Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 12 squares)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup butter, melted

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

1. In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, cracker crumbs, sugar and spices; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 10-inch tart pan
with a removable bottom.
2. For filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Add pumpkin and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; beat on low speed just until combined.
3. Pour into crust; sprinkle with walnuts and remaining cinnamon. Please pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 1 1/2 hours. Store in the refrigerator.

*From the Taste of Home Cookbook

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Curried Lentils, Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard

You guys, this is an amazing dish. I cannot say enough about it. Delicious, hearty, probably pretty cheap to make. :)  We served over brown rice, it lasted us at least 3 meals, and we savored it to the last drop!

I used fresh garlic and ginger - you have to - if lentils aren't seasoned properly, they will not be delicious. :)

adapted from the Smitten Kitten

Yields 8 to 10 side-dish servings; 6 main-course servings.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped  (I probably used 2 cuz I love onions)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
     The first time I made it, I didn't have garam masala, so I used 3 tbps of curry powder - see the kind I used below - it's important! :) 

1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded if desired, then minced
4 to 5 cups chicken broth as needed
2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 bay leaf
1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
     substitute if necessary:  mustard greens, collard greens, beet greens, turnip greens, bok choy. (I substituted with both curly leaf kale and napa cabbage because they were the freshest greens in the store I was at)

1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup chopped scallions, for garnish.

1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder and jalapeno. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. (at least - I cooked it a little longer)
2. Stir in 4 cups broth, sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. (If lentils seem dry, add up to 1 cup stock, as needed.) Stir in chard and salt and pepper, and continue cooking until lentils are tender and chard is cooked, about 30 to 45 minutes total.
3. Just before serving, stir in cilantro, lime zest and juice. Spoon into a large, shallow serving dish. Garnish with almonds if desired and scallions.

This is NOT BAD - bought at fareway in sioux center - smells AMAZING!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Greek Salad

Lettuce (I like Dole's Mediterranean Blend)
Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Cucumbers
Roasted Red Peppers
Feta Cheese

Dressing Suggestions:
*Wish-bone Bruschetta Italian Dressing
*Amanda's Dressing: mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper

Pick your favorite ingredients and mix together!

Bran Muffins

The measurements may seem weird on this one. Most muffin recipes make a dozen which is way too many for Rick and I. This one makes 6.

1 cup all bran cereal
2/3 cup milk
1/2 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup oil
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine cereal and milk and set aside. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add oil and egg to cereal mixture. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until just moistened. Spoon into muffin pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Recipe adapted from:

Barbecue Goose Sandwich

2 tablespoons Butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, sliced
1 goose breast
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups chicken broth

1. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add goose breast and brown on both sides.

2. Put everything into a crock pot. Add Worcestershire sauce and chicken broth. Cook on high for 6-8 hours.

3. Shred meat and mix with barbecue sauce.

Recipe from:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Salty Sweet Treat

This recipe sounds a little strange, but it's delicious, I promise! This is easy, and great to bring to work or a party.

1 Family sized bag of Fritos (or two small bags)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup

Spread Fritos on a large baking pan (with sides). Melt peanut butter, sugar and corn syrup in the microwave, and drizzle the mixture over the Fritos. Serve and enjoy!

*Taken from Carmel Cookbook, compliments of Alison Sandbulte :) 

Lickteig Corn Casserole

EASY, DELICIOUS corn casserole!!

Throw all the following ingredients into a casserole dish sprayed with PAM.

1 can of corn
1 can of creamed corn
1 can full of milk
1 stick of butter
1 box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (noodles and cheese powder)

Mix ingredients together, and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for an hour. Stir halfway through.


*Recipe stolen from Ashley Lickteig and family...yummmmm. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Touch of Honey Biscuits

Perfect recipe for 2! Makes four biscuits. I really couldn't taste the honey in them but they were really good with a chicken-pot-pie inspired sauce over them.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon honey

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cream of tartar; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in milk and honey just until moistened.

2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead gently 8-10 times. Roll out to 3/4 inch thickness; cut with a floured 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter.

3. Place 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees or 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Brown Butter Risotto

4 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
4 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

1. In a medium pan, bring chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat and keep the chicken stock hot.
2. In a large pan, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Cook until the butter begins to foam and turn brown.
3. Add the onion and cook until tender.
4. Add the rice and stir until it is coated with the butter.
5. Add the wine and simmer until it is almost all absorbed.
6. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock at a time and stir until absorbed. Repeat this step until the chicken stock is all incorporated.
7. Remove from heat and add the Parmesan cheese, remaining butter, and chives.

Makes about 4 servings.

*Recipe adapted from

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thick 'n' Zesty Ribs

2 pounds pork baby back ribs, cut into serving-sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Place the ribs in a 13 X 9 dish. Rub with garlic powder. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Drain the ribs after cooking.

2. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour half of the sauce over the ribs. Bake, uncovered, 40-50 minutes longer or until the meat is tender, basting several times with the remaining sauce.

*Recipe from The Taste of Home Cookbook

Friday, September 9, 2011

Easy Bruschetta Chicken

Chicken breasts
Wish Bone Bruschetta Italian Dressing

Marinate chicken breasts in the dressing for at least 15 minutes. For this one, you don't have to let it sit all day like some marinates. Then just stick it in a hot non-stick pan and cook through.

To make it a little more fancy, top with chopped tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Then stick it under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese melts.

Tuna Burgers for Two


1 can (5 or 6 oz) tuna, drained
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
4 Tablespoons mayo, divided
2 Tablespoons finely chopped roasted red peppers, divided
2 Tablespoons finely chopped celery
2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (I didn't have so I mixed ground mustard, black pepper, salt, and paprika)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
2 hamburger buns or 4 slices of bread
sliced tomato
lettuce leaves


1. Combine tuna, bread crumbs, 2 Tablespoons mayo, 1 Tablespoon roasted red pepper, celery, onion, and 1/8 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning in a bowl.

2. Combine 2 Tablespoons mayo, 1 Tablespoon roasted red pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning in a small bowl.

3. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Form two burgers out of the tuna mixture. Cook until brown on each side and heated through. This takes about 2 minutes on each side.

4. Spread mayo mixture on the bread and top with burger, tomato, and lettuce.

Recipe adapted from:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pork Chops with Apples & Stuffing

This recipe really needs a fancier title - it's super easy & really tasty.


  • 1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top stuffing mix for chicken

  • 1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling

  • Boneless pork chops (1 - 1 1/2 lbs)


  • Heat oven to 375 degrees

  • Prepare stuffing mix as directed

  • Spread pie filling onto bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; top with stuffing and chops; cover.

  • Bake for 40 min or until chops are done (160 degrees); uncover after 30 minutes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Squares

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

24 squares (1 ounce each) semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons shorting

1. Line a 9 inch square baking pan with foil and grease the foil. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, pecans and butter. Press into prepared pan; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in vanilla. Pour over crust.

3. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate until chilled. Freeze overnight.

4. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Using foil, lift cheesecake out of the pan. Gently peel off foil, cut into 49 squares. Remove a few pieces at a time for dipping; keep remaining squares refrigerated until ready to dip.

5. Using a toothpick, completely dip squares, one at a time, in melted chocolate. Place on waxed paper; spoon about 1 teaspoon chocolate over each. (Reheat chocolate if needed to finish dipping.) Let stand for 20 minutes or until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

*Makes 49 squares

*This is the original recipe but I made a few modifications. I used an 8 inch pan because that is what I had. I did not add the pecans to the crust. I chose to drizzle the chocolate on top instead of completely covering it. I used less than 12 oz of chocolate chips rather than the squares.

*Recipe from The Taste of Home Cookbook

Chicken BLT Wraps

ranch dressing
4 flour tortillas (I prefer wheat tortillas for a healthier meal)
8 leaves green leaf lettuce
1 9 ounce package sliced chicken breast
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup bacon bits (I prefer the soft ones)

1. Spread ranch dressing on each tortilla leaving a 2 inch border.
2. Layer lettuce, chicken breast, tomato, and bacon bits on top.
3. Roll up and secure with toothpick or wrap with wax paper or foil.

Serves 4

I made these as finger foods for Rick's graduation party by cutting each one in thirds. They would make a great quick and easy lunch.

Thumbprint Cookies

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
seedless strawberry, raspberry, apricot jam/jelly (or whatever flavor you prefer)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar and stir in the vanilla extract. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour and salt. Combine the flour mixture and the butter mixture until the dough is crumbly but holds together when pinched.

2. Take a walnut-sized piece of dough in one hand. With the thumb of the other hand, gently knead it three times. Roll it into a ball and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. With your knuckle or thumb, press a well in the center and fill with 1/2 teaspoon of jelly.

3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

The recipe says it makes about 6 dozen cookies. However, this depends on the size you make your cookies.

*Recipe from

Guacamole, Tacos, and Such

I feel like I've only posted Mexican recipes on this blog, but for a good reason -- David and I love Mexican food!

I love love the spices -- cumin, cilantro, chipotle, chili, garlic -- so good! Soft and warm tortillas are the perfect vehicle for lots of spicy meat and veggies. Also, I don't feel like I improvise in the kitchen very well, but I find it a little easier with Mexican food. Add some black beans to make tacos more filling, chipotle pepper to make it zippy, and cilantro and lime always add a fresh punch.

Here are a few recipes I like to use for our fiesta feasts!
  • Last time tacos were requested by the husby, I didn't have a taco seasoning packet, so I was happy to find this recipe. It's great because you can add more or less of each spice. More cumin for me!
  • IGE has a great way to make the sides (rice, black beans, pico de gallo) for a very filling burrito -- just like Chipotle.
  • Posted this recipe before but it's a huge household favorite -- pork carnitas!
  • Made this mango salsa this! Fruity + zippy = amazingness. We ate it with Trader Joe's Chili Lime Chicken burgers on hamburger buns, and it hit the spot.
Happy eats! And please share any of your favorite Mexican recipes!

Drunken Noodles

Just a link - Haven't made them yet.

Her recipes look amazing, including the curry lentil soup. (I am on a constant quest for the perfect lentil recipe.)

Drunken Noodles

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rhubarb Jello Cake

Hello everyone - I'm a friend of Sara's and a new poster. I love to cook & bake and have enjoyed viewing and trying things from this blog for a while now. I'm excited to be able to post recipes too. Happy Eating!

My mother has made this rhubarb cake for years. It is a hit even amongst those who don't normally like rhubarb. It's easy too!

Rhubarb Jello Cake

1 pkg. white or yellow cake mix
1 C. white sugar
4 C. rhubarb, chopped
1 pkg. red Jello (strawberry or raspberry are my faves)
1/2 C. white sugar
1/4 C. flour
1/4 C. butter, softened

Mix cake mix according to directions on package. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan.

Mix rhubarb, 1 cup sugar and jello. Spoon on top of cake mix. Then mix 1/2 cup sugar, flour and butter until crumbly. Put this over the top of the cake.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes. If the center still appears liquidy, bake a little bit longer.It's best served warm, with cool whip or ice cream.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lemon Bars


1/2 pound butter (two sticks), at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

6 extra large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (3-6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour

powdered sugar for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in a large bowl. With the mixer on low, add the flour and salt until just mixed. Press the dough into a 13X9 pan going up 1/2 inch on the sides.

3. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes or until light brown. Let cool and leave the oven on.

4. For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour on the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

5. Let cool at room temperature.

6. Dust with powdered sugar.

*I bought 2 lemons and had just under two tablespoons zest and less than a cup of lemon juice. I added enough bottled lemon juice to fill the required cup and they turned out great. Rick thought they were too lemony but our families loved them.

*Recipe from the Food Network Website

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Speedy Chicken Stir-Fry

I love this recipe because it uses my new favorite dressing!

Kraft Light Asian Toasted Sesame is really yummy -- less gloopy than some of the creamy dressing and really flavorful! It tastes great in a spinach salad, with some sliced almonds and mandarin oranges.

Like the recipe name says, this was super-speedy! I loved the dressing which had a little kick from the red pepper and some crunch from the peanuts. Next time, I will add more veggies -- maybe use a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies.

The sodium content is a little high for this recipe, but substituting with the light version of the dressing and low-sodium soy sauce, you could cut it down a little. In any case, it's definitely lighter than take-out!


1/2 lb. angel hair pasta (capellini), uncooked
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup KRAFT Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. each ground ginger, garlic powder, crushed red pepper
1/3 cup chopped PLANTERS Dry Roasted Peanuts
COOK pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, adding broccoli to the boiling water for the last 3 min.
MEANWHILE, spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 to 8 min. or until done, stirring occasionally. Stir in dressing, soy sauce and seasonings; cook 1 min., stirring occasionally.
DRAIN pasta mixture; place in large bowl. Add chicken mixture; mix lightly. Serve topped with nuts.
Go get this dressing and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Orange Chicken

Another delicious meal from Iowagirleats....sorry gals, I'm addicted to her blog. :)

Serves 2

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts, pounded so they are the same thickness
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of 2 oranges
4 teaspoons brown sugar, divided

1. Heat oil on medium-high skillet on the stove.
2. Combine flour, paprika, salt and chicken breasts in a sealed plastic bag. Shake to coat the chicken.
3. Shake excess flour from chicken and cook in the hot oil until golden brown on both sides, but not cooked through (it'll finish cooking in the oven.) Move to a non-stick sprayed baking dish.
4. Juice 2 oranges, then add the juice to the hot skillet. Let it reduce by half, then pour the juice over the chicken.
5. Crumble 2 teaspoons of brown sugar over each chicken breast.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, finishing with a few minutes under the broiler to caramelize brown sugar, if needed.

Enjoy!! It's delicious. :)

Thanks Iowa Girl!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Shepard's Pie

Another delicious recipe from!! This is a little late for St. Patty's day, but definitely worth making any day of the year!! Check out Iowa Girl's blog for photos and step by step instructions, but here is the recipe for easy access. :)

Serves 5-6

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

4 cups mashed potatoes
garlic salt
1 lb ground beef
1/3 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
2 cups frozen vegetable medley
salt and pepper

Brown ground beef, onions and garlic in a large skillet on med-high heat. When meat is completely cooked, stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and chicken broth. Simmer for 5-6 minutes or until sauce is thick. Turn the heat off and stir in frozen vegetables and salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour beef mixture into a large, oven proof casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle garlic salt on top of mashed potatoes.

Place casserole dish on a large sheet pan (in case the sauce overflows) and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Ladle and serve!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sweet and Tangy Pork Loin

3/8 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/8 cup honey
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 garlic gloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 pound pork loin
1 small onion, sliced (optional)
chopped green onions (optional)
sesame seeds, toasted (optional) I didn't have any and it was great without them.

In a bowl combine brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, honey, vinegar, garlic, and salt. Place sliced onion on the bottom of a crock pot. Place the pork loin on top of the onions. Then pour the sauce over everything.

Cover and cook on low until a meat thermometer reads 160-170 degrees. This will take about 5-6 hours. There is plenty of sauce so you I think you could start this in the morning and it will be ready when you are home from work.

Top the pork loin with green onions and/or sesame seeds if you desire.

*Rick and I really liked this recipe. We served it with rice and mixed veggies. We have enough left over for another meal or tomorrow's lunch.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Moment of Weakness - Mom's Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Bars

Ugg....I probably shouldn't be eating this bar right now, but it is SOOOOO worth it. :) This is my mom's SUPER easy peanut butter rice krispie bar recipe, and it always hits the spot!

Melt in microwave or on stove:
1 cup sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
2 cups peanut butter

Mix 5-6 cups of rice krispies into this mixture

Smooth into a 9x13 pan.

Melt a bag of chocolate chips and cover the peanut butter mixture.

Go ahead, have a moment of weakness with me. :) Enjoy!

Megan's Chicken Marsala

Yum....hopefully my friend Megan doesn't mind that I post this on here. :) She made it for us for supper one time. I told her I had to have the recipe, and she was nice enough to share it with me. Normally, chicken marsala also includes mushrooms, but since neither she nor Tom and I like mushrooms, we use this mushroom-FREE recipe.  Feel free to add them when you cook the shallots and garlic, if you wish.

3 chicken breasts
3-4 garlic cloves
1-2 shallots
1/2 bottle of marsala wine
6 tbsp heavy cream

At least an hour before you are ready to cook, brine your chicken in water with salt (I used 4 cups of water with 4 tablespoons of salt). After an hour, rinse off the chicken, or they will be too salty after you cook them. Salt and pepper the breasts as you wish. (I actually forgot to do this tonight, but it had enough salty flavor from the brining, that it didn't really matter...)

Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil on medium-high and pan fry the breasts. Cook them until they are just fully cooked, and then move the chicken to a plate on the side. Mince 3-4 cloves of garlic and 1-2 shallots and saute them in the pan you took the chicken out of. When the garlic is slightly browned, add 1/2 the bottle of your marsala wine.

Simmer your wine sauce for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, start boiling water for your spaghetti, and begin cooking the noodles when the water boils. When your sauce starts to thicken, add the 6 tbsp of heavy cream. Stir and reduce the sauce a bit more - then you can add your chicken to the pan to reheat, and serve the chicken and sauce on top of spaghetti.

Delicious!! (Megan, feel free to alter this recipe....I hope I did it justice!!)

*Recipe adapted from

Garlic Green Beans

I love my veggies, and I love my garlic. :) This was a yummy and easy side dish!

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper (I just used regular pepper....)
2 teaspoons olive oil

Place beans in enough water to cover in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until crips-tender; drain. Toss beans with garlic, salt and pepper, drizzle with oil. Serve immediately.

*Recipe from the Taste of Home Comfort Food (Diet!) Cookbook magazine, 2009, pg. 108

Ranch Ham 'n' Cheese Pasta

Amy and I made this the other night, and it was delish. It even came from my Comfort Food Diet magazine, so it is pretty good for you too!! It looks like a lot of ingredients, but most of them are just spices, so it's really pretty easy.

1 package (16 oz.) penne pasta
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup fat-free milk
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried minced onion
1/2 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup (8 oz.) reduced-fat sour cream
2 cups cubed fully cooked lean ham
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese blend (we used less...)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain. In a Dutch oven, melt butter, whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk and seasonings. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. (It will look and smell like Ranch dressing!) Reduce heat; fold in sour cream until blended. Add ham and pasta; cook and stir until heated through. Remove from heat; stir in Mexican cheese blend until melted. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Nutrition facts: 1 cup equals 306 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 27 mg cholesterol, 612 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 20 g protein

Enjoy!! It's delicious.

*Recipe from Taste of Home Comfort Food (Diet!) Cookbook magazine, 2009, pg. 99

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pistachio Salad

1 (3.4 oz) box instant pistachio pudding mix
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 (8 oz) container whipped topping

In a large bowl, stir together pudding mix, pineapple with juice and marshmallows. Fold in whipped topping. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Asian Noodles

I didn't have a recipe and everything I found online had way too complicated and had way too many ingredients (most of which I didn't have). So, I winged it. It was missing something so if you have any suggestions, let me know!

cooked spaghetti
garlic cloves, minced
sliced onion
soy sauce

Saute the garlic and onion in a little bit of oil until soft. Add the noodles and soy sauce. I added a little bit of garlic powder and onion powder for a bit more flavor.

Caramelized Asian Pork Chops

4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon oil
2 pork chops
salt & pepper

Mix garlic, soy sauce, sugar, and oil together. Poor the mixture over the pork chops. Let it marinade for 30 minutes turning the pork chops halfway through. Season pork chops with salt and pepper then cook until done (either grill, broil, bake).

*Recipe adapted from Delish.

Corny Cornbread

To go along with Amy's post of Iowa Girl's Baked Potato Soup last week, I will definitely recommend her cornbread that she posted with it!! I am becoming a mega-fan of her blog, I like it more than my own!! Haha....

Anyway, it's super easy and delicious, but keep in mind that it does take a while to bake. I wanted to make it with my soup the other night, but I didn't have enough I just made it another day. :)

Give it a try!

Serves 8-10

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


1 (14.5 oz) can of cream corn
1 (14.5 oz) can of kernal corn, half drained
2 eggs
1 box Jiffy corn bread mix
1/2 stick butter, cut up

Directions: Lightly butter a 1 1/2- 2 quart casserole dish (we used an 8x8 dish.) Mix together corn, eggs and corn bread mix. Pour into a casserole dish, dab with cut up butter and bake at 350 degrees for 60-80 minutes uncovered.


Photo from

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Glazed Apples

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice (I have made it without this)
2 medium apples, peeled and cored (cut into rings or slices)

1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in sugar, lemon juice, and apples. Reduce heat.

2. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until apples are tender, turning frequently. Serve warm.

*I added a little bit of cinnamon and brown sugar on top to add a bit more flavor.

*Recipe adapted from The Taste of Home Cookbook

Friday, February 25, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

David and I devoured this tonight!

All the great flavors of this.... a warm and yummy bowl of soup!
Sorry, Sara....I would like to say this is a healthy recipe to go along with your roasted cauliflower, but I don't think it is! :) Although David and I decided that any recipe that includes the phrase "reserve the bacon fat" is going to be a tasty one!

This is another great recipe from Iowa Girl Eats... I feel like I'm getting all my recipes on this blog these days, but they're all so good! Haven't had a bad one yet... If you're looking for a comforting and flavorful soup, give this a try!

Baked Potato Soup
4 large baking potatoes
5 slices bacon
1/2 cup butter
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup sour cream

1. Scrub and prick potatoes with a fork then bake until soft in a 400 degree oven for 1 1/2-2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool. Let cool, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out potato pulp. Set aside and discard skins.*
2. Cook bacon in a large soup pot until crisp. Remove bacon, drain, then crumble – reserving bacon fat in pot.
3. Turn the heat down to low, melt butter in bacon fat, then add onion to the pot. Saute for 4-5 minutes until soft. Stir in flour until well combined, then cook for several minutes, but do not let it brown. Slowly whisk in milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add potato pulp, salt, pepper, crumbled bacon and 1 cup cheddar cheese. Stir and cook until cheese has melted, then stir in sour cream. Add extra milk, if necessary, until desired thickness is reached.
4. To serve, ladle into bowls or bread bowls and top with remaining cheddar cheese, extra crumbled bacon, sour cream or green onions!

*I microwaved the potatoes instead -- worked just fine and was a lot faster! Scrub potatoes and then prick with fork in several places. Place on paper towel. Microwave 3-5 minutes, turning over halfway through. (Add 3 minutes or so for each additional potato.) When potatoes are soft to the touch, put in aluminum foil and let stand 5 minutes. Remove, let cool a little while, then peel the skins and cube the potato pulp.

I didn't make the Corny Cornbread as a side, but I was tempted to give it a try!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower

So....I'm trying my best to eat a little healthier these days, which is leading me into the pages of my Biggest Loser cookbook. :) (by the way, I'd love some healthy recipe ideas, if anyone has them!!) This is a great, easy side dish, and was actually really yummy, for all you veggie lovers!

This recipe makes one serving, so I just doubled everything, and it was perfect for the two of us.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) cauliflower florets
2 teaspoons grated reduced fat Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine the cauliflower, cheese, parsley, garlic powder, and pepper. Season with salt. Toss to mix. Drizzle on the oil and toss again. Transfer the mixture to a small non-stick baking dish.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, tossing once, or until lightly browned and crisp-tender. Serve immediately.

Per serving - 104 calories, 4 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat (less than 1 g saturated), 5 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 121 mg sodium

*Recipe from The Biggest Loser Cookbook, page 130

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cherry Cheese Blintzes

1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
2 tablesppons butter, melted
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (8 ounces) small-curd cottage cheese
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softned
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Serve with cherry pie filling, strawberries, raspberries, or whatever you would like

1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. Combine the flour and salt; add to milk mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
2. Heat a lightly greased 8-inch nonstick skillet; pour 2 tablespoons batter into the center of skillet. Lift and tilt pan to evenly coat bottom. Cook until top appears dry; turn and cook 15-20 seconds longer. Remove to wire rack.
3. Repeat with remaining batter. When cool, stack crepes with waxed paper or paper towels in between. Wrap in foil; refrigerate.
4. In a blender, process cottage cheese until smooth. Transfer to a small mixing bowl; add cream cheese. Beat until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla; mix well. Spread about 1 rounded tablespoonful onto each crepe. Fold opposite sides of crepe over filling, forming a little bundle.
5. Place seam side down in a greased pan/baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until heated through.

The blintzes would be great for brunch or dessert. I actually made them for dinner twice. Both times I cut the recipe in half using one large egg. The first time, making half the batch filled us up. However, we must have been more hungry this time around and needed more food.

*From the Taste of Home Cookbook

Pork Patties with Mushroom Gravy

Meat Balls:
1 pound ground pork (I have always made it with ground beef)
1/4 cup soda cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)
1 small onion
2 eggs

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1/2 package dry onion soup

Mix the first four ingredients and shape into balls. Mix together gravy ingredients. Place meatballs into 2 quart casserole dish (or a 9X13 pan). Pour gravy mixture over the top. Cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. May be uncovered for the last 15 minutes to brown a little more.

I usually serve this with rice but pasta is good too. I actually think the leftovers taste better than when it first comes out of the oven.

*Recipe from the Butler County Sesquicentennial Cookbook

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jerry's Jalepenos Poppers

Perfect Party Appetizer! We took this to our Super Bowl party at Dave and Amy's last night. Yumm!

8-12 Jalepenos
1 container of cream cheese (8 oz)
1 cup of cheddar cheese
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix

Mix the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and ranch mix in a bowl. Cut the jalepenos in half, and take out the seeds. Fill the jalepenos with the cheese mixture, and then wrap the jalepeno with bacon. I usually use half a piece, unless it's a huge jalepeno, and I secure it with a toothpick.


*Recipe from my dad, Jerry Renes

Susan's Taco Soup

Brenda sent me this recipe from her friend Susan, what a yummy soup! It definitely had a little bit of a kick to it as well....I loved it. :)

1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans with juices (seasoned black beans, maybe?)
1 can of corn
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1 can white hominy (I would rinse the hominy)
1 can Rotel tomatoes + chilies
1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
Tabasco (optional)
1 lb ground beef
1-2 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a crock pot, include all juices.

*Recipe from Susan DePrenger, thanks!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tavern, Maid rites, Bob's dogs

Monday, January 10, 2011

Life-changing snack recipe!

This seriously made my night.

I found this on a blog I have been following lately -- Iowa Girl Eats. It's a fun blog about cooking, exercising, and traveling. I can really relate to how the blogger likes experimenting and making yummy, healthy stuff but also has a huge sweet tooth! :) She has an 80/20 philosophy for eating -- eating healthy 80% of the time and splurging the other 20%.

I think this recipe falls in the lovely 20%. :)

Single Serve Cookie Dough
from Cut Out + Keep

I think this obliterated my Monday blues AND blizzard blues.... Just happy after a quick and easy chocolate fix!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Eggs in a Basket

So, the food network has officially become my favorite channel and my biggest time waster. I watched one of the shows the other day and decided I would try one of the recipes.

*Hash browns (the lady grated potatoes, I cheated and used the frozen ones)
*Shredded Cheese

1. Grease muffin tin
2. Add salt, pepper, and butter to the hash browns
3. Put hash browns in the muffin tin on the bottom and the edges to create a basket/bowl
4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until they baskets are golden brown
5. Crack an egg into each basket
6. Return to 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes or until the egg white is set
7. Add cheese and bacon pieces to the top and put under the broiler until the cheese melts

Cranberry Relish

My favorite holiday dish!

*Small box cranberry jello (or any red jello)
*1 Cup Water
*1 Cup Sugar
*1 bag cranberries
*1 orange and 1/4 of peel
*2 apples (red delicious) with peel
*1 cup red grapes, quartered
1 cup pecans, chopped

Set up the jello (follow directions on box adding the water and sugar.
Chop up the cranberries, orange, apples and grapes. Mix together with the pecans.
Add jello liquid and refrigerate.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Crockpot Chicken

Greg absolutely loves this recipe and since I haven't checked in here in a while I thought I would post this super easy and super delicious chicken recipe!

6 frozen chicken (works best if they are still frozen)
1 pound bacon (we liked hickory smoked)
1 pint sour cream (I never said it was healthy)
2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup
1 package dried beef

Cut dried beef into small pieces and line the bottom of you crockpot. I like to use my kitchen shears to cut because I think it's super fast and much easy then dragging out the cutting board.
Wrap chicken breasts with bacon, it's okay if the bacon is loose.
Place chicken in crockpot then top with remaining ingredients.
Cover and cook on low all day (8-10 hours; I've also done this in a hurry on high for 4-6 hours and I'm sure it could be done faster with thawed chicken)

I serve this with mashed potatoes and the liquid makes an excellent sauce. The chicken should be tender from cooking all day. Enjoy!