Friday, November 30, 2012

Hot Cinnamon Milk Mix & Weekend Potluck #44



Where I share something worth sharing...again 

This yummy mix makes a great gift for the holidays. I love it because it has no caffeine and I can enjoy it in the evenings.  And it's only FOUR simple ingredients! It tastes similar to eggnog without the eggs.  E-Z &  De-LISH! 

(click on link below) 

The recipe with the most clicks was ~

Crock Pot Caramel Pie
Crock Pot Caramel Pie by Meet Penny

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Pumpkin Biscuits
Pumpkin Biscuits by Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms
Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms by Comfy Cuisine

And, a personal favorite ~

Ham & Cheese Sliders by Stella B's Kitchen

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Your hostesses ~
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Overnight French Toast


This is such an easy and irresistible dish! 

I fixed it for our  family's Thanksgiving brunch. We normally get together the Saturday after the holiday. 

After seeing this at my buddy Kay's Cooking with K blog, I knew I had to try it. 

Having something that you can make ahead and just pull out of the fridge and bake in the morning is right up my alley. 

This has a brown sugar base and the texture of the Texas toast is creamy and so delicious. 

If you check out Kay's post, she shares a warm honey syrup recipe too, but I didn't make that.  Too many of us with 'sugar' problems. Most used the sugar free syrup I set out, but I didn't use anything more to top it. I even used part Splenda Brown Sugar Blend in the base and no one ever guessed it didn't have as much  'real' stuff in it!

The photo was taken when I finally got in line and this is all that was left!
My daughter said "Mom, next time you need to make TWO dishes of that yummy french toast!" 

This would make a fabulous overnight dish for any upcoming holiday feast. 


12 slices Texas Toast
1/2 c. butter
1/2 - 3/4 c. brown sugar 
(I used brown sugar splenda to equal heaping 1/2 c.) 
6 eggs
(I used 5 eggs and 2 egg whites) 
1-1/2 c. milk, divided 
(I used 1%)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 - 1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. sugar, divided
(I used half splenda) 
1/2 c. powdered sugar (optional)

In 9" X 13" oblong baking dish, melt butter in oven or microwave. After butter is melted, mix brown sugar until blended.  Smooth out the brown sugar in the bottom of the dish. Lay 6 slices of Texas Toast on top and set aside.

In 2 c. measuring cup, add 3/4 c. milk and beat 3 eggs, vanilla and 1/4 c. sugar until blended well. Pour over the bread layer. Place 6 more slices of Texas Toast on top. In same 2 c. measuring cup, add 1 c. milk and beat in 3 eggs, cinnamon & 
1/4 c. sugar until eggs are incorporated.  Pour over layer of bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350. Uncover and bake for 45 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut each slice in half and serve with powdered sugar, jam or maple syrup. 

(I'm thinking next time I might even tuck a few fresh raspberries or blueberries between the layers!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

PB & J Bars

My dear daughter Deb (say that fast 5 times=) introduced me to this recipe after a friend made it for her.  Deb ranted & raved and so I was so happy to get a copy so I could make them myself.

A great lunch treat or after school snack. 

I love anything with peanut butter and am always pleased to know the family is getting some protein in this sweet treat. 


1 c. butter, softened
1-1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 lg. eggs
2 c. (18 ozs) creamy peanut butter
3 c.flour (I use half in white whole wheat)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1-1/2 c. (18 ozs) favorite jam
chopped peanuts, optional

Grease 9"X13" pan and line with waxed paper. Grease and flour pan. Cream butter and sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes. On low speed add vanilla, eggs and peanut butter; beat until well combined. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. On low speed add to creamed mixture just until combined. Spread 2/3 of dough into pan evenly. Spread jam over dough. Drop remaining dough on top and press lightly. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts if desired. Bake 30 - 40 minutes until golden brown.(Be careful not to overbake or they will be too dry).

Linked to Creative ThursdayWeekend PotluckIngredient Spotlight: PB & J

Leader Enterprise - Nov. 21, 2012 - Squash

Squash is one of my favorite foods in the fall & winter months. I love cooking it up and storing it in the freezer so it's handy for my favorite dishes. I found this nutritional information about squash varieties at

Golden butternut, green-skinned acorn and orange-amber squash are all considered winter squash.You can enjoy not only the edible flesh of winter squash, but also their seeds and blossoms.

Winter squash refers to gourds with thick rinds and a central hollow filled with seeds. These gourds take longer to mature than summer squash, such as zucchini, and can be stored throughout a harsh winter, according to the What’s Cooking America website. Butternut squash is the most popular type in the United States. These tan, bell-shaped vegetables have firm orange flesh. Mature butternuts weigh in at 4 to 5 lbs. Most winter squash has a similar nutritional make-up and contain high levels of vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and dietary fiber.
Winter squash is relatively low in calories. One cup of baked,cubed butternut squash, for example, contains 82 calories. It also has 2 g of protein, 22 g of carbohydrate, 4 g of total sugars, 7 g of fiber and a negligible amount of fat. Winter squash also contains a high amount of dietary fiber, also called roughage or bulk. You need sufficient fiber in your diet in order to insure colon health.

Winter squash is a good source of potassium, one of the minerals you need each day. One cup of cooked butternut squash cubes contains 600 mg of potassium. The daily average requirement for an adult is 4,700 mg. Winter squash also contains other essential minerals, such as iron, calcium, zinc and selenium.

To easily cook squash, poke a few holes in it (whole); cook in the microwave on a plate for about 15-18 minutes, depending on size. Allow to stand about 10 minutes, cut open and cool; remove seeds. Flesh comes right off the skin and you don't have to peel it.

Here are some delicious recipes using these wonderful gourds. I may have shared some these before, but some recipes are just worth sharing again.

4 lg. baking potatoes
3 c. cooked butternut squash 
4 ozs. spreadable garden vegetable cream cheese
3 Tb. butter or Smart Balance Spread
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Scrub and pierce potatoes. Bake at 375 for 50-55 minutes or until tender. Cool potatoes for 10 minutes; cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp leaving thin shells. In large bowl, combine potatoes and squash; mash until smooth. Add cream cheese, butter, salt and pepper; mix until creamy. Pipe or spoon into potato skins. Bake, uncovered at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. 

1 c. butternut squash puree
2 eggs
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. applesauce
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1-3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cardamom or pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour one 8" X4" X2"loaf pan. In large bowl, mix together the squash puree, eggs, oil, applesauce and sugars until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour,  baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom (or pumpkin pie spice). Stir the dry ingredients into the squash mixture. Combine just until incorporated; do not overmix.  Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Add any 'extras' you'd like--dark, semi sweet, or white chocolate chips, nuts, craisins, etc.Enjoy surprising your family and guests with a'hidden' ingredient!

2 whole acorn squash
kosher salt to taste
4 Tb. butter
2 Tb. brown sugar
4 Tb. dried cranberries,optional
pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400. Halve each squash; scrape out seeds and stringy membranes. Place halves,flesh side up, on baking sheet and sprinkle each with salt. Add Tb. butter in center of each squash; then sprinkle each with 1/2 tsp.brown sugar. Divide cranberries evenly, then drizzle with maple syrup. Pour 2 c. water in bottom of baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 30-45 minutes or until squash is cooked through and brown.

And for those of you who may not care for squash, how about satisfying that sweet tooth with an easy fudge recipe? This has been 'hot' on the internet since I recently posted it at my blog. It's simple and is made in the microwave. It has a few crushed nutter butter cookies in it. Makes a great holiday gift too. 

1 container mini-Nutterbutter cookies (or about 8 - 10 large), crushed
1/2 c. peanut butter
1-11 ozs. bag Reese's Peanut Butter Chips
(use name brand for fullest flavor)
1-14 ozs. can sweetened condensed milk

Line an 8" X 8"pan with foil; spray with cooking spray or use nonstick foil. In a microwavable bowl, melt the peanut butter, chips and sweetened condensed milk together. After 45 seconds on high, I stirred and stirred until it was all nearly melted, then zapped it for another 15 seconds. (Be careful not to just want everything melted together.) Fold in cookie crumbs. Spread evenly in pan and refrigerate to harden. 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Lightened" Ham & Swiss Rollups

This is a very simple recipe to make as an appetizer or even as an entree. These tender 'pockets' of YUM are perfect for on the go eating. 

I normally have all these ingredients on hand, and when I found the recipe in a magazine (Quick Cooking) and had Laughing Cow reduced-fat swiss cheese spread on hand, I decided to use that instead of the regular cheese. 

I also used reduced-fat crescent rolls, but hubby never guessed.  I am confident I would serve these to guests and they wouldn't have a clue they were eating a 'lightnened' recipe. 

Just 5 ingredients - a little bit of time making and then baking, and you're set to to speak.  (teehee)

Use your favorite meat and cheese to make them your own!


1 - 8 ozs tube (reduced-fat) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 c. diced fully cooked ham
(or 99% fat free deli slices)
3/4 c. finely shredded swiss cheese
(or 4 wedges Laughing Cow swiss cheese spread)
1-1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. finely chopped onion

Preheat oven to 375*. 

Separate crescent rolls into 8 triangles. In a small bowl, combine ham, cheese, mustard and onion; place 2 Tb. mixture in center of each triangle. 

(If using deli slices and cheese spread, I did each one separately..
then added mustard and onion to each roll)

Fold points toward center and pinch edges to seal. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake 11 - 13 minutes or until lightly browned.

Yield: 4 servings (2 rolls each) 

Linked to Creative Thursday
Gooseberry Patch Roundup - Lightened up
Weekend Potluck

Monday, November 26, 2012

Special Delivery Chicken

This is a delicious, creamy and easy recipe given to me years ago by a dear friend. 

With only a few simple ingredients, it goes together quickly, and your family is sure to enjoy it. 

As in most chicken recipes, this would be scrumptious using turkey as well. 

Enjoy this simple entree. It can be made a day ahead, and baked later.


2 c. (16 ozs) (lite, but not fat free) sour cream 
(I think using 1-1/2 c. would be plenty)
1 can (10-3/4 ozs) cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 Tb. poppy seeds
3-1/2 c. cubed cooked chicken or turkey
1-3/4 c. ritz cracker crumbs (about 36)
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9" X 13" baking dish. 

In large bowl, combine sour cream, soup and poppy seeds.  Stir in chicken. Pour into prepared pan.  In small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and butter; sprinkle over top. Bake, uncovered, for 25 - 30 minutes or until heated through.

TIP: If making ahead, refrigerate prepared dish and add cracker crumb topping just before baking. 

Linked to Weekend Potluck
Foodie Friends Friday
Meal Plan Monday

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I've had to choose ANOTHER winner!

I REALLY REALLY love giveaways...

Both, the giving end...and the receiving end too.

But I always feel bad when the 'first' chosen winner isn't heard from to confirm a mailing address.  

That's what happened this time.  I even gave the winner several more days because of the holiday weekend, but since I haven't heard, I've decided to draw a new name. 


#38 - Anita Stafford said...
I like you on FB!

Hurray for you Anita! 

Please send me your mailing address and I'll get this great book out to you right away. 

Thanks again to all who took time to enter!

Tasty Chicken (or Turkey) Barley Soup

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving week.  Ours was fabulous! We truly enjoyed an awesome time together with our kids and grandkids for brunch on Sat. and with friends of our hearts on Thursday. I had a heap of other sweet blessings during the week too. 

(No doubt, God knows I needed a boost as my precious hubby of almost 45 years is having a heart cath this week...after a stress test last week, drs. saw 2 areas of moderate to severe damage...we are trusting our Heavenly Father for each of our tomorrows, but do covet your prayers for Ron). 
Onto the recipe...

This is a wonderful soup to use up your leftover turkey (instead of chicken.) 

We were both so glad I tried this recipe from Nancy at Skinny Kitchen. I make lots of her recipes and appreciate that she's done the work of not only making the recipes healthier, but she figures calories & Weight Watchers points...very helpful if you're trying to manage those things. 

This soup was not only hearty and delicious but full of vitamins and fiber from all the veggies....garlic, carrots, celery, onions and chopped butternut. My FAVORITE fall veggie, but I had never chopped it to add to soup before.  YUUUMMM!!

(Tip: poke holes into the whole squash and microwave for about 3 minutes. It will soften the skin so you should be able to peel it with a potato peeler.
I cut it in half {crosswise} before peeling). 


1 (48 ounce) container Swanson’s reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (32-oz) container Swanson’s reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dried pearl barley
(I used quick)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1½ cups carrots, sliced
1½ cups celery, sliced
1½ cups onions, chopped
1 (12 oz) bag peeled and chopped butternut squash or 2 ½ cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped, 
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried sage
(I used a 'tuscany' store-purchased broth with added rosemary, thyme & basil,
so I skipped adding any more spices) 
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. cooked turkey breasts or chicken, cubed

 In a large pot, add the chicken broth and barley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, in a nonstick pan add the olive oil, garlic, carrots, celery, onions, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the sautéed vegetables to the broth. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes
 Add the butternut squash, thyme, sage and fresh ground pepper. Continue to cook uncovered for 25 minutes. Add the cooked turkey and stir with a rubber spatula so the squash doesn’t get mushy. Cook for 5 minutes more.

This soup freezes great. 

Yield:  12 cups

From Skinny Kitchen Website:

Weight Watchers (old points) 2

Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 3
SKINNY FACTS: for 1 cup
142 calories, 1g fat, 13g protein, 22g carbs, 5g fiber, 503mg sodium, 2g sugar
FAT FACTS: the skinny and fat facts are mostly the same except for the sodium content
145 calories, 2g fat, 13g  protein, 22g carbs, 5g fiber, 745mg sodium, 2g sugar

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Amazing Chicken Squares & Happy Thanksgiving from the Weekend Potluck Gals


Hope you enjoy a fabulous time enjoying family, friends, food and fellowship!
We truly have soo much to be thankful for, and wanted to tell you all
how grateful we are that you come to our table to share your delicious

We've decided to take a break from Weekend Potluck this busy weekend, but sure would love for you to check out last week's party posts.  SO many wonderful dishes linked up there. 

Please be sure to come back next Friday! 

I am truly! thankful for each of you who come to my blog to see what I've been cookin!  You make a real difference in my life and I don't take that for granted. 

I will share a FF recipe with you...just cause I have so many great ones I'd like to share...again

This one is for one of my all time favorite chicken dishes, but of course, you could use leftover turkey as well.  Cream cheese and a little cream of chicken soup mixed with chicken or turkey, wrapped in a crescent roll.  What's not to love?  

(click link below)
Amazing Chicken Squares

See ya next Friday!!!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fritos Corn Salad {A Favorite Side Dish}

Looking for a quick side dish to add to your Thanksgiving meal?  I've got just what you're looking for!

This is a recipe I've been wanting to try since my sweet sis-in-love, Heidi, made it for a family gathering. 

This is one of those recipes I like to call EASY PEASY!

I love corn, but unfortunately (or fortunately - for me!) my hubby doesn't care for Fritos.

I've had a bag of them in the pantry since I enjoyed them with  my quick corny chili, and couldn't resist grabbing two cans of the Mexicorn recently so I could finally make this. 

This is QUICK & EASY & Fantastic!!

The most time consuming part is chopping the onions, so if you do like I did...and chop them ahead of time, this can be made in a matter of minutes. 

A great side dish for any meal!! 

There's no wrong or right amounts to making's all up to our own taste preferences. 

And if you can't find the Mexicorn, just chop some red peppers and mix with canned corn. It's easy enough to tackle from any direction!

I've seen Heidi use an industrial size can of corn, add chopped peppers and onions to it and then mayo to taste. So it can easily be made for a crowd. 


2 cans (11 ozs each) corn and peppers, drained
(Also called Fiesta Corn...Mexicorn or Southwest Corn)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 c. grated cheese, optional
1/2 c. mayo
2 TB. vegetable oil
Fritos Corn Chips, crushed
(regular or chili cheese flavored)

In medium bowl, combine corn, onion & cheese. Add mayo and vegetable oil and toss to coat the vegetables well. Cover and refrigerate for atleast 4 hours, but preferably overnight. (I enjoy it right away myself!) 

Before serving, crush Fritos over top. (as much or as little as you'd like...this is my favorite part so I do add a lot. I'm all about crunch). 

I suggest serving this in a longer dish so everyone can have fritos with their portion. 
Linked to Scrumptious Sunday
    Clever Chicks
           Mop it up Monday
           Weekend Potluck 
      GP Roundup - Picnic
        Foodie Friends Friday 
Meal Plan Monday

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Creamy Butternut Twice-Baked Potatoes (MMM!)

OH YA'LL!!!!!  

I just tried this recipe and can't wait for you to try it too.  I found it in a 
Taste of Home magazine...and we all know how tried & true their recipes are! 

It is so creamy and delicious. Combining butternut squash with potato and garden vegetable cream cheese makes this dish a winner.

I think we all love our potatoes.  My family sure does. 

I'll be honest - I normally go for quick and easy.  This one is easy but it does take a little more time.  I'm sure it could be made up the day before and refrigerated until it's time to bake (heat).  

A great option for any holiday meal don't you think? 

I lightened this by using Smart Balance spread for the butter, and Laughing Cow garden vegetable cream cheese.  I added a little extra cheese even. 

I am still drooling just looking at the photo of this awesome side dish. 

It's such a great way to get more veggies into your family.  VERY tasty for sure!


4 large baking potatoes
3 c. cooked butternut squash 
4 ozs. spreadable garden vegetable cream cheese
(or Laughing Cow)
3 Tb. butter 
(or Smart Balance Spread)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Scrub and pierce potatoes. Bake at 375 for 50 - 55 minutes or until tender. Cool potatoes for 10 minutes; cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp; leaving thin shells. 

In large bowl, combine potatoes and squash; mash until smooth. Add cream cheese, butter, salt and pepper; mix until creamy. Pipe or spoon into potato skins.  Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 10 - 15 minutes or until heated through. 

(To cook my squash, I always poke holes in it (whole) and cook it in the
microwave for about 15 - 18 minutes, depending on size. Allow to stand a few minutes, cut open and cool; remove seeds. Flesh comes right off the skin and you don't have to peel it) 

May be made a day ahead and refrigerated.  Add an extra 10 - 12 minutes when baking if chilled. 

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Linked to 
             Scrumptious Sunday
       Weekend Potluck
  Meal Plan Monday