Monday, November 28, 2011

The Best Collards EVER

Oh my! I always knew collards were good, but I had no idea they could be this good. I heard about this recipe a few months ago & I've wanted to post them here, but they're so good that they were never around long enough to get their picture taken. Seriously. If there are leftovers, I've found myself discretely tucking them away in a far corner of the fridge where they'll be safe until I can get to them again. To eat all by myself.

Actually I did save some for hubby. Once. And you know what happened? He put them in the microwave to reheat and forgot them. I found them the next day. It still pains me to think of the glorious greens... wasted like that. But, you know, love keeps no record of wrongs, so I'm over it. Now I'm just a bit more guarded about how leftover collards are handled.

Okay, enough rambling... here is the recipe, straight from

[note: believe it or not, you can even leave out the bacon if you don't feel like frying any, and they are still exceptionally delicious!]


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound fresh collard greens, cut into 2-inch pieces


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, crumble and return to the pan. Add onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until just fragrant. Add collard greens, and fry until they start to wilt.
  2. Pour in chicken broth, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until greens are tender.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sloppy Joes

I was searching for a sloppy joe recipe at and found this. (They call it Pennsylvania Coal Region Barbecue.) It was really delicious! Sweet, tangy and easy! You can even make it earlier in the day and keep it on low in the crockpot until dinner. (I added a little more brown sugar than the recipe called for, but I like my sauces a little sweet.)


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 hamburger buns


  1. Crumble the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. Drain excess grease, and stir in the vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, ketchup, salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Serve on buns.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Breakfast Apple Cake

I saw this recipe on allrecipes front page this morning and decided it would be a nice breakfast treat for the kiddos. It came together really quickly and I stuck it in the oven. Twenty minutes later, I checked on it only to discover that nothing was happening. My oven wasn't working.

I ended up carrying it over to my sweet neighbor & she let me bake it in her oven. It was nice to catch up with her.

The kids surprised me by devouring it ALL when I got home. My neighbor tried it too and said it was very good. I will definitely be making it again (well, if my oven will let me, that is).

I altered the original recipe a little.


  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour (I subbed all purpose flour + 1 Tbs baking powder & 1 tsp salt)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups peeled, cored, and chopped tart apple (I used golden delicious, because it was all I had)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (left these out)
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla until well blended. Stir in flour and cinnamon. Mixture will be thick. Fold in apple and nuts. Spread in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle top with butterscotch chips.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Salty Buckeyes

My personal chef, Sugar Baby, made these for us yesterday. They were good, but a little too sweet for most of us. I was surprised to find there was no added salt in the peanut butter mixture (only what already came in the peanut butter). So, to add some saltiness, I sprinkled sea salt on the finished product. That's more like it!

Sugar Baby got the recipe from allrecipes (just want to give credit where credit is due!)... Here it is:

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening


  1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners' sugar with hands to form a smooth stiff dough. Shape into balls using 2 teaspoons of dough for each ball. Place on prepared pan, and refrigerate.
  3. Melt shortening and chocolate together in a metal bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth, and remove from heat.(Or you can use the microwave to melt this - just be careful not to let it burn!)
  4. Remove balls from refrigerator. Insert a wooden toothpick into a ball, and dip into melted chocolate. Return to wax paper, chocolate side down, and remove toothpick. Repeat with remaining balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.

Lastly, and most importantly, sprinkle each one with a little bit of sea salt. Mmmm...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sweet, Sticky and Spicy Chicken

Sugar Baby found this recipe on and made it for our lunch (or is that dinner?) today. It was soooo good! We will definitely be having it again. She doubled the sauce part of the recipe and it made enough for all eight of us. Here is the recipe, copied & pasted from


  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. Mix together brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and hot sauce in a small bowl.
  2. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken strips.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken strips and brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens, 8 to 10 minutes.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


You may gain several pounds by viewing the following picture. Proceed with caution.
It's worth it though, right? ?

Mmmm... that's Sugar Baby's Brownies topped with mint chocolate chip ice cream, and then topped with today's recipe: homemade hot fudge sauce.

This recipe, unfortunately, is very easy and fast to whip up. In a matter of minutes, you can add a hundred or so calories to an ordinary bowl of ice cream. Terrible stuff, hot fudge sauce...

2/3 cup cocoa
3/4 cup margarine or butter
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla

Combine everything except the vanilla in a medium saucepan and heat until boiling, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Serve hot or cold, but hot is best.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs

We eat quite a bit of grilled chicken around here. It is so simple, delicious and reduces the amount of cleanup in the kitchen. (That last part is the most important.)

Usually, I marinate the chicken in zesty italian dressing or mojo sauce and then grill them and they are soooo good. Like, company good.

However, I am always on the lookout for new recipes, and when I saw this flavor combination, I was intrigued. Plus, it had about a zillion 5 star reviews on allrecipes.
I had never done kabobs before, but since we had a box of 1,000 wooden skewers (think cake pops), I thought I'd try them.

The results were definitely 5 star. We all loved them & it was a nice change from our marinades. I served them with pasta & homemade marinara sauce & it made for a really scrumptious meal.



  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste (optional)
  • 5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes


  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Place chicken in the bowl, and stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear.

Give 'em a try!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Popcorn Cake

Check out this new treat I recently discovered! It's like a giant rice crispy treat, only it's made with popcorn instead of rice crispies. The kids loved it (as did I) and it was really pretty and simple to make!


About 4 quarts of popped popcorn, seasoned with salt & butter
1 stick of butter/margarine
1 bag of marshmallows (10oz)
About 1 cup or so of m&ms

Grease a bundt pan with butter or cooking spray. Melt the marshmallows and butter in a large pot over low heat, stirring constantly until the marshmallows are completely melted. Stir in the popcorn until it's thoroughly mixed & coated with marshmallow goo. Place 3/4 of the m&ms in the bottom of the greased pan. Pack (be careful - it's hot!) the gooey popcorn into the bundt pan, occasionally sprinkling with m&ms, until the pan is full. Chill for about 15 minutes. Turn over onto a serving dish or plate. Cut into chunks and wow your kids with this tasty treat!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cucumbers with dill

Our garden is over-run with cukes and tomatoes right now. I've canned about 20+ pints of pickles, and we still have a bunch of cucumbers left. We stumbled across a variation of this cucumber recipe the other day and decided to give it a try. And, it was good! I love the sweet & tangy-ness combined with the dill.

2 medium cucumbers, sliced thin
1/4 cup onion, sliced very thin
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried dill (use 2 Tbs if you're using fresh)

Combine everything and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 30, 2011


The summer fruit is here: blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, etc...! This cobbler is an easy & delicious way to use them. Recently, my 7yr old son collected blackberries from our woods and he and one of his big sisters made a cobbler with them for Father's Day.

Here's how ya do it:


1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup Bisquick*
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 cups fruit

Melt the butter and put it in a 9x13" pan. Stir together the Bisquick, sugar & milk and pour it into the pan. Sprinkle the berries or whatever fruit you're using evenly over the top. Don't try to push the fruit down into the batter. Bake at 350F until the top is golden. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream!

*If you don't have Bisquick, you can use 1 cup all-purpose flour mixed with 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt in its place.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Black Bean Salsa

If you only make one recipe from this blog, let it be this one. I got this recipe from my sister-in-law several years ago and it is one of my favorite recipes of all time! It is sweet, tangy & crunchy and can serve as a dip for chips, a topping for grilled meats or even as a yummy summertime side dish. I love, love, love it!


1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1 jar diced pimientos, drained
1 bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup oil
a few dashes of hot sauce
salt & pepper, to taste

Combine the first 5 ingredients. Whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour it over the bean mixture & allow it to marinate in the fridge for a few hours before serving. Serve with a slotted spoon. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Strawberry Shortbread Bites

The strawberries in the garden are still coming in! My girl Sugar Baby whipped up a batch of shortbread yesterday & just as it came out of the oven, one of the boys brought in another bowl of strawberries. I looked at the shortbread & I looked at the strawberries & the wheels started turning... there was cream cheese in the fridge... we could do some kind of fruit pizza! So eventually we ended up with these cute little delicious bites.

For the shortbread:
5 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups of butter, cut into little pieces (yes, that IS a lot of butter!)

Combine all of the ingredients until it forms a dough. A mixer with a paddle attachment works well for this. Press it into a greased 15x10" pan & prick all over with a fork. Bake at 325F for 30 minutes or until set in the middle. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then cut into 1 1/2" (approximately) squares. Leave in the pan & let cool all the way.

For the cream cheese part:
2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the 3 ingredients together until smooth.

Place a dollup - about a tablespoon - of cream cheese on each shortbread square. Top with a strawberry slice - or even a whole berry if they are small.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Monday, May 23, 2011

French Toast Sticks

I posted this recipe on my Savoring the Circus blog over 2 years ago! I can't believe it's been so long ago...

Anyway... this is a really good recipe and I hadn't taken a picture of it since I got my new camera last August. I love the recipe because it makes french toast sticks that are sweet enough to be enjoyed without syrup. I do love syrup, but somehow it always seems to end up all over the table, floor, hands, hair, dog, cat, etc... whenever we eat it.

Anyway, I digress... here's the recipe:

1 loaf bread (The first time I made this I used homemade whole wheat bread & cut it into thick strips. I thought it was better than the store-bought loaf I used the second time.)
4 eggs (I used 5 because my chickens are laying small eggs right now.)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 Tbs pancake syrup
2 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Combine everything except the bread. Cut the bread (I recently used homemade sour dough bread & boy was it good!) into thick strips. Dip each strip into the egg mixture and cook them on a lightly greased griddle, turning every so often so that each side is browned.

Makes about 10 servings.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

I love these cupcakes! They have real strawberries in them and are moist and perfectly paired with a not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting.Ingredients:

1 cup of thoroughly squashed strawberries
3 cups of all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp strawberry extract
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs

Cream the butter & sugar. Gradually beat in the eggs and extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder & salt in another bowl. Stir the milk & strawberries into the butter mixture and then stir in the dry ingredients until everything is combined.

Fill the muffin liners 2/3 full - this batter doesn't rise very much. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool before frosting.

Makes about 4 dozen cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting


2 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 cups of powdered sugar

Thoroughly beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy and no lumps remain. Beat in the remaining ingredients, adding enough sugar to get the consistency you want. (For piping, add more, for spreading, add less...)

Frost your cooled cupcakes and try not to eat them all at one time! If you do have some left, store them in the fridge. :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Strawberry Trifle

Our strawberries have ripened and this dessert is one of our favorite ways to use them! It is simple, elegant and DEElicious!


about 4 cups sliced strawberries
2 boxes cheesecake pudding, prepared according to package
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
about 4 cups cake, cut into chunks (I used leftover cupcakes)

Sprinkle about 2 tsp of sugar over the strawberries and set them aside. This will allow them to make a little yummy syrup. Go ahead and make the pudding now, if you haven't.

Whip the cream until peaks form, gradually adding the 1/4 cup of sugar while whipping.

Layer in this order:

1/2 of the cake chunks
1/2 of the strawberries (drizzling their juice over the cake and placing some of the prettier slices against the side of the bowl)
1/2 the pudding
1/2 the whipped cream

Repeat & top with a whole strawberry. Chill for several hours before serving. Makes about 12 servings.

Note 1: A crushed pineapple layer also tastes good. And blueberries. And bananas. And...

Note 2: You can use any kind of cake - sponge, angel food, chocolate, or even Twinkies!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pink Lemonade Sherbet

I have Sugar Baby (my 12 yr old dd) to thank for discovering this yummy treat! Lucky for us - she loves trying new recipes.

She found this one on allrecipes. It is pretty, creamy & delicious! I'm sure we'll be having this a lot this summer when the temperature goes up. And as pretty as it is, I could easily see it being served at a Mother's Day brunch or something like that...


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 (.13 ounce) envelope unsweetened orange soft drink mix or flavor of your choice [she used a .23oz packet of pink lemonaid flavored Koolaid]
  • 3 cups milk


  1. In a bowl, stir sugar, soft drink mix and milk until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a shallow freezer container; cover and freeze for 1 hour or until slightly thickened. Transfer to a mixing bowl, beat until smooth. Return to freezer container; cover and freeze until firm. Remove from the freezer 20 minutes before serving.


Monday, April 18, 2011


These were too cute not to post here!

I've been dabbling with cake pops recently and I've discovered that brownie pops taste wayyyy better!

Here's how to do it:

Bake a box of brownie mix, using 1 less egg than the directions call for. Let it cool and then roll & squish it into balls that are slightly smaller than a golf ball. (I made the chicky ones a little more egg shaped - or at least tried to).

Chill the balls for at least an hour and dip in candy coating and allow to dry.

NOTE: Do NOT attempt to add food coloring to candy coating/bark. Trust me on this one.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Overnight Coffeecake

We've been going to the early service at church on Sunday mornings. Getting eight people fed, dressed & out of the house by 7:45am is no easy task! This recipe is great, because I can make it at night, stick it in the fridge and then bake it in the morning. Mmmm... and with all that sugar & cinnamon, everyone is bound to love it.

Overnight Coffeecake from


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts [I had none, so I left these out]
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk


  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda, nutmeg and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon [I crumbled the brown sugar with 3Tbs of butter before sprinking]; sprinkle over coffee cake. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Combine confectioners' sugar and milk; drizzle over warm coffee cake.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Apple Strudel Muffins

I love muffins! And especially ones with struesel/strudel (or whatever that sweet, crumbly stuff is called) on top! This is another yummy one that I found on allrecipes and tweaked a little. It makes your kitchen smell so good when they're baking, too!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apples

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, oats, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Stir in apples, and gradually blend in the flour mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.
  4. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan.
  5. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. Cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Roasted Garlic Swirl Bread

I came up with this bread recently and now it is one of my favorites! It is french bread with a swirl of roasted garlic, parmesan cheese, italian seasoning and olive oil.

First, make a batch of french bread dough.

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast and salt. Stir in 2 cups warm water, and beat until well blended using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
Meanwhile, slice tips off of 3 heads of garlic. drizzle with olive oil and wrap with aluminum foil. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes. Let cool enough to handle and then squeeze the cloves into a bowl. They will easily pop right out of their skins.

In the bowl with the garlic, stir until pasty:

1/2 tsp salt
2-3 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp dried italian seasoning
2/3 cup of parmesan cheese

Punch down the dough and divide it into thirds. One third at a time, roll the dough into a large rectangle - until it is about 1/2" thick. Sprinkle evenly with 1/3 of the garlic mixture. There won't be enough to spread and coat the dough, just try to get little blobs of it distributed as evenly as possible. Roll up the dough tightly and pinch to seal. Place on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Allow to rise until doubled. To make the loaves prettier, brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and done. Cool for a few minutes, if you can wait, and cut into slices for serving.

Tastycake Cupcakes

Mmmm! Better than the real thing! Use my Tasty Cake recipe and make cupcakes instead. Let them cool completely.

Combine the filling ingredients in a mixer until fluffy:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 pinch salt
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spoon filling ingredients in a pastry bag that is fitted with a decorating tip that's got an opening about 1/4" across. Stick the tip about 1/3 of the way into each cupcake center and squeeze the bag until it reaches the top of the cupcake.

Frost with the Tasty Cake Chocolate frosting and enjoy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Garlic Pan Chicken

I had pulled some chicken breasts from the freezer the other night, planning to grill them, but when the time came to grill, it was too cold to go out. I've always been under the impression that cooking chicken breasts in a pan [not talking about fried chicken here!] with no sauce resulted in little flavor and dry meat. Boy was I wrong! These were very tender and full of flavor.


4 chicken breasts
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 Tbs oil

Lay the chicken breasts on a cutting board and, holding your knife blade parallel to the cutting board, cut each chicken breast in half so that it is half as thick as before. I hope that made sense - it was really hard to explain!

Now, combine the remaining ingredients and rub them into the chicken. Chill for at least an hour.

Heat the oil in a pan and sautee the chicken for 5-8 minutes on each side until the juices run clear and it's cooked through. Very simple! You can also vary the spices to suit your tastes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Green Cake

Just in time for St. Patty's day... I didn't have any shamrock cutters or I would have used them instead. All of the recipes for this cake came from allrecipes, so I'm just going to link them. This was my first time ever using fondant for cake decorating. It was surprisingly easy and fun! Although, if I do this fairly often, I'm going to end up looking like Hercules. It takes a lot of muscle to roll the fondant!

I used:

David's Yellow Cake (with green gel food coloring)
Buttercream Icing
Marshmallow Fondant

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pinto Beans & Sausage

Beans & Rice are my comfort food. That and Lucky Charms.

This recipe makes a TON. We had it for days & I finally ended up freezing the rest. The beans taste best served over rice and topped with sharp cheddar.

The base is the refried bean recipe I use.

2 onions, diced
6 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed

2 jalapenos, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
18 cups water
2 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs brown sugar

1 lb polish sausage, diced

Combine everything except the sausage in a large crockpot. Cook on high for 6 hours, add the sausage & more water if needed to keep the beans covered. Cook for 2 more hours on high. Taste (don't burn your tongue!) & add more salt, if needed. Ladle over steaming bowls of rice. Serves 99,342. Leftovers can be frozen & reheated in the microwave.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sugar Baby's Brownies

This is what a brownie should be like. Crusty on the top, dense, sturdy, fudgy, chocolatey, rich and not at all cakey. Sugar Baby (my 12 yr old) made these recently and I quickly tossed aside my old recipe and clung to this one. (Thank you, Sugar Baby, I'm forever indebted to you!) She adapted the recipe from Deep Dish Brownies, which she found on allrecipes. Here's what she did:

  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients.
3. Bake 40-45 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool before cutting, if you can wait. If not, enjoy them with a spoon and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top to cool them enough so that you don't burn your tongue. ;)

P.S. The recipe doubles easily to fill a 9 x 13" pan.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Country Style Ribs

Easy and delicious. That's a recurring theme around here.


As many country style ribs as you want (we used 8 for the 8 of us)
garlic salt
your favorite bbq sauce (or teryaki even)

Place the ribs in a single layer in a baking dish. Sprinkle with garlic salt & bake, uncovered at 250F for 2 hours. Drain the grease & liquid and baste with bbq sauce. Bake for another 2 hours at 250F.

P.S. I recommend leaving the fat on while they're cooking. They taste so much better that way.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Skinny Fries



Potatoes (figure on 1 per person), scrubbed & cut into skinny sticks
Salt, pepper & whatever seasonings you like

Preheat oven to 400F. Toss the potatoes in a couple Tbs of oil & season to taste. Old Bay Seasoning is one of our favorites for potatoes. Spread out and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour on a lightly greased baking sheet (or better yet, one lined with parchment paper), stirring occasionally so they cook evenly.

This recipe will go great with the one that's coming next...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mini Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecakes

Oooh, la la! Fancy and easy!
These soft little cheesecakes definitely have a bittersweet chocolate taste, so if you'd rather have less of the bittersweet taste, use semi-sweet and they will be a touch sweeter. The recipe was adapted from an issue of Fine Cooking.


1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs sugar
4 oz chocolate, chopped, divided and melted (bittersweet or semi-sweet)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 300F. Line 6 muffin tins with liners & spray them lightly with cooking spray. (I used a silicon tart baking pan. Each tart "hole" is about 4" across.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and 3 ounces of the melted chocolate. Add the egg & beat just until blended. Spoon into the muffin or tart tins and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the centers are just barely jiggly when nudged. Cool completely. Refrigerate (up to 3 days) until ready to serve. (Or freeze up to 1 month.) Just before serving, drizzle with the remaining melted chocolate.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

London Broil


2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
6 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs ketchup
2 Tbs oil
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
3-4 lb london broil

Combine everything and refrigerate overnight. Remove the meat from the marinade & set it aside. Grill the meat over low heat until it's as done as you want it. (Sorry I'm not more helpful there. I haven't refined my grilling skills yet. Most directions say no more than 7 minutes per side, but I ended up grilling ours for over an hour and it was perfectly light pink in the middle!) Meanwhile, bring the reserved marinade to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Slice the grilled meat into thin slices and drizzle with the simmered marinade. Serves 6.

The untweaked version of this recipe originally came from allrecipes.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chocolate Pudding

First off... my sincerest apologies if you are a reader of this blog and are allergic to chocolate...

And now, back to the subject: Chocolate Pudding!

Recently, when my kids came down with the flu & had very sore throats, I splurged and bought 3 packages of Jello pudding cups. Within what seemed like seconds, all three packages were gone, and my kids were still looking for more. (Not really, but almost... Anyway, they devoured them in no time.) There went my $4, and we were left with lots of trash to boot.

I thought to myself, "there must be a better way!" And then I remembered that pudding is food. And people make food. Yes! I can make my own!

So, off to allrecipes I went and found this delicious recipe. For about $1.50, I made 10 servings. That's half the cost of the packaged stuff and I was left with no packages to fill up the trashcan and it was all made from pronounceable ingredients. Plus, it soothed sore throats & made my little people happy. You can't get much better than that:)

Oh, and I doubled the recipe to get the 10 half-cup servings.

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in margarine and vanilla. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in refrigerator until serving.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fudgy Pie

Mmmm... This pie was so good! I found the recipe at allrecipes (surprise, surprise) and changed it a little (surprise, suprise) and discovered a simple, yet richly delicious dessert!


  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Mix sugar and cocoa together. Beat the eggs then add to the cocoa mixture. Beat in the milk, butter and vanilla.
  3. Pour mixture into 9 inch unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 - 55 minutes or until set. (The middle will be slightly jiggly until it cools & sets.) Let cool before slicing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Very Light Biscuits

Growing up with my great-grandma meant I ate a lot of biscuits. I never did figure out how she made hers -she wasn't the most patient teacher - but I do remember spending time with her in the kitchen, patting the biscuits into shape and begging for bits of dough to eat (maybe that's why she wasn't so patient?). Mmmm... Now my kids do the same thing to me! They hang out next to me under the guise of "helping" because they want a nibble or two, or better yet, a chance to scrape the bowl of all the leftover dough.

This recipe is really good. It is fairly simple and makes deliciously light biscuits. The key to light, flaky biscuits is to work the dough as little as possible.

4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, cut into cubes
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk

Mix all of the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter until the dough is crumbly. It's okay if some of the crumbs are lima bean size and some are petite pea size. The butter pieces melt & create flaky, airy biscuits. Stir in the milk, just until combined. Turn onto a floured surface and pat just enough to hold it together. Pat it to about 1" thickness. Cut with a floured biscuit cutter, and place 1" apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425F for about 10-13 minutes or until golden on the bottoms. Serve hot & with jam or gravy. Makes about 3 dozen 2" biscuits.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sesame Green Beans

In my opinion, green beans can be pretty boring. But, they are easy to grow in the garden, so we usually have a lot of them. This is an easy and tasty way of preparing them. It went well with the teriyaki grilled chicken & brown rice we had for dinner last night.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add sesame seeds. When seeds start to darken, stir in garlic and green beans. Cook, stirring, until the beans turn bright green.
  2. Pour in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook until beans are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid evaporates.
Serves 8 people who aren't green bean fanatics. Six people otherwise.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cranberry Orange Almond Muffins

This is one of my favorite flavor combinations for a muffin. I love the sweetness of the orange paired with the tartness of the cranberries. I must admit, though, my kids really didn't go for them, but they're not too crazy about cranberries to begin with. (That's okay, it just means more for me! :)

(The recipe originally came from allrecipes & I tweaked it a tiny bit.)


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • Grated peel of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds


In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat egg. Add orange juice, peel, butter and hot water. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Gently fold in cranberries and almonds. Spoon into muffin tins or liners. Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Makes 12 muffins.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Glazed Cinnamon Breakfast Scones

We have another name for these in our house: Lazy Buns. Glazed Cinnamon Breakfast Scones sounds a lot nicer, though, doesn't it? I invented them one morning when I wanted to make cinnamon buns but didn't feel like it. They're like a cross between biscuits & cinnamon buns, except they're a lot faster and don't require all the rolling & cutting (and messing up of countertops). My kids love them and so do I because they are so easy to make.


4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups milk

2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 Tbs sugar

Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 Tbs milk

Stir together the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening until the mixture looks crumbly. Stir in the milk until everything is combined, but do not stir it too much or the lazy buns won't be as tender.

Combine the 2 tsp of cinnamon and the 2 Tbs of sugar and stir/fold these into the dough. You don't want them to spread throughout the dough, but rather be in streaks or veins throughout it.

On a lightly greased baking sheet, pat the dough into a large circle about 1" thick. Cut into wedges and separate slightly. Bake at 400F for 13-15 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden.

While baking, combine the glaze ingredients. Drizzle over hot buns & serve immediately. Serves 6.

A Bread Tip

I just wanted to share a little tip that I figured out for making sandwiches from homemade bread. Often homemade bread is soft -which is a good thing- but it can make it difficult to slice & use for sandwiches. However, if you shape your dough & bake it as long hoagie-like rolls, you can slice it horizontally & it is a lot easier to make sandwiches with it. It even holds up to having peanut butter spread on it. Anyway... you may have already figured this out, but just in case you hadn't, I thought I'd share. Happy Baking!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brown Sugar Apple Lentils

I knew I'd have to doctor up lentils to get my kids to eat them, so I came up with this recipe today. It was really good!

1 lb lentils
5 cups water
2 tsp salt

1 apple, diced
2 Tbs minced onion
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs molasses
2 Tbs worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
2 slices bacon, diced

Simmer 1st three ingredients, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and bake at 350F for 1 hour. Serves 6-8.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Taco Seasoning

I like to triple or even quadruple this recipe so that I always have it on hand. It's very tasty and convenient!


  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Stir all of the ingredients together & stir in an air-tight container until you're ready to use it!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tower of Calories

A.K.A. No Bake Chocolate Oat Bars

This is another allrecipes treat. I've made it once and will definitely make it again, but add more peanut butter next time. Personally, I'd love to add coconut as well, but I don't want to incite rebellion or anarchy, so I'll have to wait until I'm an empty nester for that.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter [next time will add a few Tbs more, or even a handful of peanut butter chips, or maybe even butterscotch??]


  1. Grease a 9x9 inch square pan.
  2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Mix in the oats. Cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until ingredients are well blended. Press half of mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Reserve the other half for topping.
  3. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture over the crust in the pan, and spread evenly with a knife or the back of a spoon.
  4. Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate layer, pressing in gently. Cover, and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before cutting into bars.
P.S. I doubled the recipe & used a 9 x 13" pan.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Black Bean Brownies

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't tasted it. These are really good! All six of my kids liked them and asked for seconds. (Of course, I didn't tell them there was anything different about the recipe - not sure if I ever will...)

This easy, moist & fudgy recipe came from allrecipes...

  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder [the original recipe didn't call for this, but I added it anyway]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee (I used 1 Tbs strong brewed coffee instead)
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (I added a couple of Tbs of sliced almonds, too)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8x8 square baking dish.
  2. Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and instant coffee in a blender or food processor; blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips/nuts over the top of the mixture.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Honey Wheat Pancakes

If you're looking for a 100% whole wheat pancake that is delicious and easy, look no further! This one is really good and is my personal favorite.

4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp salt
3-4 cups milk (depending on how thick you like your pancakes)
5 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until it's all thoroughly mixed up. Cook on a hot, lightly greased griddle. Serves 6 - 8.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Streusel Topped White Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I love this banana bread. It is easy to whip up & makes a great dessert, snack or breakfast! It is really moist & sweet.

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk (may substitute milk w/1 tsp lemon juice)
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Streusel Ingredients:
2 Tbs butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs brown sugar

Combine all except streusel ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the streusel ingredients together until crumbly. After baking the bread for about 30 minutes, sprinkle the streusel on and bake until the bread is no longer gooey in the middle (about 5-10 more minutes).

Note: the white chocolate chips usually sink to the bottom while baking, but we don't mind. :)