Sunday, December 23, 2012

Honey-Mustard Baked Chicken

Honey-mustard baked chicken is an easy way to bake chicken breasts. While it does require an hour of cooking in the oven, the marinade preparation will only take 10 minutes. This goes great with creamy Italian noodles:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Place chicken in a large shallow baking pan.
2. In a saucepan, melt the butter; stir in remaining ingredients and heat through
3. Brush glaze over chicken.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or 1 1/4 hours or until the chicken is golden brown.
5. Baste chicken frequently with sauce while baking. There may be some burnt sauce around the edges of the pan.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato casserole is a nice vegetable side dish alternative to corn, green beans, broccoli and mashed potatoes. It goes well with most types of meat and kids will be more apt to like it with the bit of sweeter flavor.

Sweet Potato Casserole
10-12 servings

4 cups of mashed sweet potatoes ( I usually buy canned yams and drain and mash them)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
Dash of salt
1/3 stick of butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter (melted)

1. Mix filling ingredients and pour into a greased casserole dish.
2. Combine the topping ingredients and crumble over the potato mixture.
3. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.     

Monday, December 3, 2012

Slow Cooked Lasagna

I love using my crockpot and finding simple yet delicious recipes to use in the slow cooker. This lasagna recipe is easy to prepare, let cook all day and have a delicious dinner.

Slow Cooker Lasagna
8 servings

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion
1 can (15 ozs.) tomato sauce
1 can (14 1/2 ozs.) Italian diced tomatoes
1 can (15 ozs.) spaghetti sauce
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 container (15 ozs.) ricotta cheese
12 uncooked lasagna noodles

1. Cook beef and onion until meat is no longer pink.
2. Mix together tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, basil, garlic powder and salt.
3. Add meat/onion to sauce mixture.
4. Add together 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese.
5. Spoon 1/4 of the beef/sauce mix into a 5-6 qt. slow cooker; top with 4 noodles broken into pieces to fit.
6. Spread with half of the cheese mixture and another 1/4 of the beef/sauce mix.
7. Top with 4 more noodles, the remaining cheese mixture and then 1/4 more of the beef/sauce.
8. Top with the remaining 4 noodles and the remaining sauce mixture.
9. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until the noodles are tender.
10. Sprinkle the top of lasagna with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Cover again and let stand for about 15 additional minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Easy Cheese Bread

This easy bread goes well with most dishes, particularly spaghetti and lasagna. Buy a freshly baked loaf of French bread and dress it up with a few ingredients.

Cheese Bread
4 servings

1 unsliced loaf (about 1/2 to 1 pound) French bread
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup mozzarella cheese

1. Slice the bread lengthwise; place the cut side up on a baking sheet.
2. Pour the melted butter on the cut surfaces; sprinkle with half of the Italian seasoning.
3. Top with the mozzarella cheese and remaining Italian seasoning.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and cut into slices.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Homemade Stuffing

I have become a snob when it comes to my stuffing/dressing choices in that I will pretty much only eat homemade. I know, so picky!! In the past, I thought it would have been a difficult thing to make, but in reality it is quite easy. I found this recipe a while back in an old cookbook and usually half it unless we are having more people.

Homemade Stuffing
8 servings

30 slices white bread, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1 teaspoon garlic powder
dash of salt and pepper

1. Toast the bread and allow it to sit for half a day to harden.
2. Crush the bread crumbs with a rolling pin and place in a large bowl.
3. Melt the butter in a skillet and stir in the onion and celery, cooking until both are soft.
4. Mix the eggs and chicken broth in with the bread crumbs. At this point, the consistency of the mixture should be moist, but not mushy. If needed, use a little bit of water at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
5. Mix in the onion, celery, rubbed sage, garlic powder, and salt/pepper.
6. Press the mix into a greased 9X13 inch baking pan.
7. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until the top is brown and crisp.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

M&M Cookies

I love these cookies and have been making them forever. When I was little, my mom always made them and let me help and now I enjoy making these cookies for my own kids. It is so easy to coordinate them to whatever holiday is around the corner with the various holiday-colored M&Ms.

M&M Cookies
Makes about 5-6 dozen

1 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups M&Ms
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1. Blend shortening and sugars in a large bowl.
2. Beat in the vanilla and eggs.
3. Mix together the dry ingredients.
4. Add to the sugar mixture, blending well.
5. Stir in 2 cups of candies.
6. Drop by teaspoon on an ungreased baking sheet.
7. Decorate the tops with the remaining candy.
8. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Crockpot of Brats

Cooking brats in the slow cooker makes for a hearty fall meal. Add some bread and a salad and you have a full dinner. Not everyone in our family likes sauerkraut, so I do not add it to the slow cooker, but heat some up before the brats are done to add to individual plates.

Crockpot of Brats
6 servings

5 brats
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 can sauerkraut, rinsed and well-drained
1/3 cup diced onion
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In a large skillet, brown bratwurst on all sides and slice into 1-inch pieces.
2. In a 5-quart crockpot, combine the remaining ingredients; stir in the brats.
3. Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on HIGH or until the potatoes are tender.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sausage Bites

With the holidays fast approaching, it is always helpful to have a few quick and easy appetizer recipes to pull out for get togethers and parties. Sausage Bites can be put together easily; however make sure to cook or microwave the sausage ahead of rolling them up. I forgot this important part the first time I made them and could not figure out why the sausage was still pink inside. DUH!!

Sausage Bites
Approximately 40 appetizers

1 tube (7 1/2 ozs.) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3-4 teaspoons Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon oregano
1 pkg. (8 ozs.) brown and serve sausage links

1. Roll out each biscuit into a small circle and brush with butter.
2. Combine the Parmesan cheese and oregano and sprinkle over butter.
3. Cook the sausage links according to the package directions.
4. Place a sausage link in the center of each and roll up.
5. Cut each width-wise into four pieces.
6. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.
7. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Spicy Garlic Chicken Pizza

I love this pizza, the flavors are great together and it is a unique take on the normal pizza recipe. It may seem a little weird to add pine nuts, but they really do add to the overall flavor. I have been making it for years and have tweaked the original recipe a few times.

Spicy Garlic Chicken Pizza
6-8 servings
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared garlic
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch
16 oz. Italian pizza shell
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts

1. Brown chicken and cut into small pieces.
2. Combine the garlic, soy sauce, vinegar with olive oil and red and black pepper.
3. Add chicken to the mixture and marinade for 30 minutes at room temperature.
4. Drain and reserve marinade.
5. Heat the marinade and add cornstarch, heating until the mixture is thick and bubbly.
6. Spread the marinade and chicken over the pizza shell.
7. Add the pine nuts and cheeses.
8. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Blueberry Jello Salad

Blueberry Jello Salad is a very easy fruit salad that works well with any meal and is a nice addition to take to holiday gatherings.

6-8 servings
2 packages (3 ounces each) black cherry or black raspberry jello
3 cups boiling water
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple in juice
1 can (15 ounces) blueberries, drained

1. Dissolve jello in boiling water.
2. Drain pineapple, set aside and stir in reserved pineapple juice to the jello mixture.
3. Chill until slightly set (about the consistency of an unbeaten egg white).
4. Stir in pineapple and blueberries
5. Continue chilling until set.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Simple Bread Pudding

If you like bread pudding and want a simple recipe that will only take minutes to prepare, then this is the recipe for you. I am not a fan of raisins in my bread pudding, but they could easily be added. Caramel topping or vanilla flavored whipped topping goes very well with this bread pudding.

6-8 servings
6 slices day-old bread ( I like to use a brown sugar cinnamon bread)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Break bread into small pieces  and place in a lightly greased 8-inch baking pan.
2. Drizzle melted butter over the bread.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla, beat until well mixed.
4. Pour over bread and lightly push down  with a fork until the bread is covered.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes  or until the top lightly springs back with tapped.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Where Has The Family Dinner Gone?

Why have families gotten away from eating dinner together these days? The reasons are plentiful: lots of after school activities, both parents working longer hours and having longer commutes, kids would rather eat in front of the computer/game console/TV, no one having the time to actually prepare the meal and the list could go on and on.
When I was a kid, we ate together at least 5 or 6 nights a week and those dinners normally took place at home. Most families I knew did the same thing. If we went out to eat, we would still go out together. Many times these days, I will see families eating at a restaurant and each member of the family is on a different "device" whether it be a handheld gaming system or cell phone, checking the internet or texting. It seems sad that as a culture we have gotten away from the family meal and just the face to face time that it brings.

A lot of research has been done on this very topic and the results are fairly unanimous: eating together as a family, particularly in the home environment on a regular basis, brings many benefits- in the realm of healthier eating choices, better parent/child relationships, and emotional well-being.
Here are a few articles that examine this topic:

So, what can be done to help make family dinners happen more often? With the fast-paced lives most people maintain these days, it can be quite difficult. Prioritizing activities, limiting gaming/screen time and  planning meals ahead with easy yet nutritious recipes can go a long way to achieving this goal.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Italian Beef Hoagies

Italian Beef Hoagies are an easy crockpot recipe that are fabulous as a fall dinner idea and wonderful reheated as leftovers. Add a salad and a simple meal is complete.I highly recommend using a sirloin tip roast as some other cuts of beef may be too fatty.

14-16 servings
1 boneless sirloin tip roast (about 3-4 pounds)
2 envelopes Italian salad dressing mix
2 cups of water
Sub or hoagie buns

1. Cut roast in half and place in a 5-quart crockpot.
2. Combine the salad dressing mix and water and pour over the roast.
3. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the meat is tender and can be easily shredded with a fork.
4. Spoon onto buns.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Easy Apple Dumplings

I love this easy apple dumpling recipe any time of year, but definitely during the fall. I normally just use Golden Delicious apples, but any type that you prefer could be used.

Easy Apple Dumplings
8 servings

1 tube (8 ozs.) refrigerated crescent rolls
2 medium apples, peeled and quartered
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice

1. Unroll crescent dough and separate into 8 triangles.
2. Roll up one apple wedge in each triangle and pinch to seal.
3. Place in a greased 8-inch square baking dish.
4. In a small saucepan, bring sugar, orange juice and butter to a boil; pour over dumplings. (The dumplings may float to the top).
5. Sprinkle with apple pie spice.
6. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Creamy Italian Noodles

This pasta side dish is very simple to make and goes well with most chicken/beef main dishes. My kids love it and will eat several helpings. It would also be good with some chopped vegetables added in.

4-6 servings

1 pkg. (8 ozs.) wide egg noodles
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup whipping cream (can use half and half if you do not want it as rich)
2 tsps. Italian salad dressing mix
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle

1. Cook noodles according to package directions.
2. After draining, place in a bowl and toss with softened butter.
3. Mix the remaining ingredients together (except Parmesan cheese) and then pour over noodles, stirring well.
4. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Free Ebook at Barnes and Noble

My free ebook, "Turkey Time: Recipes for a Home Cooked Thanksgiving Meal" can be downloaded directly from Barnes and Noble on to a Nook device. Link to it directly here:

Turkey Time: Recipes for a Home Cooked Thanksgiving Meal

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Orange Creamsicle Swirl Fudge

This is a favorite treat for fall and holiday parties. People always think it is a big hunk of cheese and  are pleasantly surprised to find a piece of candy that tastes just like an orange creamsicle. I believe I found this recipe in an old Taste of Home magazine.

Makes 2 1/2 pounds                                                                     

1 1/2 tsps. plus 3/4 cup butter (no substitutes), divided
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 pkg. (10-12 ozs.) vanilla or white chips
1 jar (7 ozs.) marshmallow creme
3 tsps. orange extract
12 drops yellow food coloring
5 drops red food coloring

1. Grease 13X9X2 inch pan with 1 1/2 tsps. butter
2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cream and remaining butter.
3. Cook and stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
4. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 4 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat; stir in chips and marshmallow creme until smooth.
6. Remove 1 cup and set aside; add orange extract and food colorings to remaining mixture, stir until blended.
7. Pour into prepared pan.
8. Drop the reserved marshmallow mixture by tblsp. over top; cut through mixture with a knife to swirl.
9. Cover and refrigerate until set; cut into squares.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fabulous Fettucine Alfredo

Fabulous Fettucine Alfredo makes a nice fall meal with some garlic bread and a tossed salad. It is fast and easy to put together and can be made with or without chicken.
4-6 servings
3/4 pound fettucine
6 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper ]
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1. Brown chicken and cut into small bite-size pieces.
2. Cook fettucine in a pot of boiling salted water until pasta is done.
3. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
4. Add shallots and saute until tender.
5. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil.
6. Cook until sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes; remove from the heat.
7. Mix chicken into sauce mixture.
8. Add 3/4 of the Parmesan cheese to the mixture and stir until well blended.
9. Drain the fettucine and stir into the alfredo sauce.
10. Top with leftover Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Apple Brickle Dip

If you are looking for new ways to serve apples, try this super-easy crowd pleaser. This will literally only take 5 minutes to prepare and is a nice alternative to typical fruit dips.  

Makes 2 cups
1 package (8 ozs.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package almond brickle chips or English toffee bits

3-4 medium apples, cut into slices or chunks

1. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugars and vanilla.
2. Fold in brickle chips.
3. Serve with apples and refrigerate any leftovers.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Slow Cooker Roast Beef with Gravy

Slow Cooker Roast Beef with Gravy
10-12 servings                                                                                  
1 boneless beef sirloin tip roast (about 3-4 pounds)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 envelope brown gravy mix
2 cups cold water

1. Cut roast in half; rub with 1/4 cup flour.
2. Place in a 5-quart slow cooker.
3. In a bowl, combine the soup and gravy mixes and remaining flour, stir in water until well blended.
4. Pour over roast.
5. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.
6. Slice and serve with mashed potatoes and/or noodles.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blueberry Cream Muffins

Blueberry Cream Muffins are a favorite homemade addition to any meal. The kids love them and blueberries are such a healthy choice.
This recipe is easy to put together and the sour cream keeps them extra moist. It makes 24 muffins, but I usually half it.

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp.baking soda
2 tsps. baking powder
2 cups (16 ozs.) sour cream
2 cups blueberries (fresh or thawed if frozen)

1. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs.
2. Gradually add sugar.
3. While beating, slowly pour in oil; add vanilla.
4. Combine the dry ingredients; add alternately with the sour cream to the egg mixture.
5. Gently fold in blueberries.
6. Spoon into greased muffin tins.
7. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chicken Breasts with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

I have been making this easy chicken breast recipe for years. I like the homemade taste of the barbecue sauce and the fact that because it is from scratch, I am cutting out preservatives involved in using bottled barbecue sauce. It has a tangy flavor, but is not terribly hot. 

Country Barbecued Chicken Breasts                                        
4 servings

3/4 ketchup                                                                                              
1 tablespoon molasses
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients.
2. Brush chicken with butter.
3. Place chicken in a baking dish and baste with barbecue sauce.
4. Bake at 350 degrees  for 45-50 minutes, continuing the baste with barbecue sauce.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Raspberry Rice Pudding

This recipe is quick, simple and tasty. I actually adapted it from a recipe in an old Taste of Home issue.
Makes approximately 6-8 servings

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cold cooked rice
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam

1. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
2. Stir in the cooked and cooled rice and jam.
3. Chill until serving.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Butterscotch Blondies

Very yummy dessert bars!

Makes 3 dozen
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pkg. (10 ozs.) butterscotch chips

1. Preheat oven to 350degrees
2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs; blend well.
4. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture; mixing well.
5. Stir in butterscotch chips.
6. Spread into a greased 13 inch X 9 inch X 2 inch baking pan.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and center is set.
8. Cool completely before cutting into bars. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Marinated Sirloin Steak

Very easy steak marinade that tastes great on the grill.

4 servings

1 cup lemon-lime soda
3/4 cup vegetable juice
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon horseradish
1 boneless beef sirloin steak (1 to 2 pounds)

1. In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients.
2. Cut steak into strips and place submerged in the bowl.
3. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
4. Drain and discard marinade.
5. Grill steaks, uncovered, until they reach desired doneness

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Italian Potatoes

Great-tasting side dish that is quick and easy to prepare. My kids love this dish so it is a surefire way to get them to eat some veggies. The 3-yr. old alone will eat several helpings.

4 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 cup creamy Italian salad dressing
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs

1. Toss potatoes with dressing, salt and pepper.
2. Place in a greased 13X9X2 inch baking pan.
3. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.
4. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.
5. Uncover and bake 20 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Angel Frost

A refreshing smoothie-type beverage for those last days of summer!
Angel Frost

6 oz. can frozen pink lemonade, thawed

1 cup milk
1 pkg. (10 ozs.) frozen strawberries in syrup, partially thawed
1 pint vanilla ice cream

1. In a blender, place the ingredients in the order given.

2. Blend until smooth.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

White Chicken Chili Recipe

As a mom who loves to cook, but doesn't always have a lot of time, I am always on the hunt for some yummy, creative recipes that my kids will enjoy. I wanted to share recipes that are not too time-consuming, yet taste great and are kid-approved.

The following recipe always receives great reviews from adults and kids. I have had friends tell me that their children often ask for this soup. Great for fall days and relatively simple. Just add some muffins or garlic toast and you've got a meal.

7 servings
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsps. garlic powder
1 tblsp. vegetable oil
2 cans (14 1/2 ozs. each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 ozs.) chicken broth
2 cans (4 ozs. each) green chilies
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup (8 ozs.) sour cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1. In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink.
2. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings; bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and whipping cream; serve immediately.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Free Thanksgiving Recipe EBook

Some of the best meals and favorite dishes are centered around Thanksgiving dinner. I have compiled my favorite holiday recipes to include in this new Thanksgiving mini-cookbook and you can download a free copy of this ebook here: