Thursday, February 27, 2014

Easy Weeknight! Cowboy Biscuit Bake


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I am always leery of feeding my family one pot dishes.  “Mom!  My food is touching this other food!”  or “I can’t eat this, it has this in it!”  So when I bring dishes like this one, “Cowboy Biscuit Bake”, to the table, my defenses are already on high alert and my emotions might be a little on edge. 

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I think most people feel this way.  I mean, you spend your hard earned money at the grocery store and prepare a meal you spent some time finding, only to have it shot down before you even sit down.  I want to feed my family a variety of tastes and textures at each meal and sometimes that means lumping every ingredient into one pan.  Sometimes that means the family isn’t going to like it and sometimes they surprise you…..


Tada!!!!!!  Cowboy Biscuit Bake was a winner!  Quick, easy and delicious!  I found this recipe in my Pillsbury “Casseroles” cookbook.  When I was a kid I remember doing the same thing to my mother.  Whenever she would pull a casserole cookbook out of her collection, to make the grocery list, I would stand over her to make sure green peppers were not on the list.  So I understand a little bit of what my kids and husband go through.

Smokey, hardy, meaty and bacony are the words I would use to describe this dish.  I would have preferred a little spicier mix, but you can add cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes if you like.  I also cut up the biscuits into smaller bits so they spread out more.  Alex (the 14 year old) gave this a ranking of 4 out of 5 stars.  If Alex has it for breakfast, that usually means the recipe is pretty good.  Please put this dish in your must have casseroles.  It will be a hit!




Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Italian-Style Pork Pot Roast


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There really isn’t anything like it.  You know, coming home and unlocking your door and having each of the kids whining about something or having the weight of the world on your shoulders.  You know, after having dropped your keys in the snow a third time or the constants drum of MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM in your ears.  You open your door, pile in to the kitchen, and then it hits you… Dinner is done and it smells absolutely delicious.

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I love those days.  I need to have them more often.  It is so easy, I don’t know why I don’t.  Probably because my brain only thinks one day at a time and heaven forbid I plan anything ahead of time.  There are a few moments of clarity when I think, hmmmm maybe I will pick up stuff for dinner at the store for today aannnd tomorrow.  Makes sense right?  When you smell this pot roast in your kitchen you know for a few moments that the craziness of this world does make sense.

This recipe comes to us from the CrockPot* “Slow Cooker Bible”.  I love it.  There are so many great ideas in this cookbook.  Easy 4 or 5 ingredient dishes and desserts.  Each one of the has a unique spin.  I put a spin on this pot roast recipe when I swapped out the beef and substituted pork.  That’s the beauty of slow cooker recipes you can do that!  When I went to the store to purchase the beef bottom round roast I discovered that it cost twice as much as the pork counterpart and you got a lot less.  That was easy.  I bought the pork roast, cut it in half and now I have another meal for another time.

The one suggestion for this meal is to serve it with something more than just the beans.  The kids were happy with plain white rice and it was a bit more substantial in their tummies.  I hope you guys get to enjoy this recipe.  My gosh did it smell good and it sure did taste good too. 



P.S.  I apologize for the quality of the pictures.  It was early morning (6am).  Nothing should count before 6 AM.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sweet Sunday: Raspberry Almond Muffins



So bare with me.  I didn’t take pictures of the process on how to make these muffins.  I was busy making everything else and just want to get my work done.  I still think these muffins are definitely worth making and are easy enough to understand.  These muffins were served last week at church and I have had a number of people ask me for the recipe.  This recipe is definitely worth sharing.


My copy of Cooking Lights “Quick Baking”, is faded and sticky and covered in flour.  I have used it many times and each time I have not been disappointed.  Evidently I didn’t blog the other recipes besides the one listed below, but believe me, I did make some. This cookbook/magazine has everything you are craving and want to eat, but still lets you stay in your dietary guidelines (if you follow the portion control laws).  Raspberry Almond Muffins are a sweet treat to start your day or to have as small snacks throughout the day. 

Please give these muffins a try and let me know what you think in the comments section below.  I am really looking for feedback on the blog.  If there are any recipes you guys have questions about or any recipes you would like to see, please let me know!

Sticky Date and Coconut Cake



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chocolate Macaroon Bars



Yup, it’s chocolate time again.  This is the recipe I debuted at church this past Sunday.  Every time someone went through the line their reaction was the same thing.  “OHHHH I will definitely take one of those!”  “Chocolate and coconut?  Right up my alley!”  I guarantee these bars will be right up your alley too! 


I discovered this amazing, easy recipe in the Pillsbury “Best Family Meals from the Bake-Off” cookbook.  This little cookbook is loaded with fast easy meals that serve more than the normal family of four.  I made two batches of these bars and cut them into smaller pieces than required and I am glad I did.  The bars went like hotcakes!  This is the perfect dessert to bring to a potluck or to have for dessert at a dinner party.  I will be bringing these again for sure.   The dessert is so fancy, no one will know how much time you DIDN’T spend on it! 


The secret ingredient?  Refrigerated crescent roll dough.  Yup that’s it. I used two different kinds.  I had purchased a seamless roll earlier and hadn’t used it and then purchased a perforated crescent roll just in case I needed it.  Look at the pictures below.  It is way easier to use the seamless roll.  The crust bakes up more even and has a nicer texture.  Plus I didn’t have to spend time pinching all of the seams together. 


(Freshly roasted almonds)

Please give these bars a try.  They will become a crowd favorite.  My crowd liked them.  I promise your crowd will love them too.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Easy Weeknight: Cheddar Apple Bacon Chicken Roll-Ups



This looks complicated, but it is anything but…  Just a few ingredients turns tonight’s dinner into something amazing.  I mean cheese and bacon how can it get much better.  It can!  When you add cream cheese!  Ok, so this recipe isn’t low fat nor is it low in calories, but boy is it delicious!


This recipe comes from Sandra Lee’s “Every Dish Delivers”.  I jus used this cookbook last week as the base for my Southwest Turkey and Bean Chili.  The picture is what sold me.  Picture this:  A chicken breast covered in bacon and cheese and filled with sweet apples and cream cheese.  How can that not be good!  I am trying to get my family to step out of the norm of tame flavors.  This recipe will tingle your taste buds with sweet and salty.  Everybody enjoyed it and when I say everyone, I actually mean everyone!


A couple of notes for you…..

1. I used boneless skinless chicken breasts.  I cut the chicken in half and pounded the meat to get a bigger surface area. 

2. Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature.  It will make it much easier to spread on a wet piece of meat. 

3.  Make sure you tightly roll the bacon around the chicken packets.  You don’t want to lose everything out of the middle.

4.  Enjoy


Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Very Sweet Sunday Indeed…….



I had the best day yesterday.  I baked. I baked in morning.  I baked in the afternoon and I baked into the night.  I love baking.  My favorite thing about baking is not the process itself, but watching the end product bring a smile to the face of the person eating it.  I love it. I love watching people eat my food.  Especially my mother.  She is so expressive when she eats.  My mother thinks about what she is eating and the flavors in her mouth.  If she isn’t sure about something she shakes her head as she chews, thinking about her review in her head.  She and my husband are my greatest critics.  They both tell my how it is.  Good or bad.  In the end it’s weird.  I just love watching people eat.


Coconut Macaroon Bars

No recipe for today.  I will have plenty this week.  My kitchen still needs to be cleaned up from yesterdays baking escapade.  In between church services we have coffee fellowship and I signed to bring in the treats and goodies.  The post from last Sunday, (the Triple Chocolate Bread) was served today along with a host of delicious treats.  I tried to pick a variety of flavors for every one to experience.  In the weeks to come I will post recipes for all the items pictured here.  Except the Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies.  Those are a secret family recipe.  (If you post a comment below, maybe we’ll talk about getting the recipe too you.)


Browned Butter Blueberry Mini-Muffins

Here is a link to the Triple Chocolate Bread Sweet Sunday: Triple-Chocolate Bread.


Triple Chocolate Bread

Enjoy the goodies and I will see you Tuesday with another Easy Week Night dinner!


Raspberry Almond Mini-Muffins


Buttermilk Frangipane Pound Cake


Chocolate Toffee Nut Cookies (Best Chocolate Chip Cookies you will ever have.



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Southwest Turkey and Bean Chili



Looking to spice up your Thursday?  In need of something warm and cozy? You have come to the right place.  I have definitely been in the mood for a steamy, chunky bowl of chili.  Chili is it’s name and chilly it has been so let’s put the two together and beat this weather!  (Really, I am so sick of the snow).

I love chili.  My mother-in-law used to make a fantastic chili.  I loved it, but it was a bit on the watery side.  She always served it with buttered Saltines.  I would always crush up the crackers in my soup.  I like it chunky.  That’s how I like my chicken noodle soup or any soup that I am served, the less broth the better.  (I know, I’m weird).  This chili meet my needs for a chunky soup and exceeded my expectations.


The “base” of this recipe comes from Sandra Lee’s “Every Dish Delivers” cookbook.  I put base in quotations, because I took the main parts of the chili and switched out and added my own ingredients.  You are more than welcome to do that as well.

I served this chili with “Mexican Muffins”.  I found the recipe for these muffins in a really old cookbook.  Ok, so not really old, let’s just say “vintage”.  In 1975 Better Homes and Gardens published a cookbook called “Quick Breads”.  I found it at a flea market and paid 50 cents for it.  The original sticker price was a steep 2.49!  I will post the recipe for the muffins in the next blog. 

Right now, just enjoy the chili.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Texas Crunch Taco Burgers


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That is one delicious mouthful of words.  Seriously.  Each word is delicious.  Texas means big.  A big juice hamburger.  Crunchy and taco what could be better?  Mix it all together and you just have delicious.  Straight up. 

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I know you guys are longing for the open fire.  The grills on your deck sit so lonesome in this frigid weather.  Nothing tastes better than a hamburger cooked outdoors.  Until these terrible months are passed, and when you are someday reunited with your grill, these burgers will fill the void. 

Texas Crunch Taco Burgers is an amalgamation of two recipes.  I found both of them in “1,000 Easy Recipes”, by Food Network Magazine.  I am in love with this cookbook!  So easy!  So fun!  This cookbook lives up to it’s name.  I combined the Texas Crunch Burger and the Taco Burger.  The result?  Fabulous!  The crunch from the nacho cheese sauce and the creaminess of the refried beans go so well together.  You could add fresh guacamole or salsa too!

I know everybody loves the classics, but I promise you this hamburger will not disappoint.   Give these a try now or wait until the perfect grilling moment.

P.S.  Don’t mind the Winnie the Pooh plate.  (It’s Gabe’s)


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sweet Sunday: Triple-Chocolate Bread


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You heard me.  THREE kinds of chocolate!  It is one of those days.  It’s not just a one chocolate Sunday.  I bumped it up to a category three chocolate Sunday.  No you can not judge me.

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I hope everyone is doing well after another week of snow.  The winter blues are definitely upon.  The feeling of wanting to stay in bed, all warm and toasty has worn out its welcome.  I don’t know about you guys, but I am ready to move!  Not just from the house to the car or the car to work.  I am mean really get my legs out there and start walking.  It’s kind of hard when the snow is up to my knees.  It’s almost March……  It’s almost March……

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Today’s “Sweet Sunday” is a delicious Triple Chocolate Bread.  I found this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens “Fall Baking” publication.  I am responsible for providing the baked goods between services at church next week, so I started baking early!  Here is a sneak peak for those who go to my church.  You lucky bums!  This bread is delicious!  It has milk chocolate, semi-sweet and white chocolate chips in it.  The recipe is straight forward and doesn’t use too many dishes.  The only tricky thing is it has too cool all the way and then the bread needs to be wrapped until morning.  So you can’t eat it right away when it comes out of the oven.  The chocolate chips don’t melt all the way and the in the cooling down process the chips firm bake up, so you get chunks of chocolate in each bite.

Please give this bread a try!  I would say a glass of milk and a snuggly blanket would be the perfect accompaniments for it. 



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Easy Weeknight Meal: Turkey Stroganoff



When I say easy, I mean easy.  Like the easiest meal you will ever make.  Ever.  This meal will take you 20 minutes, from start to finish.  It’s Thursday and we are almost through the week.  I know how tired you guys are, and the last thing you want to make is something that has multiple steps and takes hours to prepare. 


Turkey Stroganoff is another 5 ingredient recipe.  Aren’t these great!!!  I found this recipe in “Easy Meals”, by Pillsbury.  Again, this is one of those cookbooks you throw in your cart in the check out lane.  In fact, I have had this book since June 2005.  It helps to speed up the cook time with prepared foods that just need to be thrown together.  You can use ground beef for this if you prefer, but you know me and ground turkey.  I didn’t have to trick my family, I just came out and told them it was ground turkey!

You can round out the meal with a side salad or green beans.  I doubled the recipe.  Alex tends to eat 2 or 3 servings of things and then will finish off dinner at breakfast.  One more tip.  After swirling in the sour cream, don’t let the mixture come to a boil again, it will curdle. 



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bacon Apple Pancakes!!! Its What’s for Dinner!



Breakfast for dinner?  Yes please!  We love pancakes for dinner at our house.  They are warm and comforting and they give you a hug from the inside.  My family likes the instant kind.  The kind you can have on the table with just the addition of water.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.  It has been a time saver, but I want something more…. Something more adventurous!


When I make pancakes it isn’t just pancakes.  We normally have sausage or bacon to round out the meal.  What better way to eat pancakes, than with the meat right inside of them!  Pancakes are a quick weeknight meal and I suggest you try them! 

Bacon and Apple pancakes were found in the Food Magazine, “1,000 Easy Recipes” cookbook.  I love this cookbook.  I know I say that about all of my cookbooks, but this one is just fun!  I mean super fun!  Colorful pictures, simple recipes and even party suggestions.  I love it.  The cookbook gives you guidelines on basic recipes and then ideas on how to make them better!  Like pancakes!  Everything is better with bacon, why not pancakes!


(These are my pancakes)

Make some pancakes for dinner tonight.  Have some fun coming up with more ideas to mix into them.  Why stop at bacon and apples!  Keep the ideas coming and let me know how they turned out!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sweet Big Game Sunday: Lemonade Cookies



Here is something sweet to brighten your week.  Here in Michigan we are dangerously lacking the sunshine.  The only sun I have gotten these two weeks has been the reflection of the sun off of the blinding snow. I need some sunshine!!!!! 


Today is the biggest football day of the year.  I’m going to be honest, I really don’t care.  I do watch the commercials. I do like to see all of the hype, but pro-football just isn’t my thing.  College football is where it’s at.  GO BLUE!  I digress.  If you are planning to go to a “big game” party, these cookies will be a fabulous addition. 


Lemonade cookies are quick, easy to make with only six ingredients.  The only thing I had to buy at the store was the frozen lemonade concentrate.  The cookies bake in mere minutes and the recipe makes a ton!  I found the recipe in the Taste of Home “Bake Sale Recipe Cards” cookbook.  The same cookbook I used for the Chewy Caramel Bars (See the link below for that great recipe). 

Please whip up at batch of the these cookies today.  They are tart and sweet and will give you a break from the doldrums of winter.  Let’s call them little burst of sunshine in your mouth. 


One Big Delicious Mess or Chewy Caramel Bars 


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pork Pork Pork: Easy Breaded Pork Chops



The answer to the question:  How do we do pork chops?  This is how we do pork chops.  Pork is such a versatile meat.  It can be cooked for a long time to produce tender ribs or pan-seared in a flash for a quick weeknight dinner.  Pork is a blank canvas waiting for your artist paint brush.  In case you haven’t figured it out yet, pork is one of my favorite meats.

Thank you to all you answered the question I posted a few days ago.  I loved all the answers and I really want to try all of them.  Some of the suggestions were quite unique and delicious!  Of course apple sauce!  Yum!


Today’s recipe is more a technique than a recipe.  It is a standard instruction for how to bread meat.  I found it in “The Joy of Cooking”, by Irma S. Rombauer.  I have had this cookbook for at least 20 years and I have never used it.  It is a cookbook that has all the answers in it.  Need a basic recipe for anything and you will probably find it.  It has easy to follow steps and also easy to follow variations.  The cookbook was first published in 1931 and has been published many many times.  It’s definitely one to keep in the collection, I just need to use it more often.

Breaded pork chops serves four people.  We are family of five so I doubled the recipe.  I used boneless center-cut pork loin, cut 1-inch thick.  I had plenty of leftovers for sandwiches and snacking.  Oh man…these are even good cold on a sandwich, or for breakfast the way my oldest had them.  I also made my own homemade bread crumbs.  Homemade bread crumbs are so easy to make!!!!  Just take 4 or 5 slices of bread and throw them in the food processor.  That’s it!  No excuse!

Now get your pork on….