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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