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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Easy Red Chili Sauce

I've had a lot of people ask me for a red chili sauce, here is a simple one I use for lots of different recipes. I buy most of my stuff online at Mexgrocer.com because I live in an area that doesn't have these chili's readily available! I've linked the chile to that site so you know what I'm talking about! Enjoy!

Red Chili Sauce

For a mild sauce, use more California and less New Mexico chilies: For a spicier sauce, use less California and more New Mexico chilies.


Remove the stems from the chilies (not the seeds) and place in a sauce pan with 2 quarts of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Place the chili and water mixture in a blender and liquefy. Pour through a strainer and push through with a rubber spatula. Put the residue back into the blender with one quart of broth (you can use any kind of broth you like but you might want it to match up with the protein you will be serving the sauce with, so chicken, pork or broth - homemade is always best!). Liquefy and repeat straining again.

Pour the chili into a sauce pan and add onion, garlic and cumin. Simmer over low heat for ½ hour. Chili will become darker. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sweet Potato Bake

Growing up, my mom always made the marshmallow covered sweet potatoes. I never ate them (unless you consider picking off the toasted marshmallows, eating them). I don't like my sweet potatoes, overly sweet. Since I didn't eat them, I continued making them the way I saw my mom make them when I got married. Kevin enjoyed them. Quite a few years ago, I stumbled across this recipe in one of my Taste of Home magazines and it has been a staple on our table every Thanksgiving and Christmas ever since. Everyone loves it and I've been known to sample a spoonful every now and again.

Sweet Potato Bake
3 cups cold mashed sweet potatoes (prepared without milk or butter)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold butter or margarine

In a mixing bowl, beat sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, butter, eggs, salt and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a greased 2 qt baking dish. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, pecans and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over potato mixture. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Creamy Corn Dip

*Maybe one day blogger will let me upload pics again*

One of the ladies that works at the building I do most of my volunteer work at shared this recipe with us. I was apprehensive at first because it didn't look like much and I'm not a big fan of sour cream but I really enjoyed this.

I had my 13 year old whip this up the other day and my family LOVES it. In fact they were disappointed when the bowl ended up empty.

Creamy Corn Dip

1 cup sour cream
1 can Rotel
1 cup mayo
1 can fiesta/mexicorn, drained
2 cups cheese (whatever flavor makes you happy)
chopped green onions

Thursday, November 3, 2011

White Bean Chili

White Bean Chili (Paula Deen's Recipe)


  • 1 pound dried navy beans
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green chiles (fresh or canned)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
  • *I added additional chicken broth because I like a little more liquid, I added about 3/4 cup but you could play with that.


Rinse beans well, cover with cool water, and soak for 2 hours. Drain. Put the beans in large pot with the chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat.

In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and chiles and saute for 5 minutes. Add chile mixture to pot with beans. Add the chicken, cumin, oregano, pepper, white pepper, red pepper flakes, and cilantro. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 1 1/2 hours. Serve with cornbread, if desired.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crockpot Beef Stew

Our weather is starting to change and it's beginning to get a bit chilly. I LOVE my crockpot during the fall/winter seasons. Today we had a church get together where we all met for dinner first and then cleaned our building. Everyone had to bring a pot of soup. I decided to make beef stew and oh man, I am pretty proud of this, it was DELICIOUS! I say was because sadly, none made it home with us.

Crockpot Beef Stew

2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch squares
1-2 lbs of carrots (use whatever you have, baby carrots or regular carrots)
3-4 potatoes, cut into chunks
2 onions, cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups drained, diced tomatoes (I used some of my tomatoes I canned!)
2 cups beef broth (I ended up using more but I'll tell you why later)
2 celery stalks, diced
3-4 Tablespoons quick-cooking Tapioca (I love using tapioca as a thickening agent in stews)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3-4 bay leaves

Combine all the ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

*I like a thicker broth in my beef stew so I added one packet of McCormick Beef Stew Seasoning this go round but you don't need it, your stew will still be great without it, even without tons of additional seasoning! Because I added this seasoning mix, I used a little more beef broth so it wouldn't be too thick.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chipolte Chicken Drumsticks/Drummettes

Not sure why blogger insists on rotating my picture.

My sweet 10 year old was flipping through some of my cookbooks and came across this recipe for chicken. All my boys like a little spice in their food and I think he thought this would be spicy. Chipolte Peppers are not spicy in the heat department but offer a wonderful smoky flavor. He was a little disappointed these didn't have much heat but enjoyed them overall. I'm not sure what was wrong with my reading skills because for some reason I thought it said drumsticks so that's what I bought. They still had a wonderful flavor, they probably just didn't have as much sauce pooling around them. We'll definitely be making these again.
Please ignore my applesauce that is in this pic, I did not put applesauce in the recipe...but it was a busy day in the kitchen!

Chipolte Chicken Drumsticks/Drummettes

2 (16 oz) pkg chicken wing drummettes (I used a large pack of drumsticks that had 14 in it)
3/4 cup chili sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped chipolte chiles in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
2 garlic gloves, minced

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange chicken in single layer on sheet.

In small microwave-safe bowl, combine all remaining ingredients; mix well. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved, stirring once halfway through cooking. Pour sauce over drummettes to cover.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn chicken over; bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until chicken are glazed, fork tender and no longer pink next to bone.

Cauliflower Fritters

I had a head of cauliflower to use up and while I could have just chopped it and served it to my kids as is with some ranch, I decided to experiment and hit up my search engine. I found a recipe at this site.

I gotta say it was quite delicious!

Cauliflower Fritters
  • 4 cups steamed cauliflower (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, flour, garlic, eggs, grated cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Add water so that batter becomes slightly more dense than pancake batter.

On medium-low heat, add 1 tbsp of oil in a 10 inch skillet coating bottom of the pan. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to form fritters. You can fit 4 fritters at a time. Cook until golden brown, turn and cook another few minutes. Add a little more oil to the pan, and repeat with the remaining batter.

Makes 24 fritters.

It would seem this was a weight watcher recipe but my kids aren't on weight watchers and they like dipping their food. We tried these fritters with different sauces and decided this one I just threw together was our favorite!

5 oz cream cheese
Ranch powder mix to taste
1 Tablespoon mayo
1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper (or however much you want according to how much heat you like).

Mix it all together!


To make applesauce - peel and wedge the apples (after rinsing). To make the softening part easier, you can chop even further. Cook the apples in about 1/2 inch of water in a sturdy pot on the stove. Once they are softened, you may want to get rid of the excess water (but that is personal preference, if you like thick applesauce, drain it, if you like thinner, keep the water). Whether you pour off excess water or not, you can either put the soft cooked apples through a sieve, or simply stir them vigorously in the pot to mush them up! A food mill or strainer helps a lot, but you can do it by hand through a colander, metal sieve or mash them up with a potato masher, a whisk or even a stand mixer or hand mixer. If you are doing a small batch, it's not hard. If you have bushels of apples then you might need the sieve or mixer of some type. You can also put them into the food processor or blender to whip them into a smooth puree! After it is mashed up to the consistency you like, you can season with cinnamon or use as is. Test your applesauce before adding sugar, you may not need to add additional sugar. If it isn't sweet enough for your taste, add sugar.

If you make a large amount of applesauce, you can freeze or can it. Otherwise it will be good in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Old Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Old Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheets.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle glaze over cookies.

combine 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla in small bowl until smooth.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Applesauce Cookies

I have an FRG bake sale today. I wanted to take something different but delicious. Yesterday I spent a good part of the morning making homemade applesauce so I went in search of recipes using applesauce and came across this one. I've already made them this morning and they are AWESOME! (I feel very accomplished by the way, it's only 6:43 a.m. here and I've already baked cookies!) As you will be able to see I did not edit the pictures in any way so they are dark and poor quality...that's the reality of point and shoot digital camera!

Applesauce Cookies
(recipe found online here)

This cookies recipe calls for a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour for a more wholesome cookie but you can use all all-purpose or all whole wheat if you prefer. To make these extra special, spread the tops of them with the brown butter icing recipe provided.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (I used some of my homemade applesauce...it's the little things that make me happy)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F degrees. Use an ungreased cookie sheet to bake your cookies.
  2. In a medium size bowl whisk the flours, spices, baking soda, and salt until well blended and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
  4. Beat in the egg and applesauce then stir in the flour mixture until just combined.
  5. Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake until no indentation remains when touched and light golden brown around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack with a spatula.
  7. Ice cookies if desired. (I did not ice cookies today because I am putting the cookies in plastic baggies for the bake sale. Icing + baggie = big mess!)

Recipe source: Betty Crocker's Cookie Book (1985)

Icing for Applesauce Cookies

In a small saucepan heat 1/4 cup butter over medium heat until the butter turns a light golden brown. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 cups confectioners sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk until smooth and desired consistency is achieved. Ice cool applesauce cookies.

Banana Bread Cookies

Last year sometime I found myself with an abundance of over-ripe bananas. I didn't want to throw them away and while I will freeze many things I do not like freezing over-ripe bananas...I'm just weird that way. So I did what I always do and went on a search for banana recipes. I came across this recipe and it has been a hit ever since! My family loves these cookies (when I share, which I will not be doing today since these are headed to a bake sale!)

Banana Bread Cookies

(Recipe originally found here)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1 cup butter, softened
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (if you are really cool, I'll use my Mexican vanilla but this is just for a bake sale so extract it is!)
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 3 ripe bananas, mashed
* 2 cups rolled oats
* 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I really just use whatever chocolate chips I have, which happened to be milk chocolate yesterday)
(Don't those bananas look gross? But when they look like that, they make the best banana bread and the best banana bread cookies! Some people freeze them when they look like this until they are ready to use them but black bananas in my freezer gross me out!)
In the bowl of your mixer cream together the butter and sugars until creamy.
Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. (Random fact: Growing up, I always wanted stainless steel bowls like I saw on the cooking shows. I always thought that to be a real cook/baker you had to have stainless steel bowls, so one of the first things I bought when I got married was a set of stainless steel bowls. I don't feel like I'm really baking if I'm not mixing it up in the steel bowls!)

Add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
Mix in the mashed bananas, oats, and chocolate chips until well incorporated. Drop by rounded spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Easy Pickles

This is a simple recipe for making your own pickles out of pickling cucumbers. I suggest trying out a small recipe to make sure you like the flavors and then increasing the recipe. Our family really enjoys these. If you have ever had Claussen pickles then you will like these pickles.
4 cucumbers -pickling cucumbers really work best (soaking them in ice water for about 2 hours will help them to be crisp)
3 cups water
1 cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp pickling salt
Peppercorns - to taste
Red pepper flakes - to taste depending on how much heat you want.
2 garlic cloves (I like to mince mine but you can leave them whole)
2-3 dill sprigs (dry dill weed works too)
Bring the brine to a boil at the same time that you are boiling the jars.
Wash the jars and lids with soap and hot water. Boil the jars for 10 minutes.
Cut the cucumbers in spears and place in the boiled jars. Pour the brine over the top, covering by an inch or so. Add 2 garlic cloves and 2-3 dill sprigs per jar. Put on lids, tighten and boil for another 15 minutes. (The water should still be boiling from the previous step)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fresh Spaghetti Sauce

I got some fabulous Amish tomatoes and fresh herbs (oregano, basil & thyme) in my Harvest Box this week and decided to make some Spaghetti Sauce. I am going to walk you through the steps versus telling you measurements because the fun thing about homemade spaghetti sauce is that it's all about what you like and the flavors you like. This will hopefully give you some type of basis to start your own flavor profiles for a really great sauce.

I had about 10 or 12 tomatoes (I kept meaning to count but I have kids who feel the need to talk to me when I'm trying to do something...I know that NEVER happens to anyone else!)

I rinsed the tomatoes then cut a small "x" in the bottom. This will help you peel them later (trust me on this).Drop them into a pot of already boiling water for about a minute.
Then put them in a bowl of ice water (not sure what happened to that picture!)

As you can see in the picture below, you have a nice start for when you peel your tomatoes. I actually just pulled them off by hand, didn't even need a knife!Now this step may or may not be necessary for you, if you like a more chunky sauce and plan on simmering for a long time (3-4 hours) then you don't need to puree in a blender or food processor. My kids do not enjoy big tomato chunks and I was planning on only simmering for an hour so I put the peeled tomatoes in a blender.
Next I put a couple tablespoons of olive oil in my heated pot, adding in garlic...this is probably my favorite step, I just love the smell of garlic heating up!After the garlic got nice and toasted and the air smelled amazing, I added in some green pepper and onion (remember what I said about the kids not liking chunky, that's why my stuff looks like mush, I put it in the food processor for a bit). This is when I added in my fresh herbs...oregano, basil and thyme. Oh yeah, the air was smelling even more amazing as the flavors were being pulled from the fresh herbs!
I added my tomato puree to the sauteed vegetables and then added about a tablespoon of sugar, and some salt and pepper. If you want your sauce to be a little thicker you can add a can of tomato paste. I did add some tomato paste and for a little heat I also added a shake of Hot Shot which is a red/black pepper blend.
We served it over some wonderful parsley flavored noodles we also got with our Harvest Box...

Hot Pepper Mustard/Butter

For my inaugaral canning experience I found this wonderful recipe that would help me use up the banana peppers that were feeling sad in my veggie basket. We had eaten plenty but the kids didn't want them anymore and I didn't want them to go to waste. When researching banana pepper recipes I found this one on three different websites so I figured it must be good. It is a hit with the family and it was super easy to make. I ended up using a mixture of peppers but the flavor is quite delicious and the color is beautiful! If you are wondering why I called it mustard/butter it's because the same recipe had two different names. You can call it whatever makes you happy!

The color of the butter will vary, depending on the peppers, from a green/yellow to an orange. This is okay. It looks much nicer if you seed the peppers.

I actually cut this recipe into a third.

Hot Pepper Mustard/Butter
36 hot banana peppers (or whatever you have, you will see in my pic that I used a combination of peppers)
1 quart cider vinegar
1 quart prepared mustard (yes, you have to use mustard to make mustard, interesting concept...no?)
6 cups sugar
1 cup flour


Grind peppers finely (I put in food processor until they are a mush).
As you can see I left a bit of texture in it so it's not complete mush
Place peppers, vinegar, mustard & sugar in a large pot & cook a while (until pepper bits are translucent). Add flour (that has been thinned to a smooth paste with cold water) to mixture in pot, stirring constantly. Cook until thick and smooth.

Pour into hot jars,

seal, boiling water bath fifteen minutes.

And ta-da my first ever canning jars...hearing that wonderful "ping" was magnificent!

The husband and the boys have already planned what they are going to eat this with..pretzels, bratwursts, sandwiches and hot dogs!

Zucchini Pickles

We continue to enjoy our fresh vegetables from our local Farmer's Market and I am enjoying trying this canning business. Although this recipe isn't really a canning recipe because it makes a small amount and you put it right in the refrigerator I still feel quite accomplished. These pickles will have a mustard flavor because of the mustard seeds but they are quite tasty. Enjoy!

makes about 2 pints.

1 pound zucchini squash, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons pickling salt

2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Not sure where the onion was in this picture but you need an onion!

1. Place the zucchini and onions slices in the large bowl, add the salt, and toss to distribute.

Add a few cubes of ice and enough cold water to cover. Stir to dissolve the salt, and allow to soak for about 1 hour.

2. After the 1 hour soak, taste and feel a piece of the zucchini. It should be softened and taste faintly salty. Drain well,

and spin a few handfuls at a time

in a salad spinner, or drain on towels.

3. Combine the vinegar, sugar, dry mustard, mustard seeds, and turmeric in the small saucepan and simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool until just warm to the touch.

The brine should not be too warm, or it will cook the vegetables and make them soft.

4. Pack the zucchini and onions into the two pint jars,

then ladle the brine over the vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for at least one day before serving. Will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely.