Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

1 lb. fresh Brussels Sprouts
4 thick slices raw bacon
1 med. Onion
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Clean and slice Brussels Spouts in half.  Cut bacon into small pieces.  Cut onion in half and thinly slice.  In a baking dish toss together Brussels Sprouts, bacon, onions, olive oil and garlic.  Bake 40-45 minutes or until tender and slightly browned.  Turn the oven off.  Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Return to the oven for about 5 minutes allowing the cheese to start melting.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 391
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 27 g
42 %
Saturated Fat 7 g
34 %
Monounsaturated Fat 10 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 47 mg
16 %
Sodium 1129 mg
47 %
Potassium 395 mg
11 %
Total Carbohydrate 13 g
4 %
Dietary Fiber 5 g
19 %
Sugars 3 g
Protein 24 g
48 %
Vitamin A
24 %
Vitamin C
89 %
35 %
6 %

Friday, October 6, 2017

Pork Roast

½ to ¾ cup of baby carrots
3 to 4 medium potatoes cut into thirds
4 boneless pork loin chops (3/4” thick)
1 large onion sliced
1 envelope onion soup mix
2 cans (10-3/4 oz each) condensed cream of chicken soup

Place carrots and potatoes in a 3-qt. slow cooker. Top with pork chops, onion, soup mix and soup. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender. Yield: 4 servings.

Comment:  While at the grocery store deli I saw that they ran a special one day a week on cooked, pork loin.  The price was wonderful and the size of the loin was rather large but I decided that after making a delicious sandwich I would find something else to do with what was left.  I found this recipe for a slow-cooker pork roast and just changed the cooking time since my roast was already cooked.  To make the adjustment use a large pot, place the potatoes, carrots and onions in the bottom, top with slices of the pork loin, mix the dry soup and canned soups together PLUS 1/2 CAN OF WATER! and pour over the pork, cover and cook on med heat until the potatoes are tender.  Mine took about 45 minutes to cook.  This is delicious.  (You can also make this using left-over beef roast).  My food testers all enjoyed their Pork Roast dinner.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Apple Dumplins'

1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground 
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground 
1 pkg. 10 canned biscuits
4 apples, cored and cut into 1/4s
1 stick butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 
1 cup water 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 500°F. Mix cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl. For each dumplin place 1 biscuit between 2 pieces of parchment paper.  Using a roller or smooth, thick glass, roll out the biscuit until very thin.  Remove top piece of parchment paper.  Sprinkle with cinnamon nutmeg mixture.  Place 1 apple fourth in center of dough.  Cut off 1 tsp. of butter from stick and place in the center of the apple.  Carefully fold dough up over apple half, pinching seams together to seal. Place dumplings, seam-side down, in greased 13x9-inch baking dish.  Place into hot oven for 10 minutes or until the crust begins to brown.

While the dumplins are in the oven bring sugar, water and remaining butter to boil in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla; set aside.

After the dumplins have browned, reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Pour sauce over dumplings. Bake 40 to 45 minutes longer or until apples are tender and pastry is golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Comment:  I used a square cast iron frying pan.  With 4 apples you end up with 16 fourths so I placed one piece in the pan to use as a tester for the apples.  This allowed me to pierce it for tenderness after about 20 minutes so I wouldn't have to pierce the dumplins.  I also sliced up the remaining pieces and placed one slice between each of the dumplins so they wouldn't tough and stick together.  About half way through cooking I pulled my dish out and spooned the sauce over the tops of the dumplins, then put them back into the oven to finish cooking.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Poor Man's Crab Cakes

2 eggs
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
10 oz. pkg Imitation Crab
1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, chopped
Olive oil or oil spray

Heat oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, dijon, lemon juice, paprika, and black pepper. Chop imitation crab into small pieces and pull apart using 2 forks, or put in a food processor and pulse 2-3 times to separate pieces.  Stir in imitation crab, garlic and green onion. Stir in flour until well blended. Gently stir in bread crumbs until just combined.  Form mixture into 8-10 patties and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Lightly brush or spray the tops of each with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden. Remove from the oven and serve.

This recipe originally called for real crab, which is delicious but can also be expensive.  When I changed the real crab to imitation crab I found the taste isn't as great as the real thing but its still a delicious dish.  Make sure you break up the chunks of imitation crab so it doesn't clump too much.  Also, don't over cook and dry it out.  This is one I'll be making again.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Blueberry Cookies

1 pkg (7 oz.) Blueberry Muffin Mix
3/4 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix muffin mix and butter until well blended.  Shape into balls about the size of a large walnut.  Place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Press down with a fork.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until bottoms just start to brown.  Makes 9-12 cookies depending on size.

Again I was trying to come up with something different to take to my friend for my Sunday visit.  I thought about making muffins but thought those might be a bit messy since she has to eat everything while sitting up in bed.  Then it hit me that if I added nothing but butter to the muffin mix that I just might be able to make cookies.  YES!!!! It worked and they are delicious.  I took some to a couple of my food testers and they both loved them.  They agreed they had never even heard of blueberry cookies and were shocked when I told them what they were made from.  Next I'm going to make Apple Cinnamon Muffin Cookies. 

If you use a larger package you will have to increase the amount of melted butter.  I started off with 1/2 stick of butter but it wasn't quite enough so I took it up to 3/4 of a stick.  Experiment with the amount of butter when using a larger package of muffin mix by increasing it until you have a texture that will easily roll into balls.  With these cookies you not only taste the blueberry but also butter making a beautiful combination.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Mandarin Orange Cottage Cheese

1 large carton (24 oz.) cottage cheese
1 carton (8 oz.) Cool Whip
2 cans Mandarin oranges drained (about 1 cup)
1 pkg. Orange Jello

Mix cottage cheese, cool whip and jello until well blended.  Fold in oranges.  Cover and refrigerate.

Comment:  I have a dear friend who I visit every Sunday at a nursing home.  I know the food there may not be the best so I try to bring something special to each visit.  This always prompts a conversation about food and old recipes.  She told me about a dish that she had a long time ago that was so good, so easy and only required 4 ingredients.  She didn't know the measurements but said it was something she really missed.  I went by the store on my way home and bought the 4 ingredients above perfected it with my 1st try. 

This dish is creamy and feels so cool to the tongue.  I've actually made it twice.  Once using the oranges and orange jello, once using pineapple chunks and pineapple jello.  Both are delicious.  This also makes a large amount.  I would guess the number of servings as 10-12 depending on your serving size.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Nut Meg Cookies

1 pkg Sugar Cookie Mix
1 stick + 2 Tbsp. melted butter, cooled
1 egg
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix until they form a soft dough. Pinch off and roll into balls about the size of a walnut. Press out using a fork. Bake 7-9 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Martha:  I make cookies every week to take to a friend who is in a nursing home. Lately I've tried to make extra to share with the nurses and a couple of the residents I've met there. Sometimes I just don't have time to make from scratch so I buy a mix. When I bought a package of sugar cookie mix I wanted to do something that would make them a little special. I spotted some leftover nuts that I had chopped up for another dish and then I spotted the nutmeg. Boy did I come up with a delicious combination! I took some of the cookies to a couple of my 'food testers' and they loved them. Before visiting my friend I stopped at the nurse station and gave them a plate full. I didn't tell them about the nutmeg and ask if they could tell me the secret ingredient. Only one guessed correctly. Everyone begged for the recipe and were shocked when I told them how simple the cookies were to make. Great for the upcoming holidays.

If you don't like nutmeg, use cloves, pie spices or any other favorite spice but don't use more than about 1/4 tsp. so you don't overpower it with taste.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Green Spinach and Ham

1 pkg (12 oz.) frozen, chopped spinach, thawed & drained
1 pkg (8 oz.) Taste of Inspirations Cherrywood Smoked Boneless Ham Steak, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup biscuit mix (or self rising flour)
1 cup small cottage cheese
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 9 x 2 baking dish with cooking spray.  In a large bowl mix spinach, ham, onion and 1/2 cup of the cheese.  Pour into prepared baking dish.  Mix together biscuit mix (or flour), cottage cheese, milk and eggs.  This spoon over spinach mixture and spread evenly with the back of the spoon.  Bake 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and bake another 5 minutes or until cheese melts.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

The idea for this recipe came from a cheezy ham and broccoli dish that I found in an older cookbook.  I made the change from broccoli to spinach, used regular cottage cheese instead of creamed and left out the red pepper.  It turned out delicious!  I've heard back from 2 of my food testers and they loved it.  The ham I used was some I found on sale at Food Lion.  I had never tried it before but it will now be a staple in my refrigerator.  The flavor is delicious and the price is good too.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Cheddar Broccoli Bacon

1/2 lb. uncooked, lean bacon, cut into small pieces
1 large head broccoli
1/2 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400.  Scatter the bacon over the bottom of a cast iron frying pan.  Cut the stems off the broccoli and cut into bite size pieces.  Bake 20-25 minutes, stirring about every 5 minutes.  Broccoli and bacon should start browning.  Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven.  Bake another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted and started to brown.  Stir, pat with paper towels and serve.

Comments:  I opened my refrigerator and saw that I had some bacon that needed to be used.  I wanted to do something different so when I spotted the broccoli I decided to give the two a try.  Only one of my food testers was lucky enough to give this dish a try and he ask the next day when I would be making more.  He loved it and so did I.  It's even good cold!  As for changes, I will use more broccoli the next time and may even cook the bacon about halfway through, drain, pat with paper towels and then add the broccoli.  That will take care of most of the grease from the bacon, which does add a lot of flavor.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Spinach Quiche

1 Tbsp. butter
8 medium green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pkg (1 lb.) fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup cottage cheese (or sour cream)
1/2 cup biscuit mix
1 cup milk (or half & half)
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 eggs
1/2 Parmesan Cheese
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
(add 6 strips cooked, crumbled bacon)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a pie plate (9 x 1 1/4") with non-stick spray.  Melt butter in 10" skillet over medium heat.  Cook onions and garlic in butter 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are tender.  Stir in spinach.  Spread spinach mixture in pie plate.  Mix biscuit mix with sour cream, milk, pepper and eggs.  Stir in Parmesan Cheese and nutmeg.  Pour over spinach.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

COMMENTS:  This dish is simple and delicious!  The original recipe came from a Bisquick cookbook.  I made a change in the dish I used for baking.  I used a 9 x 9 x 2 baking dish instead of the pie plate.  I also added 6 strips of cooked, crumbled bacon, used sour cream instead of cottage cheese and half & half instead of milk.  You could change this out and use ham if you like.  No matter what, this is going to come out great!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Hamburger Parmigiana

1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup soft breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb. lean ground beef
vegetable cooking spray
1 jar/can spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded or 4 slices
1/2 lb spaghetti, cooked and drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl combine eggs, salt and pepper; beat with a wire whisk until blended.  In another bowl combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, stirring well.  Form ground beef into 4 patties.  Dip into egg mixture and then into bread crumb mix.  Saute in a large skillet coated with cooking spray until golden brown.  Remove from skillet and remove skillet from heat.  Pour spaghetti in to the skillet.  Top with patties.  Top each with cheese.  Pour spaghetti sauce over everything and bake 15-20 minutes or until bubbly.  Serves 4.

Martha:  This recipe was originally for veal but I don't eat veal so I decided to make hamburger patties and use them instead.  This turned out delicious.  I did serve it with extra Parmesan over the top.   You could also cut the size of the patties down and make 6 if you want.  Serve with a salad and you have a wonderful meal.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Baked Broccoli Bites

12 oz. broccoli, chopped, thawed
1 large egg
2 Tbsp diced onions
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 tsp. minced garlic

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.  Shape mixture into bite size logs, pressing firmly together to prevent them from falling apart.  Place on baking sheet.  Bake 20-22 minutes or until lightly browned and hot throughout.

Comment:  A version of this recipe came from a site titled Yummly.  I did my usual and made a couple of changes.  I used chopped broccoli instead of the larger pieces or fresh.  I eliminated the salt and pepper.  The recipe called for 1 tsp of each and I found that was too much due to the salt in the cheeses.  The original recipe quoted this as having only 12 calories per serving with the recipe making 4 servings.  I can't vouch for that but I can say that this is one delicious 'snack' food.  I'll be making this later using spinach.  I have a feeling it will be just as good and possibly even better.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Quick & Easy Apple Pie

1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 pie crusts
1 cans apple pie filling
cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 9" cast iron frying pan melt the butter. Remove 1 Tbsp. of butter and set aside.  Add brown sugar and stir until blended and bubbly.  Remove from heat.  Top with 1 pie crust.  Pour apple pie filling on top of crust.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (about 1 tsp.)  Top pie filling with 2nd pie crust.  Brush with the 1 Tbsp. of melted butter.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (about 1 tsp.).  Bake 30-40 minutes or until crust is done and lightly browned.

Comments:  This recipe came from Trisha Yearwood's cooking show and yes I made a slight change.  I used 2 cans of apple pie filling instead of 1.  I also used my square copper pan so it would hold the 2 cans of apple pie filling.  One thing you will notice is that the butter/sugar may overflow to the top and create a caramel which is delicious.   For a dish that is so simple I couldn't believe how delicious it is.  I took some to one of my food testers and she added a scope of ice cream.  I took her a very large serving and she said it was so good that she ate it all in one sitting.  I want to try this using other fruits - peaches, strawberries, blueberries....

Friday, December 23, 2016

Broccoli Casserole

2 frozen packages of chopped broccoli or a 1 lb. pkg., thawed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup shredded cheese
French Fried Onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook broccoli until just starting to become tender.  Drain.  In a large bowl mix the broccoli and mushroom soup.  Pour into an 8 x 8 baking dish sprayed with non-stick.  Top with cheese.  Bake 15 minutes.  Top with French Fried Onions.  Bake another 5 minutes or until onions are just starting to brown.

Comment:  I ate at a restaurant that served their 'broccoli casserole' which was delicious.  Of course I ask for the recipe or at least a list of the ingredients.  No way.  Well, I picked the dish apart as I ate and if I didn't come up with their recipe I came up with one that is just as good.  I simply used the simple Green Bean Casserole substituting the broccoli for the green beans and adding the cheese.  EVERYONE, including myself like this better than the Green Bean Casserole.  This is a dish that you can't lose with.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

S'Mores Brownies

1 pkg (family size) brownie mix
chocolate chips

Make brownies according to directions on package.  Cool until they are lightly warm.  Top with chocolate chips.  Top with marshmallows.  Turn oven to broil.  Place under broiler and allow to lightly brown.  Cool completely before slicing.

Comments:  I don't like chocolate but my food testers do.  I had an idea for a S'Mores Cake but when I saw that I had a Family Size box of brownies I decided to use it instead with the idea of them giving this dish the gooey texture.  It worked!!!!  Guess you could use a cake mix but it just wouldn't be the same.  This is a must try for chocolate lovers.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Pumpkin Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 can pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 stick butter, melted
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup water
2 cartons (8 oz. each) Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread
1 - 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl mix cake mix, pumpkin, butter, eggs, cinnamon and water until smooth and creamy.  (I mixed my butter with the pumpkin to cool it off).  Pour into 2 cake pans sprayed with non-stick or 1 bundt pan sprayed with non-stick or 1 deep square pan sprayed with non-stick.  Bake according to time on the cake box or until toothpick comes out clean.  I used a large square pan and cooked mine for about 45 minutes.  If using a bundt or deep square pan, allow cake to cool and slice across the center making 2 layers.  In another large bowl mix cream cheese and 1 cup of powdered sugar.  Add more if needed to make a creamy, spreadable mixture.  After cake cooks, ice.  Refrigerate.

Comment:  A friend gave me 2 containers of Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese and I had no idea what to do with it.  It is delicious as is but the expiration date was coming up soon and I knew I would never eat both containers before that date.  I've made cream cheese frosting before and know how delicious it is so why not make Pumpkin Cream Cheese frosting.  The cake portion came partly from a recipe I found online for a layered, bar cake/cookie but it gave me enough information to know how much liquid to eliminate while using the can of pumpkin.  This one turned out to be a winner.  Even if you don't like pumpkin, you'll never know that is what you're eating.  I gave a big slice to a friend who hates pumpkin.  He loved it.  I told him it was a spice cake with cream cheese icing.  Fooled him!  You can add a few nuts to the cake or icing if you like to give it another texture.  Oh yeah, the frosting makes enough that you can put a nice thick layer between the layers.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Cream Spinach Roll-Up

1 Tube Crescent Dough Sheet
2 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. self rising flour
1/4 cup Half and Half
4 oz. Soft Onion & Chive Cream Cheese
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 pkg (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter.  Add flour and stir until creamed together.  Slowly stir in cream and then cream cheese, increasing heat to medium.  Constantly whisk until the mixture becomes thick and smooth. Mix in garlic, spinach and Parmesan. Open Crescent Dough Sheet and spread it out on a piece of waxed paper sprayed with non-stick.  Spread the spinach mixture evenly over dough.  Slowly start rolling from the long side.  Place on cookie sheet covered with foil that has been sprayed with non-stick.  Bake 20 minutes or until dough starts to brown.  Sprinkle down the center with a little cheese and continue to bake until dough is golden brown.  Cool and slice.

Comments:  Yes, I guess you could say I'm on a spinach kick.   I ate at Boston Market and had my favorite dish - Creamed Spinach.  They make the best!  I had bought a roll of Crescent Dough 'Sheet' and wanted to find a really good recipe in which to use it.  The thought of the Creamed Spinach hit me as the perfect filling for this dough.  But... Boston Market won't give out their recipe.  But... there are copycats on line that are pretty good.  I found the recipe that sounded best and gave it a try.  I cut down most of the ingredients because I would be using it as a filling and wouldn't need quite as much and the recipe above is what I came up with.  Boy is this one good!  It makes a great dish or appetizer.  You can bet I'll be making this often.  I do think I'll increase the garlic to maybe 1 1/2 tsp. to give it even more flavor.   This is good hot or cold.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Spinach Pull Aparts

1 lb. frozen spinach, thawed & drained
1 pkg. garlic knots, sliced into 2 pieces each
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Pizza blend cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In the bottom of a non-stick dish or dish sprayed with non-stick spray, place arrange the garlic knots so they are touching but not tight.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Evenly top with spinach.  Sprinkle with Pizza blend cheese.  Dot with butter.  Bake 5-10 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Comment:  I've had the thought of this dish floating around in my head for some time now and finally decided to give it a try.  My original thought was to use crescent roll bread but when I spotted the garlic knots I changed my mind.  This recipe is a 1st try and it will be my last or should I say only one.  This is soooooo good.  I'm serving it with wings but believe me, it's delicious by itself.  It's quick, easy, and so appealing to the eye.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Coconut Pecan Cornbread

1 pkg. Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup powdered sugar
cream (milk or water if you want)

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix muffin mix according to package directions.  Stir in coconut and pecans.  Pour into 3 mini-loaf pans.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Mix the powdered sugar with the cream (milk/water) using just enough to allow it to melt and drizzle.  Spoon over hot bread.  Sprinkle with more coconut and chopped pecans (optional)

Comment:  My order at a nearby BBQ house came with a sweet mini-loaf of cornbread.  I don't normally like sweet cornbread but gave it a try.  As I took a bite I noticed how moist it was and that it wasn't very grainy.  This made me start thinking about how good this would be with coconut and pecans added making it a dessert instead of just a bread.  I remembered how sweet Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix is and decided to give it a try.  I didn't hit the nail on the head, but I came close.  The Jiffy Mix did have a bit more of a grainy texture but it still worked beautifully.  And my food testers loved it too!  One stood eating her whole loaf while we were standing there talking about it.  She said it was that good.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Cheese Stuffed Shells with Spinach

10-12 large cheese stuffed shells
6 Brautwirst Sausages
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1 box spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup Italian blend cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove the casings from the sausages.  In a large frying pan add the sausage and break it up.  Cook until completely cooked.  Add Alfredo and spinach.  Fold in.  Spray a 9 x 12 x 2 baking dish with non-stick spray.  Place the shells in the bottom of the dish.  Evenly pour the sauce mix over the shells covering completely.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake 30-40 minutes or until bubbling in the center.  Serves 6-8

Comment:  This dish came out delicious and it can be made with many meat variations.  You can use ground beef and even Polish sausages.  You can also change the sauce to spaghetti sauce.  You can add onions and peppers cooking them with the sausage.  And even change the cheese flavor.  So good, so simple and quick

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cheesy Spinach Bundles

1 pkg. (10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well-drained
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 chives & onion cream cheese spread
1 egg, separated
1 can (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a bowl mix spinach, Mozzarella, Parmesan, cream cheese and egg yolk.  Separate crescent dough into 8 triangles.  Cut each triangle diagonally in half.  Lay out on a baking dish lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick.  Evenly spread the spinach mixture onto each.  Bring the corners of the dough to the center over the filling, overlapping ends and pinch together to seal.  Beat egg white and lightly brush over bundles.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Comment:  This is a Kraft Cheese recipe that I spotted and had to try.  Of course I made changes!  I used 3/4 cup of the Mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup of Seasoned Parmesan cheese, the kind you sprinkle over spaghetti.  I didn't have the chives & onion cream cheese but did have a block of plain so I put about 1/4 cup into the microwave for about 20 seconds and added 2 small finely chopped green onions, tops and bulbs.  I wasn't sure how they meant to cut the crescent rolls so I just cut them in half and pressed them out on the baking sheet allowing me to have enough to bring up over the spinach mix.  Also, the recipe called for 1 Tbsp. in each but I ended up with a bit left over so I divided it evenly among the crescents.  This is one heck of a dish.  I honestly think I could have eaten at least half of them but I didn't.  I shared with my testers.  Almost forgot - After the egg wash I sprinkled each bundle with a small amount of Colby cheese.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ham & Cheese Pea Patties

1 can black eyed peas, drained
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 green onions, chopped with tops

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a med. cast iron frying pan pour enough oil to cover the bottom.  Place in the oven while it preheats to get it sizzling hot.  In a bowl mix peas, cornmeal, milk, egg and onions.  Pour half of the mixture into the frying pan with the hot oil.  It should sizzle when poured in. Top with a layer of cheese, a layer of ham, and another layer of cheese.  Evenly spread the remaining mix.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until browned and done on the inside.

Comments:  I've made what I call Georgia Pea Patties for years, using my mother's recipe.  Normally I fry them but found myself with some leftover ham and decided to give this mixture a try.  Boy is it good!  My food testers all loved it.  One thing to remember about the batter and that is that you wan it about pancake batter thickness.  You want to be able to pour it into the pan.  Also, to test your oil, flip just a drop of 2 of water into it to see if it sizzles before bringing it out of the oven.  When it sizzles you know its' hot enough.  Add as much cheese and ham as you like.  I had some 1/4" thick ham and put a thick layer of cheese before and after the ham.  Plus, if you don't like black eyed peas, I'm sure this will work well with others.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
1 box spice cake mix
1 cup apples, peeled & shredded
brown sugar & cinnamon cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl add pumpkin puree.  Whip it to make it light and airy.  Fold in the shredded apples and then the cake mix.  Place paper liners in muffin tins and then fill each with batter.  Smooth the top of each muffin with a wet spoon.  The batter is thick.  Scoop out a place in the center of each muffin, and drop in one teaspoon of cream cheese per muffin.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until done.

Comments:  This recipe is based off on Rochelle's favorite muffin from Starbucks and sounded so simple and delicious, but of course I made a few changes.  First off, I didn't have a spice cake mix in my pantry but I did have a yellow cake mix.  To that I added 1 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice.  This didn't make it as spicy as the spice cake would be but I think I like it better.  It isn't overpowering.  The next change I made was to use plain cream cheese which I added about 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  I probably put a bit more cream cheese than the 1 teaspoon called for but that turned out good too.
And the last change was to sprinkle the muffins with just a little cinnamon before baking.  My muffins came out perfect!!!  Not too strong in spice flavor, just perfect.  Next time I make these, and I will, I'm going to add some chopped walnuts.  This is a must make dish for the fall.  Oh yeah, I used 2 large granny smith apples to make a cup.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

San Francisco Scramble

4 eggs
1 cup leafy spinach
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheese
2 sausage patties, cut into pieces 

Sauté mushrooms in olive oil, add in sausage until brown. Add spinach. 
Crack eggs in bowl, add a splash of milk and pinch of onion salt (or seasoning of your choice) - stir.
Add egg mix to skillet. Sprinkle cheese all over and serve.

Comments:  This recipe was sent to me to post along with my review for The Angel Solution by John Stipa.  As soon as I saw it I knew I had to make it!  Author John Stipa called it San Francisco Scramble and I call it Delicious.  Now, you all know that I have to make a change here and there but with this recipe I didn't really change any of the ingredients I just increased them so I could feed 6.  I used 6 eggs, 1 frozen package of chopped spinach (thawed & liquid squeezed out), 1 lb. Jimmy Dean sausage, crumbled and cooked.  I lied, I did make one addition and that was by adding a big spoon full of Sabra's Spinach Parmesan Greek Yogurt Dip.  This dish is totally one of the best!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pesto Chicken Pasta

6 oz. spaghetti
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 large skinless, boneless breasts, cut into bite size pieces 
1 pkg. basil pesto mix
½ cup finely shredded Italian cheese blend

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet cook carrots in butter over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add chicken; cook and stirring until no pink remains in chicken. Make pesto according to package directions.  Add 4 tablespoons pesto; toss to coat.  Drain pasta. Return to pan; toss with remaining pesto. Toss in chicken mix and cheese.  Makes 6 servings.

Martha:  This is, of course, a recipe I found and made changes to.  The original called for refrigerator pasta and jar pesto.  I used ½ a package of spaghetti and bought a dry package of pasta mix.  I’ve used the jar a well as the mix and like the mix better.  The original had the chicken served on top of the pasta but I just made it easy and mixed it in with the spaghetti.  I also changed the cheese from Parmesan to an Italian blend which had some Parmesan in it.  This turned out so good.  I shared with 4 of my food testers and they all loved it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ground Beef & Hashbrowns

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef 
1 cup nacho cheese sauce (from 15-oz jar)
1 can (4 oz) mushrooms, chopped, drained
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (4 oz)
6 frozen hashbrowns (4 x 2 ½”)

Heat oven to 425°F.  In 10-inch ovenproof skillet, cook beef over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink; drain. Stir in cheese sauce and mushrooms. Top with cheese.  Place hashbrowns on top of cheese.  Bake about 25 minutes or until potatoes are crispy and golden brown and mixture is bubbling. Serves 6

Comment:  This is part of a recipe that I found on the Kraft site.  I changed from peas to mushrooms and used the large hashbrowns.  After the cooking time I did turn on the broiler and let the tops of the hashbrowns crisp just a little. For my skillet I used a square cast iron frying pan.  It worked perfectly.  This dish is so good and if you have a meat and potato foodie, they will love it!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Strawberry Shortcake

This is such an easy, yet delicious Strawberry Shortcake to make.  It's one that I actually forgot about and haven't made it in years.

1 round Angle Food cake
10-12 fresh strawberries, cleaned and sliced thin
1 pkg. strawberry jello
1 carton cool whip

Evenly place the strawberries in a jello mold (or bunt pan sprayed with non-stick).  Place the cake on top breaking it and pressing it down so it will fit.  Mix the jello with 1 3/4 cups of hot water until dissolved.  Pour over the cake allowing it to soak down to the bottom as well as into the breaks in the cake.  Refrigerate 3-4 hrs.  Pop out onto a plate and fill center with cool whip.

Comments:  This is such a moist cake yet not soggy due to the jello.  It's so good and you can even do this with other flavors such as blackberries, peaches, etc.  You can also use frozen strawberries if fresh aren't in season but get those without the juice.  Plus, you can make this with sugar free jello helping to make it more diabetic friendly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Peanut Butter Brownie Pudding Cake

1 Family Size Package of Brownie Mix
1 pkg. Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
1 3/4 Cup Milk
2/3 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
2 cups Cool Whip

Cook brownies according to package directions using a 9 x 13 x 2 baking dish sprayed with non-stick.  Cool brownie mix completely.  Scoop out 24 small holes in the brownies making sure not to go through the bottom.  Reserve for later.  Mix pudding and milk until blended and starts to thicken.  Whisk in peanut butter until blended.  Whisk in cool whip until blended.  Spread over brownies.  Sprinkle with brownies that were spooned out.  Refrigerate at least 2 hrs.  Makes 24 servings.

Comment:  This was a Kraft recipe that I made just some small changes to.  I used the family size instead of the regular size.  I only used 1 3/4 cups of milk instead of 2 and the milk I used was almond milk.  I didn't drizzle the top with melted peanut butter because there was enough flavor in the pudding mix and just didn't think it needed it.  These turned out so good!  Everyone that was lucky enough to try them raved and wanted more.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Southwestern Chicken Casserole

1 cup uncooked wild rice blend
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup chicken stock
3-4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 can Rotel
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish with cooking spray.  Sprinkle rice over the bottom.  Top evenly with black beans.  Mix chicken stock, chili powder and cumin.  Slowly pour over beans.  Sprinkle with chicken and evenly pour Rotel over the chicken.  Cover with foil.  Bake 45-50 minutes or until rice is tender.  Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for about 5 minutes allowing the cheese to melt.  Serves 6.  Top with sour cream (optional).

Martha:  As usual, I found the recipe and made a few changes to to make it a little easier.  The original called for long grain rice but I love a blend that I get at Harris Teeter which has barley, wild rice, long grain white rice and rye berries.  This is so good and gives a great texture to the rice.  I added the cumin, used Rotel and changed from a regular cheddar cheese to the Mexican blend.  I also added the sour cream when serving.  This dish was one that my testers requested I make often.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Spinach 'Burgers'

1 bag (12 oz.) thawed, well drained chopped spinach
2 egg whites
1 whole egg
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Shape into patties and cook over medium high heat in a non-stick skillet with a small amount of cooking spray.  Patties are done when they are golden and firm. (about 4-6 minutes).

Comment:  I found this recipe on a site titled The Village Cook and boy is it great!  I made just a couple changes.  I used 2 whole eggs instead of the 2 whites and 1 whole.  I used Seasoned Panko bread crumbs, which don't bind as well as regular so I increased the amount to 3/4 cup allowing the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes.  Plus I browned the patties quickly on each side and the placed in the toaster oven to complete cooking (about 5 minutes).  This gave me 12 patties which were wonderful!  I gave some to 3 of my testers and the 1st words out of their mouths was OMGoodness!  I had 2 left over, which had gotten cold and decided to heat them up and eat later that day.  Before heating I took a bite and it did't need heating at all!  So good.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Lime Bars

I found this recipe online and of course made my changes (watch for notations).


5 ounces animal crackers (about 2 1/2 cups animal crackers)
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
Pinch salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted

(I didn't have animal crackers but spotted a box of Honey Nut Cherrios and used 2 1/2 cups that I put in a food processor and ground until they were flour like, added the melted butter and had my crust.)

2 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 tbsp grated fresh lime zest (from about 2 limes)
1 can (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk
Pinch salt
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from about 3-4 regular limes or 20 Key limes)

(The only change I made here was to use 4 ounces of cream cheese instead of the 2.)

3/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted (optional)

(I used organic, non-sweetened coconut that I added when I started my baking which allowed it to toast in the oven as the bars cooked.)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, adjusting an oven rack to the middle position. Line an 8-inch (I used an 8 x 12 clear casserole dish) square baking pan with aluminum foil, letting two opposing edges hang over at least an inch or so. Grease the foil with cooking spray.  (I didn't use the foil but did spray my baking dish with non-stick spray.)

For the crust, process the animal crackers, sugar and salt together to fine crumbs in a blender or food processor. Drizzle the melted butter over the crumbs and pulse to incorporate (or stir together in a bowl with a fork). Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press the crumbs into an even layer. Bake the crust until fragrant and golden, about 15-18 minutes.

For the filling, while crust bakes, in a medium bowl, stir the cream cheese, lime zest and salt together until combined. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk until smooth (you can use a handheld electric mixer, if you want). Whisk in the egg yolk and lime juice until combined.  (Note, when the lime juice is added the mixture will thicken, I'm assuming from the acid in the lime.)  Pour the filling evenly over the crust. Bake the bars until the filling is set and the edges just slightly begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, 15-17 minutes.  (Mine took about 30 minutes to reach this point.)

Let the bars cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Then cover the pan with foil and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil overhang and cut into squares. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if desired.

Comment:  One of my food testers bought too many limes so she gave 4 to me.  I promised her I would come up with something good using the limes.  After looking at several recipes for lime bars this is the one I liked the best and the one that was actually the easiest.  The cereal crust was great!  Not too sweet and probably a bit healthier than the animal crackers would have been.  You can make this with graham cracker crust too.  The flavor of this was simply delicious.  The 3 lucky food testers that were given this dish to try all put in a request for me to make it again.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Better Than Sex Cake

Sorry I don't have a picture of this cake.  Working with a new program and somehow lost the picture.  It was a pretty picture and tasty looking picture.  This is a picture I found that looks the closest to my cake.

1 Butter Yellow Cake Mix
Mix and bake according to directions using a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Poke holes in the cake (I used a wooden spoon handle).  Allow to cool.

1 cup sugar
1 large can crushed pineapple with juice
While the cake is cooking combine the sugar and pineapple with juice in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over med. high heat allowing the sugar to melt.  Pour evenly over the cooled cake.

1 large box vanilla instant pudding mix
Make pudding mix according to box directions.  Spread evenly over pineapple.

Sprinkle with nuts and coconut.

Top with whipped topping and sprinkle with pecans.


Comment:  Shirley McLain, Author of Princess Adele's Dragon, sent this recipe to me to go with my review for her book.  As soon as I read it I knew I had to add this to my must make list.  I made it over the weekend and OMGoodness!  This cake is a gotta make many times again recipe.  I used unsweetened coconut and almond slivers which gave it a nice texture and taste.  So good.  I want to give this a try using a carton of frozen, thawed strawberries next.  This cake has many possibilities.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Chicken Bake

1 2/3 cups hot water
1 pkg Stove Top stuffing mix
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken cooked
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup sour cream
6-8 slices Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut chicken into bite size pieces and place in the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Mix soup and sour cream.  Spread over chicken.  Add a layer of Mozzarella cheese slices over soup mix.  Mix hot water and stuffing mix.  Spread over cheese.   Bake 30-35 minutes or until bubbly in the center.  Serves 6

Martha:  The original recipe came from Kraft and I did make my usual changes.  I used packaged stuffing instead of the stove top.  I did this for 2 reasons.  I'm not crazy about the seasoning packet in the stove top and I also had 3 cups of the packaged stuffing in the pantry (I use Pepperidge Farm blue package).  The sour cream was increased to 1/2 cup and the Mozzarella cheese addition was not in the original recipe.  Out of the 5 food testers that were lucky enough to get this dish, they all raved about the different flavors that blended so well.  This is a good one to make quickly after a long day at work.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Humming Bird Cake

1 package Yellow Cake Mix (without pudding)
1 package (3.4 oz.) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling
4 eggs
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained; reserve pineapple juice
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup finely chopped pecans
1 medium-size banana, mashed
¼ cup chopped Maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 cake pans.  Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, pineapple, juice from the pineapple and enough water to make 1 cup, oil and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Beat with electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add pecans, banana and cherries.  Mix well.  Pour into cake pans.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely before icing.

Cream Cheese frosting
8 ounces cream cheese softened at room temp
12 cup butter softened at room temp
3 1/2 cups powder sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3 pineapple slices, well drained and cut into small pieces

In a bowl whip cream cheese and butter until well blended.  Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time blending well after each addition.  Mix in vanilla. 

Ice the bottom layer and side.  Sprinkle half of the pecans and half of the pineapple over the top.  Add 2nd layer.  Finish icing and sprinkle top with remaining pecans and pineapple.  You can add chopped cherries for more color if wanted.

Comment:  This is a combination of 2 recipes that I found for Humming Bird Cakes.  The 1st one used made a tube cake but I wanted layers.  It also didn't have the added nuts and pecans on top.  Plus its frosting was a drizzle so I found a recipe for a cream cheese frosting I liked and decided to use it.  Another change was the pineapple.  I didn't have a can of crushed but did have a can of slices.  I simply drained it well, crushed and drained again.  I ended up using 4 circle slices for inside the cake and then the 3 slices that I drained and cut into small pieces for my topping.  By using the larger can (20 oz.) of slices I ended up with 1 cup of juice and didn't have to add water.  This sure is a delicious cake!  Moist and full of flavors.