Friday, January 31, 2014


Bacon is on sale this week and it is the pre-cooked kind I prefer to use.  Thought I would share some of my favorite appetizers with you for the Super Bowl.  Stock up on bacon.

1 pound bacon
½ cup sour cream
½  cup mayonnaise
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoons yellow mustard (optional)
2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes
2 cups shredded Iceberg lettuce
Salt and pepper to taste
Toasted baguette slices               

Chop cooked bacon.  Save a little for the side for topping.  Combine the bacon, sour cream, mayonnaise, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and mustard.  Mix well.  Taste for seasoning and make sure you are happy with it.  Add your tomatoes and lettuce and toss. Top with the little bacon you set aside.

Serve with toasted baguette slices or toasted garlic bread for dipping.  

Variation -  You can make this a BALT by adding some chopped avocado to it. Toss the avocado with a little lemon after you chop it so it does not turn brown on you.  

Another appetizer recipe tomorrow.  Have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Shrimp Salad Filled Fillo Cups

I'm working on my grocery list for shopping tomorrow and am thinking what do I need for snacking food for the Super Bowl. It should come as no surprise, I have bacon on the list.  I'm using my last box of mini fillo shells for shrimp salad with bacon.  They are super easy and great because it has bacon!  Will share a couple of my favorite appetizers between now and Super Bowl Sunday in case you need to add something to your shopping list.

Shrimp Salad Filled Fillo Cups

1 cup cooked small shrimp
2 slices of chopped bacon
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Pinch of Kosher salt and pepper
1 (15-count) package mini fillo shells
1 stalk of celery (optional)

I use small frozen shrimp so steam it in a tablespoon of lemon juice in the microwave for a minute.  Chop it up.  Chop the bacon. Chop up your celery.

Stir together the mayonnaise, shrimp, bacon, celery (This is optional but I like the crunch of the celery. I put it in my egg salad and tuna salad for the crunch also. You could replace it with chives or green onion if you want color or leave out entirely) and Worcestershire sauce. Taste before seasoning. Add seasoning with salt and pepper (You can add additional seasonings like onion powder, garlic powder or hot sauce). I'm keeping it simple with just a small pinch of salt and pepper. With bacon and Worcestershire sauce you should need very little salt and maybe just a pinch of pepper. Mix well and spoon into the fillo shells.

Very little work involved.  I like that.

Serve at room temperature.

Have a super day, be happy and may God Bless you and yours. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Texas Roadhouse Rolls with Cinnamon Honey Butter

I’m playing in the kitchen today giving you two recipes. I am also making biscuits for sliders using the Texas Road House recipe.  I can make tuna and egg salad for the sliders for the rest of the week.  I can also make sliders with the bacon cheese meatballs recipe of this week or if you have some left over dried beef you can make the creamed beef and put them on the biscuits.  These are great for, breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizers or brunch.  Make them for a Sunday brunch biscuits and gravy.  I'm going to make some cinnamon honey butter also to have with them when they first come out of the oven.  That is when they are their best.  I will take mom some also.  This is the best biscuit recipe I have used.

The secret to making good bread is to begin with a good recipe and this has become mine.  Next tip is to measure carefully and follow your direction exactly.  Do not skip any of the steps. Finally make sure your yeast is not too old.  It should always be fresh and do not kill it by adding salt too soon or with water or milk being too hot.  

Don't they look good?  They smell as good too!


2 tsp active dry yeast plus 1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 cups milk
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups flour
1 egg
1 tsp salt

Cinnamon Honey Butter:

1/2 cup soft room temperature butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. cinnamon


Add yeast and 1 tsp sugar to the warm water (not over 110 degrees F). Set aside.

Place milk in microwave for 45 seconds. Add butter to milk and stir in until butter is completely melted. Check the temp of the milk; it should be lukewarm, if not then allow it to cool until lukewarm.  If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast.

Once yeast has doubled in volume, add yeast mixture to milk mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar and about 1 ½ cups flour and mix until it reaches the consistency of a muffin batter. Let rest for 10 minutes.  This is allowing the yeast to do it’s job.

Add egg and salt to the mixture. Beat well. Add 2 cups of remaining flour until the flour forms a soft dough.

Knead dough in mixer with dough hook until smooth and satiny.

Leaving it in the mixer bowl, cover and let rise in a warm area until double in size (about 2 hours).  I put on top of my stove and turned my oven on.  Don’t put it over the vent of your stove though or it may begin to bake.  Put on the front of the stove and cover with a dish cloth.  I let it rise for 2 hours using this method.  It may take longer to double if you do not have a warm place to place it.

Once doubled in size, punch down and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Press out the roll dough on a lightly floured surface (remaining ½ cup of flour is for the board). Shape into a long rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half and then cut each half into 6 pieces making 12 rolls.  This does make the biscuits slightly larger than what you get at Roadhouse.  You could probably make 15 with this dough.  Pull the dough into round biscuit shapes and place on greased baking sheets and let rise until doubled (about 1 hour again on top of the oven).  Put a dish cloth on top of them while rising.

Bake at 350 °. for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  It took a little longer than 15 minutes when I made them

Because this is a sweet dough, you could also make cinnamon rolls out of it.  Just roll it out and put sugar and cinnamon on it and roll it up.  Cut the roll into 1 inch pieces and place on a greased baking sheet.  Again, bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Frost the rolls with a simple butter icing or glaze. 


Beat butter with hand mixer until light and fluffy.

Add remaining ingredients and beat with mixer until well blended. Serve on warm rolls.

It is suppose to get up to a balmy 27° today and the sun is shining.  Homemade bread will really make my day.  The smell alone will perfume my house for all day.  Make your day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Pasta Carbonara

I have a half a package of bacon left after making the bacon cheese meatballs and decided I’d carb up by making some Pasta Carbonara.  

8 slices bacon cut into 1/2" pieces
½ cup water
3 cloves garlic
1 ¼ cups grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
3 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
1 tsp. pepper
1 lb. spaghetti
1 tsp. Kosher salt

Cut your bacon into ½ inch pieces with your kitchen scissors.  Bring the bacon and water to a simmer in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until the water evaporates and bacon begins to sizzle (about 8 minutes). Reduce heat to medium low and cook until fat renders and bacon browns (5 to 8 minutes).  Chop your garlic or I use the chopped garlic in a jar and just add 2 tsp. and cook 30 seconds. Strain bacon through a fine mesh strainer and set bacon and garlic aside.

Measure out a tablespoon of bacon fat or melted butter and place in a medium bowl. Whisk together cheese of choice, eggs and yolk, and pepper into the fat/butter until it is well combined.

Bring 2 quarts (8 cups) of water to full boil. Salt your water well.  Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions, stirring frequently, until al dente. Drain the spaghetti in a colander, reserving about a cup of the cooking water.  Put the spaghetti your serving bowl.

Slowly whisk ½ cup of the hot reserved cooking water into the egg and cheese mixture. Once mixed, gradually pour the cheese mixture over spaghetti, tossing to coat.  The heat of the water and spaghetti will cook the eggs and melt the cheese.  Add the bacon and garlic to the spaghetti and toss to combine.

Let the spaghetti rest, tossing frequently until the sauce has thickened slightly and coats the spaghetti, using the remaining reserved cooking water to thin out the sauce if needed. Serve immediately with a little more grated Parmesan cheese on top.

I love this simple Italian dish and it has bacon. 

Keep warm and happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatballs

I’m playing with a recipe I found for a bacon cheeseburger meatball.  I had to put my own touches on it, but I really like the idea of bacon and cheese meatballs.  This is my version.

1 lb. lean hamburger
1 egg
2 tbs. milk
½ pound crumbed bacon
½ cup bread crumbs
8 oz. of cubed cheese of your choice (cheddar cheese or I’m making two different kinds with pepper cheese for heat and some with string cheese)
1 tsp. onion powder
Pinch of salt and pepper

Cut up your cheese into small cubes. 

Fry your bacon crisp so it crumbles well (or you can buy the real bacon bits and save work and mess).  Crumble the bacon and toss in a bowl with your hamburger, egg, bread crumbs, milk and salt and pepper.  Using the best utensil in the world, mix with your clean hands. 

Make your meatballs about the size of a gulf ball.  Take a small cube of cheese and put it in the middle and shape the meat around it into a ball. 

Put on a lined cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

The cheese is going to melt and leak out a bit so make sure you use some foil for easy clean up. 

The original recipe called for crushed canned French onion rings and some flour but I replaced them with some bread crumbs and onion powder.   Serving the meatballs with a side of real onion rings would be better.  If you wish to add the, add the ½ a can of crushed onion rings and 2 tbs. of flour but leave out the salt, onion powder and bread crumbs.

You can serve them as an appetizer with a tooth pick or try putting them on a small Hawaiian biscuit or bun for a slider. Make the meatballs a little larger if you are going to make them into sliders.  Make sure you put out some ketch up and mustard for anyone wanting it on the slider.

Try making it with different cheeses and see which you like best.  I really like the pepper cheese.  If you use the string cheese (mozzarella cheese) serve it with a spaghetti sauce for dipping.   

Stay warm, stay happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole

I purchased some chicken hind quarters for 99¢ a pound this week and I made a chicken and rice casserole last night for supper.  You can make this with chicken breasts but they cost more.  I have been making this casserole for years.  I have turned into a real rice lover.  I’ll pick rice before potatoes if given the choice.  This is a super simple recipe using canned soup.  

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cup chicken broth
1 cup uncooked brown rice or white rice (Not the minute rice)
½ tsp. garlic powder
Pepper to taste
1 tsp. onion powder
2 hind quarters of chicken

Chicken Broth
2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
2 chicken hind quarters (the full leg and thigh)
Water to completely cover the chicken
An onion cut in half
2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper

To make your broth, boil your hind quarters in water with an onion, 2 cut up carrots and celery stalks. Make sure everything is completely covered with water. Add two bay leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper.  You want bone in chicken.  You can do the chicken breasts if you like, but the legs and thighs have more flavor and are cheaper.  Boil until the chicken is done.  Pull your chicken and set aside.   You’ll also be using the broth for the chicken.  You will have extra for the next time you need chicken broth. I ended up with 2 quarts.  You can buy the broth, but you have to cook the chicken so you are making broth anyway.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a large casserole (that has a lid).  You are saving dishes by combining the mushroom soup, chicken soup, broth, rice, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper in the casserole dish.  Add the picked chicken and mix all together.  Sprinkle the top with paprika.

Put your lid on and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until the rice is completely cooked.  If you do not have a large casserole dish you can use a 9 X 13 inch baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.

Brown rice will take 1 hour.  White rice may not take as long.  Test after 1 hour.  I like the texture, taste and nutrition of brown rice.

Variation – If you like those French Fried Onion Rings you use for green bean casserole, try putting them on top of this casserole.  Wait until it is done and then put on top of the casserole and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.  Put the lid back on the casserole while finishing it off.

Want a cheesy casserole?  You can add some grated cheddar cheese or a can of cheese soup or cheesy broccoli soup.  

Replace the cream of chicken soup with the cheese soup. 

Replace the mushroom soup with the broccoli soup.

Add some chopped carrot for a little color or a small can of mushrooms.
I’ll be eating this for quite a few meals.  I’ll be back when it is gone with another dish. 

Have a great couple of days, be happy and may God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dried Beef Cucumber Sandwiches

Over 20 years ago I had a sandwich at a place called the Unicorn in Clinton.  It was one of the best sandwiches I ever had.  It was a roast beef sandwich with cucumbers on oatmeal bread.  Ever since then I have believed that roast beef and cucumbers belong together.  I've combined two recipes I love and made my own beef and cucumber sandwich.  

2 ½ oz. of dried beef (1/2 jar)
½ cup sour cream
8 oz. whipped cream cheese
½ cup mayo
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
A couple shakes of black or white pepper
½ tsp. dill weed + extra for on top
1 English or seedless cucumber
1 loaf of Pumpernickel cocktail bread

Mix your sour cream, mayo and cream cheese until smooth.  Add your onion and garlic powder and a pinch of pepper.  Add your dill weed (not seed) and stir until well mixed.  Using a kitchen scissors cut your dried beef into small pieces over the bowl and mix in. 

Slice your cucumbers thinly.  I leave the skin on.

To assemble take a teaspoon of the cream cheese beef mixture and put on top of a piece of pumpernickel cocktail bread.  Top with a slice of cucumber and lightly sprinkle a little more dill on top of the sandwich.

These make a nice healthy appetizers or simple lunch.  It’s what is for lunch for me today.

Variation -  You may use the rye cocktail bread if you like.  You may also use saved roast beef and chop it up instead of dried roast beef.  If you'd like more onion flavor chop some green onion and add it to the cream cheese mixture. You do not need to put these on cocktail bread.  Make a whole sandwich and try it on oatmeal bread.

I still have a half a jar of dried beef to make chipped beef on toast for another dish. I love that.  That saves money on one small jar of dried beef.

Make a roux of equal parts butter and flour stirring in a medium hot pan for a couple of minutes.  Add whole milk to thicken and a couple tablespoons of cream cheese.  Using your kitchen scissors again, cut your dried beef in quarters and add to your thick milk mixture.  Taste and season with pepper to your liking.  Serve on top of toast.  I love this for a quick lunch. 

Hope you have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lima Beans and Ham

I finished my soup I made last week and decided on Lima bean and ham soup for this week.  This will be my “Sunday soup” (my daughter-in-law’s name for soups I make on Sunday). I’ll eat it the rest of the week.  I got 3 ham hocks when I got groceries this week and a bag of dried large Lima beans with the idea I wanted to save money, time and have an economical hearty dish all week. This is a nice change from the standard Northern white bean soup.

1 (1 pound) bag of large dried Lima beans (you can get the small ones if you prefer)
1 large ham bone with plenty of meat still on the bone or 3 or 4 fresh ham hocks
2 quarts of chicken broth (you can use water if you like, but you are doubling the flavor with chicken broth)
1 small chopped onion
1 large grated carrot
2 or 3 bay leaves depending on the size
½ tsp. garlic
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. paprika
1 tsp. Kosher salt

Soak beans overnight in a quart of water.  Drain the water and rinse the beans well the next morning.  You do not have to soak them, but it saves a lot of cooking time.  You can also buy beans in a can, but you have just increase your cost considerably because you are going to need at least 4 or 5 cans of Lima beans.  You can get small Lima beans, but I like the large ones. 

Make a ham bone stock by adding about 2 quarts chicken stock, your ham bone(s), two bay leaves, salt and pepper and let the ham bone cook until the ham starts falling off the bone.  Pull all the meat from the bone and toss the bone, skin if you are using ham hocks, and the bay leaves away.  Add the meat back to the stock.  You should have a nice dark broth with great flavor.

Add the chopped onion, garlic, beans, carrots and paprika to the stock. I like to put my onion and garlic in a small food processor and chop until it is pureed.  It saves tears and work.  Grate 1 large carrot and toss into the pot.  I like to grate them on the smallest grate on my grater so they almost disappear in the soup.  Do not use those pre-cleaned mini carrots because they are preserved in chemicals you should not be putting into your body.

Add additional water as needed especially if you are cooking it on the stove top because it will need it. Make sure the beans are completely covered with broth/water when you first start to simmer them. Put your lid on and simmer the beans until they are tender (at least a good hour on medium heat with lid on if you soaked them all night).  Taste test for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.  I prefer a ham bone over ham hocks, but don’t buy a whole ham with bone in just for soup.  The ham hock will do the same thing but you will have less meat.  Do use something with a bone in though because it adds so much more flavor to the broth.  Always think bean soup if you are lucky enough to have a meaty ham bone.          
These beans can be cooked in the crock pot if you like.  Cook on high for 4 hours or low all day while you are at work and come home to dinner ready and the house smelling like heaven.

Variation - Add equal parts of Lima beans, Northern beans and kidney beans and make a 3 bean soup (16 oz. total).  You can make it a 7 or 13 bean soup if you want to buy the bagged mixed beans. 

Serve it with some corn bread or crusty bread to sop up the broth. I love sopping every little bit in the bowl.

I’m going to be cutting back on my blog because of time constraints.  I’ll try to share when ever I’m making something new and good in the kitchen.  I’m playing with a dried beef spread and combining it with a cucumber sandwich on Pumpernickel bread this week.  I will share it when I’m happy with it.  Hope you have a great Sunday.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours.    

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Italian Sausage Meal Planning

I got some beautiful fresh Italian homemade sausage Thursday from Fareways and was trying to decide what to do with it.  I got 2 pounds and finally decided to make several meals with it and eat on it all week (as my mother says) by fixing  soup and a pasta casserole.  I like Italian sausage as much as I do steak.  The kitchen also smells so good.  I’ll be benefiting in many ways.  

I first cooked up the sausage with a little olive oil to fry it.  I then added a little Kosher salt and pepper.  Using my little food processor, I chopped up a small yellow onion and added a heaping teaspoon of pre-chopped garlic from the jar until it was almost a puree.  I added the pureed onion and garlic to the sausage as it was browning. 

After it was browned I put it in a colander and drained off as much of the grease as possible.  You’ll want some grease for flavor though.

Italian Sausage Potato Soup

1 pound of browned Italian sausage mixture
Small red potatoes
1 quart of chicken broth (just enough to cover the potatoes and sausage)
Milk or cream (1 pint of cream)
Kosher salt and pepper
Kale (or spinach)
Parmesan cheese

Using the same pan I fried the sausage in, I added 1 quart of chicken broth.  I bought some beautiful red potatoes on sale and am using them in the soup.  Clean and slice the potatoes so they are all pretty much the same size.

Put them in the cold chicken stock and turn on the heat.  This assures that they all cook evenly.  I add back in half of the sausage mixture (1 pound with the onion and garlic in it).  This flavors the potatoes while cooking. 

Cook until the potatoes are tender.  Add a little cream or milk depending on how rich you want it.  I used 2% milk and it is fine because the soup has so much flavor.

Taste for seasoning.  Add more salt and pepper if necessary.  I add kale at this point.  It was also on sale this week for 99¢ a bunch.  This adds great nutrition, flavor and color to the soup.  You could substitute spinach if you like.

When the kale is wilted, it is ready to serve.  I serve with some grated Parmesan cheese on top.  It is as good as the Olive Garden’s Toscana Zuppa.  Serve it with garlic bread to sop up the soup. 

The next recipe is a very simple pasta.

Italian Sausage Pasta

1 lbs of Italian sausage with onions and garlic from above
½ box (6 oz.) pasta of your choice
½ qt. of whole tomatoes
1 small can of tomato sauce (8 oz.)
1 tsp. of chopped garlic
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
Pinch of Kosher salt and pepper
Fresh ball of mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese

Boil your pasta in boiling salt water (I used bow tie but you can use any pasta) until it is al dente.  Drain it and put aside.  On another burner make a simple marinara sauce with tomatoes (I used my canned heirloom tomatoes I canned this summer), a small can of tomato sauce, chopped garlic, dried basil and oregano, Kosher salt and pepper.  Simmer until the tomatoes are broken up (I speed things up by using my hands to crush them first) and simmered for around 20 to 30 minutes. 

Spray a large casserole dish and add your cooked pasta, sausage mixture, Marinara sauce, chucks of mozzarella cheese, and as much Parmesan cheese as you like.  I use a lot of both cheeses in this because it is what makes the dish.  Stir in the casserole dish until well combined.  Top with some more mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

You may bake it now or you may put it in the refrigerator until you want to serve it.  Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until it is bubbly and the cheese has melted.  The melted stingy cheese makes the dish.  Serve it with a garlic bread. 

I should get almost a week’s worth of meals off of 2 lbs. of sausage.  I’m saving time, mess and money.  You can’t beat that.  I took half a carrot cake to mom so I have a half a carrot cake, soup and pasta  to keep me fed for awhile.  I'm taking a couple of days off of cooking.  See you in a couple of days.  

Hope you have a great weekend.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

7 Up Biscuits Fail

So I had to try them.  I’ve seen them posted on Facebook several times and no one ever said if they liked them or not.  So I tested the recipe.

4 cups Bisquick
1 cup sour cream
1 cup 7 Up
½ cup butter

Preheat your oven to 425°.

Cut the sour cream into the Bisquick. 

Add in your 7 Up.  The dough will be very soft and wet.  Sprinkle additional Bisquick on table and pat dough out.  Knead and fold dough until coated with your baking mix. Pat dough out and cut biscuits using a round biscuit cutter (I used a mason jar lid).  Mistake number one.  

Melt butter and put in the bottom of 9 X 13 inch. Place biscuits on top of melted butter and bake @ 425° for 12 to 15 minutes or until brown.

The first picture is what it was suppose to look like according to the FB  post.  They look good don’t they?  These are mine.  They are flaky.

They did not rise.  I did cut the recipe in half, but that should not have made any difference exempt in quantity.  I made mine as thick as a mason jar lid assuming they would rise.  There was not information on any of the FB recipes I read on how thick they should be patted out.   So obviously you need to cut them thicker.  But the real test was the taste and I will not make these again.  They were flaky, but I could not call them a biscuit.  The birds will be getting these.  Hope they like them.

I usually give you recipes I like, but I am sharing one today I do not like and would not recommend in case you are wondering too.  You can’t believe everything you read or see is the lesson today. 

To make up for it, I am giving you a simple Irish Soda Bread that you can make for St. Patrick’s Day in March.  I tested it and like it.  It is easy because you don’t have to make biscuits.

Irish Soda Bread

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 to 1 ¼  cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir together. Add buttermilk and mix with a large spoon (or with your hands, shaping your fingers into a "claw") until the dough comes together. You might need two tablespoons more or less buttermilk depending on the weather. The dough should be moist, but not so sticky it is very hard to handle.

Shape into a round and place on baking sheet. Cut an X into the top with a sharp knife and bake for about 45 minutes, until dark golden. A toothpick will come out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before slicing. Bread is best served soon after baking while it is warm enough to melt your butter.  

Learn from experience or other's experience to save money and time.  Have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Carrot Cake

With the cold weather my vehicle would not start so I'm been home bound for since Saturday.  Tried again today and it would not start even with the temperature getting above zero so decided it was time to call my local dealer.  Until then to improve my disposition, I'm making carrot cake.  Ya, that's the ticket.  That will surely make things better.  I'm sharing an anything-you-want-it-to be-cake.  You can make it a carrot cake, pumpkin, squash or sweet potato.  When you can't get out, just look at what you have in the pantry.  I had carrots.

2 cups flour
3 cups of pureed carrots (about 8 or 9 large pureed carrots)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup walnuts
Cream Cheese Frosting (Recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9 X 13 baking dish.

Peel, cut and boil your carrot in just enough water to cover them.  Do not use those small pre-peeled carrots.  They have been treated with chemicals and you don’t need that in your cake or in you.  When they are soft let them cool.  Put the carrots and their water in your blender and blend them to like a baby food.  Set aside.  If you want to skip this part, just buy 3 jars baby food. 

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl and blend until well mixed.

Combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, pureed carrots and oil.  Add your flour mixture and blend until smooth.  Fold in the walnuts.

Pour into the prepared cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes at 350 °.  Test with a tooth pick.

Frost with cream cheese frosting after cake has cooled completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces whipped cream cheese
2 tbs. butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tbs. milk or cream
2 cups powdered sugar
¼ tsp. nutmeg (optional but makes this even better)

Sit your butter and cheese out so they are at room temperature.  Combine the cream cheese and butter.  I use a hand mixer until blended. Add the vanilla, milk and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in batches and beat until smooth.

Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.  Frost the cake.

Variation – This recipe can be turned into pumpkin cake by simply replacing the carrots with a can of 15 oz. pumpkin puree (Make sure it is not the pumpkin blend in a can).

Or try sweet potato cake by replacing the carrots with sweet potato puree.  Cut up the sweet potatoes and boil just like the carrots or buy cooked canned and puree them. 

Like pecans more than walnuts then replace the walnuts with pecans.  I’d go with the pecan if I was making this a sweet potato cake.

I also make a carrot/zucchini cake.  Just put 1 ½ cups the carrot puree in and 1 ½ cups of drained grated zucchini.  I have to add walnuts to this cake, but you can skip nuts entirely on any of these variations. 

And last but not least, try butternut squash in place of the carrots.  Again add the same amount of squash as carrots cooking it and pureeing it.  If you have a little more than 3 cups, use it. It will just be moisture.  You can also use baby food jars of squash too.  You do not need to change any of the recipe just substitute the squash for the carrots.

For frosting, I would go with cream cheese frosting on every variation but all that pinch of nutmeg.

Hope you have a great day.  I'll be on the move cause my car has a new battery.  Be happy and may God bless you and yours.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Swedish Meatballs

Today I have a lazy day recipe for you.  I’ve been buying the pre-cooked meatballs to save time and the mess.  They are pretty good.  So today giving you a simple recipe using the store bought meatballs and making Swedish meatballs with them. 

Swedish Meatballs

12 Pre-cooked meatballs
1 cup beef stock or broth
1/4 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter
1 heaping tablespoon of flour
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Bag of egg noodles

Boil water and cook the egg noodles per package directions.

Heat butter in medium sauce pan over medium heat with meatballs for 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle flour into the pan, stirring into the butter until absorbed and a roux is formed.

Add a splash Worcestershire and add your beef stock.  Add the nutmeg.

Stir frequently for several minutes until sauce begins to thicken.

Add sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to stir for 5 minutes or so until sauce is thickened.

Drain noodles, add a touch of butter, salt and pepper to taste and toss well.  Serve meatballs over the buttered egg noodles. 

Variation -  You may add a can of sliced mushrooms if you like.  

It is OK to have a lazy day once in awhile.  You owe it to yourself.  Have a great lazy day, be happy and may God bless you and yours. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cranberry Muffins

It is another frigid day out there and good day to make a warm breakfast. Warm muffins just out of the oven sounds good.  I have a half a bag of cranberries left in the refrigerator that will make some warm fruit muffins and make my house smell wonderful.

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Toss the cranberries with 1/4 cup of sugar in a bowl and set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1 cup sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine eggs with milk; stir into flour mixture until just moistened. Gently fold in nuts and  cranberries. Fill paper-lined muffin tins two thirds full.  Sprinkle a little sugar on top.

Bake at 400° for 20 to 25 minutes. This should makes about 18 muffins.

Variation -  No cranberries in the house?  You can use this with any fruit.  Try blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries.You can use frozen or fresh.

Have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Banana Crepes

I feel pretty good considering weather today.  I treated myself today by making some banana crepes so I don’t sink into a depression over the weather out there (Wind chills of 50 below Zero).  So far it is working.  Make something warm and thinking warm will help. This can be for breakfast, brunch or even a dessert.


1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups milk (recipe calls for whole, but I use 2%)
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons butter


Whole bananas
Real local honey

Walnuts or pecans

As usual, I like to set everything out and make sure I have everything I need before starting and then put it away as I use it to make sure I have not forgot anything.  Something my mind seems to do on occasion. 

In a blender, combine flour, sugar, salt, milk, eggs, and butter.  Puree until the mixture is smooth and bubbles form on top, about 30 seconds. Let batter sit at least 15 minutes at room temperature (this is important to let the gluten work).  I cut my recipe in half since it is just me and it made 8 crepes.  Any left over crepes can be frozen for another day.  

I’m freezing the 6 left over crepes for another day.  Just put parchment paper between them and put them in a large baggie.

I have a pan I call my crepe pan.  It makes 6 inch crepes.   It is the only Teflon pan I own but it is perfect for small crepes or blintzes.  Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Lightly coat it with butter.  Pour just enough batter  to coat the bottom of the pan and swirl to completely cover bottom of skillet.  The batter will be quite runny.  You want you crepes to be very thin so you can roll them.  Cook until underside of crepe is golden brown (2 to 3 minutes).  Your crepe should be able to float around the pan when shaken once it is ready to flip.

Loosen the edge of crepe with a rubber spatula and quickly flip. Cook 1 minute more. Slide crepe out of skillet and repeat with remaining batter. Coat pan with butter as needed.

After making a pile of crepes, you will be filling it with your banana and nuts.  Using the same crepe pan, add a little butter and banana(s).  Split your bananas lengthwise down the middle.  Add a little honey and walnuts to your browning bananas and lightly brown the bananas turning them until they are warmed through.

Open your crepe and fill with your banana, nuts and honey and roll up like a cigar.  Pour your left over honey and nuts on top of the rolled crepes.

Top with whipped cream and a little drizzle of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate syrup. 

Variation – If you like Bananas Foster, try adding brown sugar instead of honey to the bananas and butter.  You can also add a cap full of rum if you want a real Bananas Foster.  Cook off the alcohol when you are browning the bananas.  If you are eating this as a dessert, you can also top it with vanilla ice cream instead of whipped cream.

Hopefully this will keep me warm and happy today.  You stay warm and happy and may God bless you and yours. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Old Fashioned Iowa Chicken and Dumplings

It is Sunday.  Growing up in the 50’s, Sunday always meant chicken to my family.  With the weather we have in store for us today, I’m making an Iowa comfort food, chicken and dumplings for my Sunday dinner.  I grew up on chicken and dumplings (great way to extend chicken to feed 8 kids).  When I left Iowa I found out there were more than one kind of dumpling.  I love them all, but I do favor the kind I grew up on.  Mom made them with Bisquick (She also used Bisquick to make her pancakes).

Some people like a chicken, peas and carrots thick soup (similar to a pot pie mixture), but I’m a plainest.  When I used to babysit years ago, the woman whose kids I watched would make up a big pot of chicken and dumplings for me to feed the kids for supper and she would leave the bones in her chicken.  I really liked the idea because it gives more flavor.  She did not add the peas or carrots but just put dumplings on the broth with pieces of bone in chicken (legs, breasts, etc). 

4 cups of chicken broth (I like lots of gravy, you can always use less)
Bone in chicken pieces or shredded if you like (1 entire cut up chicken and toss in a couple extra legs for the leg lovers)
2 bay leaves
2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
Salt and pepper

Simmer your chicken in a very large pot of chicken broth.  Add two bay leaves and salt and pepper.  Cook until it is tender and nearly falling off the bone.

Mix the Bisquick and milk together to form dough.   Bring the broth and chicken back up to a boil.

Add a teaspoon full of dough into the broth and bring it down to a simmer.  Drop the rest of the dumplings and simmer it uncovered for 10 minutes and then covered for 10 more minutes.

Pull out the bay leaves.  Taste for seasoning again and salt and pepper if needed.  Serve in bowls with several dumplings, a piece of chicken and lots of gravy.  The Bisquick thickens the broth and makes a creamy gravy. It can’t get any easier than that.

Variation - You may add your peas and carrots if you like.  I also like to sprinkle the dumplings with a little paprika after I have dropped them in the pot.  If you would like a little more flavor you can grate a small onion and put it in the broth while cooking your chicken.  Make sure you sample the broth several times for seasoning.  You may add a can of cream of chicken condensed soup if you like.  I use my own. I have shared the recipe in the past but will share it again.   Just add ½ of a cup of the dry mix to your pot of broth for the extra flavor and to add a creaminess. 

4 cups instant non-fat dry milk
½ cup dairy creamer
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup dried chicken bouillon 
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black or white pepper

This equals 18 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup.  Just think of the storage space you save.

To reconstitute (equal to one 10 ounce can of condensed cream soup) the soup, combine 1/3 cup of the mix and 1 1/4 cups water.  In a small saucepan on the stove or a microwave safe bowl; cook and stir till mixture thickens.

Label the jars and note the above directions to reconstitute the mix right on the lid.  Once you have reconstituted the soup, add you chicken, mushrooms, cheese, broccoli or what ever you wish to make the cream soup of your choice.

Tip – I save the flavor packets from Chicken Ramen Noodle packets and use them in this recipe.  I seldom use the packets when I making the noodles so found another use for them. 

I make up a batch of this each fall and it gets me though the winter and saves me money and storage space. 

Comfort food is the way to go today.  Stay warm, be happy and may God bless you and yours.