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, January 20, 2012

Perfect French Fries by Pioneer Woman

So for this week's Pinterest Challenge over at Bohemian Transplant's blog, I have decided to do another recipe! Over Christmas, we ventured to Bass Pro Shop and somehow walked out with a french fry cutter (and another dutch oven). Our 10 year old has been asking almost daily for french fries so I decided to go ahead and make them for him. This recipe was a little time consuming and yes, a big fattening when you consider you're frying the potatoes in oil, but they were oh so good and oh so worth it!

I found the recipe over at Pioneer Women's blog...(I have yet to be disappointed in any of her recipes!).

Perfect French Fries


  • 5 pounds Russet Potatoes
  • Vegetable Or Peanut Oil For Frying
  • Sea Salt

Preparation Instructions

IMPORTANT: Please be careful when frying with hot oil. Keep the pot on the backburner so little kiddos won't get hurt.

In a nutshell, here it is: Soak potatoes, dry potatoes, fry potatoes, drain potatoes, then fry again!

Peel and rinse the potatoes, then cut them into sticks by cutting the potato in four or five vertical pieces, then cutting each piece into sticks. Place them in a large bowl and cover with cold water, then allow them to soak for two or three hours. (You can also stick them in the fridge and let them soak for several hours or overnight.)

When you're ready to make the fries, drain off the water and lay them on two baking sheet lined with paper towels. Blot them with paper towels to dry them.

Heat a few inches of oil in a heavy pot to 300 degrees. In 3 or 4 batches, cook the potatoes for about 4 to 5 minutes per batch, or until the potatoes are soft. They should not be brown at all at this point! You just want to start the cooking process. Remove each batch and drain them on new/dry paper towels.

Once all the potatoes have been fried at 300, turn up the heat until the oil reaches 400 degrees. When the oil's hot, start frying the potatoes in batches again, cooking until the fries are golden and crisp. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle fries with sea salt and dive in!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quick & Easy Chili

I'm not a big chili fan but I have done a lot of bake sales for our Family Readiness Groups and we are always doing something with chili. I had to find a simple recipe and this is a great and easy one! I found it in my McCormick cookbook. I love it's simplicity and the fact that you use very few ingredients for a great dish. And I'm willing to eat this because it's so simple. (This chili also freezes really well which is just another bonus).

I throw mine in a crockpot but you could make it on the stove top if you wanted to.

Quick & Easy Chili

1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey

1 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained (you can use whatever kind of bean you like, sometimes I use pinto beans)

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes (if you want it to be less chunky, use crushed tomatoes and leave out the tomato sauce)

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1. Cook ground beef and onion in large skillet on medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Drain fat, if needed.

2. Stir in spices and remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and chopped onion, if desired.

Homemade Hamburger Buns

I am trying hard to make more stuff from "scratch" and know what I'm putting in my families food. I do love making bread in general but I have the weakest wrists and so I dread kneading, kneading and more kneading. I cheat most times and use my bread machine to make the dough for me. My son has been wanting homemade french fries forever and when we asked the other kids what they wanted with french fries, my oldest said...Hamburgers! My husband mentioned we didn't have buns so I said...I'll make some! And here we are! These were not difficult to make at all! I made hamburger buns a couple years ago when my husband was in Iraq and I couldn't sleep (nothing like midnight adventures!). I didn't like that recipe so I did a search the other day for another one and found this one here.

These buns were awesome! The kids now want me to make them on a regular basis so they can use them to make their sandwiches for their school lunches. Can you say they are a little spoiled? Seriously, I agreed only because they were not hard to make at all.

Homemade Hamburger Buns
Makes 8 buns

1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
1/2 cup (4 oz) warm water
1/2 cup (4 oz) milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter

In the bowl of a standing mixer (or a large bowl, if mixing by hand), stir the yeast into the warm water and let it sit until dissolved.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Add all the flour and stir until it forms a shaggy dough. Knead at low speed, or by hand against the counter, for 10 minutes. The finished dough should be smooth, feel slightly tacky, and spring back when poked.

Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Dust your work surface with a little flour and turn out the risen dough on top. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each into a tight ball. Transfer the balls to a baking sheet and let rise until they look puffy and hamburger-sized, roughly 30-40 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.

Melt the butter and brush it over the risen hamburger buns. This helps the tops to brown and keeps the crust soft. Bake the buns until golden, 15-18 minutes.

Let the buns cool to room temperature before slicing and using. They are best if eaten within the next day or two, but will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week.

This was dinner tonight!

Additional Notes:

For Whole Wheat Buns - Substitute 1/2-1 cup of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour and prepare the recipe as usual. The texture of the buns will be a bit more dense, but still very delicious and burger-worthy.

Doubling the Recipe - Double all of the ingredients except for the yeast. To make even more buns, it's best to prepare separate batches as the dough becomes too cumbersome to work with easily.

Freeze Buns for Later - Wrap the buns in aluminum foil and then store in an air-tight container or freezer bag. Let them thaw in their packaging overnight on the counter. Foil-wrapped buns can also be thawed more quickly or re-warmed in a 300°F oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cheeseball

This was a recipe that was quite famous when I was a part of the Enlisted Spouses Club back at Fort Knox. I think it graced the food table at every potluck we had. It was certainly a favorite. One of the members, Shannon brought it and shared the recipe with all of us. It's been a while since I've made it but decided to make it for our Scouts tonight. And since I'm making it for little boys, I decided to not roll it in a ball or add pecans. I just used my mini cookie scoop and put them in cups with the graham crackers and called it Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip!

Chocolate Chip Cheeseball
1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 c. powdered sugar
3/4 c. chocolate chips
3/4 c. finely chopped pecans
Graham Crackers

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add sugars and beat until mixed. By hand, fold in chocolate chips. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Place on a large piece of plastic wrap and form into a ball. Roll ball into pecans. Chill until served.

Serve with graham crackers.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Southern Cornbread

Last night for dinner we had Taco Soup (it's a favorite in this house). I decided to try a different recipe for our cornbread. I typically make a sweeter cornbread but I wanted to try a more "southern" style. I really enjoyed the way this came out. I had mixed reviews about from the boys. They all liked it but a couple preferred the sweeter bread. All said it went really well with the soup though. Making cornbread from scratch is not any more labor intensive than opening a box of Jiffy mix!

*I pulled this recipe from a food network magazine from a couple years ago. It's a Chef Cat Cora recipe.

Southern Cornbread

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (shake before measuring)
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and position a rack in the middle. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan.

Melt the butter in the microwave in a microwave-safe dish in three 15-second intervals on high or in a small pan on the stove. Set it aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and the eggs. Add the melted butter. Add the flour-cornmeal mixture and stir just until combined. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake until it just begins to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 23 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Easy Drop Biscuits

(Someday I will own a fancy camera that will take better food pictures than my point and shoot digital camera)

I admit I used to be a big Bisquick biscuit fan. I used to think it was just the easiest way to go when it came to making drop biscuits. Then I came across this recipe from Chef John Besh and I haven't looked back. These are very simple to make and so tasty. I whipped these biscuits up last night to make biscuits and gravy for dinner last night. Then I popped a couple of the leftover biscuits in the oven this morning and has a wonderful breakfast of biscuits with homemade apple butter. These are perfect for strawberry shortcakes (just add a little more sugar to sweeten it up a bit).

Easy Drop Biscuits
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
5 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in large mixing bowl. Using a fork or pastry blender, cut the butter into the mixture. Slowly stir in the milk and mix gently until the dough comes together.

Drop the dough onto a baking sheet by spoon fulls to make 12 biscuits. Leave enough space between each biscuit for them to expand. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits

Two cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
8 tablespoons, cold (1 stick)
3/4 cup of buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, you can take just under 1 cup of milk and add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, mix and let sit for about 15 minutes)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Cut the stick of butter into pieces, and work into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry blender until it resembles pea-sized crumbs. Add the liquid, mixing until a bit loose and sticky.
Pour dough out on a floured surface, and knead for a minute. Dough should be smooth and no longer wet. You can sprinkle more flour on the surface if you find it’s sticking.
Take dough into a ball, knead it for a few more minutes. Roll out dough until it’s 1/4 of an inch thick, and then fold it in half. Using a round cutter cut out your biscuits from folded dough.
Place on a greased baking sheet close together (so they rise up not out), and bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
Makes 10-12 biscuits.

Sausage Biscuits & Gravy

Sometimes I feel lazy and don't want to go all out for dinner. Nothing is more simple and pleasing than breakfast for dinner! Last night we had Biscuits and Gravy and everyone was happy. A friend asked me if I even made the biscuits with "cut butter" and all. The answer is yes...it's not hard to do though it might sound intimidating.

Here is a simple recipe to use as a base for your gravy. You can really use this cream gravy with anything..mashed potatoes, chicken fried steak, biscuits..whatever makes you happy!

I typically brown up some sausage to sprinkle into the gravy and then I also use the drippings from the sausage as the fat in my gravy.

Cream gravy
2 tablespoons pan drippings, (sausage drippings work best if you are making sausage biscuits and gravy, if you are making gravy for something else...vegetable oil works well)
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk (2% or higher works best to make your gravy creamier)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, we like the extra kick)

1 lb browned crumbled sausage

Salt to taste

Combine fat with flour in a hot skillet, continuously stirring, cook on medium for a couple of minutes until a dark roux is formed.

Add milk slowly to skillet, and mix with roux using a whisk. Turn heat to low and continue stirring until mixture is thickened, this takes about 2 to 3 minutes, make sure you mix out any lumps. Add sausage and then pepper and salt to taste.

Important note! Do not expect your gravy to be beautiful and white. If it's a bit darker that's okay..it will be just as tasty!

Here are a couple recipes for biscuits to use in this recipe...Buttermilk Biscuits or Easy Drop Biscuits

Friday, January 13, 2012

Brie with Fresh Raspberries & Blackberries

Yesterday while I was shopping at the commissary, I came across mini fillo shells (yes, I know it's phyllo but that's what the box says!) I thought they were cute and would make a cute, fun treat for my boys. I used one of the recipes from the box and the boys really enjoyed it.

Brie with Fresh Raspberry (and Blackberry in our case)

5 oz Brie cheese
15 Athens Mini Fillo Shells (1 box)
15 Fresh raspberries, figs or pear slices (or blackberries)

In a food processor, pulse Brie cheese (including rind) until smooth. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon of Brie into each Fillo Shell. Top with one raspberry (or whatever fruit you have). Bake in preheated oven 350 F oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve warm.

Buffalo Chicken Rolls

So thanks to my new addiction, Pinterest...I have found even MORE recipes to try. This was one of those I knew my boys would love. They have quite the affection for buffalo wings AND egg rolls, how could I go wrong? I found a picture of the egg rolls on Pinterest linked to this site. I made a few changes.

As a side note...I am participating in a Pinterest Challenge over on Bohemian Transplant's blog. You can check it out here.

Buffalo Chicken Rolls

makes 12

12 egg roll wrappers (roughly 4 square inches) - I actually used lumpia wrappers, I don't like how thick egg roll wrappers are and always use lumpia wrappers when I make egg rolls of any type.

1 cup cooked and shredded chicken (6 ounces)

1/2- 2/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1 cup crumbled blue cheese (4 ounces)

1 cup broccoli slaw or cole slaw (dry) - I used the cole slaw

Small bowl of water - I like to use a cornstarch slurry - 2 tbsp cornstarch with 1/4 water

Nonstick cooking spray

Blue cheese dressing, for serving - we also used Ranch since I can only handle so much blue cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay egg roll wrappers on a clean work surface. In a small bowl, stir chicken* (see note below) and hot sauce until well coated, using more or less sauce depending on your spice preference. The meat should be moist with sauce.

Begin by placing one tablespoon of the slaw on the diagonal of the bottom right corner of one of the wrappers. Next, place 2 tablespoons of shredded spicy chicken evenly on top of the slaw. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the blue cheese crumbles over the chicken. Do not overfill.

To fold: Fold the bottom right corner over the stuffing mixture so that it covers it completely, with the tip of the corner now pointing to the center of the egg roll wrapper. Fold in the bottom left corner, followed by the right, so that you now have formed an envelope. Roll the wrap upward one time, leaving the top left corner open. Wet your index finger in the small bowl of water and press to moisten the top left corner. Now fold that down on top of the filled roll, sealing it like you would an envelope.

Repeat with remaining rolls.

Place the rolls on a wire rack set on top of a cookie sheet (or just on a greased cookie sheet) coated with nonstick cooking spray. Spritz each roll evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the rolls crisp and turn a light golden brown.

*Note: To make the chicken, place 1/2 lb of uncooked chicken breast in a small pot and fill with enough water just to cover it. Bring to a boil on your stovetop, reduce the heat slightly, then simmer for about 12 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain and let cool before shredding with two forks, pulling against the grain of the meat.

Refrigerator Pickles

These pickles are a huge favorite in our home. My 10-year old will just pull the half gallon jar out and sit with a fork and just eat.

I found this recipe here, last summer and it's a great one!

One clean, sterilized jar and lid

One 8-10" cucumber
Small white onion cut into slices
Several sprigs of dill or 1-2 tsp dry dill (I've used both and both work well)
3-5 cloves of garlic, peeled.

Layer your jar with 3-5 cucumber slices*, a couple of onion slices, a garlic clove, and a sprig of dill. Repeat the layers, filling the jar. The goal is to get all the flavors layered in against one another.

2/3 cup of water
2/3 cup of vinegar
2/3 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of coarse salt (Kosher or sea salt both work well).

Stir to blend, and bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Pour brine over your veggies, filling up to about 1/2 inch from the top. Put lid on, and flip jar. Allow to cool, and store in the fridge.

*If you like crunchy pickles (like Claussen's) then you'll want to chill the cucumbers first in ice water for a few hours.