Saturday, September 15, 2018

Leader Enterprise - September 12, 2018 - Hearty dishes for Fall

There’s a chill in the air, the leaves will soon begin to change, and pumpkins and gourds are starting to show up hither and yon.  Sure signs that fall is 'falling'.  As the world around us cools and changes, the aromas in our kitchens change too. Apple, pumpkin, caramel and spices float through the air.  I love Fall for many reasons, but especially for the hearty soups and stews that make their way to our tables. So I wanted to share some "Comfort food" to help warm and fill your bellies this time of year. 


1 Tb. vegetable oil
1 lb. boneless beef sirloin steak, 3/4" thick, cut into 1" pieces
1 can (10.75 ozs.) tomato soup
1 can (10.75 ozs.) condensed french onion soup 
1 Tb. Worcestershire sauce 
1 bag (24 ozs.) frozen vegetable blend for stew (or 5 c. mixed vegetables) 

In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add beef; cook until well browned, stirring often.  Discard any fat. Stir the soups, (rinsing cans with a little water to add to stew)  Worcestershire and vegetables into the pan and heat to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until beef is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Thicken sauce with a little flour/water mixture if desired. Serve with biscuits for a fine meal. 


2 c. diced raw potatoes
2# sauerkraut, undrained
1# kielbasa, sliced or diced
1/4 c. water
1 can (15 ozs.) northern beans, slightly drained
1 can (15 ozs.) pork and beans, undrained
2 - 3 Tb. brown sugar

In 4 or 5 qt. crockpot, layer potatoes, sauerkraut, kielbasa and water, then beans. Sprinkle brown sugar over all. Cover; cook on high for 3 - 4 hours, or until potatoes are done. Stir a few times during cooking. Serve with cornbread for a filling meal that will delight your family. 


2# lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (28 ozs.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16 ozs.) can chili beans in sauce, undrained
1 (8 ozs.) can zesty tomato sauce
1 c. favorite salsa 
(Or just use 15 ozs. tomato sauce and no salsa)
2 Tb. chili powder
1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt & pepper, each 
(I used chili seasoning packet and eliminated these spices) 

In large skillet, brown beef and onion; drain. In 3 - 4 qt. slow cooker, mix beef, onion and remaining ingredients. Set your slow cooker on low for 6 - 8 hours, or high for 3 - 4. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches for a perfect meal. 


1 lb. ground beef
8 Tb. butter, divided
1-1/2 c. carrots, roughly chopped
1-1/2 c. celery, sliced
1 sm. onion, chopped
fresh parsley, snipped, to taste
basil, to taste, optional
6 c. chicken broth
8 c. peeled and cubed potatoes
1/2 c. flour
salt & pepper, to taste
3 c. milk 
3/4 lb. Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
1 - 16 ozs. container sour cream

In skillet over medium heat, cook ground beef. Drain; set aside. In large stockpot over medium heat, melt 2 TB. butter.  Add carrots, celery, onion, parsley; saute until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add chicken broth and potatoes; reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender.

While they are cooking, make the roux: In saucepan, melt remaining butter over medium heat. Add flour, salt and pepper. Whisk until bubbly and smooth, about a minute.  Slowly add milk, stirring constantly until thickened.  Add velveeta and stir until smooth and melted through. Add to broth and veggies.

Turn heat to low and add beef. Stir in sour cream just before serving. When reheating, be careful not to boil as sour cream will curdle. A marvelous family meal - yields 10 servings.

I'm beginning to learn that it is the sweet simple things of life which are the real ones after all. - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Buffalo Blue Party Platter - Everything Cream Cheese from Becky's Bites!!!!!

I was asked if I'd be willing to share a post to introduce a new NYC shoppe 
that has

This place is right up my taste bud alley!!!!!!!!!!! 

Take it away Becky....

(OOOO - I love this gal's red hair!) 

Becky’s Bites began one hungry evening in a bite-sized kitchen in Manhattan. Craving just a bite of New York Cheesecake and getting hangrier and hangrier, Becky whipped up her first batch of– and now signature– chocolate dipped cream cheese bites.
And they were BETTER than cheesecake!
Locking herself up in her test kitchen, Becky has perfected recipes for all different flavored spreads, snack dips and bites all based with cream cheese. Named a top choice by Insider Food and Food & Wine.

While most of her lineup focuses primarily on sweets, Becky, herself, has a “sweet spot” for savory too! With the start of Football season, Becky is sharing her go to Sunday dip. Simple, no bake and easy to make!

Buffalo Blue Party Platter
  • 1 LB: Cream Cheese (creamy)

  • 1 Cup: Blue Cheese

  • 1.5 Cups: Buffalo Sauce (Frank’s Red Hot)
Pair with your favorite pretzels or crudité (i.e., celery sticks). Our favorite is Pretzel Crisps (Snack Factory)
Prep: 5 Minutes
Cook: 0 Minutes
Ready in: 5 Minutes

  • Mix Buffalo Sauce, Cream Cheese and Blue Cheese well

  • Create platter with Buffalo Blue Dip and your choice of pretzel or crudité

Find other of Becky’s popular cream cheese creations at their existing retail East Village/NYC location, and keep on the look-out for Becky’s Bites as they launch their first commercial cream cheese snackpack!
If you have any friends visiting NYC, be sure to tell them about this delicious new place. 
I'd love it if you'd take the time (1 minute, 39 seconds) to learn more about this lovely inviting shoppe by watching the video below....
NYC Ultimate Cream Cheese Shop

Thanks Becky for sharing with me and my wonderful readers...
I love cream cheese and know the guys in my family will love this treat. 

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Copycat Panera Butternut Squash Soup ("Lightened")

I fall for fall...every single year!

I drug out all my lovely fall decorations the first day of Sept...even though it was
90 outside at the time!  I don't care what the temp is...I love my decorations.

I've been given 2 large patchwork stuffed pumpkins, plus I have a sparkly wreath in the middle of the coffee table with a glittery pumpkin that sits inside.
It all just makes me soo happy! 

Another favorite thing about the cooler temps is starting up with soup making. 
There's just something about soups that just warm you inside and out! 

And when it's offered, I can never resist this amazing soup when we get to visit Panera restaurants. 

So I was thrilled to find a copycat recipe...that was lightened even!
(that's my 'thing' for sure)  This great blog..
Rachel Cooks even shares a video for this recipe.  Pop on over and
watch how she does it.  She has a ton of comments about this wonderful soup too. 

If you want a more robust soup, you can add more cream cheese (Yes,
this has cream cheese!!!), butter and even some whipping cream. 

(I'm soooo in love with cream cheese!  Not afraid to admit it either =) 

We LOVED it just the way it is...and declare it tastes MUCH like 'the real deal'...but it has 'lighter' options, so feel free to add to it if desired....

The apple juice (or cider, your choice) sweetens it up, as do the carrots. 

I used my stick hand held blender right in the pan I cooked everything in to 
make it nice and smooth.  

I drizzled some half and half, then tossed a few roasted sunflower seeds over the top.,,,pretty I think.  Pretty inviting for sure!!!! 

Do hope you'll give this a try soon.  We enjoyed it with a lovely BLT in our own dining room and it was a 5-star meal!  


  • 1 Tb. unrefined coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 small onion, diced (about heaping 1/2 c.)
  • 2 lbs. chopped butternut squash (about 6 heaping c.)
  • 3 sm. carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 - 4 c. vegetable (or chicken) broth
  • 2 c. apple cider or apple juice 
  • (Please be careful to not use apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash or two of nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin puree
  • (or cooked butternut squash)
  • 2 Tb. butter
  • 2 ozs. low-fat (neufchatel) cream cheese
  • 1 Tb. brown sugar, or more to taste
  • salt to taste
  • heavy cream, optional
Yield: 6 - 8 servings

  • In a large pot (Dutch oven), heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, stirring frequently.
  • Add squash, carrots, vegetable broth, apple cider and spices.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until squash and carrots are soft. Remove from heat and add pumpkin puree, butter, cream cheese and brown sugar. Puree with a hand (stick) blender or in batches in a normal blender. Blend until very smooth.
  • Add salt as desired. Add more brown sugar, or even honey, to make it sweeter like Panera's. You can also add a little heavy cream if you want a richer flavor. Add more vegetable broth to thin soup if you prefer. Return to stove over medium-low heat if need be to heat the soup; serve immediately.
(Be careful not to boil...don't want to curdle the cream)


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Friday, September 7, 2018

Flashback Friday - Amazing Apple Recipes


These are some of my most favorite apple recipes...
do hope you'll give one or two a try and enjoy them too! 

Even those who think they don't like butterscotch...have gone wild over this amazing flavor combo. Moist and so flavorful. 

Made with caramel syrup and real butter, these little treasures are layered and 
 beyond scrumptious! 

Absolutely worth your time to make. Once you get all your ingredients set up,
the process doesn't take long.  Such a special fall treat! 

This luscious dessert is company worthy.  There's nothing like warm apple crisp
topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel drizzle! 

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Friday, August 31, 2018

Flashback Friday - Favorite Fall Muffins


So happy to have you joining me here today! 

I've always been crazy about you'll enjoy these. 

I would love to kiss the person who thought of this terrific idea! 
Nutella swirled on top of the muffin before baking makes for a
wonderful 'frosting'....MMMM!

You sure can't go wrong feeding 'veggies' to your family with
this sweet treat!  They'll never know...and you don't have to tell them! 

ZOWIE!  I just drool seeing that layer of cream cheese in the middle!
Such a great combination of flavors...pumpkin & cream cheese.

Oh so delicious with crunchy apples and raisins too, PLUS luscious
chunks of cream cheese - MMMM! 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Leader Enterprise - August 22, 2018 - Suppers and Snacks

With school activities filling the calendar, every home needs easy recipes to turn to.  I love using canned dough to make life easier. Here's a couple of simple recipes to help feed your family on busy days. 

1 lb. lean ground beef
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 small onion, chopped
8 ozs. Velveeta, cut into cubes
1 (13.8 ozs.) tube refrigerated pizza crust 
ketchup & mustard for garnish 

Heat oven to 400.  In large skillet, brown ground beef with bacon and onions until 
cooked; drain.  Return to skillet; add Velveeta; cook on medium high until cheese melts, stirring frequently. Cool 10 minutes. Unroll the pizza dough onto an 8" X 15" cookie sheet; press into rectangle; top with meat mixture.  Roll up, beginning on a long side. Be sure roll is seam side down on the baking sheet. Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 6. 


1 - 8 ozs. can refrigerated crescent rolls
1 lb. (lean) ground beef
1 - 1 oz. package taco seasoning
3 c. Doritos, crushed, divided 
1 c. sour cream
1-1/2 c. shredded Mexican cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Set out crescent rolls..(so they'll spread out easier)
Brown hamburger on the stove with taco seasoning. Cook over medium high heat until the meat is browned.  Drain any grease.
Spread crescent rolls in a pie plate to form a crust, covering the bottom of the dish and going up the sides with the dough. (place roll points in middle and flat edges toward the outside). Place a layer of crushed Doritos as the bottom layer, adding them until the crescent dough is nicely covered (make sure to reserve some for the top layer). Add all of the meat, then layer on sour cream and  cheese. Top with more crushed Doritos. Bake for 20 - 22 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted. Let set for 5 minutes before cutting. Serves 6-8. Reheats best in the oven.


1 c. dry (old-fashioned) or quick oats
1/2 c. ground flax seed
1/2 c. (natural) peanut butter
1/3 c. agave or honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 - 1/2 c. mini m & m candies
1/4 - 1/2 c. carob (or chocolate) chips 

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl (or food processor for a smoother texture) and chill for 30 minutes. (I prefer to mix oats/flax seed in one bowl, then combine peanut butter, honey and vanilla in another, then mix the two together). Roll into balls.  Enjoy. 

These moist make-ahead muffins are great for breakfast or anytime snacking. These little lovelies are freezer friendly, so you can enjoy them any time you choose.  No mixer needed - mix by hand if desired. 


1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temp
2 eggs, room temp
3 bananas, mashed
1/2 tsp. almond (or vanilla or coconut) flavoring
1-2/3 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. pecans, chopped fine
1/4 c. sour cream 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place muffin liners in muffin pan, quickly spraying bottom of liners with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. 

Cream sugars and butter together. Add eggs, bananas, and almond flavoring. Blend until well mixed. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and chopped pecans in a medium bowl. Alternate mixing in the dry ingredients with sour cream into the banana mixture. Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup of the mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Yield: about 1-1/2 dozen

TO FREEZE: Wrap each muffin individually (in the paper liner) with saran wrap, toss into a ziploc freezer bag and take out how many you want - allow to stand on counter until room temperature, or thaw in the fridge overnight. 

"Mistakes are proof that you are trying". - Unknown