Thursday, December 13, 2012


1 pkg. (9 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. softened butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar
2/3 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Beat butter with cream cheese.  Add vanilla and powdered sugar  Beat with mixer until smooth.  Spread over cake.  Sprinkle with nuts.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lemon Rice

(Brooke's FAVORITE side dish!) 

  3 c. water or chicken broth
1 1/2 c. long grain white or basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear
Pinch of salt
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, peeled
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Bring the water to a boil in a large heavy saucepan.  Add the rice, salt, and 1 Tablespoon of the butter and place the clove of garlic on top.  Reduce the heat to the lowest setting.  Cover tightly and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, 20-25 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes, covered.  Stir in the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter, the lemon juice and zest, and parsley.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crock Pot Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cake

1 c. flour
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 c. whole milk OR chocolate milk
2 Tbsp. canola, peanut, or walnut oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. smooth or chunky peanut butter
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. boiling water

 Vanilla ice cream for serving (a must!)

Coat slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. (If you use a crockpot liner, spray the liner.) In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center, add the milk, oil, and vanilla, and stir until well blended; continue stirring in widening circles, gradually incorporating the dry ingredients, until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the peanut butter (warm it in the microwave if thick and sticky); the batter will be thick. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the slow cooker.

 To make the topping, in another medium-size bowl, combine the cocoa and sugar; pour in the boiling water and whisk until smooth. Gently pour over the batter in the cooker; do not stir. Cover and cook on HIGH until puffed and the top layer is set, 2 to 2 1/4 hours. Turn off the cooker and let stand, covered, for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mexican Pizza

1/2 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. water
8 small (6-inch diameter) flour tortillas
1 c. Crisco shortening or cooking oil
1 (16 oz) can refried beans
1/3 c. diced tomato
2/3 c. mild picante salsa
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 c. chopped green onion
1/4 c. sliced black olives (I don't use these)

Brown meat; drain.  Add salt, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, and water; let mixture simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  Stir often.  Set aside.  Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  If oil begins to smoke, it is too hot.  When oil is hot, fry eat tortilla for about 30-45 seconds per side and set aside on paper towels.  When frying each tortilla, be sure to pop any bubbles that form so that tortilla lays flat in oil.  Heat up refried beans in a small pan over the stove or in the microwave.  Preheat the oven to 400.  When meat and tortillas are done, stack each pizza by first spreading about 1/3 c. refried beans on face of one tortilla.  Next spread 1/4 to 1/3 cup of meat, then another tortilla.  Coat pizzas with two tablespoons of salsa on each, then split up the tomatoes and stack them on top.  Next divide up the cheese, onions, and olives, stacking in that order.  Place pizzas in hot oven for 8-12 minutes or until cheese on top is melted.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Garden Vegetable Soup

1 spray cooking spray
1 c. sliced carrots
1/2 c. diced onions
4 minced garlic cloves
6 c. beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
2 c. diced green cabbage
2 c. chopped spinach
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. diced zucchini

Spray large saucepan with cooking spray; heat.  Saute carrot, onion, and garlic o ver low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add broth, cabbage, spinach, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and salt; bring to boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, covered, about 15 minuts. Stir in zucchini; cook 3-4 minutes more. Serve hot.

Blaine's Favorite Tortilla Soup


3 Roma tomatoes
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1 2"x2" cube of sharp cheddar cheese
1 small slice of jalapeno pepper
3 sprigs cilantro
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/3 large carrot
2 Tbsp. onion
1 tsp. chicken boullion
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 c. hot water
1/2 c. tortilla chips

Place all ingredients except chips in BlendTec or VitaMix blender.  Press Soups button.  Add tortilla chips.  Press the pulse button 3 times to blend chips.  

(May also add any combination of chips, corn, or beans.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled, minced
1 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. turmeric, ground
1/2 tsp. red pepper, crushed
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. cauliflower florets, chopped
2 1/2 c. water
1 c. dried lentils
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
3/4 tsp. salt
6 c. cooked basmati rice or 6 c. long grain rice, cooked

Directions:  Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion, ginger, cumin, turmeric, red peppers and garlic.  Saute 2 minutes.  Add cauliflower; saute 1 minute.  Stir in water and lentils; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until lentils are tender.  Stir in lime juice, cilantro, and salt.  Serve 1 c. lentil mixture with 1 c. rice.

Vegetable Curry

2 Tbsp. canola oil 
1 large yellow onion, finely diced 
4 medium cloves garlic, minced 
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (1 Tbs.) 
1 Tbs. ground coriander 
1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin 
3/4 tsp. ground turmeric 
1/2 tsp. cayenne 
1 Tbs. tomato paste 
2 cups lower-salt chicken broth or vegetable broth 
1 cup light coconut milk 
One 3-inch cinnamon stick 
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1 small cauliflower, broken into 1-1/2-inch florets (about 4 cups) 
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups) 
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (about 1 cup) 
One 15-1/2-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
4 oz. baby spinach (about 4 lightly packed cups) 
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice 
1 tsp. finely grated lime zest 
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro 

In a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium (or medium low if necessary) and cook until the onion is richly browned, 5 to 7 minutes more. Add the garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, for 1 minute to blend the flavors. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne; stir for 30 seconds to toast the spices. Add the tomato paste and stir until well blended with the aromatics, about 1 minute.

Add the broth, coconut milk, cinnamon stick, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low or low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the cauliflower, sweet potatoes,
and carrots. Raise the heat to medium high and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.

Stir in the chickpeas, spinach, lime juice, and zest; cook until the spinach has wilted, about 3 minutes more. Season to taste with salt. Serve garnished with the cilantro.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Taco Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 c. (8 oz. bottle) Ortega Thick & Smooth Taco sauce
3/4 c. water
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles
1 pkg. (1.25 oz.) taco seasoning mix
Tortilla chips
2 c. shredded mild cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease 11x7-inch baking dish.  Cook beef and onion until beef is browned; drain.  Stir in taco sauce, water, chiles, and seasoning mix.  Cover over low heat for 3-4 minutes.  Layer half of the chips on the bottom of prepared baking dish.  Cover with half of meat mixture; sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

1/2 c. A-1 Original Steak Sauce
1/2 c. water
1 pkg. onion-mushroom soup mix
1 boneless beef chuck eye roast (2-2 1/2 lb)
1 lb. baby red potatoes
1 pkg. (1 lb) carrots
1 onion, diced

Mix first three ingredients.  Place meat in slow cooker.  Top with vegetables and sauce; cover.  Cook on LOW 8-9 hours or HIGH 6-7 hours.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Killer Marinara Sauce

Olive oil
1 c. minced yellow or white onion 
2 Tbsp. freshly minced garlic
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 c. water
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste

Spread some olive oil in a pan and place over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook just until becoming tender (they should not brown), 4 to 6 minutes. Reduce the water heat to lwo and with a wooden spoon stir in the tomatoes, water, tomato paste, honey, oregano, basil, and pepper flakes until well combined. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 hour. Season with salt, if needed.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Asparagus Casserole

2 cans asparagus, drained
1/4 c. onion
1 can Cream of Mushroom
1/2 c. butter, melted
2 c. chips or crackers
8 oz. cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Pour both cans of asparagus and in a greased casserole dish.  Mix in onion.  Pour the Cream of Mushroom soup over the asparagus.  Top with cheese.  Mix butter with chips or crackers.  Sprinkle butter and chip mixture on top of Cream of Mushroom.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Veggie Stir Fry

2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
1 yellow pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
1 c, thinly sliced carrots
1/2 c. thinly sliced red onion
1 c. sliced yellow squash
1 c. small broccoli florets
1 baby eggplant, cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. teriyaki sauce
2 c. sliced bok choy
1 c. fresh bean sprouts
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. peas
2 Tbsp. sesame oil (optional)

Prepare and cut all the vegetables.  In a wok or large skillet, heat canola oil until almost smoking.  Add the peppers, carrots, and onion while stirring constantly.  While continuing to stir, add successively the squash, broccoli, eggplant, garlic, and teriyaki sauce.  Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Add the bok coy, sprouts, pepper, and salt.  Cook, stirring until crisp tender, about 2 minutes more.  Stir in peas and sesame oil and remove from heat.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Spice Up Your Life Chili

1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, undrained
1 15 oz. can pinto beans, undrained
1/2 c. diced onion (1/2 medium onion)
1/4 c. diced green chilies (1 chili)
1/8 c. diced celery (1/2 stalk)
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 c. water

Brown the meat in a skillet over medium heat; drain off the fat.  Transfer meat and all remaining ingredients to a crock pot.  Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. 

OR, after browning meat, combine meat and all remaining ingredients in a large pot and bring to a simmer over low heat.  Cooke, stirring every 15 minutes, for 2-3 hours.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Oven-Barbecued Chicken

2 1/2 to 3 lbs. meaty chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks)
1/2 c. chopped onion (1 medium)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. cooking oil
3/4 c. bottled chili sauce
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

Skin chicken. Arrange chicken pieces, bone side up. Bake in 375 oven for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a saucepan cook onion and garlic in hot oil until tender but not brown. Stir in chili sauce, honey, soy sauce, mustard, horseradish, and red pepper; heat through. Turn chicken bone side down. Brush half of the sauce over the chicken. Bake for 20-30 minutes more until chicken is no longer pink. Reheat remaining sauce; pass with the chicken.

Sweet Potato Swirls

4 medium sweet potatoes or yams (2 lbs.), peeled and quartered
1/4 c. butter
1-2 Tbsp. milk (optional)
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

In a large saucepan, cook potatoes, covered, in enough boiling water to cover for 25-to 30 minutes or until tender; drain. Mash potatoes with a potato masher or beat with an electric mixer on low speed. Add the 1/4 c. butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If desired, gradually beat in enough milk to make light and fluffy. Cool potatoes about 10 minutes. Stir eggs into cooled potato mixture until combined. Using a pastry bag with a large star tip, pipe potatoes into 8 mounds on a greased baking pan. Drizzle mounds with the two tablespoons melted butter. Bake in 30 oven for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden.

**To make ahead, put prepared mounds in refrigerator; cover and chill for up to hours until ready to bake.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Grandma's Blueberry Pancakes

1 c. milk
1 large egg
1/4 c. sour cream
1 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 c. fresh blueberries

IN a large bowl, stir milk, egg, and sour cream together. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add flour mixture to milk mixture. Stir batter until large lumps disappear. Stir in melted butter. Add blueberries, gently folding them into the batter.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Paula Deen's Taco Soup

2 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
2 c. diced onions
2 (15 1/2 oz.) cans pinto beans
1 (15 1/2 oz.) can red kidney beans
1 (15 1/2 oz.) can whole kernal corn
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can Mexican style-stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can tomatoes and green chilies
2 ( 4 1/2 oz.) cans diced green chilies
1 (4 5/8 oz.) can black olives, drained and sliced
1/2 c. green olives, sliced (optional)
1 (1 1/4 oz.) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1 oz.) package ranch dressing mix
Corn chips, for serving
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onion, for garnish
Sliced jalapeno, for garnish

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain off the excess fat and transfer browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilies, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix. Cook on LOW in crock pot for 6-8 hours, or simmer over low heat in stockpot for about 1 hour. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

Monday, February 20, 2012


1/2 cup butter
2 oz a dark chocolate bar, chopped (optional)
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.

In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in optional chopped chocolate, sugar, eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Salmon with Caramelized Onions and Carrots

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
4 onions, coarsely chopped
3 c. baby carrots
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb. salmon filet
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dill weed

Place olive oil and butter in a 4-quart crockpot. Add onions, baby carrots, and garlic; site; cover, and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours, stirring once during cooking time, until vegetables are beginning to caramelize. Place filet over vegetables in crockpot and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dill weed. Cover and cook on LOW for 1-2 hours until salmon flakes when tested with a fork. At one- hour time, if salmon is done, turn crackpot off and keep covered until serving time.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Corn Bread

1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. cornmeal
2-3 Tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. butter
2 beaten eggs
1 c. milk
1/4 c. cooking oil or melted butter

Stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Add the 1 tablespoon butter to a 9x1 1/2-inch baking pan. Place in a 400 oven about 3 minutes or until butter melts. Remove pan from oven; swirl butter in pan to coat bottom and sides of pan. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick near center comes out clean.