Sunday, December 21, 2008


This has been Wes' specialty for the cookie tins over the past few years.

He melts the leftover almond bark/chocolate from the pretzels.

Place a few candy canes in a doubled ziplock bag and break them with a rolling pin.

Stir the broken peppermint into the melted chocolate.

Spread out the mixture on a sheet of waxed paper.

When cooled, break into misc. chunks!!

Easy Easy Easy!!


These are so easy!! The girls worked on these all by themselves this year.
Get a big block of white almond bark, melt in a glass dish, dunk in the pretzels and dry on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.
You can also use the chocolate glaze and drizzle over the top.
If you like the large ROD pretzels, you can dip 3/4 of one end, then sprinkle with your choice of festive sprinkles!! (these are called princess wands in one of our little girl cookbooks)



These are a family favorite. I found this recipe YEARS ago on ALLRECIPES.COM and everyone loves them!!

2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 pinch salt (I use a pinch or two)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 pound pecans
1/2 cup butter

Melt butter, place in deep baking pan (glass dish or jelly roll pan)

Beat egg whites until soft peaks begin to form
add sugar, salt and vanilla
beat until stiff peaks form and turn glossy
fold in nuts and coat well with egg white mixture

Bake 30 minutes @ 325, turning nuts every 6-8 minutes until no butter remains in the pan. Place on foil or parchment paper and allow to cool.

May be stored in an airtight container for several weeks, but don't worry, they will be gone in several days!!
**You may also use WALNUTS too. I mixed up walnuts and pecans this year. YUM!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Most of these tips I have found out after YEARS of trial and error.
I love to experiment, and I have thrown away batches of cookies that have turned out horrible (much to Wes' dismay...I have now promised to let him taste the yucky or burnt cookies.....After hearing "you aren't going to throw these away are you???" for years and years)

TIP #1:
Bake your cookies at 350.

It may take a minute or two longer....but this temp just seems right for my recipes...even if it calls for 375. The ONE exception would be the Snicker Surprise. They are best at 300. (that is what the recipe calls for)

TIP #2
Bake all of your cookies on parchment paper.

I know the stuff is expensive, but it is totally worth it. It makes pans SO much easier to clean. They just turn out great each overcooking, no burnt bottoms, and no PAM spray needed.

Don't be afraid to experiment.

What I mean by this is don't be afraid to go 'off' the recipe a bit. Throwing in an extra egg or some extra flour is NOT the end of the world. I never measure salt or vanilla....just dump some in!! If you put in too much liquid, then add some extra flour. Dough too sticky?? Add an extra egg and some flour until it stiffens up. Sometimes the best recipes are the ones played with a bit.

Use room temperature butter, margarine and crisco.

Having these at room temperature just makes better cookies. I used to microwave EVERYTHING straight out of the fridge, and the cookies would turn out flat EVERY TIME....then I started listening to Paula Deen. She was right :)

TIP #5
Use your favorite chocolate glaze.

You don't ALWAYS have to follow the chocolate glaze recipe that comes with that particular cookie or cheesecake. My favorite one is very simple...Melting regular chocolate chips. Scoop the melted chocolate into a ziplock bag, snip off the end, and away you go!! I have used this glaze for years and years. I like it because it dries firm and then you can stack your cookies. I have found that alot of glazes stay soft/moist to the touch. You cannot stack your cookies for storage, or if you make a sharp turn in the car, the cookies will look crummy before you get to your party :) (we learned that one the hard way)

TIP #6
Pick your favorite recipe and stick to it!!

The oldies are usually the goodies.....I have been using the same cookie recipes since before there was an internet to search on. I love to try new ones too, but I have to make the family's old favorites each year. Everyone has their favorite cookie, and everyone should be included!!



Here is the recipe for my AWARD WINNING cookies...yes, Grand Champion at the fair a few years ago. I still have the ribbon to prove it :)

2 sticks softened butter
1 C. creamy peanut butter
1 C. light brown sugar
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
3 1/2 C. all purpose flour, sifted
1 t. baking soda
1/2 ts. salt
1 pkg. (13 oz.) Snickers Brand Miniatures

Combine the butter, peanut butter and sugars using a mixer on medium-low speed
Slowly add eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
Then mix in flour, salt and baking soda.
Cover and chill dough for 2-3 hours.
Unwrap all of the Snickers Brand miniatures
Remove dough from refrigerator.
Divide into 1 tablespoon pieces and flatten.
Place a Snickers miniature in the center of each piece of dough.
Form the dough into a ball around each Snickers miniature.
Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 300° F. for 10-12 minutes.
Let cookies cool on baking rack or wax paper.
Spruce up with powdered sugar or drizzle melted Dove Brand Chocolates over the top of each cookie.


2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups butter
4 eggs
3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup ground walnuts (optional) I usually leave these out :)

Beat together the sugars, butter or margarine and eggs.
Stir in vanilla and milk and mix well.

Add in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.
Stir in the oatmeal and coconut.

Add in the chocolate chips and nuts (optional) and mix well.
Drop by teaspoon on cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.


My all time favorite cookie:

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Hershey kisses, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, cream together shortening and peanut butter;
gradually add sugar and brown sugar, creaming well.
Beat in the egg and vanilla.
Sift together dry ingredients and add to creamy mixture.
Shape dough into balls, using a rounded teaspoon for each ball.
Roll balls in sugar and place on cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Top with a kiss


3/4 Cups pecans
3/4 sugar
1/2 Cup unsalted butter
2 Large eggs
2 Cups flour
1 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp salt
48 Soft And Chewy caramels

Mix butter And eggs, blend until smooth. Add 1/2 of the pecans (chopped fine)

Roll Dough Into 1 Inch Balls, Then Roll in Chopped Nuts to Coat.

Press a Caramel in Center of Each. Bake 12 min. at 350 Degrees













Beat butter, cream cheese and sugar.

Add egg, almond extract and OJ

Stir in the dry ingredients gradually

Stir in 3 cups coconut, Refrigerate 1 hour

Roll them into little balls, then roll in coconut to coat.

Bake 350 for 10- 12 minutes

Take them out and top with a kiss!!


I stumbled across this recipe yesterday while looking for a good pecan cookie...and boy was I glad I did!!

These taste like a mini chocolate cake. The marshmallow on top is so cute!! We will have to add these to our tins each year!

3/4 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup instant milk chocolate hot cocoa mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
48 large marshmallows, cut in half crosswise*
Glaze Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons LAND O LAKES® Butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
Heat oven to 350°F. Combine 3/4 cup butter and sugar in large bowl.
Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy.
Add eggs, 1/4 cup milk and vanilla.
Continue beating until well mixed.
Reduce speed to low; add flour, cocoa mix and baking soda.
Beat until well mixed.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until set.
Remove from oven; top each cookie with marshmallow half, cut-side down.
Continue baking for 1 to 2 minutes until marshmallow just begins to puff.
Immediately remove cookies to cooling racks. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, place powdered sugar into medium bowl; set aside. Combine all remaining glaze ingredients in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes. Pour mixture over powdered sugar in bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Immediately spoon glaze over cooled cookies. Store between sheets of waxed paper in a loosely covered container.
Can Substitute 24 holiday-shaped marshmallows.


I love these cookies just because they look so christmas-y

I played around with this recipe this year.
The recipe as it is listed below makes a pretty sticky dough, and I wanted something easier to handle.

Here are my changes:

take out the water
add an extra egg, including the yolk...(2 eggs total)
They were really good!! Very fudgy!!

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

In a microwave, melt 1 cup chocolate chips.
Stir until smooth; set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until crumbly
Add egg whites and vanilla; beat well.
Stir in melted chocolate.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt;
gradually add to butter mixture alternately with water.
Stir in remaining chocolate chips.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until easy to handle.
Shape dough into 1-in. balls. Roll in confectioners' sugar.
Place 2 in. apart on baking sheets coated with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until set.


I made these for the first time last year...and my family LOVED them!! I decided to make these again instead of the traditional Gingerbread men. These are VERY easy and quick. The recipe doubles perfectly!! Don't forget to roll them in sugar!!

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In large bowl, cream shortening, brown sugar, egg, and molasses.

Slowly mix in flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt.

Mix until well blended.
Pinch off 1 inch sized pieces of dough and roll into balls.

Roll in sugar and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I grew up so disspointed in our pie crusts. My mom could never find a recipe that worked and our pie crusts were miserable failures. We were stuck buying the crummy folded ones that tasted like cardboard...

When we got married, I was convinced that I would find a decent recipe and I did!! Thanks to Martha Mooneyham. I have used this for 15 years, and it has NEVER turned out icky....It is easy to roll, is super flaky and is HOMEMADE!!

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 pound crisco (it is 2 sticks)
1 egg
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
Beat the egg in a measuring cup. Add the vinegar and enough cold water to make one cup of liquid.
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Cut the lard up into small cubes, and add to the dry ingredients. Blend with two knives, or a pastry blender, until the mixture is crumbly. Add the liquid ingredients, mixing with a knife. Do not use your hands as it tends to soften the lard too much. Add additional water, if required, to make a soft ball of dough. If the weather is warm, refrigerate your dough for 1/2 hour to chill it before rolling. Warm dough doesn't roll as well, and requires too much flour, which makes it less flaky.

You can also freeze a lump and roll it out in the future,,,,This makes enough dough for 2 pies.

Sweet Potato Burritos

Our neighbors gave us a huge pan of these...(vegetarian)...They thought we would like them and they were right!!

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups canned kidney beans, drained
2 cups water
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
12 (10 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a medium skillet, and saute onion and garlic until soft. Stir in beans, and mash. Gradually stir in water, and heat until warm. Remove from heat, and stir in the chili powder, cumin, mustard, cayenne pepper and soy sauce.
Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the warm flour tortillas. Top with cheese. Fold up tortillas burrito style, and place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven, and serve.


Since it is craft show season, I have been super busy creating new goodies for the market....I have not been very creative in the kitchen. We have been living on the standard meals, casseroles and soups that I have posted about for the past few months.

I did break down and buy Wes a roast the other day. We will crockpot him (the roast) on Monday. I even got Elaine a real ham...I have never even bought a ham before...but she wants to have one for Christmas and Kroger had them cheap.

I will post Christmas cookie recipes soon. We will start baking for our Cookie Tins next weekend after the last show of the season!!

Pecan Pie

I have to admit, this was the best pecan pie I EVER made!! This is the recipe to keep!!!

That brown sugar really made the difference!!

3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
3/4 cup light brown sugar ---(I used a cup full)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup pecans, finely crushed
1 cup pecans, quartered
1 cup pecan halves

Bake 1 hour 350


You can't go wrong with this pumpkin pie....I have made this recipe for as long as I can remember. I think pies are better with Sweetened Milk, rather than evaporated milk....they hold up better and taste better too!

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 large eggs (calls for 2, but I use three sometimes)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 unbaked pie crust


We had our soup party a couple of weeks ago: Here are a couple of recipes from it...

Here is Lasagna was good, even with the meat picked out. LOL

16 ounces hot Italian sausage (or you can use hamburger too)
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced carrots
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 cups chicken broth
14 1/2 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
10 ounces tomato sauce
1 ounce fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 box cooked lasgana noodles, sliced down the middle

Top with Mozz

It really looked and tasted like a pot of lasagna....maybe a bit more sauce than the typical pan of lasagna, but very good!!

Monday, September 22, 2008


Here is Anna's Favorite!! I got this recipe off ALLRECIPES.COM years ago, and the pan is gone in a day. We make this one almost every week during the fall and winter.

*now the gals that I used to work with always made theirs with cream cheese frosting...but we eat it without frosting. The kids eat it plain, and I eat mine with a bit of butter. (watching too much Paula Deen I guess)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

375 degrees

Grease a jelly roll pan, can also use a 9x13 pan.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in the pumpkin then beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

*you can also use chocolate chips or walnuts.

*sometimes I put nuts just on one half...One half for kids, one half for Dad

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Just in case you want to is a good frosting for other cakes and cookies. It is kinda my standard frosting. Everyone likes it but me...I don't really like frosting :) LOL

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

mix well with mixer on high speed. You can add food coloring to color it, or add milk to thin it down too.


Martha Mooneyham just gave me another bread starter, well she actually gave me 4 of them. I decided to make a ton of bread and freeze it. I will probably freeze some starter and experiment a bit when the weather is cooler too.

Here are the EXTRAS: Martha suggested substituting different puddings in the recipe. It calls for vanilla, which I have used faithfully for years....but I never thought about any other flavor...until now.

Tonight we made Chocolate with Chocolate Chips

Butterscotch with Butterscotch Chips

Regular Vanilla with Cinnamon and Walnuts

Boy did they turn out good, even the butterscotch one was great (and I don't like butterscotch)

I want to do a banana cream pudding on the next batch...which will be in 10 days!!


This is my ALL TIME FAVORITE SOUP...better than chilli, better than chicken noodle, better than Cheddar's Cheese Soup...well maybe not...but it is HOMEMADE!!!!!

You can always get pretty good tasting Potato Soup when at a restaurant, but nothing tastes like this!!!

I got this recipe from a dear friend at Dr. Kindred's office. Her husband was a cook for Methodist for 35 years. He always made their soups from scratch. I had never even heard of a roux until they gave me this recipe.

Start with 2 quarts water
Throw in a palm full of wyler's chicken boullion ( only use the Granules...I don't know how they do it, but the granules taste better than the cubes )
*if using the cubes, I would start with 3, then add more to taste :)

dice up 3 celery ribs
dice 4-6 medium potatoes
throw into the water, boil for 10 minutes

While this is starting to boil, get your roux ready:
1 stick of real butter (not margarine)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 package bacon bits (use only real bacon bits and I only use Oscar Mayer in the yellow pack)

microwave stick of butter until soft and melty, add the flour and mix well, then add the bacon. drop by spoonfuls into the boiling soup pot, and stir immediately (you don't want dumplins!!)

stir constantly until mixture starts to thicken up, quickly add 1/4 cup grated Parm Cheese and then slowly add 1 quart milk (skim is fine too)

Turn off the heat once it is desired consistency. I like mine pretty thick, and it should be pretty thick at this point. If you want it thinner, add more milk. You can also add more cheese (both parm or cheddar if you wish) Then dump in 1 package of shredded cheddar cheese. I use the whole bag and stir well. Make sure the heat is off, otherwise the cheese will stick to the bottom of the pan and make the soup tast burnt. ( I have done is not good )

Eat instantly, or refrigerate immediately.

This is a good crock pot soup, but only on LOW heat....once again, the cheese will burn. Also use the microwave to reheat it, not the stove top...otherwise, you guessed it!! burnt cheese :(

*funny thing about this soup, it turns out a different color each time I make it !!! I think it is the potatoes...I usually don't buy the same brand, and sometimes I use garden it may look like cheddar cheese soup, or it may look yellowish like chicken noodle soup. Either way, it always tastes good!!

*this makes a large pot, so it is good for giving away, or taking to a cookout.

*this is my standard soup that I make for others, and for get-togethers at our house, chances are, you have already tasted it!!! (and hopefully love it)

See the little flecks of color?? Soo pretty :)

* if you are out of celery (as I am most of the time) you can omit it and it STILL tastes great!!

In fact, I have made it more with out celery, than with...

Monday, August 25, 2008


Wanda gave me this recipe when Wes and I got married. It is so good, and always is a hit at parties!!

I am making this one for a cookout on Friday:


1 package taco seasoning mix
1 can refried bean dip
1 container sour cream
1 large tomato, chopped
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1/2 package shredded Cheddar cheese

Spread the beans on your serving platter.
In a bowl mix the taco seasoning mix and sour cream.
Spread evenly on top of the bean dip.
Top with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and green onions.

Serve with Doritoes!! We like the original Doritoes best with this dip....

**This dip can be made up the night before too!!

**If you cannot find refried bean dip, you can use a can of refried beans too, the seasoned ones are pretty much the same as the can of dip....


While in Wally World the other day, we came across some expensive brownie was called Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies. I could just not bring myself to spend 5.00 on a packaged mix, and I said, we could totally make it ourselves!! Elaine ran off to find a tube of cookie dough, and I got the plain brownie mix that was on sale.


1 package brownie mix---prepare according to directions. (Elaine chose the cake like recipe)
1 package refrigerated cookie dough.

Break open and spoon out small "pinches" of the cookie dough. Sprinkle over the top of the brownie batter in the baking dish. Stick in a knife and snake it through the mixture. This will coat the cookie pieces with brownie mix and prevent them from getting too brown on top.

Bake according to brownie box...test with clean knife in the and eat!!!

This pan of brownies lasted about 3 hours.

*the best part is, you only use 1/2 tube of cookie dough...that is enough to make 2 pans of brownies!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vegetarian Vegetable Soup

This one is full of fresh ingredients from the garden again.

I crushed ALOT of tomatoes, removing as many seeds as possible.
I cooked this on the stove for an hour. Strain to remove cooked skins.

Add fresh new potatoes (quartered), fresh green beans, 1 can of corn, diced carrots and onion. Cook down for another hour or two on low...We think it tastes better on the second day. Serve with Grilled cheese and crackers.

This is a great soup for winter...I have frozen this before too.

A New One: Stuffed Tomatoes

We are just swimming with tomatoes this summer, thanks to PaPa's garden. I was experimenting this week and fell into a great new recipe. This was surprisingly good!

a few medium tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 can of corn
handful of croutons, crushed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a baking dish, I used glass

Cut the top off of the tomato and scoop out the seeds.
Dice pepper, add with the cheese, corn and egg. Mix it all together, then spoon an equal amount of mixture into each hollowed out tomato. Sprinkle top with crushed croutons. Bake 25 minutes.

This is ALMOST vegetarian...which is why I liked it...

Cheese Potatoes

Here is an oldie, but goodie. I first got this recipe from Judy years ago. We have this one about twice a month here.

Cheese Potatoes:

Can be in the Crock Pot, or baked in the oven. I have frozen this in a casserole dish too.

1 package frozen hash brown potatoes, we use Potatoes O' Brien mostly
1/2 cup melted butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 container sour cream
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, (not sharp)

Bake 1 hour 350, or crockpot for a few hours.

Friendship Soup

This one is from Kelly Fite: Emily had a play date at their house and ate two bowls!! I had to get the recipe. Thanks Kelly!!

Friendship Soup:

Friendship Soup

1 1/2 cups of a combination of lentils, barley, split peas, black eyed peas, red beans or whatever kind of beans you want
1 cup of pasta (we have used alphabet, macaroni, rotini, etc..)
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 t dried Italian seasoning (I always use more)
1 bay leaf
1 lb ground beef
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 15oz can tomato sauce (sometimes I just use a large can 28oz of tomato sauce instead of tomatoes)
3 quarts water

In large pot over medium heat, brown beef with pepper and garlic. Drain fat. Stir in all remaining ingredients except for pasta. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 45 mins. Stir in pasta, cover, and simmer additional 15 mins or until beans are tender. Remove bay leaf and serve. Enjoy

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Freezer Lasagna

While I was browning all of that meat for the Tacos, I stole a half a pound or so and whipped up an easy Lasagna (for the freezer of course!!)

Now I don't usually boil my Lasagna Noodles....I think if you add enough liquid to them, they cook up just fine. I just use the regular old packaged noodles....they are more inexpensive than the "no boil" kind. (groceries are goin up and we gotta save $$)

I layer one jar of sauce, one box of noodles, one container of large curd cottage cheese, 1/2 bag of mozz. cheese and a few sprinkles of browned and crumbly hamburger in a large casserole dish. Top the rest with remaining cheese and some dried oregano. Looks fancy, and adds to the flavor of the dish. Freeze until ready!!


This one is pretty easy....Taco Night. The girls love tacos, they are easy, and they can be vegetarian for me. We had some friends over on Friday night, so I had alot of fun with all of the different side dishes to go with the tacos.

Hard Shells and Soft Shells
Taco Meat of course!!
Sour Cream
Banana Peppers
Fiesta (mexican) Corn
Corn Chips
Mexican Rice
Refried Beans
Sliced Cucumbers
Last but not least:
Mac n Cheese, we always have mac n cheese with tacos!!

Now I made a TON of stuff, so we had quite a few leftovers. It was SUPER easy to combine most of what was left into a Mexican Casserole, or Mexican just layer your favorite items with some soft shells in a casserole with cheese and either bake or put it in the freezer (which is what I did) easy easy dinnner!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Amish Friendship Bread

Granny gave me a starter and I made 2 loaves tonight. ....for those who don't have a starter and wish to start their own Friendship Bread here is the recipe:

**now I have made this bread for years, and ALWAYS put it in a Tupperware dish....Granny gave it to me in a ziplock was very easy this way!!

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups white sugar
3 cups milk

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.

On days 2 thru 4; stir starter with a spoon.
Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk.
Days 6 thru 9; stir only.
Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk.

Remove 1 cup to make your first bread, give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2).

Once you have made the starter, you will consider it Day One, and thus ignore step 1 in this recipe and proceed with step 2. You can also freeze this starter in 1 cup measures for later use. Frozen starter will take at least 3 hours at room temperature to thaw before using.

Tater Tot Casserole

My mom always said that Wes fell in love with her cooking when he fell in love with me. When we were dating, he ate dinner at our house nearly EVERY NIGHT. His office was about 5 miles from where I lived, plus he worked with my brother, so they both came home to the farm to eat dinner each night...

...and his favorite was...


My mom loves hamburger, and casseroles. We first had this dish at a family cookout when I was 13. After trying it, this casserole became a weekly occurance at my house growing up.

Here it is:

1 pound ground beef
2 cans cream of chicken soup---you can use mushroom too... We like chicken better
few sprinkles of Mrs. Dash
1 package tater tots

Brown the ground beef and drain. Stir in soup. Pour the mixture into a medium-sized casserole dish and layer tater tots on top.

Bake 375 for 1/2 hour to 1 hour....depending on how crispy you want your tots.

Now I use a whole bag of tots and a good sized glass baking dish...9 x 13, The littlest kids like their tots without the 'gravy' on using the whole bag assures you a few extra crispy tots on top with no sauce on them!!

New week, New recipes...

It has been a fun week with all of the food we have had in our house!! Thanks to PaPa's garden, we have had some great meals!!

We have had 2 nights of what I call "Vegetarian Vegetable Night"...which consists of veggies and garden goodies. Here is what we have had:

Corn on the Cob

Green Beans





Mashed Potatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Squash--both fried and in a casserole

Rolls/homemade Garlic Bread


Mac n Cheese

Now I did not make all of these at one was spread out between 2 meals.

Wes did eat leftover Porkchops off the grill one night, but the kids and I eat everything else. I love having so much to choose from.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Now this one is super easy!! Just use things already in your pantry!!

This is an old Paula Deen Classic:

1 can cooked chicken
2 cans green beans, drained
1 can water chestnuts, drained
1 can condensed cream of celery or chicken soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 6 ounce box long-grain wild rice, cooked according to package directions

Top with slivered almonds

Mix all, spread in a casserole dish, freeze or bake 30 min or until golden and bubbly.

Now I have only made this 2 times, it is a LARGE amount, so plan on leftovers. The kids aren't so crazy about the almonds, but it gives it a nice crunch!! You can also top with cheese, or even stuffing mix. I left out the mayo and the rice on this last batch. I will let you know how it turns out!



1 package spaghetti--try to sneak in whole wheat!! The kids won't know!!
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 container cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

You gotta cook the spaghetti on this one; al dente, then it will still freeze and cook up good.

**I always toss a bit of Olive Oil in the pot while the noodles are boiling, then they won't stick!!

**I have frozen this recipe at least 4 times, and I have never had the noodles be smooshy.

Rinse the noodles in cold water and let stand. Mix the eggs with the cottage cheese and the parm. Spoon this over the noodles and put into the casserole dish.

* I always spray my casseroles with Pam, not the cheap stuff...

Mix all else with the spag. sauce and spoon over the noodles. Top with the Mozz.

Freeze or bake 1 hour at 375

If you are concerned about the kids finding out their noodles are different, you can try mixing 1/2 whole wheat with the regular noodles. I'll bet they won't even notice!!


This is so simple, and one of our favorites!! We serve this at least every other week. Makes great leftovers too!!

skinless boneless chicken breast meat
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 container sour cream
1 package seasoned cornbread stuffing mix

Mix the cream of chicken soup and the sour cream together. (you can save time by mixing in the same casserole dish) Put a layer of frozen chicken breasts on top. Mix up stuffing and sprinkle on top. Now I have tried this two ways, cooking the stuffing first, and not cooking the stuffing. My family likes fluffier stuffing, so we cook it first. Try to cut out the fat, but just mixing the stuffing with water and leave out the butter. Tastes just as good, and better for your heart!!

You can either: freeze until ready to use or bake it off 375 for an hour. We serve with mashed potatoes, corn or green beans and rolls.

**If you are using a large casserole dish, you can use 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, and the whole container of sour cream. We use this liquid as the 'gravy' for our potatoes. You can also use 2 packages of stuffing mix.


With homeschooling and our craft business, I have developed a way to cook that makes it easy to provide nice meals for my family, without me being stuck in the kitchen for 2 hours every night.

For example: This last Saturday I spent about 3 hours (including cooking and clean up time) and I made 8 dishes for the freezer that I plan to serve later this week.

Here they are!

Chilli==2 meals worth
Chicken Casserole--large sized (Elaine's Favorite!!)
Chicken with rice--small sized
Spaghetti Pie--2 meals worth
Green Bean Casserole--my new favorite!!

Here are the ingredients that I use for each. I am not a 'measurer' so if you need a specific measurement, please email me and I will let you know.

The easiest way that I have found to make more than one meal at a time is: doubling up. It is easy to divide the meat in between the casseroles and sauces...I don't eat much red meat anyway, so it helps me stay as close to being a vegetarian as possible Hee Hee

We buy our meat at Kroger, and use about 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef, brown it up with a bit of water and Mrs. Dash (love that stuff) then drain. That one package of meat is enough for us to put into the large pan of chilli sauce and also the spaghetti sauce.

seasoned ground beef
1 package of chilli seasoning
1 TB of chilli powder
2 cans of beans
1 large can of Tomato Juice
1 can crushed tomatoes

simmer for 1 hour, pour into 2 tupperware containers and freeze.