2 inch olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Cook chicken in the hot oil until golden, about 2 minutes per side. The chicken will finish cooking in the oven.

Transfer chicken to a baking dish. Top each breast with 2 tablespoons tomato sauce. Layer each chicken breast with equal amounts of mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and provolone cheese. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan over top and drizzle each with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.

Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is browned and bubbly and chicken breasts are no longer pink in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).


Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs (Although the recipe calls for 12 eggs, if your family is like mine, you may want to double the recipe, as it is hard to keep wanderer's from the kitchen in search of a snack before mealtime.)

12 eggs

½ cup mayonnaise

4 slices bacon

2 tablespoons finely shredded Cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon mustard

Place eggs in a saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, and cool. To cool more quickly, rinse eggs under cold running water.

Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Alternatively, wrap bacon in paper towels and cook in the microwave for about 1 minute per slice. Crumble and set aside.

Peel the hard-cooked eggs, and cut in half lengthwise. Remove yolks to a small bowl. Mash egg yolks with mayonnaise, crumbled bacon and cheese. Stir in mustard. Fill egg white halves with the yolk mixture and refrigerate until serving.


Baked Macaroni and Cheese

2 ½ cups elbow macaroni

¼ cup butter

¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

4 cups milk

1 pound shredded Cheddar cheese

¼ cup butter, melted

1 sleeve buttery round crackers, crushed (I prefer Italian style bread crumbs)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes; drain well.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and salt; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and stir in Cheddar cheese until cheese is melted. Add macaroni and stir to coat; pour into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Mix the remaining 1/4 cup of melted butter and crushed crackers together in a bowl; scatter evenly over macaroni mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown on top, about 45 minutes.

Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 cup mayonnaise

1 egg, beaten

¼ cup chopped onion

3 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli

8 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 dash paprika

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Whisk condensed soup, mayonnaise, egg, and onions together in a medium mixing bowl until combined.

Place frozen broccoli into a very large mixing bowl and break it up if necessary; add soup mixture and mix well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and mix well; spread mixture into the prepared baking dish. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

New Year's Black Eyed Peas (Supposed to be for good luck in the New Year)

1 pound dry black-eyed peas

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 cups water

2 (32 ounce) cartons chicken broth

1 pound smoked ham hocks

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

5 pepperoncini peppers

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon ground thyme

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

Place the black-eyed peas into a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let soak, 8 hours to overnight. Drain and rinse before using.

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in 8 cups of water and chicken broth; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in soaked black-eyed peas, ham hocks, tomatoes, pepperoncini, bay leaf, garlic powder, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.

Cover and simmer until peas are tender, ham meat is falling off the bones, and the broth is thickened, about 3 hours.

Serve with Corn Bread and YUM!!

Green Bean Casserole - A must have for Thanksgiving in our home.

2 (14.5 ounce) cans green beans, drained

1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

1 (6 ounce) can French-fried onions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Mix green beans and condensed soup together in a large microwave-safe bowl until well combined. Microwave on high until warm, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese into the green bean mixture. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a casserole dish and spread evenly over the bottom. Sprinkle French-fried onions over top, then sprinkle with remaining Cheddar.

Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and the onions are just turning brown, about 10 minutes.

Hush Puppies

1 quart vegetable oil for frying, or as needed

¾ cup milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons minced onion

1 cup baking mix

1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Whisk milk, egg, and onion together in a bowl. Stir pancake mix, cornmeal, and salt into milk mixture to form a smooth batter.

Scoop ping pong ball-sized balls of batter using a small ice cream scoop; drop about 5 scoops per batch into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove hush puppies with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining batter.

Leftover Ham -n- Potato Casserole

6 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

7 tablespoons butter, divided

⅔ pound leftover cooked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups milk

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese

¼ cup bread crumbs

Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 1 1/2-quart baking dish.

When the potatoes are almost finished, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add ham and onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Drain potatoes; add to the ham mixture and stir to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and stir until the mixture becomes paste-like and light golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Gradually whisk milk into the flour mixture; season with salt and black pepper. Continue cooking and stirring until thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in Cheddar cheese until melted.

Pour cheese sauce over ham and potatoes. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top.

Bake in the preheated oven until sauce is bubbly and browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

Rotisserie Chicken and Stuffing Casserole

cooking spray

1 ½ cups water

¼ cup butter

1 (6 ounce) package quick-cooking stuffing mix (such as Stove Top®), or more to taste

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced, or more to taste

1 (10.5 ounce) can low-sodium cream of chicken soup

½ (10.5 ounce) can low-sodium cream of mushroom soup

1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

1 whole cooked rotisserie chicken - skinned, boned, and meat shredded

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Bring water and 1/4 cup butter to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add stuffing mix and stir to combine. Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover, and let sit until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff stuffing with a fork.

While you are preparing the stuffing, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook and stir until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.

Mix both condensed soups with sour cream in a bowl until well combined.

Spread shredded chicken in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Layer onion mixture over the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Top with soup mixture and spread stuffing evenly over top.

Bake in the preheated oven until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown, about 1 hour.


Chili Mac

1 pound ground beef or turkey

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 (14.5 ounce) can Mexican or chili-style stewed tomatoes, undrained

½ cup water

1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix

2 cups elbow macaroni or small shells, cooked and drained

2 cups Sargento ® Shredded Reduced Fat 4 Cheese Mexican Cheese, divided

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Cook ground beef, onion, and bell pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until beef is crumbly and no longer pink, about 5 minutes; pour off drippings. Add tomatoes, water, and taco seasoning; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir cooked pasta into meat mixture until combined. Spoon 3 cups meat mixture into an 11x7-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese; top with remaining meat mixture. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Continue baking until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.


Cheesy Ham and Hash Brown Casserole


cooking spray

1 (32 ounce) package frozen hash brown potatoes

2 (10.5 ounce) cans condensed cream of potato soup

1 (16 ounce) container sour cream

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

8 ounces cooked, diced ham

1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Mix together hash browns, condensed soup, sour cream, Cheddar cheese, and ham in a bowl until well combined. Spread evenly into the prepared dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven until bubbly and lightly brown, about 1 hour.



Low-Carb Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

2 pounds ground beef

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon onion powder

1 pound cooked bacon, cut into pieces

8 eggs

1 cup heavy whipping cream

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (12 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir beef with garlic and onion powder until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and discard grease.

Spread beef onto the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole pan. Stir in bacon pieces.

Whisk eggs, heavy cream, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl until well combined. Stir in 8 ounces Cheddar cheese.

Pour egg mixture over the beef and bacon. Top with the remaining 4 ounces cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown on top, 30 to 35 minutes.



Salt dough Ornaments for Christmas

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup salt

1 cup cold water

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Line a baking sheet.

Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Add water, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Knead dough for 10 minutes. Wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

Transfer dough to a floured work surface and knead until soft and pliable. Roll out to a thickness of 1/8 inch; cut desired festive shapes with cookie cutters. Transfer onto the prepared baking sheet; use a toothpick to make a hole in each ornament for hanging.

Bake in the preheated oven until dry and hard, about 2 hours. Allow to cool completely before decorating.


Warm Lemon, Honey, and Ginger Soother - great for a warm pick-me-up, or for a cold or scratchy throat.

¼ cup honey, or to taste

1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger root

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 ½ cups boiling water


Place honey, lemon juice, ginger, and cinnamon in a teapot or 4-cup glass measuring beaker with spout. Pour boiling water over mixture; stir until honey is dissolved.

Cover the teapot and let steep for 5 minutes. The ginger should sink to the bottom but may be strained while pouring into a mug.


Ginger-Turmeric Herbal Tea

2 cups water

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon chopped fresh ginger

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon honey

1 lemon wedge

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan; add turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Strain tea into a large glass; stir in honey and serve with lemon wedge.


Chocolate Eggnog Milkshake

1 ½ cups low-fat vanilla ice cream

¾ cup low-fat eggnog

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup, plus more for garnish

whipped cream (optional)

Combine ice cream, eggnog, and 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup in a blender, and process until well-combined.

Drizzle some chocolate syrup down the sides of the glass in a random pattern, and pour in the milkshake. Top with whipped cream, if desired.


Shamrock Shakes

2 cups vanilla ice cream

1 ¼ cups milk

¼ teaspoon mint extract, or more to taste

9 drops green food coloring

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup, or to taste

2 tablespoons whipped cream, or to taste

½ teaspoon green decorator sugar, or to taste

Blend ice cream, milk, mint extract, and food coloring together in a blender until smooth.

Drizzle chocolate syrup around inside walls of 2 tall glasses; pour shake into glass. Top with whipped cream and green decorator sugar.


Boston Cooler

1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle ginger ale

3 scoops vanilla ice cream


Southern Potato Salad

4 potatoes

4 large eggs

½ cup mayonnaise

½ stalk celery, chopped

¼ cup sweet relish

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes; drain and chop.

At the same time, place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water; peel and chop.

Combine cooked potatoes and eggs with mayonnaise, celery, relish, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Gently mix together and serve warm.


Potato and Bacon Salad

5 eggs

4 slices bacon

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, or to taste

1 cup mayonnaise

3 stalks celery, minced

2 pounds small potatoes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and cool.

Meanwhile, place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, and place in a bowl of cold water to cool.

Peel the eggs, and place 3 of them into a large bowl. Reserve the rest for later. Mash the eggs in the bowl with a fork. Stir in the mustard, mayonnaise, celery, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook bacon slices in the microwave for about 4 minutes, until crisp, or fry in a skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble 2 of the bacon slices into the mayonnaise mixture. Reserve the rest for garnish.

Peel and chop the potatoes, and stir into the bowl until evenly coated. Slice the 2 remaining eggs, and place on top of the salad. Crumble the remaining bacon over the eggs, then sprinkle parsley over the top


Rosa Marina Fruit Salad


1 (16 ounce) package Rosa Marina (orzo) pasta

2 (15 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained and juice reserved

1 (16 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained with juice reserved

1 (16 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained and juice reserved

1 (4 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained and halved

¾ cup white sugar

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 (16 ounce) container whipped topping (such as Cool Whip®)

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook orzo in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks, crushed pineapple, and maraschino cherries to orzo.

Combine juice from mandarin oranges, juice from pineapple chunks, juice from crushed pineapple, sugar, eggs, and flour in a saucepan over low heat; cook, stirring often, until sauce is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and cool, about 30 minutes.

Pour cooled sauce over orzo mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until flavors blend, 8 hours to overnight. Fold whipped topping into orzo mixture before serving.


I've been looking on YouTube for food preparation/freezer meals that can be ready to go without a ton of work to get a meal on the table. Hopefully some of these will be of use, and can help with meal preparation.


Make-Ahead Freezer Breakfast Burritos


1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

6 eggs, lightly beaten

¼ cup milk

1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese (or what ever kind of cheese you prefer)

6 large flour tortillas

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

¾ cup cooked vegan chorizo (Optional)

½ cup prepared salsa verde

hot sauce or salsa, for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Spread sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Roast sweet potatoes until tender and browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour eggs into pan and cook, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until they begin to set, about 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over eggs and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until eggs are no longer runny, 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Wrap tortillas in a dish cloth and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until pliable. To assemble each burrito: Spread about ¼ cup sweet potatoes, ⅓ cup scrambled eggs, ¼ cup black beans and 2 tablespoons chorizo in a horizontal line across the middle of the tortilla, leaving about 2 inches on either side. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons salsa verde. Fold left and right sides over the filling, then tightly roll from the bottom of the tortilla to form a burrito. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Repeat with remaining tortillas, and freeze for up to 1 month. Alternatively, refrigerate for up to three days.

To serve: Remove burrito from plastic or foil and place on a plate in the microwave. Microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes, until filling is hot and tortilla is tender. Serve immediately with your choice of hot sauce or salsa. If reheating from the refrigerator, microwave on high for 1 ½ to 2 minutes.

Shredded Beef Enchiladas

3 pounds beef chuck roast

¼ cup water

1 ½ cups beef broth

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 large onion, chopped

2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 cups sour cream

3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

1 cup oil for frying

20 (6 inch) corn tortillas

Place roast in a large saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Pour in water, cover, and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Increase heat to medium/high, and brown the roast on all sides. Once the water has boiled away, pour in the beef broth, vinegar, chili powder and 1 tablespoon of cumin. Cover tightly and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the beef falls apart when you try to pick it up. Shred the beef, using 2 forks or your fingers. Place shredded beef back into the saucepan with all the juices, and let cool to room temperature.

In a large skillet, saute the onion until just soft, not browned. Mix in flour and green chilies. Stir constantly for 2 minutes to cook the flour taste out. Stir in sour cream and 2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese. Cook on low for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the cheese is all melted and mixed. Set aside and let cool.

In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil. Using tongs dip the tortillas, one at a time, into the oil for 30 seconds each side. Drain on paper towels.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spread 4 tablespoons of sour cream mixture down the center of the tortilla. Top with about the same amount of beef. Roll up and place seam side down in one or two 8x11 inch baking dish. Repeat for each tortilla. Continue until you are out of the filling. Sprinkle with remaining Monterey Jack cheese.

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.



Quiche Supreme Makes 2 quiches

2 (9 inch) deep dish frozen pie crusts

1 tablespoon finely chopped green bell pepper

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained and chopped

6 eggs

2 cups heavy cream

8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese

8 ounces shredded Swiss cheese


12 ounces cooked ham, chopped

½ teaspoon vinegar

⅛ teaspoon dried tarragon

1 pinch garlic powder

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 pinch dried parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and pre-bake crusts for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool on racks.

In a large skillet, sauté green pepper, onion and mushrooms until onions are soft and translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix eggs and cream together. Stir in the shredded Jack and Swiss cheese, chopped ham and sauteed vegetables. Stir in vinegar and season with tarragon, garlic powder, nutmeg, parsley, salt and pepper. Divide filling into the 2 baked pie crusts.

Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set and crusts are golden brown.


Neat Sloppy Joes

2 pounds lean ground beef

½ cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup

¼ cup ketchup

1 tablespoon white vinegar

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

8 hamburger buns


Place ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until evenly browned, stirring to crumble. I like to use a potato masher to even out the lumps. Add onion and celery, cover the pan, and cook until tender and transparent, about 5 minutes. Drain off any grease.

Stir the tomato soup (undiluted), ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce into the beef mixture. Season with salt and garlic powder. Heat to a simmer over low heat, and cook until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning on the bottom.

Spoon the hot beef mixture onto buns, which may be toasted first, and serve.


A lot of my recipes are not diabetic friendly. I have to watch carbs and sugar intake. Most days I do ok, but there are some days that I just have to have a sugar fix...I blame my sweet tooth for that. LOL. I also find that I am not fond of the "after taste" of diet drinks, so I usually just drink water or tea (unsweetened, of course).

I have a few recipes outside of "rabbit food" salads that might be considered diabetic friendly. Stevia is an ok substitute.


Diabetic Friendly Apple Muffins


vegetable oil cooking spray

1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon stevia sugar substitute

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

⅔ cup skim milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

¼ cup reduced-calorie margarine, melted

1 cup minced apple

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Prepare 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.

Mix flour, baking powder, stevia, cinnamon, sea salt, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Beat skim milk, egg, and margarine together in a separate bowl; add to flour mixture and stir just until the dry mixture is moistened. Gently fold minced apple through the batter. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned on the tops, about 25 minutes.


Spinach and Kale Smoothie

2 cups fresh spinach

1 cup almond milk

1 leaf kale

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1 tablespoon chia seeds (Optional)

1 sliced frozen banana

Combine spinach, almond milk, kale, peanut butter, and chia seeds in a blender; blend until smooth. Add banana and blend until smooth.


Foolproof Poached Eggs


4 organic eggs

2 teaspoons white vinegar

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 pinch dried dill, or to taste

Fill a large saucepan with 2 to 3 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, pour in vinegar, and keep the water at a gentle simmer.

Crack an egg into a small cup. Place cup near the surface of the hot water and gently drop egg into the water. Repeat with remaining eggs. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit until whites are set, 4 minutes. Lift eggs out of pan with a slotted spoon. Season with salt, pepper, and dill.


Pork Stir Fry


5 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided

1 (1 pound) pork tenderloin, cut into strips

1 fresh red chile pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 head bok choy, leaves and stalks separated, chopped

2 crowns broccoli, chopped

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch together in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Cook and stir tenderloin strips in hot oil until just browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer pork to a plate and return the wok to heat.

Add remaining sesame oil to the wok; cook and stir red chile pepper and garlic in hot oil until sizzling, 15 to 30 seconds. Add onion and bell pepper; cook and stir until onion starts to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir chopped bok choy stalks into onion mixture; cook and stir until stems begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

Add broccoli to the wok; cook and stir until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add pork, chopped bok choy leaves, and soy sauce mixture; cook and stir until well-combined. Season pork mixture with ginger; cook and stir until bok choy leaves start to wilt and broccoli is tender, 5 to 7 minutes.


Hamburger Steak with Onions and Gravy

1 pound ground beef

¼ cup bread crumbs

1 egg

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon seasoned salt

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup thinly sliced onion

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon cooking sherry

½ teaspoon seasoned salt

Mix ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, Worcestershire sauce, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper together in a large bowl until combined. Form into 8 balls and flatten into patties.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add patties and onion; fry until patties are nicely browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer beef patties to a plate, and keep warm.

Sprinkle flour over onions and drippings in the skillet. Stir in flour with a fork, scraping bits of beef off of the bottom of the skillet as you stir. Gradually mix in beef broth and sherry. Season with seasoned salt. Simmer and stir over medium-low heat until gravy thickens, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to low, return patties to the gravy, cover, and simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes.


Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup


1 cup slivered almonds

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

4 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chopped carrots

5 cups diced red potatoes

3 cups chopped cooked chicken

2 ½ quarts chicken broth

1 cup quick-cooking barley

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spread slivered almonds evenly over a baking sheet. Toast in preheated oven until golden brown and fragrant.

Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Cook onions, celery, mushrooms, and garlic in oil until onions are tender.

Stir in carrots, potatoes, chicken, and broth. Bring to a boil, then stir in barley. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in butter, parsley, and toasted almonds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Grilled Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash, sliced into rounds and seeded

1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate.

Brush both sides butternut squash with olive oil.

Cook on the pre-heated grill, flipping as needed, until softened and browned, 15 to 20 minutes.


Sorbet

12 fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped

5 bananas, peeled and chopped

Place strawberries and bananas in separate containers or resealable plastic bags; freeze at least 2 hours or overnight.

Place strawberries in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Place bananas in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.


No-Workout-Needed Chocolate Cake

1 teaspoon coconut oil, or as needed

Cake:

1 (15.25 ounce) package dark chocolate cake mix

1 (12 ounce) package soft tofu

½ cup brewed coffee

Chocolate Topping:

¼ cup dark chocolate chips

3 tablespoons almond milk

2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Rub enough coconut oil into a 9-inch springform pan to lightly coat bottom and sides.

Blend cake mix and tofu together in a food processor until well mixed, 1 to 2 minutes. Add brewed coffee and blend until well mixed, scraping sides down as needed. Pour batter into the prepared springform pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Mix chocolate chips, almond milk, and powdered peanut butter together in a microwave-safe bowl; heat in microwave for 30 seconds. Mix and heat for 30 seconds more. Spoon chocolate topping over cake.


Chocolate Cake Batter Hummus

1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons water, or as needed

2 tablespoons tahini

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

Combine chickpeas, cocoa powder, maple syrup, water, tahini, vanilla extract, and salt in the bowl of a mini food processor. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until hummus is smooth.

Serve with pretzels or graham crackers



Baked Sweet Potato Coins


cooking spray

2 sweet potatoes

1 teaspoon seasoned salt, or more to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

Make a lengthwise cut partway through the middle of each sweet potato.

Cut potatoes into coins using the slicer attachment on a spiralizer. Arrange coins on the baking sheets. Spray with cooking spray. Season both sides with seasoned salt.

Bake in the preheated oven until edges start to curl, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with more salt. Let cool until crisp, about 10 minutes.


Fresh Tomato Salsa Restaurant-Style

4 large tomatoes, quartered and grated

4 scallions (green onions), chopped

1 clove garlic, pressed

2 slices canned jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

½ lime, juiced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, or to taste

¼ teaspoon onion salt

salt to taste

Mix tomatoes, scallions, garlic, and jalapeno pepper together in a bowl. Drizzle lime juice over mixture and add cilantro, onion salt, and salt; mix well.



Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake


⅔ cup brown rice flour

⅔ cup cornstarch

⅔ cup tapioca flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon xanthan gum

½ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons vegetable shortening

⅔ cup white sugar

¾ cup skim milk

4 cups sliced fresh strawberries

2 cups reduced-fat whipped topping

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Whisk the rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt together in a bowl; set aside. Grease a baking sheet, or cover with a sheet of parchment paper.

Beat the shortening and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Pour in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing until just incorporated. Drop onto the prepared baking sheet into 8 equal portions.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown on the bottoms, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove, and cool on a wire rack to room temperature.

Once cool, slice each shortcake in half, and place each bottom half onto a dessert plate. Evenly divide the sliced strawberries onto each shortcake, and dollop with the whipped topping. Place the shortcake tops on to serve.


Rhubarb Barbeque Sauce

4 stalks fresh rhubarb, trimmed and chopped

1 (12 fl oz) can almond-fruit flavored soda (such as Dr Pepper®)

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 sweet onion (such as Vidalia®), chopped

1 cup brown sugar

¼ cup molasses

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons liquid smoke flavoring

Combine rhubarb, soda, apple cider vinegar, sweet onion, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, cinnamon, allspice, salt, black pepper, cloves, ground chipotle, garlic powder, and liquid smoke in a saucepan; bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until rhubarb and onion are very soft, about 45 minutes, stirring often.

Pour the sauce into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel and pulse a few times to get the sauce moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches if necessary until sauce is smooth.



DIY Cinnamon Vanilla Latte Scrub

1 cup natural raw sugar cane

1 cup coffee grinds

1 cup unrefined extra virgin coconut oil or almond oil

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Dash of cinnamon

a few drops of vitamin e oil if you have

Mix together.
Apply in a circular motion.
Let rest five to 10 minutes, then rinse off.


Foaming Vanilla Honey Bath

1 cup sweet almond oil (light olive or sesame oil may be substituted)

1/2 cup wildflower honey

1/2 cup Savannah Bee Tupelo Honey Liquid Soap (or your favorite unscented liquid soap)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Measure the oil into a medium bowl, then carefully stir in remaining ingredients until mixture is fully blended. Pour into a clean plastic bottle with a tight-fitting stopper or lid. Shake gently before using.
Swirl desired amount into the bathtub under running water. Then step in and descend into a warm, silky escape.



Avocado Hair Mask

1 egg

1/2 of avocado (save the other half for avocado toast)

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon of lemon juice to brighten blonde hair (optional)

water

Note: Double ingredients for long or thick hair. It helps to have the items at room temperature to blend evenly.

Smash avocado in a bowl, and add egg, honey, and optional lemon juice slowly. Add water to mix to a conditioner consistency.
Apply to dry hair starting from scalp working towards ends of the hair
Leave mixture on for 15 minutes with shower cap or plastic wrap, followed with a warm moist towel for 5 minutes.
Wash out with a light shampoo, and finish with air dry or blow dry.



Frozen Caramel Latte

3 fluid ounces brewed espresso

1 tablespoon caramel sauce

2 tablespoons white sugar

¾ cup milk

1 ½ cups ice cubes

2 tablespoons whipped cream

Place the espresso, caramel sauce, and sugar into a blender pitcher. Blend on high until the caramel and sugar dissolve into the espresso. Pour in the milk and add the ice; continue blending until smooth and frothy. Top with whipped cream to serve.

Christmas Breakfast Sausage Casserole

1 pound ground pork sausage

1 teaspoon mustard powder

½ teaspoon salt

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

6 slices white bread, toasted and cut into cubes

8 ounces mild Cheddar cheese, shredded

Crumble sausage into a medium skillet. Cook over medium heat until evenly brown; drain.

In a medium bowl, mix together mustard powder, salt, eggs and milk. Add the sausage, bread cubes, and cheese, and stir to coat evenly. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Cover, and bake 45 to 60 minutes. Uncover, and reduce temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until set.



No-Noodle Zucchini Lasagna

2 large zucchini

1 tablespoon salt

1 pound ground beef

1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper

1 small green bell pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 cup tomato paste

¼ cup red wine

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

3 tablespoons hot water, or as needed

1 (15 ounce) container low-fat ricotta cheese

1 egg

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 (16 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

8 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a deep 9x13-inch baking pan.

Slice zucchini lengthwise into very thin slices. Sprinkle slices lightly with salt; set aside to drain in a colander.

To prepare the meat sauce, cook ground beef and black pepper in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add green pepper and onion; cook and stir until meat is no longer pink.

Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, basil, and oregano; add a small amount of hot water if sauce is too thick. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer sauce for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, stir ricotta, egg, and parsley together in a bowl until well combined.

To assemble lasagna, spread 1/2 of the meat sauce over the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer with 1/2 of the zucchini slices, 1/2 of the ricotta mixture, all of the spinach, followed by all of the mushrooms, then 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat by layering in the remaining meat sauce, zucchini slices, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella. Spread Parmesan evenly over the top; cover with foil.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil; raise oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Let lasagna stand 5 minutes before serving.






Colorful Homemade Playdough


2 cups water

2 ½ cups white flour

½ cup salt

1 tablespoon cream of tartar

2 (0.13 ounce) packages unsweetened, fruit-flavored soft drink mix (such as KOOL-AID®)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil


Bring water to a boil in a saucepan; remove from heat and set aside.

Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar, and soft drink mix together in a large bowl; stir vegetable oil into flour mixture. Add hot water and continue stirring until dough comes together.

When dough is cool enough to handle, turn it onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Store unused portions in refrigerator.


There are some recipes that do more than give you something to eat. There are recipes for ornaments, candles, soap and even shampoo that are worth checking out, especially if you are a DIYer, or wanting to learn a new craft for yourself, or as a money-maker.



HOW TO MAKE CANDLES AT HOME

6 cups soy wax flakes
natural wicks (anchors optional)
80–120 drops of essential oil (I used lavender, grapefruit and eucalyptus)
Other supplies:
8 ounce mason jars (or jars of choice)
wood stirring device
pens or chopsticks for securing wicks.

1. Melt soy wax in a pot over low-medium heat. They should melt fairly easily but turn up heat slightly if taking more than a few minutes. Stir using wood stirring device (I used a chopstick)

2. Once melted, add 80-102 drops of your favorite essential oils. Amount depends on type of essential oils and how potent they are.

3. Anchor wicks to bottom of mason jars using a bit of wax.

4. Tape wick upright to a horizontal chopstick or pen (see picture above).

5. Pour wax into mason jar and then repeat until all jars are full. Depending on size of mason jars you may have some wax leftover.

6. Let stand until solid (about 1 hour).

7. Cut wick to desired length.


How to Make DIY Candles in the Slow Cooker

4 pounds of soy wax
10 cotton wicks
10 (4-ounce) mason jars
Essential oils
Slow Cooker
Boiling water

Start by filling your mason jars to the top with wax. Place the jars in the bottom of an empty slow cooker and slowly pour boiling water around the jars until it reaches about halfway up the sides. Place the lid on your slow cooker and set the temperature to high.

After two hours, the wax will have melted down to about half the volume of when you started, so go ahead and add more wax and stir. If you would like to add color to your candles, do that now. Then place the lid back on the slow cooker and let sit for another hour.

Once all the wax has melted, remove the jars from the slow cooker and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Add your essential oils. When the wax just starts to set, insert your wicks (you may need to use a knife or chopstick to make a hole in the wax).

To keep the wick upright while the wax cools, tie a piece of twine around the wick and secure it to either side of the jar with tape. You can also insert the wick through the hole in the center of a wooden clothespin, then rest it on top of the upper rim of the jar while the wax sets.

Let your candles cool for several hours before trimming the wicks, putting the lid on and decorating with twine and fresh herbs. For a last-minute Christmas gift, stack two or three candles together and secure with pretty ribbon and a small a gift tag.



HOW TO MAKE A BASIC CLEANSING BAR

2 gr (1,5 oz) cocoa butter

30 ml (1 fl. oz) sweet almond oil

37 gr (1,3 oz) French green clay (see more about this clay in this post)

Essential oils of choice (optional)

Mold that holds 100gr (3,5 oz)

Melt the cocoa butter slowly over LOW heat. Be sure to remove it from the heat as soon as it is melted.

Add the oil and stir.

Add clay and stir until the mixture is even.

If you want to add any essential oil, now is the time. For this bar, I added rosemary, juniper, and lavender to boost the cleansing action, complement the juniper-infused oil, and to give the bar a stimulating fresh scent.

Pour the mixture into a mold and let set.





Shampoo Soap Bars Obviously, not for eating! But here are a few recipes for the crafty-at-heart, who want to do something personal in their making of goodies. NOTE: this is a labor-intensive project, and probably not for the faint of heart. It is recommended that you read over the entire recipe and instructions before attempting to do this project. It probably isn't a good project for children, as some materials can be caustic, or dangerous to handle for children.

source: https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/how-to-make-shampoo-soap-bars-516604

Basic, Mild Shampoo Recipe

25 percent coconut oil
25 percent olive oil
20 percent castor oil
15 percent canola oil
15 percent palm oil
To make a 2-lb batch:

5.8 ounces coconut oil
5.8 ounces olive oil
4.6 ounces castor oil
3.5 ounces canola oil
3.5 ounces palm oil
3.2 ounces sodium hydroxide
6.4 ounces water
3/4 tsp of salt (to make the soap get harder quicker)
1 tsp of sugar (to boost the lather)
1 ounce of fragrance or essential oil blend

What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
Safety gloves
Safety goggles
Soap pot
Kitchen scale
Glass pitcher
Mason jar with lid
Plastic pitcher with lid
Thermometer
Measuring cups
Spoons
Spatula
Stick blender
Molds

Materials
Lye flakes
Distilled water
Oils (types specified in your recipe)
Fragrance (optional)
Color (optional)
Additives such as flower petals, natural exfoliants, and spices (optional)

Instructions:
Measure the Water and Lye
Place a pitcher on the scale and zero out the weight. Add distilled water to the pitcher until it weighs the amount called for in your specific recipe.

Place a mason jar or plastic pitcher on the scale and zero out the weight. Add the amount of lye called for in your specific recipe. Close the lid tightly and set it in a safe place.

Mix the Water and Lye
Slowly add the lye to the pitcher of water. Do not do it the other way around, and don't make any splashes during the pouring. Stir the mixture gently until the lye is dissolved. The mixture will heat up, which is expected. Immediately rinse the tool you used to mix. Put the lid on the lye-water pitcher and set it in a safe place away from children, pets, and other adults.

Weigh the Oils
Put the soap pot or a glass pitcher onto the scale and zero out the weight. Following your recipe, weigh the oils one by one into the pot or pitcher. Zero out the weight after you measure each oil. Pour it slowly—you can always add more, but once the oil has been added, it's combined in the mixture.

Heat and Melt the Oils
Place the soap-making pot with the solid oils on the stove over medium-low heat. Slowly melt the oils while stirring gently. Monitor the temperature with a thermometer. Turn off the heat when the oils get to about 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep stirring until all the solid oils are melted.

When the solid oils are melted, add the room temperature liquid oils to the soap pot. This brings down the overall temperature. You want the oil mixture to be at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit when you add the lye-water.

Add the Lye Solution
Make sure all the soap additives in your recipe, such as color and fragrance, are ready to go. Place all the spoons, measuring cups, spatulas, and whisks you're going to need nearby. Once you begin, you need to move steadily.

Grab your handy stick blender but don't turn it on. Slowly add the lye-water mixture to the soap pot. The oils will immediately start to turn cloudy. Using the stick blender as a spoon, but not turning it on, blend the lye-water into the oils. This is the beginning of the saponification process or the chemical reaction that turns your mixture into soap. Set the lye pitcher aside in a safe place.

Mix the Oils and Lye
While stirring the lye water and oil mixture with the stick blender, turn on the blender in short bursts. To start with, blend for 3 to 5 seconds. Then, turn it off and stir some more. Repeat this process and keep blending in short bursts until the oils and lye-water are completely mixed. At this point, it is nearing trace, the indication that emulsification has occurred.

To test if the mixture has reached trace, dip a spoon into the mixture and let it dribble back into the pot. If this process leaves a track on the spoon, the mixture is ready, even if it isn't thick yet. If you were to hand-stir the pot of soap, like soap makers used to do, it might take up to an hour to reach trace. With the introduction of stick blenders to soap making, the trace can be reached in a few minutes.

Add Fragrance or Essential Oils
After the soap mixture is completely blended, but before it gets too thick, slowly add any fragrance or essential oils from your recipe to the mixture. Stop stick blending the mixture and just use the end of the stick blender like a spoon.

Add Additives or Extras
If your recipe calls for additives such as spices, natural exfoliants, flower petals, herbs, or special moisturizing oils, now is the time to add them. As you did with the fragrance, gently stir them into the pot using the stick blender as a spoon. Before you move on to adding the colorant, give the mixture a brief blend with the stick blender to make sure that the fragrance oil and additives are well mixed.

Add Color to the Soap
Next, add color to the soap. If you want the soap to be one single color, add the colorant to the pot and stir. If you want to achieve a swirl effect, do the following:

Ladle about 1/2 to 1 cup of the soap mixture into a measuring cup.
Add the colorant to that bit of soap.
Hold the measuring cup several inches above the pot and slowly pour the colored soap into one corner of the soap pot.
Using a rubber spatula, swirl the colored soap through the pot. Don't stir too much or you'll end up just blending the color in with the entire batch.
The color is a variation where soap-making becomes art and where you can create your custom soap masterpieces.

Pour the Soap Into the Mold
By now the soap has thickened. Pour the raw soap into a mold, using a back and forth motion to spread the soap evenly. Scrape the last thick bits of soap out of the pot with a rubber spatula. If the top of the soap in the mold is uneven, smooth it out with the spatula. Pick the mold up and gently tap it on the countertop to dislodge air bubbles that may have been trapped in the mixture. Set the soap in a warm, safe place to set up and begin curing.

The soap mixture heats up as the saponification process starts. If the temperature of the room is chilly, lay a towel around or over the mold to keep it warm and keep the reaction going strong.

Clean up and Let the Soap Saponify
Set the soap in a safe place and leave it alone. It takes about 24 hours for the soap to harden enough to take it out of the mold and slice it.

Keep your gloves and safety goggles on to wash all the utensils and soap pots with hot, soapy water. The oily raw soap residue that's left in the pan is caustic and can cause irritation and burns. After everything is clean, put all the ingredients and equipment away.

After the soap has set for about 24 hours, it should be hard enough to unmold and slice. Pop or slide the soap out of the mold. Slice it into the size bars you like and set it aside to cure. The soap is technically safe to use, but it is best to cure it for about four weeks before use.


EASY FARMHOUSE CHEDDAR HARD CHEESE RECIPE

Ingredients
2.5 gallons fresh, good milk*
1/3 cup plain yogurt or active kefir**
Rennet (use dose that corresponds with milk quantity)
2-3 Tbsp salt
1/2-3/4 cup unchlorinated water
3-5 Tbsp butter or lard

Instructions
Pour milk into stock pot and place on medium heat stove top. Heat milk slowly to 90° F stirring often.
As milk is heating, dilute 1/3 cup yogurt or kefir with a couple tablespoons of fresh milk (I just use the milk that settles at the bottom of the milk jugs). Stir.
Once milk has reached 90°, remove milk from stovetop. Pour in diluted yogurt or kefir. Stir immediately for about a minute. Place cover on stock pot and let milk sit undisturbed for 10 minutes to culture.
Add rennet to unchlorinated water in a liquid measuring cup. I generally use about a ¼ cup of water per gallon of milk. Make sure tablets are fully dissolved.
Create a double boiler system to keep your milk at 90°. I do not have a double boiler and use a second larger stock pot filled about ¼-1/3 with 90-100° tap water. Once milk is cultured, place that stock pot inside the larger pot so the pot with the cultured milk is mostly surrounded by water.
Pour in rennet and water. Stir quickly for about a minute. Place cover back on stock pot and let milk sit undisturbed for 20-40 minutes, or until a clean break* is achieved.
Once you have a clean break, slice the formed curd into roughly 1-inch cubes using a long-bladed knife. Slice top to bottom and left to right vertically, and also do your best to slice horizontally in 1-inch increments. Any large curd chunks missed can be made smaller during stirring.
Stir the cubed curd for 15-20 minutes with a wooden spoon to release the whey. If large curd chunks that missed being cut are observed, break them into smaller pieces with your spoon. The curd cubes will go from having sharp edges to rounded edges. Once the curd is roughly the consistency of a poached egg, the curd is ready.
Scoop a baseball sized portion of curd into a waiting strainer lined with cheesecloth. Be sure your strainer is sitting on top of a large bowl to catch the whey. Gather up the cheese cloth and gently squeeze the curd to drain some whey. This step is just to remove some excess whey; the cheese press will remove any remaining whey. Place ball of curd into waiting cheese press (or colander if using my cheese press method mentioned above) lined with smooth thin cloth. Place cheese press on top of a cookie sheet to collect whey.
After 2-3 balls of curd are added to your press, sprinkle about a tablespoon of salt on top of your curd. Work salt into the curd with your hand. Repeat this step along the way until all your curd is in the press and salt is thoroughly distributed throughout.
Add follower to cheese press. Apply just enough weight to your press to see steady drips of whey flowing below. Let sit in press for 12 hours increasing weight gently to remove whey. Your cookie sheet collecting whey may need to be emptied during this process.
After 12 hours, remove cheese from press, flip it, and reinsert into press. Apply weight again to gently remove whey and let sit another 12 hours.
Remove cheese from press. Place on drying rack and cover fully with cloth napkin. Allow cheese to dry out for 3-5 days flipping a few times daily.

Note: As cheese dries, it may form mold on the surface. This is normal. Wash down moldy spots with apple cider vinegar.
After the outside of the cheese dries or mold has formed (clean as noted above), coat the cheese thoroughly in butter (or lard). Room temperature butter works best. Place buttered cheese back on drying rack and cover with cloth napkin.
Put cheese away to age for 3-4 weeks, flipping once a day.**
Notes
*If you are new to cheesemaking, like I was, the term “clean break” won’t make sense. Essentially, this is just the home cheesemakers method knowing if the curd has set. To check for a clean break, simply insert your finger into the top of the curd 1-2” at a 45 degree angle. Lift your finger out, pulling on the curd. If the curd breaks clean and there is minimal or no curd remnants on your finger, then you have a clean break. If the curd is not yet separated, or fully separated, wait 5-10 more minutes then try again.

**Should cheese form moldy spot while aging, spot clean the moldy area with apple cider vinegar and reapply butter (or lard) coating.







Ok, as promised, here are a few sites that I enjoy for ideas in the kitchen and food prepping and storage. Also in raising different animals for food and money. Raising plants/seedlings for garden use and farmer's market. Making great use of gardens. I think you will be pleasantly surprised and excited.

https://www.youtube.com/@LivingTraditionsHomestead

https://www.youtube.com/@HomesteadingFamily

https://www.youtube.com/@AcreHomestead

https://www.youtube.com/@threerivershomestead

https://fromscratchfarmstead.com/easy-farmhouse-cheddar-hard-cheese-recipe/
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