Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hot Crab Dip

"This recipe was given to us by one of my hubby's coworkers.  It is so delicious and the best thing about it is that it's made in the slow cooker so it's perfect to make for parties.  Take it along to your next hors d'oeuvre party and be the hit of the bash!"
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup salsa
3-(8 ounce) packages of cream cheese
16 ounces of crab meat
3-4 green onions, sliced
1-(4 ounce) can green chiles, such as Ortega
Combine milk and salsa.  Place everything in a slow cooker.  Cook on low heat for 3-4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes to combine.  Serve with tortilla chips or your favorite dippers.

Feta Chip Dip

"One of my cousins shared this recipe.  It is a very easy, quick and delicious dip that can be served at any gathering.  Try it at your next appetizer party or maybe at the big game!"
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely minced 
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, finely minced
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
4 ounces of Feta cheese, crumbled
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Carefully mix together the avocados, tomatoes, onion and garlic in a bowl.  Add in the oregano and parsley.  Gently stir in the olive oil and vinegar.  Add feta cheese.  Season with salt & pepper, if desired.  Cover the dip and place in the refrigerator to chill for 2-6 hours.  Serve with tortilla chips or your favorite dippers.
*This recipe is easily doubled and believe me you will want to make a lot of it because it's absolutely delicious!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chipotle Chex Mix

"We LOVE Chipotle Chili Powder and we LOVE Chex Mix so we decided to put the two together!  The result is a Smoky and Spicy snack perfect for Munching!!! 

4 Cups Corn Chex Cereal
4 Cups Rice Chex Cereal
2 Cups Mini Pretzels
2 Cups Cheez-Its Crackers
1 Cup Salted Peanuts
1 Cup Salted Cashews
12 Tbsp Butter, melted
5 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke Flavoring
2 Tbsp Seasoned Salt
1 Tbsp Chipotle Chili Powder
2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Onion Powder

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Mix first 6 ingredients in a large roasting pan.  Whisk together melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and powdered seasonings until thoroughly combined.  Pour 1/3 of the butter mixture over the cereal mixture. Mix thoroughly.  Repeat with the remaining butter mixture, 1/3 at a time.  Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 min.  Allow to cool.  Store  in airtight container.

"Ready for munching."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Eggnog Cookies

"My Husband loves, LOves, LOVES Eggnog and these cookies taste just like the classic holiday drink.  They have become one of our favorite Christmas cookies and we love to sprinkle them with fresh grated nutmeg!"

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream together butter and brown sugar.  Add egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, nutmeg and salt and add gradually to butter mixture.  Mix until completely combined.  Form cookie by rolling 1 Tablespoon of dough into a ball.  Flatten the ball and place it onto a non-stick cookie sheet, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Frost with Eggnog Butter-Cream Icing.
Eggnog Butter-Cream Icing:
1 stick or 1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon rum flavoring
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup Coffee-mate Eggnog Latte coffee creamer*
ground nutmeg

Cream together butter and powdered sugar a little at a time until well combined. Add rum flavoring and vanilla extract.  Mix in coffee creamer.  Frost cookies.  Sprinkle with nutmeg.
*If you can't find Eggnog creamer, you may substitute eggnog.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Peanut Butter Chip Brittle

"This is one of my favorite Christmas candy recipes.  I request that my sister make it every year!"
1-(10 ounce) package of peanut butter chips
1 1/2 cups or 3 sticks  of butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
3 Tablespoons water
On a 15x11 jelly roll pan that has been buttered, sprinkle 1 cup of the peanut butter chips.  In a saucepan, melt the butter; stir in sugar, corn syrup and water.  Bring to a boil.  Cook over medium heat until mixture reaches 300 degrees.  Remove from the heat and pour mixture over the peanut butter chips.  Sprinkle remaining chips over the top.  Allow to cool.*  Break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.

*TIP:  After allowing the brittle to cool, you can place the pan into the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.  This will make it easier to break the brittle into pieces.   

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Candy Cane Fudge

"My Sister makes this peppermint fudge every Christmas.  It is so yummy and sooo addictive!  I love it and I'm sure you will too!"

1 (12 ounce) package of white chocolate chips
1 can vanilla frosting
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 drops red food coloring
2 Tablespoons of crushed peppermint candy canes (I used 2 regular sized candy canes.)*
Place white chocolate chips in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir until completely melted.  Add frosting and stir to combine.  Remove pan from the heat and add extract.  Pour into an 8x8 pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Squeeze one drop of food coloring into each corner of the pan.  With a butter knife, swirl food coloring into white chocolate mixture.  Sprinkle crushed candy canes over fudge.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill until fudge has hardened.  Cut into 1 inch squares.  
*TIP:  You can crush candy canes by placing them in a large plastic storage bag and using a hammer, mallet or even a rolling pin crush them into the desired size.   

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies or PBC's (for short)

"My husband created these wonderful cookies one weekend when we were craving something sweet and boy did they hit the spot!  Chocolate and peanut butter have been, and will always be, a perfect combination!"

2-1/4 cups flour*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar*
3/4 cup brown sugar*  
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1-(11.5 ounce) bag of milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix together flour, baking soda and salt.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars.  Add vanilla extract.  Mix in eggs until thoroughly combined.  Add dry ingredients, 1/4 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.  Spoon about 2 Tablespoons of cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet and using a fork, flatten each cookie by making a criss-cross configuration by pressing down with the fork one direction and then the other direction.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-12 minutes.

*For High Altitude:  Increase flour to 2-1/2 cups, plus 2 teaspoons of water.  Also increase sugars to 2/3 cup each.            

"We love to bake on a Silpat or silicone baking sheet.  The cookies never stick." 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

"The name says it all.  These nuts are a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy and a whole lot of yummy!  They would be a wonderful snack food while watching the game, a perfect appetizer at your next party or a sweet Christmas gift."
1 egg white
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups salted mixed nuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together egg white, sugar and spices with a fork.  With a wooden spoon, toss together egg mixture and nuts.  Spread on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Stir and continue baking for 5 minutes.  Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Macaroni & Cheese

"I tasted this macaroni and cheese recipe for the first time recently when my niece made it for our family.  It's extra cheesy and creamy and combines five, yes five, kinds of cheese.  What a yummy comfort food dish!"


1-(16 ounce) package of elbow macaroni
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 cups shredded Pepper jack cheese
1-(16 ounce) container of cottage cheese
1-(8 ounce) container of sour cream
1-(8 ounce) package of cream cheese
2 cups Sharp Cheddar cheese

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare macaroni according to package directions.  Drain noodles and set aside.  Combine Mozzarella and Pepper jack cheeses, cottage cheese, sour cream and desired amount of salt and pepper in a large bowl; set aside.  In a small microwave safe bowl, heat the cream cheese, along with 2 Tablespoons of water, for about 10-15 seconds; stir to combine and set aside.  In a 13x9 glass pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, layer half of the noodles.  Top evenly with all of the cream cheese mixture.  Top with half of the cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream mixture.  Sprinkle on half of the sharp cheddar cheese.  Top with second half of the noodles.  Layer on second half of cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream mixture.  Top with remaining sharp cheddar cheese.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey Noodle Soup

"This is a delicious soup that you can make with all of your leftover Thanksgiving turkey!"

2-3 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 Tablespoon McCormick Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning
Salt and pepper, desired amount
3-(32 ounce) containers of chicken stock or equivalent amount of Homemade chicken or turkey stock*
1-(16 ounce) package of egg noodles (I used frozen Grandma's brand egg noodles that I thawed in the refrigerator overnight.)
2 cups cooked, diced turkey**
1-(14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes with garlic, undrained

In a large stockpot, heat 1 Tablespoon of canola oil.  Add carrots, onion, celery, Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning, salt and pepper and saute for 15 minutes to soften vegetables.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Stir in noodles and cook for 12-15 minutes or until noodles are tender.  Add turkey and tomatoes and heat through.

*To see how to make Homemade Chicken or Turkey Stock:

**To see how to make Herb-Buttered Turkey breast that can be used in this recipe:

"Comfort Food in a pot!"

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Icing

"This is another one of my Mom's yummy recipes.  She was sweet enough to make these for my husband and I and my coworkers recently.  These bars are the perfect mix of pumpkin and spice and the sweet cream cheese icing tops them off perfectly!" 

4 eggs
1-2/3 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1-(15 ounce) can pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy,  Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and mix thoroughly.  Pour into an ungreased 15x10x1 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool and frost with cream cheese icing (Recipe follows.) and cut into bars.
Cream Cheese Icing:
3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
Cream together cream cheese and butter.  Add vanilla.  Add powdered sugar and mix well.  Ice bars.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chunky Cranberry Sauce

"I love cranberry sauce and I can't imagine Thanksgiving dinner without it.  This recipe brings sweet brown sugar, tart cranberries, orange juice and spices together into a perfect holiday combination."

1-(12 ounce) package of Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries (found in Produce department)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until cranberries burst open, approximately 10-15 minutes.  Cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas and Spanish Rice

"My niece created and shared these recipes with me.  I'm so proud of her!  In honor of her Birthday, I'm now sharing them with you.  They are easy, quick and delicious.  What a combo!"

Chicken Enchiladas:
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
black pepper, chili powder, garlic salt and hot chili seasoning** (if you can't find hot chili seasoning, you can use cayenne pepper), to taste
1 (8.75 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (4 ounce) can of diced green chilies
jalapeno juice (from jar of pickled jalapenos), desired amount
salsa, desired amount
1 (10 count) package of flour tortillas
1 (8 ounce) package of shredded cheddar cheese
2 (10 ounce) cans of Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce (My niece used hot, but it also comes in mild and medium varieties.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Season one side of the chicken breasts with desired amounts of pepper, chili powder, garlic salt and hot chili seasoning.  Place seasoned side-up on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Turn chicken breasts over, sprinkle on desired amount of seasonings and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.  Shred chicken and mix with corn, green chilies, jalapeno juice and salsa.  Warm tortillas in microwave for about 20 seconds and spoon desired amount of chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla.  Top with desired amount of cheddar cheese and place in a 13x9 pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour enchilada sauce over enchiladas and top with additional cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

*You can also use leftover shredded chicken.  Just season chicken and proceed with recipe.

**The Hot Chili Seasoning is a Safeway Select brand seasoning.

Spanish Rice:
2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 cup white rice (Minute Rice)
dried minced onion, desired amount
2 cups water
1 can of Ro*Tel tomatoes with chilies (My niece likes hot, but Ro*Tel also comes in mild and medium varieties.)
2 teaspoons chili powder
Dash of salt
Heat oil in a deep skillet and saute rice and onion until rice is browned.  Stir in water, Ro*Tel and seasonings.  Cover and simmer for 30 min or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.    

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sweet Potato Casserole

"This recipe turns sweet potatoes into a 'sweet addition' to your Thanksgiving meal!" 

2-(15 ounce) cans sweet potatoes, drained
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  With a hand mixer, blend together all ingredients, except pecans.  Spoon into a 2 quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle on pecans.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the casserole comes out clean.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Herb Buttered Turkey Breast & Gravy

"This turkey breast roasts up tender and juicy and is the perfect alternative for those of us who don't want to go to the trouble of cooking a whole turkey this Thanksgiving.  Make it and I promise, your family will Gobble it up!
1-(7 to 8 pound) turkey breast (thawed if frozen, following package directions)
3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1-(14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, desired amount

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place vegetables in the bottom of a large Dutch Oven or roasting pan.  (NOTE:  The vegetables will serve as a base for the turkey to sit on and they will flavor the juices that you will use to make your gravy.)  Pour chicken broth over vegetables.  Place turkey breast, breast side up, on top of vegetables.  Season turkey with desired amount of salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.  Slather with Herb Butter (Recipe follows.)  Cook turkey breast until it reaches 170 degrees.  (It took about 2-1/4 hours in my convection oven.)  Remove from the oven and take turkey breast out of the pan and cover with foil to allow meat to rest while you prepare the gravy.           

Herb Butter
1 stick or 1/2 cup butter, softened
1 Tablespoon LITEHOUSE Freeze-Dried Poultry Herb Blend*

Combine butter and herb blend.  Use fingers to rub herb butter under and on top of the skin of the turkey.  

* I found the Freeze-Dried Poultry Herb Blend in the Produce Department of my grocery store.

Turkey Gravy
1/4 cup turkey fat that has been skimmed off of the cooking juices
1/4 cup flour
2 cups turkey drippings or juices 

Remove vegetables from the roasting pan and discard.  Using a spoon, skim off 1/4 cup of fat from the turkey juices.  (You will be able to see the fat floating on top of the juices left in the pan.  You can also use a gravy separator to separate the fat from the juices.)  Pour fat into a saucepan and stir in flour.  Cook on medium heat for 1-2 minutes.  Measure out 2 cups of turkey juices and stir into flour mixture.  (TIP:  If you don't have 2 cups of liquid, add chicken broth to make 2 cups.)  Bring mixture to a boil;  reduce heat and cook until desired thickness.  Serve with turkey.  
"Perfectly Golden Brown!"
"Sliced and ready for Thanksgiving dinner."

Homemade Turkey or Chicken Stock

"This stock is so easy to make and adds such delicious homemade flavor to any of your recipes."

Turkey or chicken carcass
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2-3 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
1 large onion, cut into wedges
2-3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
salt and pepper, desired amount
In a large stockpot, place all ingredients.  Cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium high and cook for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.*  Strain and discard solids.  Cool and refrigerate until ready to use in any soup recipe or in any recipe that calls for chicken or turkey stock.    
*TIP:  The longer you cook the stock, the more intense the flavor will be.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ham & Three Cheese Panini

"This sandwich is so yummy!  It has layers of creamy Dijon sauce, sliced brown sugar ham and three kinds of ooey-gooey cheese!" 

2 slices of sourdough bread or other sliced bread
Desired amount of deli sliced brown sugar ham or your favorite sliced ham
Desired amount of thinly sliced cheddar, Swiss and American cheese or 3 kinds of your favorite cheeses
mayonnaise, desired amount
Dijon mustard, desired amount
To make sauce, mix together mayonnaise and Dijon mustard.  (I didn't give measurements for the mayo and mustard because you can make it to your family's taste.  We add quite a lot of  Dijon, because we like it spicy!)  Spread margarine on one side of each slice of bread.  (The margarine allows the outside of the sandwich to get toasty and brown.)  Layer ham, cheeses and Dijon sauce in between the two slices of bread, making sure that the margarine is on the outside of the sandwich.  Cook sandwich on a panini press, sandwich maker or in a saute pan until ham is warmed through and cheese is melted.  Serve with soup or your favorite chips. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Slow Cooker Apple Cider

"I make this apple cider every Halloween.  I mix it up in the slow cooker and let it simmer all afternoon.  Which by the way makes the house smell so good!  Then my hubby and I drink it while we watch our Halloween movies.  I wait for Halloween night all year!"

1 large container of apple cider (I used an 89 ounce container of LITEHOUSE brand apple cider.)
1/2 cup brown sugar (You can add more if you like it sweeter.)
1 Tablespoon McCormick apple pie spice

Whisk together cider, brown sugar and apple pie spice in a slow cooker.  Cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.  Ladle into cups and sip away!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

"This recipe was handed down to me by my Aunt.  It makes the yummiest popcorn balls!  They would be great to hand out to Trick-or-Treaters this Halloween!!!"

2-(10 ounce) packages of marshmallows (You can also use 2 large jars of marshmallow cream.)
1/4 cup butter
desired food coloring (I mixed red and yellow to make orange.)
2 bags Microwave popcorn, popped with unpopped kernels removed (*According to the package directions, each bag of microwave popcorn makes about 10 cups popped corn.  I used the equivalent of air popped popcorn when I made this recipe.)

In a large saucepan, heat butter and marshmallows until melted.  Add desired color and amount of food coloring and mix well.  Add popped corn and stir until completely covered.  *Using greased hands, form into popcorn balls and allow to cool completely.  Wrap in waxed paper that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. 
*TIP:  This is very messy, so make sure to grease your hands often to keep them from sticking to the popcorn balls.  I sprayed my hands with non-stick cooking spray several times.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Candy Corn White Chocolate Bark

"I made this yummy candy and packaged it in cute little take out containers and decorated them for Halloween.  They turned out SO CUTE!"

2-(12 ounce) bags white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon orange extract
red food coloring + yellow food coloring
1-(11 ounce) package of candy corn (I used Brach's.)

Melt chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat.  Remove from the heat and add orange extract.  Stir until well incorporated and smooth.  Pour onto a waxed paper lined cookie sheet.  Spread chocolate out with an off-set spatula until it's about 1/4 inch thick.  Drop food coloring onto chocolate and swirl around with off-set spatula or a butter knife.  (I used 4 drops of red and 6 drops of yellow food coloring.  I mixed the food coloring into the white chocolate with an off-set spatula to make a light orange color, but you could use orange and yellow food coloring and just swirl it around to make a tri-color bark.)  Sprinkle candy corn on top.  Allow to set up.  (TIP:  You can place in the refrigerator to speed up the set up time.)  Break into pieces. 

Use an off-set spatula to mix in food coloring and spread to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Sprinkle on candy corn.

Break into pieces of candy corn covered bark.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Caramel Corn

"My Aunt shared this recipe with me.  She makes this yummy caramel corn for the holidays.  This year I am going to make it for Halloween treats."  

1-(12 ounce) can of evaporated milk
2 cups brown sugar
2 sticks or 1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup Karo light corn syrup
3 bags of microwave popcorn, popped with unpopped kernels removed (According to the package directions, each bag of microwave popcorn will make about 10 cups of popped corn.  When I made this recipe, I used the equivalent of air-popped popcorn.)

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook milk, brown sugar, butter and Karo syrup until mixture reaches *220 degrees on a candy thermometer, stirring constantly to prevent burning.  (TIP:  Be Patient-This will take about 30-45 minutes.  Don't be tempted to turn the heat up to speed up the cooking time, because the caramel will burn easily!)  Pour over popcorn and stir to coat popcorn completely.  Spread out on a large piece of waxed paper that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and allow to cool and air dry.  Store in a covered bowl.

Most caramel corn recipes produce a dry, crunchy popcorn.  This caramel corn has a soft and  chewy texture and that's why my husband and I love it!

*Note:  The elevation where I live is approx. 6,500 feet above sea level.  It is very important to adjust the cooking temperature according to where you live in order for the caramel to turn out. Adjust as follows:

-For every 1,000 feet LOWER in elevation that you live, ADD 2 degrees to the cooking temperature.  For example, if you live at 1,500 feet, you would add 10 degrees and cook the caramel to 230 degrees F.

-For every 1,000 feet HIGHER in elevation, SUBTRACT 2 degrees from the cooking temperature.  For example, if you live at 8,500 feet, you would subtract 4 degrees and cook the caramel to 216 degrees F.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Apple Pie Caramel Apples

"I love any caramel apple, but I must admit this is my new favorite!  It tastes just like apple pie and it's a new twist on an old favorite!"

4-5 large apples (I used Honey Crisp, but you can use your favorite apple.)
Popsicle sticks
1-(14 ounce) package of Kraft caramels, wrappers removed
1-(12 ounce) package of Nestle Premier white chocolate morsels
desired amount of cinnamon and sugar, combined

Wash and dry apples.  Insert Popsicle sticks into bottoms of apples and set aside.  In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, melt caramels with 2 Tablespoons of water according to package directions.  In another medium-sized saucepan, melt white chocolate chips following package directions or you can melt in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melted.  When caramels are melted, dip apples, using a spoon to help you cover apple completely.  Place apples on waxed paper that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Allow to cool slightly and drizzle with melted white chocolate.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  ENJOY!  

Friday, October 12, 2012

BOO To You! Brownies

"I made these Yummy Brownies for our family last weekend.  I called them BOO To You! Brownies because the mini marshmallows reminded me of little ghosts.  They turned out so cute and by the way they tasted really good too!" 

3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups mini marshmallows
Halloween sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Remove from the heat and add sugar, flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee granules, baking powder, salt, eggs and vanilla. Stir until well blended and smooth. Stir in the milk chocolate chips. Spread in prepared pan. Sprinkle with white chocolate chips. Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and drizzle Mocha Frosting (recipe follows) over hot brownies.    Cool completely.  Top with mini marshmallows and Halloween sprinkles.  Cut into squares and serve.  TIP:  Cover any leftovers well in order to keep marshmallows from drying out.

Mocha Frosting:
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Remove from the heat and add cocoa powder, coffee granules, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Pour over hot brownies.

TIP:  I used Wilton Halloween sprinkles, but you could decorate the brownies with candy corn, candy pumpkins or your favorite Halloween candy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Croissants

"These croissant sandwiches are so quick & easy!  They are perfect for a busy weekday morning breakfast on-the-go or for a lazy weekend brunch!" 

Bakery croissants
Bacon, cooked to desired crispness
eggs, cooked to desired doneness  (We like the eggs cooked over-medium, but you could also scramble the eggs.)
American cheese slices, or your favorite sliced cheese

Using a bread knife, slice croissants open.  Layer bacon, egg and cheese in-between top and bottom halves of the croissant and enjoy.  See I told you it was quick and easy!!!

TIP:  We have also used sliced ham and breakfast sausage patties on these sandwiches.  They are great served with a side of hash browns and a tall glass of milk or orange juice.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Davy Crockett Pockets

"I saw this recipe on Food Network many years ago.  It was being featured as a recipe that was created for and had won a beef cooking contest.  I can't remember the gentleman's name who created the recipe to give him credit for it, but we love it and make it often.  So to whoever you are, thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!  It has definitely become a 'winner' in our house and I'm sure it will be one in your home also!" 
1 pound ground beef
1 medium sized onion, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2-(8 count) tubes of refrigerated crescent dinner rolls (We use Pillsbury brand.)
2-(7 ounce) cans whole green chilies (We use Ortega brand.)
1-(8 ounce) package or 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
chopped tomatoes
chopped green onions
sour cream
hot sauce or salsa
In a skillet, brown ground beef with onion.  Season with desired amount of salt and pepper.  To make the bottom layer of the pockets, open 1 can of crescent rolls.  Separate crescent rolls into 4 rectangles (2 crescent triangles each) by sealing perforations in between the crescent triangles with your fingers.  Lay crescent roll rectangles on a non-stick baking sheet.  Open both cans of green chilies and drain.  (There will be a total of 8 whole chilies.)  Slice each green chile open.  Lay 2 chilies on each crescent rectangle.  Divide ground beef  and onion mixture equally and place on top of chilies.  Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese on top of ground beef.  Open 2nd can of crescent rolls and form into 4 more rectangles to make the top layer of the pockets.  Place these rectangles on top of the cheddar cheese.  Using your fingers, press the top and bottom crescent roll layers together to seal pockets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and top with remaining cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, chopped green onions, dollops of sour cream and hot sauce or salsa.  ENJOY!  Makes 4 Davy Crockett Pockets.

Check out this recipe on the Gooseberry Patch Recipe Roundup .  It was featured as part of the Beefy Roundup. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lemon Bars

  "My Mom knows how much my husband loves these lemon bars so she made them for his birthday treat this year and of course I had to help him eat them (wink, wink)!"   
1 cup butter, softened
dash of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
Combine butter, salt, powdered sugar and flour and press into the bottom of a well greased 13x9 pan (You can grease pan with shortening or spray with non-stick cooking spray.)  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Allow crust to cool slightly and then cover with lemon filling. 
Lemon Filling
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
6 Tablespoons lemon juice
Mix together eggs, sugar, flour and lemon juice and pour over slightly cooled crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into bars.
"A plate of HAPPINESS!"


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Creamy Clam Chowder

"My sister shared this recipe with me and it was given to her by my aunt, so it's definitely a family favorite.  One Fall, I made it and sent it with my husband and his buddy to hunting camp.  It was a hit!"
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 or 3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 or 4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cans (6-1/2 ounces each) of minced clams in clam juice (We like to use Snow's brand.) *Do not drain.
1-1/2 sticks or 3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 quart half-and-half
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Oyster crackers or crackers of your choice

Put onions, celery, potatoes and clams (with clam juice) into a large stock pot.  Add just enough water to cover ingredients.  Bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender (about 15-20 minutes).  In a small saucepan, melt butter.  Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Stir into vegetable and clam mixture and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and add half-and-half and vinegar.  Season with desired amount of salt and pepper.  Cook until soup is heated through and thickened to desired consistency.  Serve with oyster crackers. 

TIP:  I have also made this yummy soup in a slow-cooker.  You just put the onions, celery and potatoes in the slow cooker with just enough water to cover them.  (Don't add clams now or they will become overcooked.)  Season with desired amount of salt and pepper.  Cook on High heat for 4-5 hours or until the vegetables are tender.  When vegetables are tender, melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in flour. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes on medium heat until thickened.  Stir into vegetables.  Add clams (with clam juice), half-and-half and red wine vinegar and continue to cook in the slow-cooker on High heat for about 1 hour or until soup is thickened to desired consistency.  Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.  Serve with oyster crackers.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pick Your Toppings Mini Pizzas

"Every Friday night is movie night at our house.  We often order pizza from our favorite pizzeria, but sometimes we take the time to make our own.  To make it easy, we start out with store-bought crust and sauce and then we top our individual pizzas with our favorite toppings.  We wait all week to enjoy our pizza and to relax together while we watch our movie picks of the week!"

Mini pre-baked pizza crusts (We like to use Boboli brand 8-inch mini crusts.  They come 2 in a package so we can individualize each pizza the way we want to.)
olive oil
1 (15 ounce) can of pizza sauce (We love Contadina brand.)
Italian-blend shredded cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese or your favorite shredded cheese
Your favorite pizza toppings like:
sliced pepperoni
sliced olives
sliced pickled jalapenos
sliced mushrooms
garlic powder
Grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

Place mini crusts on foil lined cookie sheet.  Brush crusts with olive oil.  Spread on desired amount of pizza sauce.  Sprinkle on desired amount of shredded cheese.  Top with desired toppings.  Sprinkle on additional shredded cheese, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder.  Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.  Cut into slices and Enjoy!

"Top Your Mini Pizzas any way you want to and they're ready for baking."
"Ready for Movie Night!"

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chia's Chipotle Chili

"My husband created this recipe and it's my all-time favorite chili!  It has a smoky and spicy taste that warms you up on those chilly Fall and Winter days.  It's a great dish to make for tailgating to keep you warm while cheering on your favorite football team or to enjoy at your next Superbowl party too!"    

1 pound ground beef
1 roll Jimmy Dean Premium Pork Hot Sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
6 jalapeno peppers, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely minced (from a 12 ounce can)  *We use La Costena brand.
1 can (28 ounce) diced tomatoes
1 can (6 ounce) tomato paste
2 cans (16 ounces each) red kidney beans
2 cans (14 ounces each) beef broth
1/2 cup white or red wine
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large saucepan, stock pot or dutch oven, brown ground beef and sausage; along with onion, green pepper, jalapeno peppers and garlic, until browned.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Simmer chili on medium heat for about 1 hour.  Ladle into bowls and top with grated pepper jack or cheddar cheese and sour cream.  Serve with oyster crackers or corn bread muffins.

TIP:  This makes a large pot of chili so we often freeze part of it to enjoy at a later time.

Simmered to perfection!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

"My Hubby created this delicious cheesecake years ago.  It brings together two of my favorite desserts, cheesecake and caramel apples.  It's a perfect Fall dessert!"    

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
1- (21 ounce) can apple pie filling

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Press onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.  Spoon a single layer of apple pie filling on top of the crust and spread to within 1-inch of the edge of the pan.  Prepare cheesecake layer.

Cheesecake Layer
4- (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons flour
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Combine cream cheese, sugar and flour. Mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Blend in sour cream and vanilla. Pour over apple pie filling.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Lower the oven to 250 degrees and continue baking for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. Refrigerate for approximately 4 hours before removing rim of springform pan.

1- (12 ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping (We like to use Smucker's Hot Caramel.)
1- (4 ounce) package of chopped pecans, toasted*

When ready to serve, top slices of cheesecake with heated caramel topping and toasted pecans.  

*To see how to toast pecans, please visit my Kitchen Know-hows page:

Visit my MooseCreek CheeseCakes page for more delicious cheesecake recipes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Marshmallow Fruit Dip

"I love this dip that my Mom makes!  It's yummy served with any fruit, but especially with strawberries and apples!"

1 (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
1-(13 ounce) or 2-(7 ounce) Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
1 teaspoon almond extract

Combine all ingredients with an electric mixer in a large mixing bowl.  Serve with your favorite cut-up fruit.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Potato Salad

"My Mom makes this creamy potato salad for many of our family dinners.  It's so good and I love the crispy bacon and cool buttermilk ranch dressing!"

8-9 medium red potatoes, cut into chunks (My Mom peels the potatoes, but I like to leave the peels on.)
1 medium onion, diced
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
Hidden Valley Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, to taste (I used about 3/4 cup)
1-(2.4 ounce) container Hormel Real Crumbled Bacon pieces 
salt and pepper, to taste

Boil potatoes for 20-30 minutes or until tender.  Drain.  In a large bowl, combine drained potatoes, diced onions and chopped hard-boiled eggs.  Add desired amount of buttermilk dressing, bacon pieces and salt and pepper.  Refrigerate until ready to eat. Enjoy!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mixed Berry Sangria

"We grow our own raspberries and they are a delicious addition to this refreshing drink.  Mix some up and enjoy it at your next barbecue!" 
1.5 quart bottle Arbor Mist White Zinfandel Exotic Fruits, or your favorite white wine
11.5 ounce can Welch's Berry Sunsplash frozen concentrate, or any berry juice concentrate
mixture of cut up fruits (for example; nectarines, apples, oranges, grapes, raspberries, etc.)
1 liter bottle 7-up or Sprite

In a large pitcher, mix together white wine, juice concentrate and cut up fruits.  Refrigerate 1-2 hours to allow flavors to blend together.  Just before serving, stir in 7-up or Sprite.  ENJOY!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for my cousins' kiddos' birthdays this Summer. They turned out so Yummy and cute! Hopefully you will try them and bring a little bit of sunshine into your kitchen!

Lemon Cupcakes:
1 white cake mix (I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic White cake mix.)
water, oil and eggs called for on the box (I also added flour for High Altitude directions.)
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Preheat oven to temperature called for on package.  Place cupcake liners in cupcake/muffin tins.  Prepare cake mix according to package directions.  Add lemon extract.  Divide batter evenly, filling each cupcake liner 2/3 full.  Bake according to package directions for cupcakes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Frost with Pink Lemonade Butter-Cream Icing (recipe follows).

Pink Lemonade Butter-Cream Icing:
2 sticks or 1 cup of butter, softened
1 cup of shortening
2 pound bag of powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Red food coloring
jellied fruit slices (I used yellow and red colored jellied candies.)
colored sugar sprinkles (I used yellow and pink colored sugars.)

Cream together butter and shortening. Add powdered sugar a little at a time until all combined. Add lemon and vanilla extracts and enough red food coloring to dye icing a light pink color.  Frost cupcakes using decorating bag with #20 star tip.  Begin icing from the outside edge and work your way into the center by swirling icing around the cupcake.  Sprinkle frosting with colored sugar and place a jellied fruit slice on top.  Store in refrigerator until ready to eat.


To see more yummy cupcake recipes, please visit my Kandy's Kupcakes page:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Roast Pork Au Jus Sandwiches

"I made these sandwiches with leftover pork pot roast that I had made the night before.  They turned out even better than I had imagined!  The dijon-mayo is a perfect condiment for this sandwich and it goes so well with the pork and au jus that you serve on the side to dip your sandwiches into.  YUM!"  
"OMG is all I can say"

Leftover Pork Pot Roast, sliced (From Perfect Pork Pot Roast Recipe*)
Hoagie rolls
olive oil
Shredded Mozzarella cheese or Mozzarella slices, desired amount
mayonnaise, desired amount
Dijon mustard, desired amount

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place open-faced hoagie rolls on a foil lined cookie sheet.  Brush rolls with olive oil.  (This will help the bread to toast to a golden brown.)  On one side of the rolls, place Mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 5-7 minutes or until bread is toasted and golden brown and cheese is melted.  While bread is toasting, mix together desired amounts of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard to make Dijon-mayo sauce.  Remove rolls from the oven and spread Dijon-mayo on side of bread without cheese.  Layer slices of pork roast onto bread.  Serve sandwich with Au Jus (Recipe follows.)

Au Jus 

Leftover Gravy (From Perfect Pork Pot Roast Recipe*)
Beef Broth, desired amount to thin gravy into an Au Jus for dipping

In a saucepan, heat leftover gravy with desired amount of beef broth.  Serve as dip for sandwiches.

To view recipe for Perfect Pork Pot Roast: