Sunday, May 21, 2017

Crockpot Pizza

Spring has been very busy with late baseball practices or games, and when you get home after 7:30 or so you really don't want to cook. Takeout or fast food for us is not really on our menu.  And we like to sit down as a family and enjoy a meal together.  So crock pot meals are our go too.  Especially ones that don't take too long to cook.  this recipe has been around for a few years and we have tweaked it lately with using Italian Sausage and adding green pepper.  This is adapted from Taste of Home Slow Cooker Meals.


1 package (16 ounces) wide egg noodles
1-1/2 pounds ground sausage or ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
1 jar (4-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 package (3-1/2 ounces) sliced pepperoni, halved
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese


Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef, pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, mushrooms and Italian seasoning. Drain noodles. 

In a 5-qt. slow cooker coated with cooking spray, spread a third of the meat sauce. Cover with a third of the noodles and pepperoni. Sprinkle with a third of the cheese. Repeat layers twice. Press down to compact.
Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through and cheese is melted. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Cinnamon Yummy!

I love Snickerdoodles!  A cinnamon covered cookies that is soft and very tasty.  Normally in our house when cookies are made it is generally around Christmas time or it is our favorite chocolate chip cookie.   One Saturday a couple of weeks ago I had a hankering for Snickerdoodles.  I hadn't made these in a really long time.  I am not sure where the recipe came from, other than my handy recipe box.  These were so good!  I might have to make them again real soon.



2 3/4 cup flour
1 Tblsp. Baking Powder
1 cup of Butter
1 3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 Tblsp. cinnamon


On wax paper, stir together flour and baking powder, set aside.  In large saucepan or heat resistant bowl melt butter over low heat.  Remove and stir in 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs until smooth. Gradually stir in flour until smooth dough forms.  Cover and chill for 1 hour  or up to 3 days.

On wax paper or small bowl, mix remaining sugar with cinnamon.  Drop round teaspoon full of dough into mixture and turn to coat well.  Place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes.  Cool on sheet for 1 minute and remove to cool.

Enjoy with a cold glass of milk! I like to cool cookies on a clean dish towel

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Saturday Night Dinner for two!

With one kid in college and one still in high school, but working most weekends gives us some time for quality dinners together as a couple. When we want to spoil ourselves we head to a small local grocery store  that has the best meat department and pick up some tenderloin steaks.  Those are prepared using Ian Garten's Steakhouse Steak recipe.  Now top that off with a homemade blue cheese sauce (melted butter and blue cheese)and sautéed mushrooms for a dinner that melts in your mouth. 

This dinner was accompanied with roasted potatoes and a Parmesan Roasted Asparagus that was very easy to prepare and delicious.  Asparagus is in season now so grab a pound and give this a try.  And to top off the dinner - Dirty Martini's!  These were made with a Dirty Martini mix I found at Marshall's and some Bombay Sapphire East Gin.  

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus


1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with non-stick spray and set aside.

Combine asparagus and olive oil in a large zip close bag and shake to coat. Add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper to the bag and shake to coat.
Spread in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for 7 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the asparagus is still
slightly crisp-tender.

Steakhouse Steaks



2 (2-inch-thick) filet mignons ( 8 to 10 ounces each)
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoons fine fleur de sel
1 tablespoons coarsely cracked black peppercorns
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, pat dry the filet mignons with paper towels. Brush the filet lightly all over with the oil. Combine the fleur de sel and cracked pepper on a plate and roll the filet on all sides in the mixture, pressing lightly to help the salt and pepper adhere. The steaks should be evenly coated with the salt and pepper.

When the pan is extremely hot, add the steaks and sear evenly on all sides (top, bottom, and sides) for about 2 minutes per side. (Be sure the cooking area is well ventilated.) You'll probably need about 3 turns to sear the sides and about 10 minutes total.

Remove the pan from the heat and arrange all the filets flat in the pan. Top each with a tablespoon of butter, then place the pan in the oven. Cook the filets for 8 to 12 minutes to 120 degrees for rare and 125 degrees for medium-rare. Remove the steaks to a platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Cocktails anyone?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pepperoni Lasanga

 We were at the grocery store this afternoon and I saw a large display of mozzarella, lasagna sheets, ricotta cheese in the dairy case on an end cap.  At first I thought it might be the Italian foods festival , but then I realized that Easter is a week away and Lasagna is a staple dish in many houses for Easter dinner.  So why not share my recent Lasagna creation we made a couple of weeks ago.  This one feature pepperoni that is either fried or baked to a crisp.  Adds a unique flavor, plus you can't help sampling the pepperoni after you have heated it up!  This makes a ton of Lasagna, so plan on a few meals for the upcoming week.


Ready for the oven
1 pound lasagna sheets
8 ounces sliced pepperoni (about 2 cups)
4 cups Tomato Sauce
1 pound ricotta
1 pound shredded mozzarella
2 pounds bulk Italian sausage, cooked
3/4 cup grated Parmesan



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.        
Boil 6 quarts of water, add a pinch of salt and cook the pasta to almost done, about 7 minutes. Remove from the water and shock in an ice bath. 
In a medium saucepan, add the pepperoni and sauté over medium heat until crispy, about 10 minutes ( or you can place the pepperoni in a single layer on a backing sheet covered with parchment paper and bake about 5 minutes to crisp up.Remove from the heat and drain on a paper towel. 
In a 10- by 14- by 3-inch baking pan or dish, pour 1 cup of the Tomato Sauce in the bottom and around the sides. Layer lasagna sheets on the bottom of the pan, overlapping by 1/2 inch. Add one-third of the ricotta and one-quarter of the mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni and Parmesan. Spoon 1 cup of tomato sauce over the top. Repeat this two more times. 
On the top sheet, finish with the remaining cup of tomato sauce, mozzarella, sausage and pepperoni and dust with Parmesan. Bake until the cheese bubbles around the edges and the top is melted and light golden brown, about 45 minutes. If baking the dish from the freezer, add 15 to 20 minutes to the cook time, or until it's bubbly. Cover loosely with foil if it's browning too quickly. Remove from the oven; let sit for 15 minutes. Cut and serve immediately with more sauce, if desired.   

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Lemon Cake with Whiskey Glaze

It  is back. Hubby made this a week ago and it was a hit!
Well now it he made it again.  You know something is good when you quickly recreate the recipe in a short period of time. 

This cake has a light lemon flavor, moist and easy to make.  The glaze has wonderful flavor with the Whiskey added.  My 89 year old mother loved it!   


1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, plus more for the pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup vegetable shortening 
2 cups granulated sugar 
4 large eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice 
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken 
Reba's Royal Glaze, recipe follows
Reba's Royal Glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon Canadian whisky 
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest plus 2 tablespoons lime juice 
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Sift the flour together with the baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and shortening together until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat 5 minutes more. 

Add the eggs one at a time, beating only until the yolks disappear into the batter. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and juice.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl and beat only until well blended. Pour into the prepared pan and bake a toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then turn the cake out of the pan while it is still warm onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.

Drizzle with Whiskey Glaze before serving.

Whiskey Glaze:
Mix together the confectioners' sugar, whisky, lime zest and juice and lemon zest and juice in a bowl. The glaze should be thick, yet pourable. Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dueling Gnocchi

A couple of weeks ago we made this dish with some homemade sausage from a class we took at a local Italian market .  This was requested  by our son following his ACL surgery.  The recipe is from a few years ago, but always a favorite. How can you not take request for dinner when some has just had surgery, and knows he has a long road to recovery. His basketball season was cut short and there will be no spring baseball.

Butter and Sage Sauce (or Thyme)

1 16 oz package of Gnocchi
1/2 cup butter
9 fresh sage leaves, torn into pieces or 2 Tbsp. dried
4 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese

Heat butter and sage in saucepan over low heat 5 to 7 minutes.  Prepare Gnocchi and add to butter sauce, coating well. (We heated the Gnocchi up in frying pan with olive oil, but you can cook to package directions)  Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and enjoy immediately.

*  Note that this is called dueling gnocchi because we made two batches of sauce - one with Sage and one with Thyme leaves.  Our son loves them both!

Penne and Smoked Sausage

This recipe appeared in a flyer we received from the realtor we used 18 years ago when we bought our house. It was a pretty easy fix on a weeknight that was quite tasty.  The red pepper flakes gives this a kick.  And the pasta and sausage is a kid pleaser. Need a quick and filling recipe?  Then give this a try.  


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage (pork or turkey sausage), sliced into 1 inch pieces
½ cup diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
1Tbsp. minced garlic
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes
½ cup  milk
8 oz  dry penne pasta
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
½ cup thinly sliced green onions


Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium  heat until just smoking. Brown sausage & onions.  Add garlic, salt, pepper and continue cooking for 30 seconds. 

Add broth, tomatoes, milk, red pepper and penne to the skillet. Bring to a boil, cover & reduce heat to low. Simmer until pasta is tender & liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and sprinkle on cheese. Cover  for 3 to 5 minutes until cheese melts.  Top with scallions and serve.  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Drop Cookies

Love these cookies!  This recipe has been around for quite sometime.  I think I got this from one of my oldest sister and I hadn't made them in a long time.  I thought about them strolling thru the baking aisle and saw the peanut butter chips.  I decide to bake up a batch and send a few down to our daughter at school.  She loved them and asked for the recipe.  So here it is.

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
12 oz. Peanut Butter chips
1 tsp. Vanilla
Cream butter and sugar; add eggs.  Stir in melted chocolate.  Add baking soda to sour cream and add to mixture. Then add flour and vanilla. Mix together well and then fold in peanut butter chips.
Drop by teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

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