Sunday, December 5, 2010

Crockpot Chocolate Candy

This is a recipe from one of the Trisha Yearwood cookbooks. 

2 lbs (36 oz) salted dry-roasted peanuts
4 oz (4 squares) German's sweet chocolate
1 12-oz package semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
2½ lbs white almond bark

1. Put the peanuts in the bottom of a 4-quart slow-cooker. Layer the chocolate over the peanuts, beginning with the sweet chocolate, followed by the chocolate chips, and then the almond bark. Set the temperature on low and cook for 3 hours. Do not stir the mixture.

2. After 3 hours, stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth. Drop the candy into cupcake pan liners, using about 2 tablespoons per liner. Allow the candy to cool completely before removing the cupcake liners. Makes 30 to 40 pieces.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Slow Cooker Meatballs

A recipe from my Grandma was so nice to come home to delicious meatballs, I love slow cooker recipes. :)

Mix these ingredients to create a sauce, then set aside:

1 can of tomato soup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

For meatballs, mix these ingredients:

1 lb of ground beef (ground chuck has best flavor)
1 cup oatmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 egg

Form the meat mixture into 1-1 1/2 inch balls. Place in a slow cooker and cover with sauce. Cook on low for 4 hours.


*Recipe from Grandma Renes

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pepsi Roast

This is one of my family's favorites. It is great for busy people! Plus it makes lots of leftovers for lunches.

4-5 lb roast
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package dried onion soup mix
1 can pepsi

Place all ingredients in crockpot and set on low. Put it on before you leave for work in the morning. When you get home make some veggies and baked potatoes and you have a complete dinner in very little time.

Creamy Dip for Fruit

Prep: 15 minutes Chill: 1 hour Makes: 2 cups

1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 8 oz carton diary sour cream
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
Assorted fruit such as cherries, strawberries, apples, pears, bananas, or grapes

In a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually add the sour cream, beating until combined. Add the brown sugar and vanilla; beat just until combined. Sir in enough milk to reach dipping consistency. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

*Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

I made this for a potluck we made at work. A lot of people didn't think the combination of cream cheese and sour cream would be good. However, the dip was a big hit. The dip goes a long way. If you are making it for just a couple of people I would cut the recipe in half. The dip does hold up in the fridge for awhile so you can enjoy it all week.

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu

Rick and I make this really simple dish for dinner a lot.

chicken breast
sliced ham
sliced swiss cheese

We cook the chicken breast on our George Foreman grill but you can cook it any way. Placed the cooked chicken in a oven safe dish. Layer sliced ham and cheese on top.

We sometimes cover the top with Panko breadcrumbs and a little bit of melted butter.

Put the dish in oven under the broiler until the cheese starts to melt.

Creamy Braised Chicken

I made this hearty dish a few weekends ago. It is definitely not a quick meal but very tasty! I would make it for company or make it for a Sunday evening meal and have plan-overs for the rest of the week. Serves 6. I would recommend serving with potatoes.

1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons butter, divided
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz each)
1 cup dry white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced parsley (recipe says fresh, I used dried)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon pepper (recipe says white pepper, I used black)
1 bay leaf (I didn't add this)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms quartered (Rick doesn't like them so I didn't add them)

In a Dutch oven (or a stew pot), saute sliced onion, carrot and celery in 1 tablespoon butter until tender. Remove vegetables; set aside. Add chicken to pan; brown on both sides. Remove and keep warm.

Add wine or broth; simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup. Stir in the chicken broth and seasonings. Return chicken to pan; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove chicken to a serving platter, keep warm.

Combine flour and milk until smooth; gradually stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Return vegetables to pan. Remove from the heat; cover and set aside.

Saute mushrooms until tender. Add to serving platter. Discard bay leaf from sauce, spoon over chicken and vegetables.

*Recipe from The Taste of Home Cookbook

Parmesan Potato Wedges

6 medium baking potatoes
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cut each potato lengthwise into eight wedges. In a large bowl stir together butter, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Add potato wedges and stir thoroughly to coat. Place the wedges on a foil covered cookie sheet.

Bake, uncovered, in a 425 degree oven about 30 minutes or until tender.

*Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

Cherry Cola Salad

My mom found this recipe years ago and it has become a favorite.

3/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 can cherry pie filling
2 3oz boxes cherry Jello or 1 large box of Jello
1 can crushed pineapple
1 cup cold cherry coke or cherry pepsi

Combine water and sugar and bring to a boil. Add pie filling and return to a boil. Pour boiling mixture over gelatin, stir to dissolve. Add pineapple with juice and cola. Place in a 9x13 or glass bowl and chill.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tex-Mex Beef Tacos

Just finished eating this for supper...yummy! David had four helpings and told me to post it here on the I'm sharing it with you!

I like this recipe a lot because it is eeeeasy -- just some quick cooking and simmering. I liked the healthy fillers like black beans and corn. The best part is the chipotle chiles...I used three and they added a lot of zip! (I halved the recipe which made five good-sized tacos.)


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground sirloin (I used ground beef)
  • 1 cup whole-kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 to 3 drained canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 10 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, garlic, and beef; cook 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble beef. Stir in corn and next 6 ingredients (corn through chiles). Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 1/2 cup beef mixture into each tortilla.
Serve with your favorite taco toppings: guacamole, sour cream, fresh cilantro, salsa, or sliced green onions.
Cooking Light, MAY 2004

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Seeds

'Tis the carve pumpkins!

One of my favorite things about carving pumpkins, however, is not the pumpkin, but eating the delicious seeds. I make my seeds differently each year, and this is what I did this year...they were delicious. :)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Separate your pumpkin seeds from the rest of the pumpkin goop, and rinse them with water.

In a saucepan, add the seeds to water, about 2 cups for each 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds. Add a half tablespoon of salt for each cup of water that you use (more if you like it really salty, but I thought the 1/2 tbsp was fine).

Bring the water and seeds to a boil. Remove from heat and drain.

Spread about a tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of a roasting pan. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in a flat layer. I lightly salted the seeds as well, but you probably don't need it since you boiled them in salt water....what can I say, I like my food salty. :)

Bake the seeds on the top rack until they start to brown to your satisfaction, anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool before eating.


Sugar Cookie Recipe

A boring Thursday night led to cookie making for a friend and I! Although sugar cookies were a little more labor intensive than I had remembered, it was very fun, and delicious!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together:
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix these ingredients together, then add to above mixture:
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
3 1/3 cups flour

Form mixture into a ball and refrigerate for an hour. We tried to skip this step, but it just makes it way harder to make your shapes, because the dough is so soft....definitely refrigerate!

Take dough and flatten with a rolling pin, use flour on the surface and your rolling pin so it doesn't stick as much.

Cut out your shapes and put onto baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

We also made this frosting:

1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons white corn syrup

Frost and enjoy!

*Recipe from Ashley Lickteig and family

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cheeseburger and Fries Casserole

Just ran across a heading on the Midwest Living website:

Our Best Casserole and Hot Dish Recipes

Cheeseburger and Fries Casserole

Doesn't it look yummy? :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Turkey Chili and Baked Potatoes

Acorn squash yesterday.
Chili and baked potatoes today...It's Fall y'all!  (just a little paula dean impression for you)
Turkey Chili
Great Baked Potatoes
Sweet Potato Gratin

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin Fluff

Have had a request for pumpkin fluff. :)

1 (regular size) can pumpkin
1 package (regular) sugar free/fat free vanilla pudding  (instant)
Pumpkin pie spices - as much as tastes good to you
1 container cool whip

Mix the pumpkin, pudding, and spices together. Fold in cool whip. YUM. Low-fat yummy treat.

Morning Smoothie

I was just telling Sara about my new discovery and she asked me to post it. :)
I like watching TV shows where people talk about how they lost weight. A long time ago I saw one where this woman and her family ate their evening meal at breakfast time. They would sit down and have their largest meal of the day, and literally, like eat a pork chop or something at breakfast. I'm thinking this woman must have been a stay-at-home mom because there is NO WAY I am cooking before my work day.  And of course, she had lost scads of weight with this system.

Anyway. So, this lady (we'll call her pork chop lady) had said that eating the largest meal of the day at breakfast was a key to her are able to burn off the calories over the course of the jump start your metabolism, etc.

Recently I saw a woman with a similar (but much more realistic for me!) idea.  She had lost like over a hundred pounds and said that she was convinced her morning smoothie was a key to her success.

Morning Smoothie:

1 cup soy milk
1 cup no-fat yogurt
1 cup frozen fruit/berries (don't skimp on the berries, you little [dutch] wives you!) :)
1/3 cup tofu
1 serving protein powder
(flax seed)

Blend blend blend til smooth.

The lady (We'll call her smoothie lady) said she puts flax seed in hers. I don't know a thing about flax seed so I haven't used that yet.

Here's what I've been using

  • 8th Continent Light Vanilla soy milk
  • whatever yogurt you like (I'm using Stonyfield YUM)
  • strawberries and blueberries
  • Melissa's firm tofu
  • 1 scoop Champion ProScore 100 protein powder

TOFU - Melissa's is an 18 oz package....serving size said 1/3 cup = 1 serving, 6 servings per package. So, for $2, I have six shakes worth of tofu, so I cut it into six pieces and refrigerated the leftover. (You can refrigerate the leftover tofu. You do have to change the water daily....but other than that it should be fine in the refrigerator.)
I use Champion Pro Score protein - and I get it from this website -

$30 for 2 pounds. (On the champion website, it's almost $50 for two pounds....but you will pay shipping to vitalady...but sheesh.) Anyway.
I thought I would like chocolate better, but I'm kind of loving the strawberry.

The first day I made a shake I figured out the calories according to the ingredients I was like 330 calories and 80% of the protein I needed for the day. Yippee.  

Smoothie lady said that for the rest of her day, she would do 3 oz of fish or chicken at lunch and 3 oz at supper, and lots of fruits, vegetables, and a little whole grain. She said she ate a minimum of two apples per day.
I am excited about this idea and plan. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Yummy Pork Chops

I got this from my Fiancé's Dad. It's pretty good and we change the meat up when we get tired of pork chops. My filet mignons are currently marinading in the fridge as we speak.

Prep Time: 24 hrs
Cook Time: 20 min.
Ready In: 24 hrs
Yields: 8 servings

4 - Cups soy sauce
2 - Cups salad oil
2 - Cups Brown Sugar
1 - Cup worchestershire sauce
1 - Cup white vinegar
1 - Bottle (4 fl oz) Liquid Smoke
3 - teaspoons garlic powder (1/2 small container)
6 - teaspoons celery seed (1 small container)
6 - teaspoons dry ground mustard (1 small container)
6 - teaspoons ground ginger (1 small container)
8 - Iowa Chops - 1+1/4" center cut Pork Chops

In mixing bowl combine first 10 ingredients and mix very well.
Marinade chops in mixture 24 hrs. in refrigerator, turning once. (top to bottom)
Grill chops to 165 degree F (just turning white / no pink) over medium to high heat of grill or over campfire coals at height to 10-12 above good bed of coals. Baste chops with mixture and turn frequently (some charing may occur as the brown sugar in the mixture burns). Reuse leftover marinade ONLY if kept refrigerated. NEVER serve used marinade as table sauce, health hazard if not fully cooked.
Serve with a baked potato, brown beans, bread, and a light salad and watch them fight for the leftovers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Grandma's Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert

When I'm lucky, my Grandma Driesen makes this for dessert on Sunday's my favorite summer dessert! Gotta love the fresh strawberries!!

First Layer, mix:
1 package graham crackers (crushed)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter

Press in 9x13 pan. Put in fridge while you mix the following.

2 - 8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
3/4 cup powdered sugar (or white sugar)
2 - 8 oz. cool whip

Beat until creamy. Pour onto graham cracker crust. Cool in fridge while preparing final layer.

Prepare 1 package Janket Danish Dessert according to package instructions. (Boil with 1 3/4 cup water). Allow to cool, and then mix with 2 pints of strawberries to cover the cream cheese layer.


*Recipe from Grandma Driesen

Heavenly Bars

It's time for desserts! This is probably one of the most unhealthy bars I make, but I LOVE THEM!!! They are DE-lish.

Melt together:
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
2 cups peanut butter

4 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 package of vanilla pudding mix (French vanilla gives the middle layer a better color, but it doesn't matter...)

Spread this layer on a large cookie sheet-like pan, or two 9x13 pans, the bars are meant to be thin.

Beat together:
1 stick of oleo
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 package of pudding mix (the other half of the package you previously used)
8 tablespoons of milk

Spread over the first layer, and chill.

Frost with:
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup chocolate chips


*Recipe from Carmel Cookbook

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


The recipe off the Barilla no boil lasagna box! 

If you have a regular 9x13 pan, follow these instructions


1 box barilla no boil lasagna
2 eggs
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided) 
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 lb bulk Italian sausage or ground beef – cook, crumble, drain with onions and garlic
diced onions, to taste
garlic, to taste
2 jars marinara sauce (not chunky- traditional is better)

mushrooms, optional
roasted red peppers, optional

Preheat oven to 375. Spray 9x13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Remove 16 sheets of lasagna from box. Do not boil. In medium bowl, beat eggs. Stir in ricotta cheese, 2 cups of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

When layering lasagna, slightly overlap sheets. Lasagna will expand to the edges during cooking. Spread fillings to edges to seal in and cook the lasagna during baking.

Layer as follows:

Spread ½ jar of sauce on bottom of greased pan
o    4 or 5 sheets of lasagna
o    half of ricotta mixture
o    half of browned meat
o    remaining sauce from 1st can
o    1 cup mozzarella

o    4-5 sheets lasagna
o    remaining ricotta mixture
o    remaining browned meat
o    ½ of second jar of sauce

o    4 -5 sheets lasagna
o    remaining sauce from second jar
o    remaining 1 cup mozzarella

Bake covered with foil until bubbly, 50-60 minutes. Uncover, continue cooking 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

If you have a DEEP 9x13  pan (3" deep), follow these instructions for layering:


1 box barilla no boil lasagna
2 eggs
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided) 
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 lb bulk Italian sausage or ground beef – cook, crumble, drain with onions and garlic
diced onions, to taste
garlic, to taste
2 jars marinara sauce (not chunky- traditional is better)

mushrooms, opt
roasted red peppers, opt

Preheat oven to 375. Spray 9x13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Remove 16 sheets of lasagna from box. Do not boil. In medium bowl, beat eggs. Stir in ricotta cheese, 2 cups of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

When layering lasagna, slightly overlap sheets. Lasagna will expand to the edges during cooking. Spread fillings to edges to seal in and cook the lasagna during baking.

If you have a deep 9x13  pan (3" deep), follow these instructions for layering:
Spread 1 cup of sauce on bottom of greased baking pan.
Layer 4 uncooked sheets, 1/3 of ricotta mixture, half of browned meat, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, and 1 cup of sauce.
Layer 4 uncooked sheets, 1/3 of ricotta, and 1 ½ cups sauce
Layer 4 uncooked sheets, the remaining ricotta, the remaining meat, and 1 cup of sauce
Layer 4 uncooked sheets, the remaining sauce, and the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella. 

Bake covered with foil until bubbly, 50-60 minutes. Uncover, continue cooking 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A note from the Links tab...

Here's a spot where I previously started saving a few recipes about six months ago in an attempt to get organized a bit. Ironically, I never got around to posting a coffee jello recipe. It was a short lived phase. :)    ~ Brenda   (burendachan1) jello
     Some of my faves are the cornbread with chilies and cheese. ...the scone recipes... the BROWNIE recipe is so easy and yummy. (Recently when I made this I creamed the sugar and butter together first and mixed the flour in last. Made a big difference in the texture.)  This recipe is "two" of almost everything. 2 cups flour, sugar, etc. 2 sticks of butter. 2 eggs. Easy Peasy.
    It's getting to be chili weather. A couple of our fave chili recipes are on here as well. One is a crockpot recipe that is spicy, easy, and yummy. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Slow Cooker Spaghetti

Feeling inspired by Amy's Penne Pasta! And by the ingredients in my pantry...Going to try a variation of this recipe today:   Slow Cooker Spaghetti
Will probably use less meat and more carrots and onions. Cuz that's the way I roll.
 2 large cans of flavored spaghetti sauce- (ie garlic, meat, herb)
1 pound of either turkey, or beef
1 pound of either ground pork
1 large onion
2 chopped carrots
2 table spoons of Italian herbs
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
It’s best to sauté the onions, and brown the meat if you have time. If not make sure that you chop up the ground meats or you’ll end up with a gigantic meatball (not recommended). Toss all the ingredients in your crock pot. I turn it too high while I do my prep work, and turn it to low for the duration. Six hours minimum cook time up.
Make your pasta and enjoy
B's notes:     Added a can of stewed tomatoes I had on hand.   Will be adding mushrooms and some spices..from this link:     basil, oregano, sugar, salt pepper, crushed red pepper flakes

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spicy Italian Sausage & Penne Pasta

We just had this for a very yummy supper. It is a pretty simple recipe, and not too many ingredients. For the sausage, I got HyVee's ground italian pork sausage. I opted for the spicy kind, and it did have some zip to it! Also, I took a couple handy shortcuts. For the broccoli, I got a bag of broccoli florets -- cut, washed, and ready to go. For the garlic, I used a teaspoon from a jar of ready-to-use minced garlic.

8 ounces uncooked penne
1 pound hot italian sausage
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (14 oz. each) seasoned diced tomatoes
3 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup shredded cheese (Asiago, Romano, or Parmesan)

Cook penne according to package directions; drain. Return to saucepan; keep warm.

Meanwhile, place sausage and onion in large skillet. Cook and stir until sausage is no longer pink, stirring to break up meat; drain fat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and broccoli. Cover; cook 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

Add sausage mixture to penne; toss well. Sprinkle with cheese.

Great with garlic bread or rolls! Makes 4-6 servings.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Harvest Pot Roast with Vegetables

I just finished gorging myself with this fabulous pot was such a delicious feast! Also, I love crock-pot meals, they are so easy and convenient. We didn't have any mushrooms or rutabaga, so we left them out, and it still tasted great.

Serves: 6


6 slices of bacon, halved crosswise
2 lbs. red skinned or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in 2 inch pieces
4-6 carrots, peeled and cut in 2 inch lengths, halved lengthwise
1 small rutabaga
Salt and Pepper
1 tsp dried leaf thyme, divided
1 boneless beef chuck roast, about 3 lbs
1 bag, about 16 oz, frozen small white onions
8 ounces of mushrooms, scrubbed and left whole, halved if large
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
2-3 tablespoons of cold water

Place bacon over the bottom of the crockpot. Arrange potatoes, rutabaga, and carrots over the bacon. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and half of the thyme. Place the pot roast on the vegetables, then add onions, and mushrooms over and around the roast. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and the remaining thyme. Combine the beef broth and tomato paste, pour over the pot roast. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.

Remove the pot roast to a warm platter. With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables and arrange around the roast. Cover and keep warm.

Separate the fat and broth using a fat separator, or skim fat off the top of the broth; discard fat. Put the broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.

In a cup or small bowl, whisk flour with water until smooth. Whisk the flour mixture into broth until thickened and bubbly. Serve gravy with meat and vegetables.


Skittles Vodka!

A cousin of mine posted this recipe last week, and it looks like a lot of fun to try...and it was! This was a very fun afternoon project for us, and it really is fun to drink too. Skittles...Taste the Rainbow!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Amazing Chinese Meal....Okay, so I cheat a little bit! :)

Soooo....Brenda is going to shudder that I call this my "delicious Asian meal", since she is a goddess in the kitchen when it comes to great stir-fry, but for this unexperienced little wife, I go for a quick, easy, delicious meal from a bag every once in a while. :) I thought I'd share the brands that we have been eating's great to eat each of these on their own, or all together for a great meal!

This fried rice is in the freezer section at Sam's Club and is SO delicious and easy to make. Plus, it already contains some chicken, so it can be an entire dish on it's own, and you don't have to add your own meat.

These are also from Sam's Club and are also delicious and easy to prepare...we usually put them in the oven.

The Green Giant stir-fry bags are great...just add any type of meat, and you are set! So delicious and fast. We usually buy this at Cub Foods, but I'm sure you can get it other places as well.

Like I said, great all together, or separately! Let me know if you like them as much as we do. :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Give me some of your tots...

Tator Tot Casserole

Skier's French Toast

This is a really yummy overnight caramel-ly french toast. You could easily do a half batch. Highly recommend. Just made a pan.

This looks like an interesting variation with bananas foster...
click here

2 Tbsp corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 loaf french bread, sliced into 2 inch slices
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Combine syrup, butter, and brown sugar in a pan and simmer until thick (syrup-like) approximately 5 minutes. Put in a 9x13 pan. Add bread slices. Pour egg mixture over bread. Refrigerate, covered with saran wrap, for at least an hour. Can be refrigerated overnight. Bake for 45 minutes. Invert to serve.  

A loaf of french bread - cut into 2/3 inch slices works really well - makes about 12 "slices" usually...and they will expand when baked to fill the pan.

If you use a different kind of bread, you can overlap them as needed...cut off crusts if you use a different kind of bread. . . .I found another recipe that called for a one pound loaf of unsliced white bread, with crust trimmed.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Li'l Cheddar Meat Loaves

I made this for supper tonight, and I definitely give it two thumbs up! I love meatloaf, and this one was particularly I love the individual portions. This would be a great dish to make for guests!

Servings: 8

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb. ground beef
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard

In a large bowl, whisk egg and milk. Stir in the cheese, oats, onion and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into eight loaves; place in a greased 9x13 baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard; spoon over loaves.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until no pink remains and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Nutrition facts: 1 loaf equals 254 calories, 10 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat), 72 mg cholesterol, 690 mg sodium.


*Taken from Taste of Home online - per suggestion from Dianne Redden. :)

Southern Spaghetti Casserole

Here's a great casserole from the Carmel cookbook...I cut this one in half most of the time, because we don't need a whole 9x13 pan, however, the recipe below is for the 9x13 recipe. It's a great, easy, delicious meal!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1/4 lb. bacon, fried and crumbled
2 lb. hamburger, browned
1 (32 oz.) jar Ragu sauce
Velveeta cheese
12 oz. cooked spaghetti

Add Ragu to hamburger. Simmer a few minutes. Layer in 9x13 pan: half of spaghetti, half of meat sauce, half of bacon and slices of cheese. Repeat layers. Bake at 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

*Recipe taken from the Carmel Cookbook, compliments of Sandy Vonk :) 

Sunday, August 22, 2010


This is the best lasagna, especially if you're not a huge fan of the chunky Ricotta or cottage cheese most lasagnas use.

White Sauce:
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1.5 C milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter/margarine
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Mixture will be lumpy--works best if you stir with a whisk. Simmer together for a bit until appears melted and thickened. Set aside--will thicken up more as it cools.

Meat Sauce:
  • 1-1.5 lb hamburger
  • .5-1 lb Italian sausage
  • .5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 26 oz jars spaghetti sauce

Brown and drain meats together then add remaining ingredients.

  • 9-12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 4-5 C mozzarella cheese
  • .5-1 C parmesan cheese

In a 9x13 pan put a very thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom (you will be able to see parts of the bottom of the pan still).

Place 3 uncooked noodles on top of the sauce (I also fill in with parts of noodles at the ends because the noodles aren't quite 13" long)
On top of the noodles spoon on 1/2 of the white sauce. Sprinkle with 2C shredded mozzarella cheese and top with parmesan cheese to taste. Top with half of the meat sauce.

Add 3 additional noodles and then top with the remaining white sauce. On top of the white sauce add 2C shredded mozzarella and parmesan followed by 3 noodles.

Top the final layer of noodles with the remaining meat sauce.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, uncovered, at 350 degrees. This will make approximately 12 servings depending on how big you like to cut your pieces. Depending on the amount of meat you use you may want to use a slightly larger pan, I have one that is made by Wilton and is designated a "lasagna pan."

This is a favorite in my household and we love that we have a ton of leftovers to take to work the next week. It freezes great so I use the smaller Gladware containers to freeze individuals servings which makes things so easy during our crazy mornings.

Also, not having to cook the noodles is so much easier than most traditional lasagna recipes.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

We used this recipe for our wedding nice and easy and really good! This would be a good recipe to experiment with different kinds of frosting. Here's a link to some more Martha Stewart cupcakes that look amazing!

Martha Stewart's One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salf
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; mix batter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about one-third full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fiesta Bake!

I tried this recipe out last week, and was a pretty big's easy, has pretty "standard" ingredients, and was very yummy! I also like that it is made for an 8x8 square pan....which means not so many leftovers!

Let me know what you think. :)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 lb. ground beef
chopped onion
3/4 cup salsa
1 package taco seasoning
1/4 cup water
1 cup whole kernel corn
1 package corn bread mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 (4 oz.) can of green chilies

Brown meat and onion; add salsa, taco seasoning, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5-6 minutes. Stir in corn. Spoon into an ungreased 8"x8" square baking pan. Prepare corn bread according to package instructions; stir in cheese and chilies until smooth. Spread over meat mixture. Bake at 350 degrees or until corn bread tests done.

*Recipe from the Sioux Center Community School Cookbook, compliments of Julie Green.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dutch Baby / German Apple Pancakes

  • We love brunch. There is something so luxurious about being lazy on a Saturday morning and having some good coffee and eggs. I have tried several variations of the "oven pancake"....I'll let you know how this one turns out! 

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 large tart apple - peeled, cored and sliced
  1. In a large bowl, blend eggs, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Gradually mix in milk, stirring constantly. Add vanilla, melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Let batter stand for 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Melt butter in a 10 inch oven proof skillet, brushing butter up on the sides of the pan. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture over the butter. Line the pan with apple slices. Sprinkle remaining sugar over apples. Place pan over medium-high heat until the mixture bubbles, then gently pour the batter mixture over the apples.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. Slide pancake onto serving platter and cut into wedges.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Southwestern Chicken Salad

David and I love this dish for three reasons:

1) Healthy Mexican food!
2) Easy to make
3) Makes a big batch that warms up really well

Also, I like it because it looks pretty! :) The recipe suggests serving this cold over salad greens or in a pita, but David and I like to heat it up in the microwave, and put it in a warmed tortilla with some guacamole. Enjoy!

4 cups cubed rotisserie chicken
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
*1 cup chopped roasted sweet red peppers
1 cup chopped red or sweet onion
1 cup fresh minced cilantro

3 Tbsp. lime juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 tsp. honey
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper

Tortillas, and avocado slices or guacamole

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients; pour over chicken mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving. Serve as desired.

*It's pretty easy to make your own roasted red peppers, and there are some good recipes for that online.

Gorilla Bread

It's like Monkey Bread, but WAY better!!

Serves: 12-14

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 pkg. cream cheese
2 (12 oz) cans of refrigerated biscuits (10 count)
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. Mix the sugar and cinnamon (or just use a premixed sugar and cinnamon mixture if you have some...). In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over low heat, stirring well, then set aside.

Cut the cream cheese into 20 equal cubes. I thought that using the whole package of cream cheese was a bit much, so maybe leave a chunk in your fridge unless you LOVE cream cheese! Press the biscuits out with your fingers and sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon sugar. Place a cube of cream cheese in the center of each biscuit, and wrap the biscuit around it.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of nuts into the bottom of the bundt pan. Place 1/2 of prepared biscuits in pan, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, pour 1/2 of melted butter mixture over the biscuits, and add 1/2 cup of nuts. Layer the remaining biscuits on top, sprinkle remaining cinnamon sugar and butter mixture, and add the remaining nuts.

Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Flip onto plate.

WOW! Writing that recipe made me really hungry...Enjoy!

*Recipe acquired from Brenda Renes Oldenkamp's recipe stash. 

Grandma Renes's Chex Mix!

I LOVE THIS CHEX MIX!! Warning: Completely addicting, and makes a HUGE batch. Yes, lethal combination.

1 bag of Bugles
1 box of Post Waffle-Crisp Cereal or Honey Chex Cereal
1 box of Cheese-its
1 big bag of oyster crackers
1 bag of Cheetos
1/2 bag of pretzel sticks
1 can of nuts
8-10 oz of Orville Popcorn Oil (or 1/2 of 14 oz. bottle)
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder

Ingredients can be swapped if some things aren't available...dump all of this in a garbage bag, and shake together until completely mixed.

ENJOY! (at your own risk...)

*Recipe made famous from my Grandma Renes - obviously. 

Ensalada de Pasta

Another one of my favorite Spanish sounds really strange, but is really quite delicioso!

1 bag/box of the rainbow or tricolor spiral pasta (it makes it look prettier!)
1 can of corn
2 apples cut into small pieces (I like Gala or something similar...something that has a sweet and tart kick to it!)
1/2 bag of shredded cheddar cheese
A few slices of cut up deli ham
1 can of drained tuna

Mix well and top with a little bit of olive oil, vinegar and salt.

¡Que aproveche!

*Recipe compliments of Paqui. Te echo de menos, mi madre española! 

Tortilla Española

A recipe straight from my host madre en España! A Spanish classic...hopefully this will turn out for you, she never really uses recipes, so this is the best I could get out of her. :)

Serves: Can be adjusted

1 egg per person plus one extra (3 people, use 4 eggs)
1 fist sized potato per person cut into small pieces
1/2 an onion cut into small pieces

Cook onion and potatoes in a frying pan on a medium setting with quite a bit of olive oil and a little bit of salt for about 20 minutes, the oil should almost cover the potatoes. Drain the oil (you can keep it and use it for future cooking if you want...) and mix the potatoes with the eggs. Put a little bit of olive oil in a pan and put mixture in. Mix while cooking, and then pat into shape when it starts to firm up. Use a plate to flip and cook the other side. This only takes a few minutes.

¡Que aproveche!

*Recipe compliments of Paqui. Te echo de menos, mi madre española!

Brenda's 5 Ingredient Goulash

I love this recipe because it's fast, easy, and you almost always have these ingredients on hand.

1 cup elbow macaroni
1 can tomato soup
1 lb. of hamburger, I like to cook with a chopped onion
1 can of corn
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Brown hamburger with the onion and cook noodles according to the normal directions. Dump all ingredients together in a pot over the burner and stir until all is mixed together and heated.

*Recipe compliments of Auntie B

Egg Casserole

This is my favorite egg casserole...the Bisquick in it makes it so light and fluffy, it's delicious!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix in order given:

1 cup Bisquick
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
1-2 teaspoons of chopped onion
1 teaspoon of dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
1 cup of milk
Ham chunks

Pour into a 9x13 glass dish, pour 1/2 cup of melted butter on top and bake for 40-45 minutes.

*Recipe compliments of Brenda Renes Oldenkamp

Grandma Betty's Fruit Cups

A childhood favorite from my Grandma Betty. Very easy to make, and great to just throw in a lunch box, or grab for a quick breakfast or healthy snack!

It makes around 20 small fruit cups, we like to use the little 1/2 cup GLAD containers.

2 cans of crushed pineapple and juices (around 2 lbs)
1 large can of apricots or peaches and juices, I like to cut them up a little bit
3 mashed ripe bananas
Dissolve 3/4 cup sugar and 1 cup water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
6 oz. of frozen orange juice concentrate
I also like to add some raspberries or strawberries

Mix all ingredients together and freeze in cups. To serve, I either like to thaw them in the fridge for a few hours, or to serve immediately, pop it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

Bon appétit!

*Recipe from Betty Boxrud

Orange Julius

The girls from Pod 108 have declared this the best study break treat of all time, and we took a LOT of study breaks!! Basically just a fabulous refreshing treat...also great with a little bit of rum thrown it...perfect for an evening treat! :)

Serves 4 (recipe can be cut in half to serve 2)

6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate (1/2 of the container)
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Fresh or frozen fruit (optional)

For the full recipe, this will fill up the whole blender, just add enough ice or fruit to reach the top and then blend together until smooth.


*Recipe taken from Lori Huisman, from my 8th grade Home Economics class.