Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cranberry Sauce Extraordinaire

This a wonderful change from a traditional cranberry sauce that is perfect for the holidays. Easy to make and much better and fancier than the canned kind.  This would also be good as a topping on cheesecake.    (adapted from a recipe at
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
  • 1 apple - peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In a medium saucepan, boil water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to simmer, and stir in cranberries, apple, oranges, dried fruit, pecans, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Double Fudge Brownie Cookies

If you are looking for a simple and easy chocolatey cookie recipe to make ...these cookies are fantastic!   They are soft and chewy like a brownie should be but also easy to pick up and eat like cookie.  Using a brownie mix really makes this quick and convenient. After I mixed up the batter,  I divided it into half and used peanut butter chips in half and white chocolate chips in the other.  Although they were both really good the peanut butter ones were everyone's favorite.  Who can resist peanut butter and chocolate together?  Such a great flavor combination! This recipe is also found here at Allrecipes.


  • 1 box brownie mix (for 13” x 9” pan), 18 to 22 ounces
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Almond Extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup Mazola® Corn Oil
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (or peanut butter chips)
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine brownie mix and flour in a mixing bowl. Stir in extracts, eggs and oil; blend thoroughly. Dough will be stiff. Add chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto greased baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes; cool on rack.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Spooky Calzone Snake

 Here is a really fun recipe to make during Halloween season.  Kids of all ages will like this and not only is it cute but it is also delicious!  You can add green peppers, onions, mushrooms, black olives or whatever you prefer into the filling. I left this simple and only added some chopped pepperoni into the cheesy filling.  To make the snakes tongue I used a red bell pepper or you could also use a pepperoni slice cut up to look like a snake tongue.  The eyes were made using black olives and I stuck some bell pepper pieces into the center.   Serve this up with some warmed up spaghetti or pizza sauce along side this for dipping.  This recipe is adapted from one I found at

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bats And Cobwebs

Here is a fun recipe just in time for Halloween...Bats and Cobwebs!  Made with bowtie pasta (bats) and lots of gooey mozzarella cheese (for the cobwebs).  Not only is this fun and easy recipe to make it also tastes great!  I have been making a version of this for years now but at other times of the year I normally use different types of pasta.  The original recipe used ground beef and is found here at but this time I substituted the ground beef with Johnsonville® mild Italian sausage and that made this so much tastier!  My family really loved this.  If you have little ones this would be a fun recipe to make for Halloween as it can be prepared ahead of time and baked before you head out to go trick or treating.  Hope you enjoy!

1 (8 ounce) package farfalle (bow tie) pasta
1 pound Johnsonville® Italian sausage
1 small onion, chopped (optional)
1 (28 ounce) jar pasta sauce
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water, bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the bow tie pasta and return to a boil. Boil pasta, stirring occasionally, until cooked through but still firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Cook and stir sausage and onion in a large skillet until sausage is cooked through.  Drain fat. Stir in pasta sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Stir cooked pasta and half of the mozzarella cheese into the sauce; toss to combine. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Slow Cooker Apples with Cinnamon and Brown Sugar

Fresh apples baked in the slow cooker really makes it seem like fall is finally here!  This recipe makes the whole house smell delicious and fall-like!  Very easy to make and healthy too!  This only needs to cook for 3 hours in the slow cooker.  I prepared this in the early afternoon and put it in the slow cooker and by dinner time it was all done and ready for dessert.    The apples are very tender and the filling really sweet.  A great combo...perfect for a fall day!

I want to thank Reynolds for sending me a sample of their slow cooker liners because I did not even know that they existed.  I am so glad I discovered these. They really made clean up a snap!

These handy dandy liners fit right into my slow cooker.  Then when your finished they can be taken out and thrown away without any mess to clean up in the slow cooker.  Very helpful!

I found this recipe here at  and I have also included a printable recipe below.  Hope you enjoy!



4 medium tart baking apples (such as Granny Smith, Braeburn, or Jonathan), cored
1/4 cup regular rolled oats
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon butter, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
 2/3 cup apple juice

  1. Place apples in prepared slow cooker. Combine oats, raisins, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Spoon mixture into centers of apples, patting in with the back of a spoon or a narrow metal spatula. Mound any remaining oat mixture on top of apples. Pour apple juice around apples in cooker.
  2. Cover and cook for 3 hours on low.
  3. Transfer apples to serving bowls and drizzle with cooking liquid.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Homemade Subway Bread

I love being able to make food at home that tastes like the restaurant food my kids like to eat.   This bread tastes very much like the bread from Subway.  I like knowing that this is made healthier without any artificial ingredients or preservatives in it.  It is actually pretty simple to make just takes a while to wait for the dough to rise. 

Combine the dough ingredients and then place this in a large bowl.

Cover this with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area for about 30 minutes.


Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into 4 equal parts.  Roll these out into long rolls about 9 to 10 inches long.  Place these on a pan that is lined with parchment paper. 

Spray a piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Let this rise for about an hour until it is doubled in size. 

Remove plastic wrap and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and butter the tops with a stick of butter and cover with a clean kitchen towel. This step is important to soften the bread/   Let this cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoon olive oil
3-3 1/2 cups flour


1. Heat water to 110 degrees F.  Add yeast and sugar and let this sit about 5 minutes until it starts to form a foam on the top.  Add salt and olive oil.
2.  Add one cup of flour and mix until combined.  Add another cup of flour and mix until combined.  Slowly add more flour a 1/4 cup at a time until a soft dough is formed.  The dough should stick a little to the bottom of bowl but pull away from the sides. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and soft.
3.  Shape the dough into a ball and place in a bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes.
4.   Remove dough and divide into four sections.  Roll each piece of dough into a long skinny loaf that is about 9 to 10 inches long.  Place the rolled loaves onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart.  Cover the loaves with a piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray and allow the loaves to rise for an hour.
5.  Remove plastic wrap and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and rub the tops with a stick of butter and then cover them with a clean dish towel.  Cool for 30 minutes before slicing them.  Prepare with your favorite sandwich toppings.

Note: Rubbing the loaves with butter and covering them with a towel to cool is very important to keep them soft.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Homemade Poptarts

These are so much better than store bought pop tarts!  And fun to make too!  This recipe is adapted from one I found on .  It uses a package of refrigerated pie crusts that make this super easy and convenient.  I would like to try this again in the future using real pie crust from scratch. I bet that would take these over the top!  Be warned these are super sweet with the frosting but the kids liked them.  I preferred these plain without any frosting at all.  I used strawberry jam in these but I'm sure any flavor would work just as good.  Hope you enjoy!

1 (15 ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
1/4 cup strawberry jam
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
decorative sugar or sprinkles, as needed

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees (220 degrees C) Line Baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Unroll the pie crusts, place on a lightly floured work surface, and roll the crusts slightly with a rolling pin to square the edges. Cut each crust into 8 equal-sized rectangles. Place about 2 teaspoons of strawberry jam in the center of 8 squares, and spread the jam out to within 1/4 inch of the edge of the pastry square. Top each with another pastry square, and use a fork to crimp the squares together, sealing in the jam. Use a knife to trim the pastries, if desired. Move the filled pastries to the prepared baking sheets.

3.  Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are lightly golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.  Watch carefully towards the end to be sure they starting to turn lightly brown without overcooking.  Allow to cool on the baking sheets. Meanwhile, stir together the confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a bowl to make a spreadable frosting. Spread the cooled tarts with frosting and sprinkle with colored sugar or sprinkles.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Avocado Aioli

This creamy aioli sauce is great as a dip or a dressing.  Easy to make and made with healthy wholesome ingredients.  I loved the combination of garlic and basil along with the creamy avocado. I prepared this and served this as a dip for some fresh veggies and also some tortilla chips.  Super yummy!  I would like to make this again in the future to spread on sandwiches or maybe on tacos.  Here is the link to the original recipes from  Hope you enjoy!

  • 1 medium very ripe Avocado from Mexico
  • 1/3 cup plain, fat-free Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1.  Combine the avocado, yogurt, basil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and black pepper in a food processor and process until just smooth. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mini Shells with Cherry Tomatoes ,Basil and Cheese

Here is a great dish to make on these hot days of summer.  I really love fresh basil and it goes wonderfully in this dish.  This is a quick easy recipe that is light and refreshing.  I  prepared this for dinner and served it warm and it was delicious.  I had some leftover for lunch the following day and ate it cold straight from the fridge and I thought it was even better!  Hope you enjoy!


  • 1 (12 ounce) box Barilla White Fiber Mini Shells
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 6 leaves basil, julienned
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
2.  In a large skillet, cook onion in olive oil for 3-4 minutes or until translucent. Add tomatoes and saute for 3-4 minutes until blistered. Season with salt and pepper.
3.  Cook pasta 1 minute less than required cooking time, drain and toss with sauce and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Remove from heat and add basil and cheese.
4.  Stir to combine and serve.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Shrimp with Cheesy Grits and Bacon

I really love this recipe!  I found this recipe here at and it is fantastic.  It combines shrimp and bacon and cheese.. great combination!  The recipe listed below is the original recipe.  I didn't have any evaporated milk on hand so I just used all chicken broth and it was still great.  This is an easy to make meal and a great way to jazz up some grits.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Lasagna with Fresh Mozzarella and Spinach

I made this delicious lasagna recipe from Barilla that I wanted to share. It is an easy to prepare lasagna that is delicious! This recipe is from the Barilla collection found  here at .  I had never used their Sauce before and I was very pleased with it.   I loved the fresh mozzarella cheese and spinach in this lasagna!  I think next time I make this I will double up the layers to make it stack up taller in the pan. This is a great no-fuss simple lasagna that tastes great too!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Banana Pudding from Scratch

This was my first time making a banana pudding from scratch.  Actually it was the first time I ever made any kind of pudding that didn't come out of a box mix.  I made this for my son who loves anything banana flavored and he really liked this.  I found this recipe here on  I read thru a lot of the reviews first and noticed that some people had issues with it coming out thin and runny.  I made sure the pudding mixture became very thick before I removed it from the heat and it came out perfect.  I also added 4 bananas instead of just two like in the original recipe.  Super yum!


  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 (12 ounce) package vanilla wafer cookies
1.  In medium saucepan combine sugar, flour, and salt. Add eggs and stir well. Stir in milk, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. When mixture begins to thicken, remove from heat and continue to stir, cooling slightly. Stir in vanilla and butter until smooth.
2.  Layer pudding with bananas and vanilla wafers in a serving dish. Sprinkle with crushed wafers, if desired.  Chill at least one hour in refrigerator before serving.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Strawberry Lemonade

This is a refreshing lemonade to make and serve on hot summer days.  It has a strong strawberry flavor and a more subtle lemonade flavor.  Perfect to make when strawberries are fresh in season.  After I make this I strain it thru a fine sieve strainer to get out all the seeds and pulp. Delicious!
1 quart water
1 cup sugar
4 large lemons, zest removed in long strips, lemons juiced
2 pints strawberries, tops removed 
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of water, sugar and lemon zest and bring to a simmer while stirring. Pour the syrup into a stainless steel or glass bowl, stir in the remaining 2 cups of water and lemon juice. Let cool.
Process the strawberries in a food processor or blender, stir into the lemonade and strain.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Amazing Muffin Cups

These muffin cups really taste amazing just like the title says!   I  made this recipe from   These are easy to make and the whole family loved them.  I made half the batch exactly like the recipe.  The other half I made low carb by leaving out the hash brown base. The Johnsonville sausage really makes these taste delish! I plan on making these again real soon. Enjoy!



  • 12 links Johnsonville® Original breakfast sausage
  • 3 cups frozen country style shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • chopped fresh chives or green onion
1.  Prepare sausage according to package directions. cool slightly and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside.
2.  In a bowl, combine hash browns, butter, salt and pepper; divide evenly into 12 greased muffin cups. Press mixture onto sides and bottom of muffin cups.
3.  Bake at 400F for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, divide sausage pieces into muffin cups.
4.  In a bowl, combine eggs, cheese and bell pepper. Spoon mixture evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle with chives or onion. Return to oven, bake 13-15 minutes or until set. Serve.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Raspberry Avocado Salad with Avocado Dressing

I love fresh fruits and veggies and this is a salad that combines both.  I have made this salad substituting strawberries and other different kinds of berries just depending what is in season.  The great thing about avocados is that they stay in season all year round.  This avocado salad dressing is thick and creamy and nutritious.  I hope you enjoy!

 10 oz. bag salad mix
1 avocado; peeled, pitted and sliced
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
10 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
¼ cup sliced red onion
½ cup pecans,  chopped
Avocado Dressing:
1 Avocado; peeled and pitted
⅛ cup green onions, chopped
½ cup low fat greek yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions :1.  To make dressing:  combine avocado, green onions, yogurt,  maple syrup, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor and process until creamy.
2.  Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss.   Serve immediately along with dressing.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Just like Wendy's Chili

I found this recipe on and I have to say that it really lives up to its name and tastes just like Wendy's Chili!  My family really liked this too.  I made it a little healthier by substituting ground chicken in place of ground beef and I only used one package of chili seasoning mix.  It was still pretty spicy with just using one spice mix.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Thin Mint Cookie Truffles

These cute and yummy truffles really do taste just like the thin mint girl scout cookies and they are also perfect for Saint Patrick's Day too.  They are super easy to make and only require a few ingredients.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pork Carnitas with Cilantro Tomatillo Sauce

I loved this Pork Carnitas recipe.   The original recipe can be found here in the Mazola® collection of recipes at  Mazola® has been our kind sponsor this month and I have enjoyed working with their heart healthy corn oil.  Their Mazola® Corn Oil is cholesterol free and according to a study is better for your heart than olive oil.  You can find more healthy recipes by clicking here to go to their website.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Salmon with Grapefruit Salsa

Here is a delicious heart-healthy way to prepare salmon that I tried recently that not only tasted great but also makes a beautiful meal to enjoy.   The nice folks at Mazola® sent me a sample of their Mazola® Corn Oil to try and they also have a collection of recipes that can be found here at  I learned something new while working with this product and that is according to a study; Mazola® Corn Oil lowers cholesterol more than extra virgin olive oil.  That was surprising news to me.  You can find more information about other corn oil health benefits by clicking here. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mardi Gras King Cake

This was my first time making a Mardi Gras King Cake and also my first time ever trying one.  I thought it came out very well and my family liked it too.  I wasn't sure what to expect from it but it reminded me of a cross between a cinnamon roll and a honey bun.  I looked around for a good recipe to try and this one had a lot of great reviews that I found on  The only thing I did different from the original recipe was to leave out the raisins and I also scaled back the recipe to just make one cake instead of two.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cobb Salad

I love to order a Cobb salad when I go out to restaurants but this was the first time I made one at home and this was fantastic. I will be making this again real soon.  It is a very filling salad.  I found this recipe at  I did make a few small changes to the original recipe.  I used turkey bacon in place of regular bacon.  I also used shredded cheddar cheese instead of blue cheese.  Hope you enjoy!               
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken meat
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 3/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) bottle Ranch-style salad dressing
1.  Place eggs in a saucepan and cover completely with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.
2.  Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
3.  Divide shredded lettuce among individual plates.
4.  Evenly divide and arrange chicken, eggs, tomatoes, blue cheese, bacon, avocado and green onions in a row on top of the lettuce.
5.  Drizzle with your favorite dressing and enjoy.