Thursday, December 31, 2009

Chicken & Dumplings

For me, this is the ultimate comfort food! It was a special treat growing up and my brother’s favorite food EVER! This isn’t my mom’s recipe, but I do like it. It’s also not a very exact recipe…

Just to warn you… I realized that the picture doesn’t make it look very appetizing. I promise you that it tastes much better than it looks.

Pour 6 cups of chicken stock and 1 Tbsp butter into a large pot on medium/high heat. Put in cooked/shredded chicken breast, sliced carrots, chopped onion, sliced celery and salt and pepper to taste.

chicken n dumplings 01 I love the flavor of the celery leaves! But you gotta take ‘em out before adding the dumplings… :o)

Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make dumplings:

1  1/3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

4 Tbsp oil

1/2 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients in bowl. Then stir in milk and oil till combined.

Whisk together 1/2 cup cold water and 1/2 cup flour in a small bowl. Stir into pot, bring to a rolling boil.

Drop spoonfuls of dumpling dough into the boiling chicken. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

chicken n dumplings 02

Be sure to carefully sneak a spoon under the dumplings while cooking to make sure the chicken doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

chicken n dumplings 03

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cranberry Christmas Salad

I love this jello salad my mom made for both our Christmas open house and our church’s Christmas party. I also had quite a few requests for the recipe, so here it is…

1 lg. box strawberry Jello

1 c. boiling water

1 10 oz box frozen strawberries thawed or 1 c. fresh sliced

1 can jellied cranberry sauce

Dissolve jello in boiling water.  Add cranberry sauce and mix well.  (use a wire whip or rotary beater)  Add strawberries. 

cranberry jello 01 cranberry jello 02

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Corn Dog Casserole

This is a recipe I made up for a quick and easy dish to take to Family Nite at church. It’s one of those “mac n cheese” comfort food sort of things. Nothing special or gourmet, just simple and filling.

2 boxes corn bread mix

1 egg

1/4 cup sour cream

1/3 cup milk

1 stick melted butter

1 can creamed corn

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 package sliced hot dogs

Mix ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour into sprayed 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until golden brown.

corn dog casserole 01

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Easy-Peasy Bread

My dear friend Leanne came over last week to show me how to make her “easy peasy” bread. We made 5 loaves then and it was so easy I have 5 more loaves going right now! I had so many requests for the recipe that I just had to share it.

I am looking forward to playing with different sweeteners, flours and add-ins after I get a little more practice… Leanne also told me this dough works great for pizza, cinnamon rolls and anything else you can dream up!

2 1/2 cups hot water (I just use the hot faucet water; let it get really hot!)
1 TBSP plus 1/2 tsp yeast
2 C flour (white, whole wheat or combination of both)

Place the water in a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top of the water. Add the two cups of flour and gently stir until the flour is wet. Don't stir it to death!

bread 02

Let this sit for 20 minutes. It will foam up and bubble. While it sits, grease two loaf pans and get the next ingredients ready......
bread 03

1/3 C sugar, brown sugar, honey or molasses
1/3 C oil
2 tsp salt
3-5 C flour

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Add the sugar or honey, oil and salt to the bubbly flour mixture. Gradually add the flour, one cup at a time and stir gently. Keep adding the flour and stirring until the dough looks a bit dry and comes away from the sides of the bowl.

bread 04

On the surface where you will knead the flour, generously sprinkle extra flour. I knead my bread on a large cutting board surface. Any surface will work, as long as you have a cup of flour next to you that you can sprinkle on your surface as you knead. Dump the dough out on your floured surface. Sprinkle more flour onto the dough. Knead dough for about 6-10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth, making sure to sprinkle flour onto your surface so that the dough does not stick.

bread 05 bread 06

Cut dough in half. Shape into two loaves. Place dough into your greased loaf pans. Place in preheated oven.

bread 07

Let rise for about 15 minutes, or until dough is about an inch above the top of your pans. Turn oven up to 350 degrees. Bake loaves for 25 minutes. Brush tops with melted butter while still hot.

bread 01

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

My homeschool/FB friend Lori posted this recipe that I just had to try. I have to say that they are healthy enough that I let the boys snack on them in the morning before lunch but not-healthy enough that they want to snack on them. :o)

I used dark chocolate chips and cherry flavored craisins in mine and drizzled them with white chocolate and they are perfect!

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal (Rice Krispies)
1 cup white chocolate(vanilla) chips
1 1/2 cups rolled or quick oats
1/2- 3/4 cup craisins (sweetened, dried cranberries)
1 cup chopped nuts, optional
Preheat oven to 350° and lightly grease or spray 9 x 13 pan.
In large bowl, beat brown sugar, sugar, and butter until light and fluffy. Blend in honey, vanilla and egg. In separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture gradually to sugar mixture and beat until combined. By hand, stir in nuts, white chocolate chips, Rice Krispies and oats until well mixed. Press mixture firmly in bottom of greased pan, and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden brown. Do NOT overbake, they may still look "wiggly". Cool and cut into squares or whatever other shapes you might desire;-)

For Glaze: Melt the rest of the chips in the micro with a tblsp of butter. Spoon into a sandwich bag. Cut a very tiny tip of the corner off and squeeze in swirls over the bars. Before or after cutting depending on how much work you want to put into them and how pretty you want them to turn out.

granola bars 01

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thumbprint Cookies

I remember often having these at Christmas growing up, but seldom make them now. But since I have 4 jars of mint jelly on my shelf, I decided this year I would add them to the list. I think they’re even better than I remember…

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup softened butter

1/4 cup shortening

1 egg, separated

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup chopped nuts


Cream together sugar, butter, shortening, vanilla and egg yolk. Stir in flour and salt.

Shape dough into 1” balls. Beat egg white slightly. Dip balls in egg white and then roll in nuts. Press thumb into center of each cookie.

Bake on ungreased baking sheets at 350 for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove immediately and let cool. Fill “hole” with jelly.

thumbprints 01thumbprints 02

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin Dessert

I love this recipe for a quick and easy pumpkin dessert. I’ve already made it twice this week! It works great now that I have my own “pumpkin” in the freezer.

1 yellow cake mix

1/3 cup melted butter

1 egg

Reserve 1 cup of dry cake mix. Combine remaining cake mix with butter and egg. Mix well and spread into bottom of greased 9x13 pan.

3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar

3 eggs

2/3 cup milk

Mix well with wire whisk and pour over cake mix mixture in pan.

1 cup cake mix

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

3/4 cup chopped nuts

Mix cake mix and brown sugar in bowl. Cut in butter until it is crumbly. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes, until top is golden brown.

pumpkin dessert 01

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kentucky Christmas Cake

This is also known as Jam Cake. I found the recipe in my search to try to find things to do with all the jam that I made last year and that is still in my freezer. I don’t know what I was thinking, we hardly eat jam???

I have to admit that the recipe intrigued me: coconut, bourbon-soaked pecans, raisins and blackberry jam. When I saw the lavender-colored batter, I was even more intrigued. It should have dawned on me that it would be purple from the jam but would I want to eat a cake that was purple? But it wasn’t purple at all after baking. I was kinda disappointed. :o(

Well, it turned out much better than I thought and is really yummy warm. I will be making this one this Christmas for sure! But be sure if you make it, to either eat it after cooling a bit out of the oven or after warming it a bit in the microwave…

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup blackberry preserves
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (you can soak them in bourbon for a few days prior to baking cake)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Lightly grease one 10 inch tube pan and set aside.

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs separately, beating well after each.
  2. Sift together soda and flour; add alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture. Mix well.
  3. Add jam, pecans, coconut and raisins. Mix well and pour into prepared pan.

jam cake 01

  1. Bake for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

jam cake 02jam cake 03

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


This is truly the best homemade playdough recipe I have ever found. It’s totally safe and non-toxic but doesn’t smell like something you should eat, tempting kids to pop it in their mouth and then spit it right back out all over their shirt. It doesn’t use so much salt that it sucks all the moisture out of your hands when playing with it. But the best part is that it is almost impossible to dry out. Even left open for days, it can be smushed up a bit and as good as new! And the hours of quiet entertainment is well worth the time it takes to clean up the mess… :o)

1/2 cup salt

1 cup flour

2 Tbsp oil

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 cup water

food coloring

Put all ingredients into a saucepan and mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches playdough consistency. Remove and let cool.

Have fun!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pumpkin Bars

As I have said before, I love Fall because of all the yummy baking I get to do. Yesterday I had some Hubbard squash that had to be used and my friend Melody sent me a recipe for pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. They were so yummy that I had to share the recipe. Thanks Melody!!!

4 eggs
1cup oil
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 (16oz) can pumpkin
2cups flour
2 tea. baking powder
2 tea. cinnamon
1 tea. salt
1 tea baking soda
1 (3oz) softened cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tea. vanilla
Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light & fluffy. Then add the rest of the ingredients to pumpkin mixture and mix thoroughly. Spread batter in greased 15x10x1 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
FOR FROSTING: Cream together cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add powdered sugar a bit at a time, beating until smooth.

pumpkin bars 01

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Raspberry Oat Bars

Last summer I made LOTS of jam with all the berries were had. It seemed like a good idea until I realized, we really don’t eat much jam… So now I have almost an entire shelf in the freezer of jam from last summer. Needless to say, I didn’t make any jam this year. :o)

In an attempt to clear more freezer space, I am on the search for good desserts that use jam. This recipe was the first I’ve tried and it was a hit! They are really easy and really yummy!

1 yellow cake mix

2 1/2 cups quick oats

3/4 cup margarine, melted

1 tsp vanilla

1 splash milk

1 1/2 to 2 cups raspberry jam

1 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9x13 pan.

Mix together cake mix, oats, margarine, milk and vanilla so that it makes nice crumbs and there is no dry mix left. Press a little over half in the bottom of the pan. (Reserve some for the topping)

In another bowl, mix jam and lemon juice. Spread over the crust. Sprinkle top with remaining crumb mixture.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until top is lightly brown. Do not overbake! Cool before cutting into bars.

raspberry oat bars 01

Saturday, September 26, 2009

3 Meal Roast - #3 Taco Salad

If you happen to have any of your chili left over, just pop it back in the fridge and heat it up the next day for taco salads.

Put Fritos or broken up tortilla chips in the bottom of a bowl.

Spoon some chili on top of the chips.

Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Now top with your favorite toppings:






sour cream

(I was so enjoying my taco salad and my company for lunch that I forgot to take a picture, but picture will be posted soon)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

3 Meal Roast - #2 Chili

This is round 2 of the 3 meal roast. This one is pretty unstructured and you can throw in whatever you like but I’ll tell you what I do.

I usually serve this chili with cornbread and a fruit salad.

Take crock pot of leftover taco meat and add:

2 cans drained beans (kidney, pinto, black…)

2 can tomatoes (or use fresh or frozen)

1 can corn (or use frozen corn)

chopped onion

chopped peppers (red or green or both)

chopped fresh or canned jalapenos or chilies

chili powder

chili 01 today I used mostly ingredients from the garden

Stir together and turn on crock pot. Cook until heated through.

chili 02

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

3 Meal Roast - #1 Taco Meat

I love this recipe because not only can you use it for the base for 3 different meals, but you can use the cheapest pork or beef roast and it still turns out wonderfully!

Use one larger roast or two small ones to have enough meat to last 3 nights.

Serve the shredded taco meat with rice as a filler for your tacos and garnish with your favorite taco toppings (ie – lettuce, cheese, tomato, olives, salsa, sour cream…)

1 large or 2 small pork or beef roasts

1 bottle of red taco sauce

1 envelope taco seasoning

1/2 onion, chopped

1 can of diced chilies or jalapenos

1/2 cup water

Place roasts in crock pot. Place remaining ingredients on top of roast. Cover and cook until the meat shreds easily with a fork. Shred the roasts and stir well. Serve on tortillas. Be sure to save some for the next meal.

taco meat 01taco meat 02

Friday, September 11, 2009

Triple Ginger Snaps

I just got this recipe from one of the moms from co-op and it’s already one of my favorites. It is a perfect cookie to kick-off the fall baking season! Soft and chewy, it is lovely with a cup of hot tea on a chilly fall evening. Thanks Marty, they really are “snappy”!

If you like a little more bite, add more of any of the three gingers.

1 1/2 c. SUGAR...


1/4c. MOLLASSES...

1 lg. EGG...

2 1/4c. FLOUR( I used part whole wheat )...


4 tsp GROUND GINGER(powdered)...

2tps. BAKING SODA...

1/4 tps salt (optional)...



1.)Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.) With a mixer on medium speed (or by hand) creame the butter & sugar 'til light & fluffy...add molasses,& egg then beat until combined.

3.) Mix in flour, fresh ginger, pwd. ginger, baking soda, and salt; mix until just combined,don't over mix.

4.) Stir in candied ginger with a spoon. Roll into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar(optional) and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

5.) Bake for about 12 minutes. Cookie will flatten and be evenly browned. They'll flatten even more and "crinkle" as they cool.

triple ginger snaps 01

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thai Tacos

I love this spicy peanut sauce with hamburger. It is an easy, quick to prepare meal that we all like. I serve it with tortilla chips and melon on the side.

1 1/2 pounds hamburger

2 medium sliced red bell peppers

2 Tbsp minced ginger

3 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp sesame oil

Brown and drain hamburger. Add peppers, ginger, garlic, and crushed red pepper to skillet. Cook until peppers are crisp-tender.

Mix peanut butter, cilantro, lime juice, soy sauce and sesame oil with whisk to make a sauce. Stir into beef mixture. Remove from heat.

Stuff meat mixture into pita halves and garnish with lettuce just before serving.

Thai tacos 01

Monster Cookies

These are really yummy cookies! They are best fresh out of the oven! They are also gluten free which is an added bonus!

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

12 oz creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup M & Ms (I like the mini ones)

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup raisins (optional)

2 tsp baking soda

4 1/2 cups quick oats

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine eggs and sugars in a very large bowl. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter and butter. Mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Let stand 3 minutes before removing from sheets. Cool on wire racks.

monster cookies  01monster cookies  02

Monday, August 10, 2009

Zucchini Brownies

Often in late summer we are gifted with an abundance of zucchini. These brownies are a nice change of pace from the usual zucchini fare. They are good with or without chocolate chips or frosting.

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desired
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour (or sugar) a 9x13 inch baking pan.

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  2. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched.

zucchini brownies 01

Banana Cake

Whenever I have bananas, I secretly hope they’ll get brown and icky so I can make banana cake. This recipe is a combination of two recipes I like. My favorite way to bake them is in my Pampered Chef silicon flower baking pan. I spray them with cooking spray, coat them with white sugar (instead of flour) and have them as little cakes. They have an almost caramelized coating on the outside that makes them extra yummy!

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, sour milk or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 - 8 inch round pans. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, white sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in the bananas. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, or sour cream, to the creamed mixture. Stir in chopped walnuts. Pour batter into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

banana cake 01

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Zucchini Roast

This is a recipe that my mom made and I have made over the years when we have been gifted with someone’s surplus zucchini crop. I’m not sure if the men in my house are as fond of it as I am, but I LOVE it!

4 cups diced zucchini

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup grated cheese

1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped onion

crumbled bacon

salt and pepper

Mix well and pour into greased baking dish. Bake at 325-350 for 30 to 45 minutes.

zuchinni roast 01

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chicken Spinach Stir-Fry Salad

This salad is one of many favorites that came from $1 Pampered Chef cookbooks. I made this one quite often when I was pregnant with Will because I just craved it so often. It makes a great light lunch with a roll and a glass of iced tea!

1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp soy sauce
dash of hot pepper sauce

1 cup thinly sliced carrots
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1 lb cut up chicken breast
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 can (8 oz) of pineapple chunks, drained
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 bag fresh spinach

Whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside. Stir fry chicken, garlic, ginger, carrots, and sesame seeds until chicken is done. Lay spinach on plate or serving dish. Top with pineapple and onion. Place chicken mixture and dressing on top of salad. Serve immediately while still warm.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fluffy Berry Jello Pie

You can make this with any kind of berry but strawberry is our favorite. This pie is cool, light and fluffy and tastes so yummy on a hot summer day! Three minutes stirring may sound like a long time, but it is totally worth it!

1 box berry flavored Jello
2/3 cup boiling water
2 cups ice cubes
8 oz tub Cool Whip
1 cup sliced or whole berries
1 prepared pie crust

Dissolve Jello in boiling water, stir 3 minutes.

Add ice cubes, stir 3 minutes.

Remove all remaining ice.
Fold in Cool Whip with wire whisk.

Fold in berries with spoon.

Pour into pie crust.

Chill until firm.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

I should call this my "Award Winning Strawberry Spinach Salad"...I don't even remember when or where I got this recipe but it is one of my favorite salads ever! It is perfect for summer time lunches with chicken or as a side dish at a BBQ! I took it to a friend's BBQ Cook-Off Contest and everyone placed their votes for their favorite dish and this salad won! It was kind of embarrassing since it wasn't even one of the entries, only a side dish... But it is really good! ;o)

Me, Andy & my prize-winning salad

2 bunches or 1 bag of fresh spinach
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds


1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp minced red or white onion
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar (or white vinegar with a little apple juice in it)

Combine dressing and toss with spinach, strawberries and sunflower seeds just before serving.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rhubarb Bars

These are possibly the best rhubarb recipe I have! We love them! They are so yummy and even work with frozen rhubarb for a springtime treat any time of year!

Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar and 4 Tbsp cornstarch. Add 1/4 cup water and 1 tsp vanilla. Add 4 cups chopped rhubarb. Cook in saucepan on med-high heat until thick, stir often.

Mix 1 1/2 cups oatmeal, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp soda, 1 cup shortening or butter and 1/2 cup chopped nuts until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup for topping. Press the rest into a 9x13 pan. Pour filling on top and sprinkle on the topping.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Cut while slightly warm.

Hobo Dinner

We first had this dinner when we lived on the farm in Iowa for a summer when Chris was working for CLBYM. They cooked them in the coals of a giant slash fire, we do ours on the BBQ. But either way they are one of our favorite summer time meals.

Cut up your favorite veggies into bite sized pieces (we use red potatoes, corn on the cob, carrots, zuchinni, mushrooms, onion, garlic, bell peppers).

Cut up some pre-cooked link sausages.

Toss together in very large bowl with olive oil and melted butter. Season with fresh ground pepper.

Place them in foil packets and fold well to seal.

Lay them on a pre-heated BBQ. Close lid and let cook about 10 minutes. Flip packets over and close lid again. Cook until potatoes and carrots are tender. (poke them with a fork to check)

Carefully open the packets on your plate or into a large serving bowl and enjoy!