We love good food in our home. I love to cook and bake for my family. I have shared recipes and pictures of our yummy goodness on different venues. Many have suggested a blog to share the recipes.

*DISCLAIMER* I am not a professional cook, photographer or writer!

I will always try to give credit for recipes. Many I have collected over the years off of TV, various websites, friends and family.

Please leave comments if you try a recipe or share variations of things I post, I always love learning new tricks of the trade.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Chocolate Chip & Bacon Cookies

I know, it sounds crazy and I'm not going to lie, I didn't eat them. My husband however really likes them! He watches a little too much Food Network I think. That combined with high school buddies who think it's awesome to come up with unique ways to eat pork products leaves for trying out interesting recipes.

He has thought about this for years and I've had the recipe printed for a while. I pulled it off a random website that seems to no longer exist. There are lots of other variations out there, but this is what we made today.

Chocolate Chip & Bacon Cookies
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (sometimes I like using almond extract)
  • 1 1/8 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (you can use any type but using dark offers a nice tasty blend)
  • 5 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (don't use thick bacon, make sure you crisp it (even crispier than what mine looks like and pat as much grease off as you can)

Cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Stir in the chocolate and bacon. Scoop dough onto a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spinach Strawberry Salad

I am addicted to this salad lately. My mom called me yesterday and told me that her friend had seen my picture of this salad in my album on Facebook and wanted the recipe.

There are two ways to make this salad, both are yummy. One is the easy peasy way and the other requires a little more time though not much more effort.

The first is a recipe I've had for a while that I printed from Allrecipes.com (my friend Matt reminded me of it not too long ago).

Strawberry Spinach Salad (oh, and I always switch it around, I never say it the same way)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 quart strawberries - cleaned, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
The easy peasy way of doing it and the way I've been eating it lately and it's so yummy is as follows.

  • 2 bunches spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 4 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • Brianna's Homestyle Poppyseed Dressing (you can purchase at any grocery store)
Mix spinach, strawberries, almonds together. Pour as much dressing as you would like (it's sweet so start off slow).

One of the things I love about this is that if we don't eat it all (haha, rarely are there leftovers, but IF there are) it holds well and it just as yummy the next day!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tip: Baking Bacon

You don't have to turn it or deal with spatters.

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet or baking pan with sides with heavy-duty foil. Arrange the bacon on the pan, side-by side, being sure not to overlap the pieces.

Bake the bacon for 10-17 minutes for thin-cut, or until desired doneness (is that a word?). Carefully remove from the oven, drain on paper towels, and use.

*You can also do this on a broiler pan (which is one of the few kitchen items I don't happen to own) and let the pan catch the grease itself.

Others have said using an oven-safe cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet works well too.

**For an added yummiliciousness (yeah I totally made that up) brush some maple syrup on bacon before baking...sooooooooooooo good!

Snack Tip: Frozen Grapes

Due to rain in our area, ants have decided our kitchen was where they would go to stay dry. Pest Control finally came today and sprayed so I will be back in the kitchen whipping up some yummy goodness.

But here's a simple snacking tip.

My kids love fruit! When I find grapes at a great price, I usually stock up. As much as my boys love fruit, sometimes they just can't eat grapes fast enough so I wash and pull all the grapes off the stems and freeze them. They are a great snack for the kids.

My 14 year old just told me that he shared that idea with some of his friends and they looked at him like he was crazy.

So I'll just tell you like he told them. TRY IT!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tater Tot Casserole

ALL of the boys in my family really enjoy Tater Tot Casserole. I have to admit it's not my favorite but I'll eat it. We cook it at home and when we go camping in our dutch oven. Tater Tot casserole is pretty versatile and so you can adjust it to your likes. I'm sharing the standard, easy recipe but you can swap out the soups, cheeses and veggies. Most kids love it.

Tator Tot Casserole

1 lb. or more hamburger

1 can green beans, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups of Cheddar Cheese (reserving about a quarter cup)
1/3 of pkg. tater tots

Brown the hamburger. Put in casserole or pan in the order given. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 375 degrees for about 50-60 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese after pulling out of oven.

We know a fellow Scouting family who loves to make a Chicken Tatertot Casserole in the dutch oven when camping out. It is so good! Here is a recipe for the oven but you can surely adjust for the dutch oven.

2 lb. tater tots
4 c. chicken or turkey, cut up
1/2 lb. American cheese
6 tbsp. flour
3 c. milk
6 tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 c. minced onion
1 chicken bouillon cube

Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan. Put a layer of tater tots on bottom. Add layer of chicken, then top with grated cheese. Make a sauce of remaining ingredients by cooking flour, butter and milk together. When thick, add soup, onion and bouillon. Pour over contents in casserole. Bake 40 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cake Mix Cookies

(White Cake Mix with Sprinkles)

I first heard of Cake Mix Cookies back when Daniel was a baby and we were on WIC. Each month they would give out recipe cards and this was one of them, I still have it in my recipe box. These cookies are so easy and so yummy. They even have them in the Bear Scout book as a recipe for the boy to make. These cookies come out so soft, chewy and so good. Whenever we take them anywhere, they are always a hit with few crumbs left behind.

You can use whatever kind of cake mix and add-ins you like. Some of our favorite combinations are Devil's Food with mint chips, White Cake with sprinkles, Red Velvet with Cream Cheese frosting, Chocolate with toffee chips. Oh yeah, the possibilities are endless!

Cake Mix Cookies

1 package of cake mix (any flavor)
1 large egg
1/4 cup of oil
1/4 cup of water
1 cup of chopped nuts, raisins, oatmeal, coconut, chocolate chips, M&M'S® etc. (anything you like in cookies)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine cake mix, egg, oil, and water. Beat until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredient(s).

Drop by teaspoon about 1 inch apart onto greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or until done.

My oldest son made Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies tonight

My youngest was the taste tester

The thumbs up!!

This one is about to go in my mouth!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Monte Cristo Sandwiches

We pulled this recipe out of our Pampered Chef Casual Cooking cookbook! It's yummy and versatile. You can have it for breakfast or you can serve it for dinner like we did. We paired it with a Spinach and Strawberry Salad and it was a big HIT!

*We doubled the recipe because I have boys who seem to never fill up! The recipe below is the original recipe which makes 4 sandwiches.*

2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
8 slices (1/2 inch thick) Italian bread
8 slices (1/2 oz each) Swiss cheese
6 ounces thinly sliced deli ham or turkey (or both like we did!)
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
Powdered sugar (optional, unless you live in my house)
1/2 cup strawberry preserves

1. In shallow bowl combine eggs and milk, whisk until smooth. Dip one side of 4 bread slices in egg mixture. Place egg side down on a plate or cutting board (a large cutting board works best).

2. For each sandwich, place 1 cheese slice on bread. Top with 1 1/2 ounces ham (or turkey or both) and additional cheese slice. Dip one side of remaining bread slices in egg mixture; top sandwiches, egg side up.

3. Melt butter in a pan or a griddle over medium heat. Cook sandwiches about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. To serve, sprinkle sandwiches with powdered sugar, if desired and serve with strawberry preserves for dipping.

YUM! Enjoy!

Armed Forces Day: Patriotic Drink

Today is Armed Forces Day. Check out my family blog if you want to know the history behind it.

We decided to have a patriotic drink to celebrate! I found this in a Family Fun magazine years ago.

You'll need:

Cranberry juice
Blue Gatorade
Lemon-lime soda

  1. Fill a clear glass with ice cubes. Pour the drink with the most sugar (check the nutrition label) into the glass. For our red, white, and blue recipe, start with the cranberry juice.
  2. Very slowly add a beverage that contains less sugar -- in this case, Frost Glacier Freeze flavor Gatorade. Be careful to pour it onto an ice cube -- not directly into the other drink -- to keep them from mixing.

  3. Use the same technique to add a layer of lemon-lime soda (many people use Diet for this but I can't stand the taste of diet and the regular works just as well).

Enjoy and be sure to toast our amazing men and women who serve our nation willingly!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Michael's Pepperoni Pizzadillies

Michael likes to snack..snack..and snack so this was a great dish for him to choose. We pulled it out of our Pampered Chef Casual Cooking cookbook.
4 large flour tortillas
8 oz Italian blend cheese
1 tsp oregano
30 slices pepperoni
1 tomato chopped
mixed veggies (green peppers, onion, olives, mushrooms, etc) we used olives and mushrooms
1/2 cup warm marinara sauce

In small bowl, mix cheese with oregano. Place on tortilla on a flat surface. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese mixture on tortilla. Top with half the pepperoni, sprinkle some of the mixed veggies. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup of cheese mixture and place another tortilla on top. Heat a griddle or large frying pan, spray with non-stick cooking spray. When pan is heated, place tortillas on the pan, heat until cheese is starting to melt and outside of tortilla starts to brown. Flip over and heat until all cheese is melted and both sides are toasted. Serve with warm marinara sauce. Ingredients make two Pepperoni Pizzadillies!

Doesn't he look like a true chef, hahaPreparing to serve.
Both brothers give the thumbs up!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Neil's Saucepan Spaghetti

All three of my boys love to be in the kitchen but I think Neil is the real budding chef. He is always wanting to help out to feed our family.

This is one of his meals he enjoys making for our family.

Saucepan Spaghetti
Better Homes and Garden New Junior Cookbook 1989 Edition

1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
2 1/2 cups water
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried basic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 oz Spaghetti

Grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Brown meat, drain when finished.
2. In 3 quart saucepan add meat, water, tomato sauce, onion, oregano, basil, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Turn burner on high and let mixture bubble. When bubbly break the spaghetti in half, add to saucepan. Turn the burner to low and let simmer about 30 minutes. Stir the spaghetti often.
3. When spaghetti is done, serve with Parmesan cheese and garlic bread.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Daniel's Lickety Split Lasagna

My kids love to help out in the kitchen. Daniel especially loves to cook. Here is his recipe he picked out from our Better Homes and Gardens New Junior Cookbook, 1997 Edition.

Lickety Split Lasagna

1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
1 can spaghetti sauce
lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (optional)...(unless you live in our house)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees!
1. Brown your ground beef, drain and put back in your skillet.
2. Put one cup of your spaghetti sauce in bottom of your pan
3. Add remaining spaghetti sauce to your meat and stir until hot.
4. Place 3 lasagna noodles on top of spaghetti sauce that is on bottom of pan.
5. Scoop 1/3 of meat mixture onto noodles
6. Spread 3/4 cup of cottage cheese on top of meat mixture
7. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese on cottage cheese.

8. REPEAT steps 4, 5, 6, 7

9. REPEAT steps 4 & 5, finishing this top layer with the rest of your mozzarella cheese.
10. Cover your baking dish with foil.
11. Bake in oven for 1 hour.
12. Clean up utensils used while waiting for lasagna to bake.
Take lasagna out of the oven and let sit for 15 minutes with foil still on. Throw in garlic bread while lasagna rests.Dinner is served!

Punch Bowl Cake

I first had this cake over 14 years ago. It was my first Christmas in the Army and my first away from home so I was kind of sad. One of the girls in my section (JC) invited Kevin and I over to her house for Christmas dinner. She had this cake in an actual punch bowl (hence the name) and I was hooked! We've been making it ever since and it is SO simple!

You start by baking a yellow cake according to the box (or your own recipe if you are so inclined!). When cooled down a bit, throw pieces of cake into the bottom of a large bowl. (I don't use a punch bowl, I use my large Tupperware Thatsa Bowl (how is that for a shout out, haha).

Next add one large box of already made Instant Vanilla Pudding (bear with me, I'm a horrible recipe writer, haha...make this while your cake is baking so it will be set, but even if you forget, it's okay, it only takes instant pudding 5 minutes to set)

Next add one small can of crushed pineapple, drained.
Add one can of Cherry Pie filling
Spread softened Cool Whip on top.
You can sprinkle sliced maraschino cherries and chopped walnuts on top to garnish but I rarely do, we don't appreciate all that, so I don't bother.

What I love about this is you can change it up. I've made it with Devil's Food Cake, chocolate pudding and strawberries. You can use whatever makes you happy!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hawaiian Haystacks

I'm not going to lie, I never make Hawaiian Haystacks the same way. The fun thing about Hawaiian Haystacks is that they are fun, yup, just fun. I will bold the main ingredients. The rest you do as you want.

1 chicken (I use whatever chicken I have in my freezer, sometimes I have chicken breasts, whole fryers, chicken thighs, etc.; use what makes you happy)
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tsp. oregano
1 carrot (chopped, diced, shredded; again, whatever makes you happy, today I cut mine in big chunks)
1 c. broth (make sure you only add a little at a time to make up the consistency you like)
1 large can cream of chicken soup
Rice, cooked (I cheat, I use a rice cooker, I love it!!!!!!)

Cheese, shredded
Chunk pineapple
Chinese noodles
Baby Corn
Green/Red/Yellow Peppers
Mandarin Oranges
Soy sauce
Boil chicken with garlic, parsley, oregano, salt, and carrot until tender. Debone chicken if you used chicken with bones. Now you decide if you want to shred, dice, chop your chicken, whatever texture you like.
Mix chicken, broth (from boiled chicken (I strain mine) or you can use chicken stock/broth from a can), and soup. Heat thoroughly, I often put mine in a crock-pot on low for an afternoon. But it can be done just as easily on the stove.

On plate layer rice and whatever *toppings* you choose, (this is the fun part!), I added a list of suggested toppings but you can put whatever you like. Enjoy!

And just to show you the fun of this meal, I am posting pics of all our versions of our Haystacks from dinner tonight.

My husband's and mine, he likes everything, I like mine simple

Son 1, Son 2, Son 3 (one day he decided he didn't like the gravy, so now he eats his deconstructed...yup, learned that term on Top Chef)

"Treat" (Ranch Treat Mix)

I first had this mix while visiting my mother-in-law for Christmas in 1999. Her roommate Crystal made it for us and we immediately loved it and HAD to have the recipe. Since then, we have made it often. Michael and Neil used to just call it "treat" and so the name has stuck over the years. Daniel quite enjoys it as well. I used to send bags of it with Kevin out to the field and him and his Soldiers would devour it. In case you can't tell, it's a favorite in our home.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

1 - 12 oz box of Crispix Cereal
1 - 13.7 oz box of Cheez-It crackers
2- 9 oz bags of Oyster crackers
2 - 6.6 oz bags of Pizza flavored Goldfish crackers
1 -16 oz. bottle of Popcorn flavoring oil
1 - pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (or 2 Tbsp)

*The fun thing about this recipe you can add as much of what you want, if you want more cereal and less crackers. Or you can add pretzels, peanuts, different cereals/crackers, etc,; it's all about what YOU like!*

-Combine all the cereal and crackers in a large bowl. I usually have to use my two big Thatsa Tupperware bowls to combine and mix. You don't want to fill your bowl too full because you will need to be able to mix it up in a minute.

-Mix popcorn oil and ranch dressing mix together in a microwave safe bowl, heat in microwave for 45 seconds.

- Pour popcorn oil over cereal/cracker mixture being sure to coat evenly. I use my hands to toss it all together, it's just easier.

-After combined, spread mixture in an even layer on a baking sheet. Be sure not to crowd, you want a nice toast on all the pieces. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, mixing halfway through. I have fairly large baking sheets and it takes 4 sheets to toast all of the mix baking 2 at a time. (I trade racks after I mix at the halfway point).
Store in an air-tight container and enjoy!

That small snack size container is what I used to give my kids "treat" in, they have since outgrown it, *sigh*.