Blackberry Sauce

1 c. frozen blackberries
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1 t. lemon juice
1 c. water

In a medium saucepan (not over heat), combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add the blackberries and stir so they are coated. Turn the stove on and heat slowly, allowing the berries to release their juice. As they “juice up,” add the lemon juice and water. If it starts to bubble, turn it down to low and stir constantly. (A little more water might be required if it gets too thick.) The cornstarch will thicken everything up as it cooks.

Pour this warm blackberry topping over fresh waffles or pancakes

Ranch Pretzels

December 18, 2010 by kristinvass

1 tub of spinzel pretzels from Menards/Fleet Farm

Mix the following ingredients together:
-2 cups of vegetable oil
-2 packets of dry ranch dressing
-a pinch of pepper
-a pinch of dill (optional)
-a pinch of cayenne pepper
Spread the pretzels on two pans and pour the mixture over the pretzels. Put the oven at 250 degrees and bake for 1 hr. 15 min. stirring the pretzels every 15 min.


Courtesy of The Food Network Kitchens

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing the iron
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat a waffle iron to medium-high.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, 2 egg yolks, vanilla, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Whisk the milk mixture into the flour mixture until a batter is formed. Take care not to over mix the batter.

In medium bowl, with a hand-held electric mixer or whisk, whip the 3 egg whites until they just begin to hold a loose peak. Scatter the sugar over the whites and continue beating until they hold a soft peak. Using a rubber spatula, fold a third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten the base. Fold in the remaining whites.

Brush the inside surface of the iron with butter. Pour in enough batter to lightly cover the surface of the iron, about 1/3 to 3/4 cup, depending upon the size of the iron. (Take into consideration that the batter will spread once the lid is closed.) Cover and cook until golden brown and slightly crisp, about 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter. (If the waffle iron is well seasoned or nonstick it is not necessary to brush the inner surface each time before cooking the waffles.)

NOTE: Our round waffle iron takes about 3/4 c batter per waffle. Spread evenly with spoon/cup and cook on med/high heat for 8-9 minutes depending on desired crispiness.


Mushroom-Blue Cheese Tenderloin

Courtesy of Taste of Home, Dec/Jan 2009

Prep 10 min + marinating
Bake 45 min + standing
10 servings, 1.5 c sauce

1 1/2 c soy sauce
3/4 c Worcestershire sauce
1 beef tenderloin (3.25-4 lbs)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 can condensed beef broth

1/2 c butter, cubed
1/2 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c (4 oz) crumbled blue cheese
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
4 green onions, chopped

In a large resealable bag, combine soy and Worcestershire sauce. Add beef and seal bag, turning to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Discard and drain marinade. Rub beef with garlic and pepper, place in a shallow roasting pan. Add broth to pan and bake, uncovered at 425* for 45-55 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness.* Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter. Add mushrooms and garlic, saute until tender. Add cheese and caraway seeds, cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Stir in onions, heat through. Serve over beef.

** Meat Thermometer
Med-rare 145*
Med 160*
Well done 170*


Roasted Tomatoes

Courtesy of my brain

6 ripe Bushel Boy Tomatoes
olive oil
salt and pepper
2-3 garlic cloves, to your taste

Preheat over to 450. Depending on size of tomatoes, quarter and place, skin down on foil lined cookie sheet, along with whole peeled garlic cloves. Drizzle with oil and season well with S&P. Put in over for about 20-25 minutes until they start to brown and pucker. The juices will make a lot of noise in the oven, so don't panic.

Let cool and eat, or blend in a food processor with more olive oil to make sauce.


Oreo Balls

1 package regular size Oreo cookies, crushed
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 package white almond bark
1 package chocolate almond bark

Using a blender or hand held mixer, mix Oreos and cream cheese together. Roll into walnut size balls. Chill for an hour.

Melt approximately 3/4 package of white almond bark. Stick a toothpick in an Oreo ball and dip it in the melted white almond bark. Allow to harden on wax paper (Takes about 15 min.)

While waiting, melt about 1/4 package of chocolate almond bark. When Oreo balls are no longer sticky to the touch, decorate with drizzles of chocolate and white almond bark. I just use a sandwich bag with a tiny hole cut in one corner to drizzle the almond bark.


Roast Bacon

Courtesy of Ina Garten

8-10 slices of bacon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cover sheet pan in tin foil and lay a cooling rack on top. Lay the bacon on rack and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the bacon is really crispy. Dry on paper towels and serve.


Baked French Toast with Blueberries

* Butter, for greasing
* 6 eggs
* 3 cups whole milk
* 3/4 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus 1 tablespoon
* 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
* 1 lemon, zested
* 3 (1-inch thick) slices (8 ounces) day-old challah or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used French bread)
* 2 cups (12 ounces) fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blueberries
* 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest. Add the bread cubes and mix until coated. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the egg mixture in an even layer. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is set.

Spoon onto serving plates and drizzle with maple syrup.


Slow-Cooker Spinach Dip

**I melted the mix over the stove and added to a small crock pot to save on time**

Mix 1 cup grated smoked mozzarella, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, 8 ounces cream cheese, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 box thawed frozen spinach, 1 jar artichoke hearts, and salt and pepper in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high, 2 hours

Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce

Courtesy of The Food Network & Giada

* 12 ounces (1 box) jumbo pasta shells (approximately 36 shells)
* 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing baking sheet
* 6 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, diced
* 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 5 cups marinara sauce
* 2 (15-ounce) containers whole milk ricotta cheese
* 1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan
* 4 large egg yolks
* 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
* 3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
* 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint leaves
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Lightly oil a 12 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish and set aside. Lightly oil the baking sheet and set aside.

Partially cook the pasta shells in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly tender but still quite firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. You will continue cooking the shells in the oven after they have been stuffed. Using a slotted spoon, drain pasta shells and place on oiled baking sheet, spreading them out so that they don't stick together and allow to cool.

Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes. Add the garlic and saute until tender, about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring often.

In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta, Parmesan, egg yolks, basil, parsley, mint, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spoon 1 1/4 cups of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Fill the cooked shells with the cheese mixture, about 2 tablespoons per shell. Arrange the shells in the prepared dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the shells, then sprinkle with the mozzarella.

Bake in the lower third of your oven until the filling is heated through and the top is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.


Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Courtesy of Foodnetwork.com; Paula Deen

* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 3 eggs
* 2 cups white sugar
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 cups grated zucchini
* 1 cup chopped pecans
* 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
* 1 tablespoon orange zest

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Grease (2) 9 by 5-inch loaf pans.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, spices and baking soda.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add sugar, and continue beating until well blended. Stir in oil, vanilla, zucchini, pecans, chocolate chips, and orange zest. Stir in sifted ingredients. Pour into prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove loaves from pans and cool. Chill before slicing. Serve with whipped cream and ribbons of zucchini.

Summer Corn Chowder

Courtesy of Parents, August 2010

6 ears fresh corn
salt and pepper
4 slices bacon, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
4 cups low-fat milk
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup sliced green onion (only green part)

Shuck corn and cut the kernels off, set aside. Put the cobs, 1 cup water and a sprinkle of S&) in a 4-qt pot with a tight fitting lid over med-high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn to low, cover and cook 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over med. heat, cook bacon until it begins to brown, about 4-6 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.

Remove cobs from stock and discard. Add the milk, corn kernels, bacon and onion to the stock and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently until corn is tender, about 10 minutes.

Whisk the cornstarch in 2 Tbsp water until smooth. Add to the soup, stir until thickened, about a minute. Garnish with green onion.

Add 1 cup chopped scallops or 1 cup small (or chopped) peeled shrimp to simmering soup, about 5 minutes after adding the corn.

Along with corn kernels, add 1 large copped tomato and chopped jalapeno (or a few dashes of Tabasco sauce) To serve, top each bowl with grated cheese and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro instead of green onions.


Bacon Fried Green Beans

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray, 2008

* A drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
* 6 slices bacon, chopped
* 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
* 1 pound green beans, trimmed
* 1/4 cup cider or red wine vinegar
* 2 teaspoons sugar

In a skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat, when hot add bacon and pepper and cook the bacon until crisp, 5 minutes. Add beans to bacon and cook about 3 to 5, tossing. Season with vinegar and sugar prior to serving.


Grilled Everything Pizza

Courtesy of Food Network Magazine; July/August 2010

Found this and we had to try it! Not a quick meal, though the use of a pre-made frozen pizza dough (like Rhodes) does help - it's well worth the effort!

My version below is for the frozen dough-types

1 loaf, frozen pizza dough, thawed to package directions
Grilled toppings (see notes below - tomatoes, red onion or fennel, shiitake mushrooms)
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/2 c sliced roasted peppers (jar variety)
4 oz thinly sliced hot or sweet capicola ham (we used prosciutto)
1 c micro greens, pea shoots or other baby green
1/2 bunch fresh basil, torn

To grill toppings; preheat grill to med-high head:

Tomato sauce:
Grill 3 vine ripen tomatoes, turning until charred, 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, add 1 chopped garlic clove, 2 Tbsp olive oil, S&P. Cool, then crush into sauce (I used a food processor)

Cut 1 medium red onion or 1 small fennel bulb into 8 wedges. Toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil, S&P. Grill turning until soft, 10 minutes. Pieces will probably fall apart, so I recommend using a grill basket/skillet for this.

Toss 8 oz stemmed shiitake mushrooms with 3 Tbsp olive oil, and season with S&P. Grill, turning until soft, about 2 minutes per side. Cut in half.

Reserve all grilled items and keep them near the grill.

Reduce grill to med low. Divide dough in half and dust with flour and work surface. Roll each half out into a rectangle, about 7x12 inches, 1/8 inch thick. Don't worry about perfection, it's supposed to look organic - go for a even thickness most of all.

Brush an inverted cookie sheet with olive oil (this will oil the first side of the pizza for the grill. Lift each piece on the grill and cool until the dough puffs and the understide is stiff and marked, about 5 minutes.

Flip the dough, brush with olive oil, spread with tomato sauce and top with mozzarella. Arrange the grilled veggies and roasted peppers on top. Cover and cook until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

Transfer pizza to a cutting board. To with meat, greens, basil and a drizzle of oil, S&P.

ENJOY!!! You won't regret it!


Barefoot Carrot Salad

Courtesy of The Food Network and Ina Gerten

* 1/3 cup golden raisins
* 1 pound carrots
* 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 1/4 cup sour cream
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise
* 3 tablespoons sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup diced fresh pineapple

Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and then drain.

Fit a food processor with the grating blade. Cut the carrots in half and place in the feed tube so they are lying on their sides. Process in batches. Place the grated carrots in a medium bowl, add the lemon juice and toss.

For the dressing, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar and salt. Pour the dressing over the carrots and add the pineapple and raisins. Toss together and serve.

Crunchy Lemonade Drumsticks

Courtesy of The Food Network Magazine; July/August 2010

Flipping through my newest edition on a not-so cooperative "sunny" Saturday, I decided we'd give these a try for Father's Day. Grill is not involved, so we'll see how they go over :)

2 Tbsp grated lemon zest, divided
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
1/3 c buttermilk
12 skin-on chicken drumsticks (about 3.5 lbs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 c panko
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 c mayo
Olive oil cooking spray

Mix 1 Tbsp lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add 1 c water and the sugar; whisk to dissolve, the whisk in buttermilk. Pierce the drumsticks several times with a fork and season with S&P. Toss in the marinade and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400*. Bring the chicken to room temperature. Put the panko, thyme and remaining lemon zest, the cayenne, 1 tsp salt and black pepper to taste in a large resealable bag and shake to mix. Put the mayo in a bowl. Set a rack on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.

Remove the drumsticks from marinade, dip in the mayo and drop in the bag - shake to coat. Transfer to rack.

Mist with cooking spray. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes; flip and bake until browned and crisp, 35-40 minutes more.


Asparagus with Truffle Oil Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons white truffle oil
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt or sea salt
Few grindings of black pepper
2 pounds asparagus stalks, washed and trimmed

In a small bowl, whisk together while truffle oil, olive oil, champagne wine vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper; set aside or refrigerate until ready to use. NOTE: If refrigerating, bring to room temperature before using.

Blanch the asparagus in lightly salted boiling water for about 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; do not overcook. Remove from heat and refresh under cold water; drain well. Toss asparagus with enough truffle vinaigrette to lightly coat. Arrange asparagus on serving platter or individual serving plates.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Grilled Tomato Bread with Prosciutto

Courtesy Food Network, Bobby Flay

* 1 pint cherry tomatoes
* Olive oil
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 12 slices French bread, sliced 1/2-inch thick slices
* 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
* 12 paper thin slices prosciutto
* 2 lemons, cut in 1/2

Heat grill to high. Toss tomatoes in oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill in a grilling basket and grill until charred and softened, turning a few times, about 10 minutes. Remove to a bowl. Crush the garlic with a little salt to form a paste and add to the bowl with a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Brush bread with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and place on the grill. Grill the bread until lightly golden brown on both sides, about 20 seconds per side.

Combine the ricotta with a little olive oil in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mound some of the tomato mixture on the bread. Lay prosciutto on top. Dollop with some ricotta mixture and garnish with lemon juice squeezed over the top.

Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Courtesy of Taste of Home; June/July 2010

2 lbs tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves
2 green onions, cut into 2-in pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 chipolte pepper in adobo sauce
1 can chopped green chilies
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Tortilla chips

Grill tomatoes and jalapeno, covered, over medium-hot heat for 8-12 minutes or until skins are blistered and blackened, turning occasionally. Immediately place in a large bowl, cover and let stand 20 minutes.

Peel off and discard charred skins. Discard stems and seeds from jalepeno; cut tomatoes into fourths. Set jalepeno and tomatoes aside.

Place cilantro, onions and garlic in food processor. Cover and process until blended. Add chipolte pepper, tomato and jalepeno; cover and pulse until blended.

Transfer to a bowl, stir in the chilies, lime juice, oil and salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve with chips.

Fabulous Green Beans

Courtesy of Taste of Home; June/July 2010

1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
1/4 c butter, cubed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Italian seaoning
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 grated lemon peel

Place beans in a steamer basket and place over 1 inch of water. Bring a boil and steam for 8-10 minutes or until crisp tender

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the remaining ingredients until butter is melted. Transfer beans to a serving bowl and drizzle butter mixture, toss to coat.

Hot Quick Banana Boats

Courtesy of Taste of Home; June/July 2010

Total time: 20 minutes; 4 servings

4 unpeeled bananas
8 tsp semisweet chocolate chips
8 tsp trail mix
1/4 c mini marshmellows

Place each banana on a 12-inch square of foil, crimp and shape around banana so they sit flat.

Cut each banana lengthwise about 1/2 inch deep, uncut at both ends. Gently pull each banana peel open, forming a pocket. Fill pockets with chips, trail mix and marshmellows.

Grill bananas covered, over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until marshmellows are melted and golden brown.

Sweet Grilled Onions

Courtesy of Taste of Home; June/July 2010

4 servings; Grill 35 minutes

4 large sweet onions, quartered
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 c butter
1 tsp season salt

Place four onion wedges and garlic clove on a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Dot with butter and sprinkle with salt. Repeat.

Foil foil around onion mixture and seal tightly. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 30-35 minutes or until onions are tender.

Blackberry-Sauced Pork Chops

Courtesy Taste of Home; June/July 2010

1/2 c seedless blackberry spreadable fruit
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Dash ground cinnamon
4 boneless pork chops
2 tsp steak seasoning
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup fresh blackberries

In a small saucepan, combine spreadable fruit, lemon juice, soy sauce and cinnamon. Cook and stir over low heat until spreadable fruit is melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Season pork with steak seasoning and cook until 160* internal. Serve with sauce and blackberries.

Rainbow Pepper Medley

Courtesy of Taste of Home, June/July 2010

Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving; 12 servings, 1/2 cup each

2 medium green peppers, julienne
2 medium sweet red peppers, julienne
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, julienne
1 small red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

1/3 c canola oil
2 Tbsp tarragon vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lime zest
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 Louisiana-style hot sauce

In a large bowl, combine vegetables. In smaller bowl, combine ingredients for dressing; whisk together. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Grilled Glazed Drummies

Courtesy Taste of Home, June/July 2010

1 c ketchup
1/3 c soy sauce
4 tsp honey
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 lb fresh or frozen chicken drummettes (or any other choice cut of chicken)

Mix all ingredient except chicken. Pour 1 cup marinade over chicken and refridgerate at least 4 hours or over night. Cover and refridgerate remaining marinatde for basting.

Drain chicken and discard marinade. Grill, covered over med-high head for 15-20 minutes; turn and baste occassionally with remaining marinade.

Horseradish Coleslaw

Courtesy of Taste of Home; June/July 2010

8 cups coleslaw mix
2 c shredded carrot (only if your coleslaw mix doesn't carrot in it)
1 med onion, finley chopped
3/4 cup mayo
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Combine coleslaw mix, carrots and onion. In seperate bowl, combine, mayo, sugar, horseradish and lemon juice. Pour dressing over mixture and toss to coat.


Lemon Broccoli

Courtesy of Food Network

Heat 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 or 3 strips lemon zest and 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, 3 minutes. Meanwhile, cook 1 head broccoli florets and 1 sliced carrot in boiling salted water, 3 minutes. Drain and toss with the lemon oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper

Mango Habanero Marinade

This marinade can be used as a dipping sauce for grilled shrimp.
Marinating times: Shrimp (2 to 3 hours); chicken breasts (4 to 6 hours); pork (6 to 8 hours)

Yeilds about 2.5 cups

3 cups ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped OR 2 bags frozen mango, thawed
2 whole habanero pepper, washed
2 tablespoon dark rum
2 teaspoon jamaican hot sauce (Pick-a-Peppa, Belinda's, or tabasco(I recommend Habanero Sherry Sauce)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon fresh ginger root, grated
1/2 cup dry unsweetened flaked coconut
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup coconut milk, canned
1/2 cup lime juice (fresh preferred) - 1 lime juiced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Puree the mango, chile pepper, rum, and hot sauce in a blender or food processor. Combine the mango puree with the garlic, ginger, coconut, coriander, and cumin in a heavy non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes; remove from heat and cool.

Stir in the coconut milk, lime juice, and cilantro.

Add meat and marinate.


Vegetable Medley

Courtesy of Taste of Home

1 c uncooked medium pasta shells
1 pkg (16 oz) frozen cut green beans
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 c chicken broth
3 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 dried basil
1/4 garlic powder
1 can (4 1/2 oz) whole mushrooms, drained
1 small tomato, chopped

In a Dutch oven, cook pasta according to package, adding beans during last 5 minutes of cooking time.

Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and broth until smooth and set aside. In a large saucepan, melt butter, add mustard, and seasonings. Gradually stir in broth mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Drain pasta and beans;p return to Dutch oven. Add mustard sauce and mushrooms, toss to coat. Stir in tomatos.

Serves 6

Creamy Raspberry Dessert

Courtesy of Taste of Home

1 c chocolate wafer crumbs
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 can frozen white grape-raspberry juice concentrate, thawed
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, cubed
2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
4 c whipped topping
chocolate curls or grated chocolate (option for garnish)

In a small bowl, combine wafer crumbs and butter. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Refridgerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the concentrate, cream cheese and sugar. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and fold in the whipped topping. Pour over crust. Cover and freeze for 4 hours or until firm. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before slicing - garnish with chocolate shavings before serving.

Italian Cloverleaf Rolls

Courtesy of Taste of Home

1 pkg hot roll mix
2 Tbsp butter, melted
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
3/4 tsp dill weed
3/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Prepare roll mix according to package directions. Divide dough into 36 pieces and shape each into a ball. Place 3 balls in each greased muffin cup. Brush with butter.

Combine the remaining ingredients and sprinkle over top of each muffin cup. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 20 minutes)

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.

Creamy Pesto Penne with Vegetable Ribbons

Courtesy of Taste of Home

Total time - 30 minutes
4 servings

2 c uncooked penne
1 c frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
4 medium carrots
2 yellow summer squash
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp butter, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 c heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp prepared pesto
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c toasted walnuts, chopped

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding edamame during last 5 minutes of cooking. Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler (or metal cheese slicer), cut carrots and squash into very thin, lengthwise strips.

In a large skillet, saute onion in 1 Tbsp butter until tender. Add vegetables and garlic and saute 2-3 minutes longer until crisp-tender. Stir in cream, pesto, salt and remaining butter. Bring to a gentle boil, cook 3-4 minutes or until sauce is slightly thicken and vegetables are tender.

Drain pasta and edamame; toss with vegetables. Top with walnuts.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Courtey of Taste of Home

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
1 c sour cream
1/2 c hot sauce (Louisanna-style preferred)
3 c shredded chicken

Bake all ingredients at 350 for 20 minutes or until heated through; serve with crackers or celery.

This can also be heated, and kept warm, in a smaller crock pot.


Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Courtesy of the Food Network Magazine, April 2010

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
Kosher salt
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup hot sauce
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 pound yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Perfect French Toast

Courtesy of the Food Network Magazine

Preheat oven to 350

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of half and half or milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
6 thick slices of bread
1/2 Tbsp butter plus 4 Tbsp

Mix first 6 ingredients in a shallow bowl. Heat butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, dip bread in the egg mixture and cook until golden, 2-3 minutes per side, adding more butter as needed. Trasfer to a baking sheet and bake until puffed, about 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 4 Tbsp butter in the same skillet until browned, about 5 minutes. Drizzle the French toast with the browned butter and maple syrup.

Tips: Avoid thin sandwich bread. Make sure the skillet is hot so the bread will crisp immediately - a good pan will turn our soggy bread. Resist the urge to press the toast with spatula - this makes for a dense, not fluffy outcome.


Taco Pizza

1 can refrigerated thin pizza crust
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 package taco seasoning mix
1/4 cup water
1 can chopped green chiles, drained - or fresh if you have available
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives, drained
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (8 oz)
1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup seeded chopped tomato (1 large)
Crushed corn chips, if desired
salsa, if desired

Heat oven to 400°F. Spray or grease 15x10-inch or larger dark or nonstick cookie sheet. Unroll dough on cookie sheet; starting at center, press dough into 15x10-inch rectangle.

In skillet, cook beef, taco seasoning mix and water as directed on package. Spoon evenly on dough. Top with chiles, olives and cheese.

Bake 13 to 16 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Top with remaining ingredients.

Beachcomber Cookies

Courtesy of Foodnetwork.com & Aida Mollenkamp

Bake 18-20 minutes; yields 4 dozen cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter (1/2 pound), room temperature
1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted flaked unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Place flour, baking powder salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.

Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat over medium speed until mixture resembles wet sand and is airy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, letting each fully incorporate before adding the next. Add vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture in 2 parts, and mix until just combined. Add remaining ingredients and mix until evenly combined.

Using a 2-inch scoop (Cookie Scoop), drop dough onto baking sheets, spaced about 1-inch apart. Bake until cookies are puffed, set, and tops and undersides are golden brown, rotating sheets halfway through, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool on sheets 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.


Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

Courtesy of Food Network.com and The Barefoot Contessa
Serves 4 easily

1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
2 extra-large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas, diced, plus extra for serving

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined.

Ladle the pancake batter into a greased pan/griddle to make 3 or 4 pancakes. Sprinkle a rounded tablespoon of bananas on each pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute until browned. Continue cooking pancakes until all the batter is used. Serve with sliced bananas, butter and maple syrup.

1/2 batch for 2

3/4 c flour
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 c sour cream
1/3 c milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 banana, diced


Pork Chops and Apples

2 Tbsp. Apple Pie spice
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 cups sliced tart apples (no skins)
8 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick, about 2 lb.
1/4 c seasoned breadcrumbs

PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl. Add apples; toss to coat. Spoon into greased 13x9-inch baking dish.

COAT chops with breadcrums. Discard any remaining coating mix. Place chops in single layer over apples.

BAKE 35-40 minutes or until chops are cooked through.


Cheese Roux for Mac and Cheese

Doctored from The Food Network

(ingredients for 1 lb pasta)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 cups whole milk
1 cup chicken stock or broth
3 cups shredded cheddar

Heat a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and heat with the butter until it melts. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes to sweat them out and turn the juices sweet. Raise the heat a bit, then whisk in the flour, cayenne, and paprika. Whisk together until the roux bubbles up, then cook for 1 minute more.

Whisk in the milk and stock and raise the heat a bit higher to bring the sauce to a quick boil. Once it bubbles, drop the heat back to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the cheese to the thickened sauce and stir to melt it, a minute or so. Stir in the mustard and season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Pour over macaroni or noodles of choice!


Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

Dressing from Food Network

About 3 c salad greens, whatever you like and have on hand
2 ripe pears, sliced
1/2 c blue cheese
2/3 c walnuts (or cashews, for those who may be allergic)
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp whole grain mustard
1/4 tsp salt (plus more for taste)
freshly ground peper (to taste)
3 Tbsp olive oil

Take vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together. Gradually stream in olive oil for dressing. Toss remaining ingredients together.

Also good with grilled chicken!


Chicken Enchiladas

Courtesy Kraft Foods

I first made these for one of Nate's birthday celebrations. Cooked for 10 people - my first large dinner. I even baked a cake! (The Pumpkin one listed on this blog) Shredding the chicken is about the hardest thing, so chopped would be fine. Just enough to spoon into the tortillas is all you need to look for.

1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cooked small chicken breasts (about 1 lb.), shredded
1 cup salsa, divided
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cubed
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup shredded cheddar & monterey jack Cheese, divided
8 flour tortillas

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Heat large skillet spayed with cooking spray on medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir 2 min. Add chicken, 1/4 cup of the salsa, cream cheese, cilantro and cumin; mix well. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese; mix well.

SPOON about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture onto each tortilla; roll up. Place, seam-side down, in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with remaining 3/4 cup salsa and remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

BAKE 15 to 20 min. or until heated through.


Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Courtesy of FoodNetwork.com & Paula Dean

Comments from other users state that you don't need to use a crockpot of the eggs for this to taste good - good tip if you're short on time!

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (an 8-ounce box isn't quite 2 cups)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stuck) butter, cut into pieces
2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. In a slow cooker, combine cheese/butter mixture and add the eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well. Then add drained macaroni and stir again. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.


PHILLY Cheesy Pizza Dip

Courtesy of Kraft Foods

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/2 mozzerela cheese
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbsp. each chopped red and green peppers
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
RITZ Crackers

SPREAD cream cheese onto bottom of microwaveable 9-inch pie plate; cover with sauce. Top with layers of all remaining ingredients except crackers.

MICROWAVE on HIGH 2 min. or until heated through.

SERVE with crackers

Cheesy Spinach and Bacon Dip

Courtesy of Kraft Foods

1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
1 lb. (16 oz.) VELVEETA , cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 oz. Cream Cheese, cubed
1 can (10 oz.) RO*TEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, undrained
8 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled

MICROWAVE ingredients in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 5 min. or until VELVEETA is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 3 min.

SERVE with tortilla chips and cut-up fresh vegetables

*NOTE* This will also do well in the crock pot on low to hold the heat once everything is melted.

Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Courtesy of Kraft Foods

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, finely chopped
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

HEAT oven to 350°F.

MIX all ingredients; spoon into 9-inch quiche dish or pie plate.

BAKE 20 min. or until heated through.

SERVE with TRISCUIT Crackers and assorted cut-up fresh vegetables.

Garlicky White-Bean Dip

Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

2 15-oz cans cannellini beans
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1/2 c PLUS 3 Tbsp olive oil
1 roasted red pepper, diced
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp basil, chopped

Drain and rise beans, reserve 1/2 c for garnish - puree remaining with garlic, lemon juice and salt and peper. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while blending. Transfer mix to bowl and toss in reserved beans, red pepper, parsley and basil. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with pita chips

Wasabi Cocktail Sauce

Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

1 c ketchup
2 Tbsp horseradish (fresh grated)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp wasabi paste

Whisk all ingredients together - serve with cooked shrimp

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

This is served in a bread bowl, but I think the soup sounds delicious.

6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 c half-and-half
3 c chicken broth (you can use low-sodium)
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp nutmeg (fresh if you have it)
salt and pepper
4 c broccoli florests (about 1 head)
1 large carrot, diced
2 1/2 c (about 8 oz) grated sharp white and yellow cheddar and some for garnish

Melt butter in large Dutch oven or bot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender (about 5 min). Whisk in flour and cook until golden (3-4 min). Gradually whisk in half-and-half until smooth. Add broth, bay leaves, and nutmeg, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to med-low and cook, uncovered until thickened (about 20 min)

Add broccoli and carrots to the broth mixture and simmer until tender (about 20 min). Discard bay leaves. Puree soup in batches until smooth - there will be flecks of carrot and broccoli.

Add cheese to soup over med heat and whisk until melted. Add 3/4 c water if soup is too thick.


Ginerged Pears and Parsnips

Courtsey of Food Network Magazine


2 pears, quartered (Bosc pears are called for in the mag, but anything you have will work)
3 parsnips, sliced lengthwise
1/2 c white wine
1/2 c chicken broth
2 Tbsp butter
Juice of 1 lemon
Sliced ginger
1 bay leaf
Pinch sugar and red peper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a skillet. Partially cover and boil until liquid evaporates and the pears brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in a splash of water and serve.

Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp

Courtesy of Food Network mag

Total time: 25 minutes
Serves 6

2 lbs (17-21) shrimp, peeled and deveined
Good olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 lb angel hair pasta
1 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, melted
Zest and juice of 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 400.

Place shrimp on sheet pan with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper; toss well. Spread in 1 layer and roast for 6-8 minutes until just pink and cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on box (about 4-5 minutes), reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Toss with melted butter, 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper and the reserved cooking liquid.

Add shrimp and serve!

NOTE: We used pre-cooked salad shrimp and added that to the butter mix at the very end to heat through. YUM!!


Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla

Inspired by an app at Mavericks, near our home. Stolen ideas from here and there... tried for the first time on a Friday night, forgoing a Happy Hour out. I will warn that I am not a "measuring" cook - most of my dishes are an eyeball scenario.

1 boneless, skinless, chicken breast**
2 tsp grill seasoning, or seasoned salt
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp hot sauce (we used Red Tabasco)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 rib celery, chopped
1 cup shredded cheese, Mexican mix is OK
Sprinkle of blue cheese, depending on your taste for the stuff!
2 flour tortillas
Oil for pan, both for chicken and tortillas

**Depending on the size of your chicken, you may be able to make multiple. In total, you'll need about 1/2 c of shredded chicken.

1. Cook chicken in oil and grill seasoning, about 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Remove from pan and let cool, leave drippings. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shread by hand (or in my case fork)

2. Melt butter in chicken pan and add in Worcester and Tabasco. Add and mix shredded chicken until well coated.

3. Heat oil over medium-high head in pan for cooking of quesadilla. Layer on the bottom of 1 tortilla, cheeses, chicken, and celery - place other tortilla on top. It's probably easiest to build this in the pan rather than risking the transfer and spill. Flip quesadilla after about 2-3 minutes, when cheese is almost all melted and tortilla is browned. Crank heat to get a nice crunch on the other side, but watch carefully so you don't burn.

4. Cut into wedges and enjoy! This is good with sour cream and salsa as toppers!


Weeknight Lasagna Toss

Courtesy of Kraft Foods

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 green peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1-2/3 cups water
1/4 cup Italian Dressing
12 oven-ready lasagna noodles, broken into quarters - they also sell boxes of "mini lasagna noodles that are perfect for this
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

BROWN meat in large saucepan; drain.

ADD peppers, garlic, spaghetti sauce, water and dressing; bring to boil. Stir in noodles; cover.

COOK on medium-low heat 10 to 15 min. or until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cheese; cover. Let stand 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

Sun-Dried Tomato & Garlic Dip

Courtesy of Kraft Foods

1 pkg (8 oz.) Cream Cheese Spread, softened
1/2 cup MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, chopped
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients and serve with crakers or veggies

Luscious Four-Layer Pumpkin Cake

Kraft Foods, again

I made this cake for Nate's birthday one year - not a baker, so it was quite a feat for me!

1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
4 eggs
1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup chopped Pecans

HEAT oven to 350°F.

BEAT cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, oil, eggs and 1 tsp. spice in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round pans.

BAKE 28 to 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely.

BEAT cream cheese in medium bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar, remaining pumpkin and spice; mix well. Gently stir in COOL WHIP. Cut each cake layer horizontally in half with serrated knife; stack on serving plate, spreading cream cheese filling between layers. (Do not frost top layer.) Drizzle with caramel topping just before serving; top with nuts. Refrigerate leftovers.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Courtesy of Kraft Foods

This sauce is very delicious, however it is a little thicker than the jar stuff. If you can get over the look and enjoy the taste, I think you'll be pleased with your home-made creation.

4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) Cream Cheese, cubed
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1/4 tsp. white pepper (black works fine too)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
8 oz. fettuccine, cooked, drained
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

MIX cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, milk, butter, white pepper and garlic powder in medium saucepan; cook on low heat until cream cheese is melted and mixture is well blended.

TOSS with hot fettucine. Sprinkle with nutmeg, and of course, more Parmesan cheese if you'd like!

Feta Spinach Dip

Again, thanks Kraft Foods!

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
1 pkg. (4 oz.) Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Mayo
1/4 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives or sliced pitted ripe olives
1/4 cup chopped drained roasted red peppers

Mix all and chill for 3 hours

Serve with crackers, pita bread or chips or veggies

Easy Pickle Stacks

Courtesy of Kraft Foods

I only made these once in our apartment in Eden Prairie, when we lived underneath the worst family in the world. Devil children and their rotten, inattentive mother. Yeck. Anyways, these were a little time consuming to put together, but feel they should re-enter my repertoire.

3 Pickle Wholes, each cut crosswise into 11 slices - I like Clausen because they're super crunchy
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, cut into 32 small cubes - pop this brick into the freezer for a bit to make it easier to cut
32 cooked cleaned small shrimp (1/2 lb.)
2 plum tomatoes, seeded, each cut into 16 pieces

TOP each pickle slice with 1 cream cheese cube, 1 shrimp and 1 tomato piece. (Enjoy remaining pickle slice for snacking.)

PIERCE each stack with toothpick. Arrange on serving platter. For best results, pierce pickle off center with toothpick.

Easy One-Skillet Stroganoff

Courtesy of Kraft Foods

1 onion, thinly sliced
1-1/2 tsp. oil
1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) vegetable broth
1 can (8 oz.) mushroom pieces and stems, drained
3 cups egg noodles, uncooked
1 container (8 oz.) Sour Cream
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Total cook time: 35 minutes

COOK onions in hot oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat until crisp-tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

ADD all remaining ingredients except sour cream and parsley; mix well. Bring to boil; cover. Simmer on medium-low heat 10 to 12 min. or until noodles are tender. Remove from heat.

STIR in sour cream; sprinkle with parsley

Creamy Garlic Chicken

Courtesy of Kraft Foods

2 tsp. oil
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1/4 cup MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
2 cups frozen stir-fry vegetables - a package in the frozen section works perfectly
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups hot cooked instant white rice - or regular rice for those who are lucky enough like to to have a rice cooker

HEAT oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 min., turning after 3 min.

ADD dressing, vegetables, soy sauce and garlic; stir. Cook, covered, 7 min. or until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally.

SERVE over the hot cooked rice.

Cilantro-Corn Salad

Courtesy of Kraft Foods; edits by my own tastebuds

1/2 cup MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt - I would use 1/4 plain yogurt and 1/4 sour cream. Vanilla is way too sweet for me
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp. ground ginger
4 cups frozen corn, thawed, drained
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 jalapeƱo pepper, finely chopped

Mix all, cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.

This was meant to be a side dish, but it works well with Frito chips as dip too!

Chocolate Passion Bowl

Courtesy of Kraft Foods

I would like to start by saying that I really don't have a sweet tooth, am not a huge chocolate girl like most may claim and really am not a brownie or pudding person either. This dessert is amazing!

3 cups cold milk
2 pkg. (3.9 oz each) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1 baked 9-inch square brownie layer, cooled, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5-1/2 cups)
1 pt. (2 cups) raspberries

BEAT milk and pudding mixes with whisk 2 min. Stir in 1 cup COOL WHIP.

PLACE 1/2 of brownies in 2-qt. bowl; top with layers of 1/2 each pudding mixture, remaining COOL WHIP and raspberries. Repeat all layers.


Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Courtesy of Kraft Foods

I rarely make this just because most of our gatherings are long-time things and I don't want this dish to get cold. But it is yummy so if you can eat it while it's warm or keep it warm, I would recommend it!

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, finely chopped
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained - Rachel Rays trick of a kitchen towel is fine, but you will trash and ruin that towel, I promise you. I double up on paper towel to squeeze the water out. You have to be careful, but at least you'll save your linens!
3/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
3/4 cup Light Mayo Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
1/2 cup 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350; prep 9 inch sqare pan
Total cook/prep time: 30 minutes

Mix all ingredients and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve hot with crackers, toasted french bread or dipping veggies.

Cherry Brie Tossed Salad

Courtesy of The Taste of Home Cookbook

I made this for Baby Girl's baptism brunch. Again, love me some cheese! And the salad part makes it healthier than usual!

1 c cider vinegar
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp ground mustard
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds

2 Tbsp butter
3/4 c sliced almonds
3 Tbsp sugar
8 c torn Romaine
8 oz Brie or Camembert, rind removed, cubed
1 pkg (6 oz) dried cherries

For dressing: in a jar or container with tight-sealing lid, combine all ingredients and shake until sugar is dissolved.

For salad, start with the almonds -- melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add almonds and toss for about 4 minutes until toasted. Sprinkle with sugar and cook until sugar is melted. Spread on foil to cool, break apart. My tip is to make sure they are spread out and sugar is completely melted otherwise it will just be a large sugar lump in the salad.

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together, including almonds and dressing. Toss to coat - serve!

Oven Denver Omelet

Courtesy of The Taste of Home Cookbook

I made this for a brunch that we hosted for our newly engaged friends, now the Bakers - though I will still refer to them as Vassalo and Mike :) Cheers! This is ideal for me because you don't have to let it sit overnight like some other egg-bake dishes

8 eggs
1/2 c half and half
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c finely chopped cooked ham (sandwich meat works well if you don't have ham leftovers)
1/4 c finely chopped onion
1/4 c finely chopped green pepper
NOTE: You can add other veggies that you like such as celery, red pepper - go crazy!

Preheat 400 degrees; prep and grease 9 inch square pan
Total cook/prep time: 45 minutes

In a bowl, wisk eggs and cream until light. Stir in all other ingredients.

Pour into greased pan and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.

Because I love the cheese, you can sprinkle a little more in the last 5 or so minutes of baking.

Hollandaise Sauce

Betty Crocker Cookbook and Brown Family Favorites

2 egg yolks
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, cold (cold is key)

Mix egg yolks and lemon juice with a wooden spoon in a small saucepan. Don't use a whisk - you'll run a higher risk of scrambling eggs.

Add 1/4 c of butter. Heat over medium-high head, stirring constantly. When butter is melted, add other half stick. Continue to heat and stir constantly. You can even add smaller amounts of cold butter if the though of buttery scrambled eggs is intimidating. Just go slow and keep stirring - wooden spoon remember!

This can be refrigerated and used as leftovers, just add a tiny bit of water and stir briskly over heat.

I classify this with vegetables because it is excellent over aspargus or broccoli. And of course, the classic eggs benedict.

Corn Pudding

From Brown Family Favorites

1 stick butter or margarine, melted
1 16-oz can of whole kernal corn, drained (and rinsed if salt is a concern)
1 16-oz can of creamed corn
2 eggs
1 c sour cream
1 pkg. Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 c grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350, have ungreased 9x13 pan on hand
Total cook time: 35 minutes

Melt butter in microwave-safe bowl - helpful if this is large enough for mixing

Add all ingrediants except for cheese and mix well. Pour into pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Top with cheese and return to bake for another 20 minutes.

Garlic Chicken

From Brown Family Favorites

2/3 c Italian style bread crumbs
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick margarine or butter
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cut to make even sized servings for even baking
2/3 c grated Parmesan - fresh is desired, but can works okay
1/8 tsp black pepper
4-5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

Preheat oven to 350

Melt butter and saute garlic until just browned. Remove from heat and cool slightly - cool enough so you can touch it with fingers and not brand yourself permanently.

In shallow bowl, blend bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper

Line baking sheet with aluminim foil. Dip each chicken breast into butter mixture and then dredge in breadcrumbs to coat. Place on baking sheet. Mix remaining butter and crumbs together and top chicken with mix.

Bake 45-60 minutes until chicken juice runs clear.

NOTE: There is one technique I have read about but have yet to try, but I have heard the secret to cook, crispy baked chicken is pan frying on 1 side first (about 3-4 minutes over med-high heat) and flipping in skillet - place whole skillet in oven to finish baking. We'll see how this goes and I will report back later.

Banana Bread

From The Brown Family Favorites

2 1/2 c flour
1 c sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (2-3 medium)
3/4 c milk
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 and grease pan(s): 1 9x5x3 or 2 8.5x4.5x2.5

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl on medium speed for about a minute, scraping sides until all dry ingredients are incorporated.

Pour into pan(s) and bake 45-60 minutes depending on pan size. Wooden pick comes out clean, they're done!! Cool on rack and enjoy.

Tip: Cut thick slices for toast in the morning - banana bread with peanut butter. Yes please!

Spanish-Style Garlic Shrimp

Courtesy of Cook's Illustrated, Jan & Feb 2008

I made this for Nate and my first Christmas Eve in our home in Champlin. It was putsy, but delicious. Made it again the following year on New Years Eve. It would have been successful again, but our power went out in the middle of the cooking process. We do have a gas range, but cooking with a flashlight is not ideal!

The dried chiles can be substituted for 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
If you don't have sherry vinegar, use 2 tsp dry sherry and 1 tsp white vinegar

Serves 6 as an appetizer

14 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 lb (31-40) large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
8 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1 (2-inch) piece mild dried chile, roughly broken, seeds included
1 1/2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (garnish)

Mince 2 garlic cloves and toss with shrimp, 2 Tbsp olive oil and salt. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Meanwhile, use side of knife, smash 4 cloves of garlic and heat in remaining olive oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until garlic is a light golden brown (4-7 minutes).

Remove pan from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Use slotted spoon to remove garlic pieces and discard.

Thinly slice remaining 8 cloves and return skillet to low heat. Add sliced garlic, bay leaf and chile. Cook, stirring occasionally until garlic tender but not browned (4-7 minutes). Note: If garlic has not begun to sizzle after 3 minutes, turn heat to medium-low.

Increase heat to medium-low and add shrimp in a single layer. DON'T TOUCH for 2 minutes!/bc o,m';lzaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, (PS that's Baby Girl helping with the blog)
Anyways, don't disturb shrimp for 2 minutes, until oil starts to gently bubble. Using tongs, flip shrimp and continue to cook until shrimp are almost cooked through, about 2 minutes longer.

Increase heat to high and add sherry vinegar and parsley. Cook, stirring constantly through and oil is bubbling vigorously, 15-20 seconds.

Serve immediately.

Crusty bread is highly recommended as a side to dip and enjoy the yummy flavored oil you have just created!

Bacon Appetizer Crescents

Courtesy of Kraft Foods:

These will fly off the plate in any setting!

Makes 8 dozen

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. milk
2 cans (8 oz. each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

Heat oven to 375°F. Mix all ingredients except crescent dough

Seperate each can of dough into 4 rectangles; press perforations together to seal. Spread each rectangle with 2 rounded Tbsp. cream cheese mixture, then cut into 12 wedges. Roll up wedges, starting at short ends. Place, seam-sides down, on greased baking sheet.
NOTE: I have cut the pre-made triangles in half the long way and this seems to work fine as well

Bake 12 to 15 min. or until golden brown. Serve warm.


Courtesy of Kraft Foods

1 bottle (8 oz.) Italian dressing - this can be adjusted to your tastes
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, quartered
1 pkg. (3 oz.) pepperoni slices - can be halved if you prefer
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup pitted ripe olives
10 pepperoncini peppers
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into thick sticks - I use more because... it's cheese

Pour dressing over artichokes, pepperoni, tomatoes, olives and peppers in shallow dish; cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Drain and reserve marinade.

Arrange on plate with cheese, topping with reserved marinade. I recommend adding marinade right before serving to help keep the cheese from going soggy.

Recommended alteration - toss with a bag of mixed greens. We've not yet eaten this, but it can't be bad!
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