Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cheesey Cottage Potatoes

(I don't remember where I saw this picture, but wanted to give you a smile!=)

This dish takes me back to my childhood, as its one my mom often made.

She was quite an amazing lady.  I learned so much from her example of goodness and godliness.

Her children, and grandchildren alike, have deemed her a 'saint'.  She went to her Heavenly Home after developing a blood clot in her lung after knee surgery in December 1987, at the young age of 64. (As I was recovering from brain tumor surgery...but that's a story for another time).

Anyway - those things came to mind as I considered sharing this great dish with you.

It's easy to make and can be made a day ahead of time. 

This is a requested dish my own children and families enjoy often at our shared meals.

I've made it so many times, I don't even look at a recipe anymore.


COTTAGE POTATOES
(From The Better Baker)

10 lg. potatoes, cooked in skins
1 med. onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1 slice fresh bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese, chunked
8 Tb. margarine or butter, melted, divided
1 small jar pimentos, drained (optional)
1/4 c. milk
2 c. crushed corn flakes

Cool potatoes; peel and cut into bite sized chunks.  Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 2.5 qt. baking dish.  Mix together potatoes, onion, salt, bread, cheese and pimentos.  Mix with 6 Tb. melted margarine and place into prepared dish. Pour milk over potatoes. (If making ahead, I wait to add milk and topping just before baking)

Topping: Combine crushed corn flakes with remaining margarine and spread evenly over top.  Bake uncovered for 35 - 45 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

              Made it on Monday

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Patriotic Dessert Recipes from Taste of Home



Take a look-see and check out some awesome patriotic dessert recipes to help you celebrate the upcoming holiday of remembrance - ENJOY!


                                                       

Dishes like...

Lemon-Berry Shortcake 
Star-Studded Blueberry Pie
Stars and Stripes Forever Dessert
Patriotic Trifle
And More....

Check'em out!!  Click on link below...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Thank you Vets! 2011


MY MOST FAVORITE VET IN UNIFORM!


BE STILL MY HEART!  I still get flutters to see my sweet hubby in uniform!
Even in pictures!! When this was taken 3 years ago, he had just spoken for Vets Day at our county fair. He served 4 years in the Marines, and 16 years in the Air Force.  (And I LOVED it!!)

to those who have served and sacrificed!

I write a monthly food column for a local newspaper, so I thought I would share this month's with you.

Please be sure to thank a vet this Memorial Day!


May also brings Memorial Day-the time when we remember those who have sacrificed for our freedom.
We cannot say thank you enough, but I’d like to give you a few ideas to honor our vets and our country.

My husband served 3 tours as a Marine in Vietnam, and is now 100% disabled because of exposure to Agent Orange. He’s the most patriotic person I know. He would choose to serve all over again if he had that choice. What a thrill it is for me when someone shakes his hand and thanks him for his service. Having been a proud military wife for 16 of his 20 years of military service, I take those thank you’s very seriously myself.

A positive change in our country since I was young, is the respect our troops now receive. When troops came home from Vietnam, they were booed and often spit upon. Now it isn’t uncommon to see the troops being applauded. What a wonderful and needed change.

Here are a few simple ways to show your appreciation to anyone who is currently serving, or has served, in the armed forces of the United States of America. 

Simply say Thank You–Throw in a handshake or a pat on the back too. It goes a long way and means so much. Even if you don’t know a vet, contact the nearest VA hospital or clinic. There’s surely many there would who appreciate being told thank you. Send flowers or a cookie bouquet.

Pay for their lunch-if you see a serviceman or woman in an eatery, offer to pay for their lunch. It’s an awesome way to express your thanks. Your cost will be much less than what they are paying for with their lives.

Fly a flag-having “Old Glory” flying on your property is a great way to show respect and pride for our country and our vets. If you don't have a flagpole, you can purchase small brackets that easily fit on the side of your home.

Send a free postcard online-There are a number of great sites available to help encourage our military.  A favorite of mine is http://www.letssaythanks.com/. The site gives you the opportunity to send printed postcards (cover pictures drawn by children all over the country) to military personnel stationed overseas to show your support for their service. It takes only a minute or two. I send 4 or 5 at a time. There are a number of options for wording on your card. They make it very simple to do.

Send a cup of joe to a ‘joe’- check out http://www.greenbeanscoffee.com/.  For $2 you can send a cup of coffee to a serviceperson overseas.  An added bonus is that oftentimes, you’ll receive a thank you from the recipient. I sure enjoyed a thrill the first time I participated in this program and received thank you’s in return.

Donate-Give a little money or time to a veteran’s group. It’s a tough time financially for everyone right now, but if you could see what my husband and I see when we visit VA hospitals, it would just tear your heart apart. At the very least, drop off a note of thanks at any local vets organization and they will make sure it gets to the right person (Or write several).

Never Forget-One of the greatest things we can do is to make the most out of the opportunities we’ve been given. Our freedoms have been given to us by the sacrifice of so many, and we must not take ever that for granted.

A veteran is someone who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life. Regardless of personal political views, that is an honor and there are too many people in this country who no longer remember that fact.

ENJOY A SAFE AND FUN MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Guest Post - Cooking with Libby

I couldn't be more tickled or honored to have Libby from 
Cooking with Libby doing the first guest post ever on my blog!

I have followed her blog for a long time and so enjoy her lovely recipes and ideas.  We really do enjoy the same kinds of practical dishes. Her gorgeous photos always suck me right in!

Because she's a military wife we connected right away. My sweetie is retired after 20 years of military service, and so....we wives gotta stick together!

Libby and I are on a big adventure together as we are 2 of the 5 gals involved in a new blog - Country Cooks Across America - preparing to launch soon.  It's been such a 'blast' to get to know each other a little more personally via many emails, as we make decisions and talk about options in all that is ahead of us.

Please stay tuned for more info about that within the next week!

Take it away Libby!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

(Libby and her sweet daughter)


Hello everyone :) I'm Libby from Cooking With Libby. I want to thank Marsha for this wonderful opportunity to do a guest post on her site today. Marsha and I met through another fellow blogger and I am so happy that we did. These past few months, we have recently started to write each other via e-mail and it's been just a wonderful experience. She is a former Military Wife so we connect on that level. She also enjoys to bake, bake, bake...just like me ;) I love visiting her blog when I get the chance and have fallen in love with all the yummy recipes she has ;) It's such a great honor to be able to do this for her :)

Before I get to the recipe, let me tell y'all a little about me. I'm a Military Wife of 9 years to the most wonderful man on the planet. We are stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in the northern part of Louisiana. I am also a Stay at Home Mom to two of the most beautiful and crazy children who are under the age of 4. It can be insanely chaotic over here at times, but I love it! Now, onto the recipe..........................




Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings


When I think of home cooking, the first thing that comes to my mind are Chicken and Dumplings. Seriously. You just can't have one without the other. Home Cooking=a good pot of steaming and hot Chicken and Dumplings. What a great dish to make on a cold, wintry day. There is nothing better then coming inside from the cold and enjoying a wonderful bowl of this heavenly goodness. I can't think of anything better.

 
This is definitely a recipe for your slow cooker. Season the chicken, mix the liquids, pour everything on top of the chicken, turn the slow cooker on, and let it cook the whole day. That's it. Very easy to make and not time consuming at all. The only things that take a little time are shredding the chicken afterwards and cutting up the dumplings...but that's easy stuff.

 
The original recipe didn't have any spices in it...so I took the liberty of adding some myself. Here in this household, we love our dishes to have lots of kick to them. Maybe it's because we live in Louisiana where the food is always kicked up a notch or maybe it's because our taste buds have matured and we want that extra spicy taste when we eat....who knows? All I know is that the combination of spices I used in this recipe really made it pop. If spicy foods aren't your thing, you are more then welcome to adjust the amount to fit your taste buds...or add your own combination of spices...or better yet, just leave 'em out. You can also choose to leave the onions out. We opted to put onions in and they were a bit on the crunchy side. Either way, the end result is really great dish! Ingredients:

4 or 5 Chicken Breasts
2 tbsp. butter, melted
2 cans of condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1 onion, chopped (optional)
1 can of chicken broth or stock
1 and 1/2 cups of water (or enough to cover the chicken and then some)
1/2 tbsp. of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (or Season All if you can't find Tony's)
1/2 tbsp. of Cavender's All Purpose Greek Seasoning
1/4 tsp. of ground pepper
1/4 tsp. of rosemary
Paprika to taste
Half a pack of Mary B's Dumplings or 1 (10 oz.) package of refrigerated biscuit dough (not the flaky kind)
Directions:
1. Combine the seasonings (except the paprika) in a small bowl.

2. Wash chicken and pat dry. Rub both sides of each chicken breast with the seasoning mixture. Place the seasoned breasts in the slow cooker

3. Sprinkle Paprika on the top.

4. Place the onions on the chicken and drizzle the butter on top...or if you don't want the onions, just drizzle the butter on top.

5. Combine the cans of Cream of Chicken Soup, Chicken Stock/Broth, and water in a bowl and stir until well mixed.

6. Pour over the chicken and onions. Stir until well mixed. If you think the chicken needs more liquid to cook in, add a little more water.

7. Cook on high for 6 hours. Afterward, take each breast and shred the chicken.

8. Take the Dumplings and tear each strip into 3 or 4 pieces. If you are using canned biscuits, flatten each biscuit and cut into three strips.

9. Dump the shredded chicken and dumplings/biscuits back in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 1 more hour.

10. Serve on top of rice.Conclusion:


Thank you again Marsha for this wonderful opportunity to guest post on your blog. I hope that some of you will come join me and the family over at :) Cooking with Libby We'd love to have y'all ;)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Favorite Asparagus Dish


ASPARAGUS AND MORE ASPARAGUS...

It's that time of year for this spring veggie!
My hubby doesn't do a lot in the kitchen, but every year he buys a 5 gallon bucket of fresh picked asparagus from a local farmer, and then helps me put it up in the freezer.

I really appreciate his help too, and would hate to do it all myself.


We began by bending the stalks - they break naturally where the tough part begins - then filled the sink with water and washed them.  Then I sorted them by size - blanched a bunch at a time, plunged them into cold water (I didn't do this last year, and they turned out much softer) then let them cool on a cookie sheet like this.

Depending on the size of the stalk, I blanched them in boiling water from
1-1/2 - 3 minutes.

After they cooled, hubby put them in vaccum pack bags.  He loves doing things like that, and I'm so thankful!  He also loves to carve meat.  He'll bring home a big pork loin, cut it into pieces, and freeze them.

HE'S A KEEPER FOR SURE!! 

(For many reasons far beyond this!)



Then I made one of my favorite vegetable dishes for dinner that night.

A friend made this for me many years ago and it was definitely LOVE AT FIRST BITE!


I could eat a plateful of this for my meal!

This recipe can be found on page 32 in my cookbook. *-*


ASPARAGUS CASSEROLE
(From The Better Baker)

1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
4 Tb. butter or margarine, melted
2 (15 ozs) cans asparagus spears, drained
(or about 2 cups fresh cooked - el dente)
{I always cut the spears into pieces for easier serving}
1 (8 ozs) can sliced water chestnuts, optional
2 - 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
(I prefer more)
1/2 c. evaporated (or 2%) milk
1 (10 ozs) can cream of mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9" square baking dish.  In small bowl, mix cracker crumbs with butter; place half in bottom of dish. Layer asparagus, water chestnuts and chopped eggs on top of crumbs. In small bowl, mix milk and soup; pour over top.  Sprinkle remaining cracker crumbs on top.  Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly.

YUMMY! YUMMY! YUMMY!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Makeover Strawberry Rhubarb Crunch

   
       
This is another great recipe I just had to have in my cookbook.

Rhubarb and strawberries make the perfect combo of tart and sweet. MMMM!

It's called a 'makeover' because it has been made healthier by using lower-fat/sugar-free products.

We enjoyed much rhubarb when I was a kid.  I sometimes think it's something you have to grow up with to like, because it can be disliked by those who haven't ventured to try it in their childhood.

I keep rhubarb in my freezer during the year so I can make dishes like this anytime.

One of my daughter-in-loves loves to eat it raw, and the more sour it is, the better she likes it.  Hmm....to each his (or her) own, right? 

Do hope you'll try this and enjoy it as much as we do.

'Tis the season....



MAKEOVER STRAWBERRY RHUBARB CRUNCH
(From The Better Baker)

1/2 c. sugar
2 Tb. cornstarch
2-1/2 c. sliced fresh strawberries
(I often use frozen since they're going to be cooked anyway)
2 c. diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tb. sugar free strawberry jello, dry
2/3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
1/4 c. brown sugar blend (Splenda)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. cold butter
reduced-fat whipped topping or reduced-fat strawberry  or vanilla ice cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8" square baking dish with cooking spray. In a large saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in strawberries and rhubarb until blended. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 - 2 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat; add vanilla and stir in jello until dissolved.  In small bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar blend and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle over fruit mixture. Bake 25 - 30 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Serve with whipped topping or ice cream if desired.  Yield: 6 servings

One serving without topping = 210 calories, 6 gr. fat (4 saturated), 45 mg sodium, 37 carb, 2 fiber, 2 protein

Linked to Made it on Monday
               Mix it up Monday
Gooseberry Patch Roundup
Ingredient Spotlight - Strawberries

Friday, May 20, 2011

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew from Once-A-Month Cooking

This is an interesting recipe from this terrific book that I won a few months ago at a giveaway at Jane Doiron's....Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms.



This cookbook is authored by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg.  I'm honored that Mary Beth signed the book for me.


When I spent time at my daughter's a while back, this dish was something I was able to whip up in just a few minutes, to put in her freezer for them to eat later.

It's truly an amazing concept!

Place the ingredients in a ziploc freezer bag, then toss into the freezer until you're ready to thaw, then cook it in a crockpot.

(Deb said they really enjoyed this meal.  She added a little more worchestershire and thickened the gravy.  She also said it was ready after 6 hrs. in the crockpot.)

Here's what you do....

MAKE AHEAD OLD-FASHIONED BEEF STEW

1 lb. beef stew meat
3 cups (24 ozs) V8 juice
1 cup (8 ozs) beef broth
1/2 sliced onion
1 tsp. worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 cup (8 ozs) frozen green beans
1 cup (8 ozs) frozen whole kernel corn
1 cup chopped carrots
(To save time and work, we opted to use a bag of frozen stew vegetables instead=)

Pour all the ingredients, with vegetables still frozen, but broken apart as much as possible, into a 10-cup freezer container (gallon ziploc freezer bag works fine).

To serve, thaw.  Pour into a slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

(My thinking is that if you are not using fresh veggies, you may not have to cook it as long)?

SUMMARY OF PROCESSES: Slice 1/2 onion; chop 1 cup carrots

Serves 8

(The authors suggest you always use fresh meat before freezing...refreezing meat that has once been frozen, is not a good idea)

If you want to thicken sauce, mix some cornstarch with water then stir into stew before serving.

Some of the other recipes in this cookbook that sound wonderful...
~Sweet and Sour Chicken
~Apricot-Glazed Pork Roast
~Egg Bake
~Melt-in-Your-Mouth Chicken Pie
~Smothered Burritos

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cherry Chocolate Cake


I saw this picture recently and had to share the grins....

It's so appropriate for today's recipe....*-*



I like this cake...a lot!

It's easy to mix up and the flavor combination is great!

The last time I made it, I crumbled it up and made a trifle - layering instant white chocolate pudding, whipped topping, and cake.  It was fabulous!

(Sorry - I didn't think about taking a picture of that!)

You can sugar it 'down' by using a reduced-sugar cake mix and no-sugar added cherry pie filling.

It's delicious and moist - I hope you'll give it a try!


Just so you are aware, I decreased the frosting ingredients because it made too much for us.


If you want to cut even more sugar, just pour instant chocolate pudding over the top...using less milk than the box calls for.


CHERRY CHOCOLATE CAKE
(From The Better Baker)

1 18 ozs. pkg. chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1 20 - ozs. can cherry pie filling

FROSTING:
1 c. white sugar (I used 3/4 c.)
5 Tb. butter (used 4 Tb.)
1/3 c. milk (used 1/4 c.)
1 c. chocolate chips  (used 3/4 c.)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 9" X 13" baking dish. In large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs and pie filling.  Mix until well blended and pour into prepared pan.  Bake 30-35 minutes. Frost when cool.

To make frosting: In small saucepan, combine sugar, butter and milk; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cool 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and stir until melted and smooth.  Pour over cake.





Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Homemade Window Washing Recipes

It's springtime and don't we love looking out clean windows?  I sure do.  Thought this was good info to share with you now....

This is one of those valuable ‘Hints from Heloise’ that has been passed down from generation to generation. It not only works great, but is money-saving as well.

Photo credit: NYC library



HOMEMADE WINDOW WASHING RECIPE

Mix 1/2 cup nonsudsing ammonia with 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol and 1 tsp. dishwashing liquid with enough water to make 1 gallon of cleaner. Put in a clearly marked spray bottle. Drying with crumpled-up newspaper will give you a streak-free window too.


I also saw this recipe in my good blogging friend Lark's cookbook, so I'm sharing it also.  Maybe you have these ingredients on hand instead...

OUTDOOR WINDOW CLEANER

1/2 gal. warm water
2 - 3 Tb. (liquid) laundry or dishwasher detergent
1 Tb. liquid Jet Dry or other dishwasher wetting agent

Mix ingredients. Brush or sponge on window.  Immediately hose off.  Water will sheet off. No drying necessary. (sounds like my kind of work!)

CAUTION:  Be sure windows are tightly closed!  :-}

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Parfait recipes from Cooking with Libby & Hungry Girl too!

I've been seeing recipes all over the net for yogurt parfaits. 

Delicious & healthy!

I love them and get one every time we go to the 'Golden Arches' with the grandkids!

Check out Cooking with Libby's Yogurt Brunch Parfait recipe.  MMM! 

(Libby will be doing a guest post for me soon while I'm gone on vacation soon!  I'm sooo excited about it!)

Beautiful!! Easy!

I love fresh strawberries too.

Isn't her picture just mouth-watering???



Regular Ingredients:

1/3 cup apricot preserves

1 and 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

2 cups yogurt of any kind

1/2 cup granola


Low Fat Ingredients:

1/3 cup honey

1 and 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

2 cups plain yogurt

1/2 cup low-fat granola

Directions:


1. Place the apricot preserves in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until it starts to bubble up.

2. Mix the warm preserves with the sliced strawberries and stir until well combined.

3. Layer a glass bowl or parfait cup, starting with half of the strawberries, then half the yogurt, then half the granola. If using honey, place some of the honey on top of the strawberries before the yogurt.

4. Keep layering until you run out of ingredients.


5. Top with an extra spoonful of granola and serve immediately.

***Recipe Tip: You don't have to just stick with strawberries, you can use bananas, raspberries, blueberries, or any other combination of fruit you desire.***



Take a look at these mouth-watering parfaits from Hungry Girl... (link to recipes below)
 

Peaches 'n Cream Oatmeal


Magical Maui Oatmeal


(with WW points plus figured)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Davey Boy's Cheesey Garlic Chicken Breasts

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVEY!

Today is my 'baby's' birthday - he's 33!

(Now don't be saying how that makes me old, OK?)


This picture was taken last year on his birthday. We have so few of the 2 of us together, that I'm thrilled to be able to share this one with you today.

I'm very proud of him.  He served 9 years in the navy as a corpsman and served 2 tours overseas on the USS Bataan.

He's the proud daddy of 3 great kids (Charlie, Chloe & Caden) and a sweet husband to my daughter-in-love, Lyn!

Growing up, he filled our home with laughter.  If only those walls could talk...what stories they would tell!

When I was putting my cookbook together, I asked him for a recipe and I was SO tickled when he gave me this one....that he created himself! And he gave me this name for it too.

The 'note' under his recipe in my book reads..."Our son Dave always enjoyed being in the kitchen with me when he was growing up.  I can't count the times he's called to ask me about a recipe since he left home.  I am honored to add this delicious dish that he has created.  His dad and I have lovingly called him Davey Boy, so I was delighted when he gave me this title for his recipe also".

SA-WEEETT!!

This next picture is from one of my older cookbooks (& the bottom part of the picture of Dave's recipe in my own cookbook).  When Dave was not quite 4, he was sitting on the counter while I made that granola recipe, and he printed his name at the top of that page.  His sister has marked this cookbook to be his when I'm no longer in need of it. *-*

That 'signature' is absolutely priceless!
Below is Dave's 4 yr. old picture - toooo sweet!
(melts my heart just to look at it again)

 A copy of this picture hangs on the wall in our bedroom...along with pictures of his sister and brother when they were about this age.

This is a delicious dish created by my youngest and I do hope you'll give it a try!


DAVEY BOY'S CHEESEY GARLIC CHICKEN BREASTS

4 - 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (12 ozs) box garlic and cheese croutons
(get the best brand)
1 (16 ozs) tub sour cream
1 (8 ozs) pkg. mozzarella or monterey jack cheese
toothpicks or cooking twine, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9" X 13" baking dish. Crush croutons into medium to med-fine consistency; pour into bowl and set aside. 

Place sour cream in large bowl and set aside.

Slice cheese into 1/4" slices so that they are slightly larger than the size of a pat of butter.

Trim fat from chicken and make a slice down thickest partion of the breast, without going through to the other side.

Insert 1 - 2 slices of cheese into chicken. To keep chicken in place, if desired, use toothpicks or twine.

Roll chicken in sour cream, then in crushed croutons.
(I like to add a little grated parmesan to croutons also)

Place in prepared dish sliced side up.  Once all chicken has been rolled and placed in the dish, mix remaining croutons and sour cream together and sprinkle over chicken.

Cover; bake 40 minutes, then uncover and bake 20 minutes more. 

Time will vary depending on number of breasts and heating elements.

(He's pretty darn good, wouldn't you say??? I WOULD SAY!=)

The gift of David Benjamin Baker 33 years ago today is one of the very best I've ever received.


How thankful I am God chose me to be his mom!





Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cinnamon Chip Cookies

{This was posted late on Friday, so I'm reposting...}


PSSSSTT!!  I'm guest posting (my very first time!) at Mandy's Recipe Box this Saturday, May 14th.  I'd be honored if you'd stop by....





I tried this recipe recently for the first time and fell in love with these delicious treats.

I don't remember ever making cookies that baked this thick and still tasted wonderful, and not dry.

I found the recipe at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker and followed the directions to a tee.

And I'm sooo glad I did - in my opinion, these are the perfect cookie.

They're thick & crispy on the outside...soft in the center.

With a wonderful cinnamon flavor...


MMMMM!!!




CINNAMON CHIP COOKIES
(From The Better Baker & Frugal Antics)

1 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups ground oatmeal (place in blender until pulverized)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 bag of cinnamon chips (found in choco chip aisle...sometimes only seasonally)
1/2 c. sugar
1 Tb. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. In large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and stir in until blended.  Add the cinnamon chips.  In a shallow bowl, combine the 1/2 c. sugar and 1 Tb. cinnamon. Drop tablespoonsful of dough (use small scoop if desired or just roll into balls) and roll in sugar/cinnamon mixture.  (I think they'd be plenty tasty omitting this step). Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes.  Let rest 1 minute before removing to rack to cool.

Yield: about 5 dozen nice-sized cookies

Linked to Totally Tasty Tuesday
              Sweets for a Saturday
                  Recipe of the Week

Friday, May 13, 2011

Have you seen it yet?




Hello Blogging  Buddies -

Just in case you haven't seen this new page yet, please check it out.  I am on an adventure of a lifetime - with 4 other new blogging foodies (& sweeties too!) and would love for you to 'like' us.

More info to follow soon....we 'launch' on May 30th.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Country-Cooks-Across-America/153335841399663

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mini Brownie Treats & Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Welcome to Bake Sale Week here at the Better Baker!!

This is what my counter looked like when I was preparing for our last bake sale!


I'm on a Relay for Life team again this year, "The Baker's Dozen" in honor of our precious 5-yr old grandson Caden, and we are having a bake/garage sale this weekend to raise funds to help fight cancer. (leukemia in Caden's case)

Our precious little redheaded guy

(He's been bald twice during his treatments, so that hair is our delight! My hubby is a redhead too, and Caden looks so much like Papa!)

So I thought I would share pictures and recipes for some of the treats I've been making.

These are both great kid-friendly recipes to make any time of the year!




How much easier could it get?  Only TWO ingredients? 

BOTH recipes!!

These make nice treats for school lunches.

I'm sposin' they could be called a candy as well as a cookie...


MINI BROWNIE TREATS 
(on left side of picture above)

1 package (9" X 13" pan size) fudge brownie mix
48 striped chocolate kisses, unwrapped

 
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for fudge-like brownies. Fill paper-lined miniature muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 18 - 21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool about 30 seconds, then top each with a chocolate kiss. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 4 dozen yummy little treats


CHOCOLATE-PEANUT BUTTER CUP COOKIES

1 (15 ozs) roll refrigerated ready-to-slice peanut butter cookie dough
(Chocolate chip is great too!)
48 miniature peanut butter cup candies

Preheat oven to 350. Slice cookie dough into 3/4-inch slices.  Cut each slice into quarters.  Place each quarter into ungreased mini muffin pans.  Bake 8 - 10 minutes (dough will rise during baking). Remove from oven and immediately press an unwrapped peanut butter cup gently and evenly into cookie (right side up).  Cool before removing from pan.  Refrigerate until firm.  Yield: 4 dozen cookies.


Stay tuned for more sweet treats later in the week!  
           Sweet Indulgences Sunday

Friday, May 6, 2011

Easy Microwave Cauliflower and Cheese

Did you see my blog post from yesterday? 

If so, did you wonder "What was that orange stuff?" on the plate with the quesadillas?

I'm here to tell you today....

I don't eat enough vegetables, but...

I'm Crazy for Cauliflower, especially with Cheese.

I don't enjoy cleaning it...raw...cutting off the dark parts...breaking/cutting  it into pieces - and having it fly all over the place!

Nevertheless, I know it's good for me.

But give me a head of cauliflower and most likely this will be the way I want to fix it.

It's so easy and delicious!



Add a little water to the baking dish - cover with plastic wrap (or waxed paper) and zap until tender....then top with a mayo/onion/mustard combo...and cheese....

YUUUUUMM!!!

This is how I cut it into servings...

Just dish it up into servings - one big piece at a time.

I've had this recipe for many years and can't begin to remember where I got it, but do hope you'll give it a try.

MICROWAVE CAULIFLOWER & CHEESE

1 med. head of cauliflower
2 Tb. water
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1 Tb. onions, finely chopped
1 tsp. brown mustard
1/2 - 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Clean and core cauliflower.  Leave whole; place in 1-1/2 qt. microwavable casserole dish with water; cover with plastic wrap (or waxed paper if you avoid using plastic in the M/W). Cook at full power for about 10 - 12 minutes, until tender-crisp. (Be careful when removing plastic wrap so the steam doesn't burn you),
In small bowl, combine mayonniase, onions, and mustard. Spoon mixture over top of cauliflower; sprinkle with cheese; cook full power for 1-1/2 - 2 minutes; uncovered.  Let stand 2 minutes before serving.

{Be sure to check in between cooking times, because of difference in microwaves}

Yield: 4 - 5 servings
What a great way to dress up our friend the cauliflower!! 

Linked to Gooseberry Patch Roundup - Cheese

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Chicken Quesadillas

I don't always celebrate this special holiday, but I'm always ready to
celebrate my favorite ethnic food - Mexican!  OLE!

I did take a couple of years of Spanish in high school.

You know how easily we lose things when we don't use them, right?...so I really don't remember much.

But I don't have to speak Spanish in order to enjoy eating it, right?

Hubby and I enjoy Chicken Quesadillas often and anytime I share this recipe, it seems it becomes a favorite for others as well.

OK - so here's another cream cheese recipe!

If you haven't figured it out already, cream cheese is my favorite product...so put that in my favorite ethnic food and I'm ready for a party...and probably a siesta after that.  *-*

If you don't care for cream cheese, I feel sorry for you...

I just can't help myself.  I loooove the creaminess and taste!

I use it in sooo many recipes.

This is definitely a very favorite dish!

Since I first tried this amazingly simple recipe, I've not looked back, and we just keep enjoying them every time I make them.

There aren't very many repeated dishes in my kitchen, but this is definitely one that is.



These are really very easy to put together...

I mix - by hand - equal parts of cream cheese and salsa.

After I cook the chicken and dice it, I add the chicken to the cc/salsa mixture, then place the ingredients inside a tortilla (we like whole wheat), add grated cheese and onions and some black beans if you want...

then use my foreman grill to cook them quickly.


OH YUM!!!  Or should I say...MUY BIEN!! 

Here's a basic recipe to try...add more cream cheese or salsa to your liking.

Quick & Easy CHICKEN QUESADILLAS
(From The Better Baker)

1 8 ozs. pkg. cream cheese, softened
3/4 - 1 c. salsa
3 c. cooked chicken, chopped
1 - 2 c. (mexican) shredded cheese (I used 2%)
1/2 med. onion, chopped
soft flour tortillas
black beans, sliced black olives, optional

Mix cream cheese and salsa until blended. Stir in chicken by hand.  To prepare quesadillas, spread chicken mixture over half of the tortilla, sprinkling with cheese and onion. Fold tortilla in half; heat until cheese is melted; serve with sour cream, if desired, and enjoy. Sprinkle beans or olives over cheese before heating.

I do love to use my foreman grill for ease in this recipe, but the tortillas can also be heated on both sides in a skillet.

Thought I'd also share this link for ideas for easy cheese & veggie quesadillas...