Thursday, December 30, 2010

Turkey and Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

Turkey was on sale this week so I decided to make lasagna roll ups.  Don't let the list of ingredients fool you.  Meat, pasta, cheese, sauce.  That is all you need.  I think that the entire prep to eat took less than an hour.

Turkey & Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups:

1 package of ground turkey
1 package of creamed spinach
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8-12 lasagna noodles, cooked until al dente
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion flakes
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Heat a skillet with a little bit of olive oil in the bottom.  While it is heating mix the ground turkey and all of the spices together.  Add the turkey to the skillet and brown.

In a bowl, mix together the spinach, 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, and the grated cheese.  Add the ground turkey after it has browned, drain the turkey if needed, and mix together.

Take the cooked lasagna noodles and cut them in half, short ways.  Take one of the noodle halves, spoon the mixture onto it, and roll the noodle around.


Place the rolled noodles into a baking dish that has 1/4 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom. 

When the pan is full top with the rest of the tomato sauce and sprinkle with more shredded cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the cheese on the top is nice and golden.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Potatoes au Gratin

When you add cheese to potatoes (and why wouldn't you?) you end up with potatoes au gratin.  This recipe is amazing.  This dish has quickly made it to the top of the potato list.

Potatoes au Gratin:
(Pioneer Woman)

4 whole Russet Potatoes, Scrubbed Clean
2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
1-½ cup Heavy Cream
½ cups Whole Milk
2 Tablespoons Flour
4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
1 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Freshly Grated
8 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled *optional

Preparation Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Smear softened butter all over the bottom of a baking dish.
Slice potatoes, then cut slices into fourths.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish.

Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes.  Repeat this two more times, ending with the cream mixture.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and really bubbling. Add grated cheese to the top of the potatoes and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip

I don't know where I first found this dip recipe.  I think everyone in my social circle has had this dip at some point in their lives.  It's fantastic and really easy to make.

This has become my go to dish when someone tells me to bring something for a party.

Buffalo Chicken Dip:
(Frank's Red Hot)

1 8-oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup buffalo sauce
2 cans chicken breast, drained

Mix softened cream cheese, shredded cheese, ranch dressing, and buffalo sauce.

Add 2 drained cans of white chunk chicken, mix it all in, and add more shredded cheese on top.

Stick it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or put it in the crock pot.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

I love peanut butter cookies.  I also love peanut butter cups.  When my mom was a teacher she would make these for her students.  They are awesome, I'd say that they're in my top 3 for cookies. I think they might be  Mr. T's favorite.

Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies:
(adapted from Paula Deen)

1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Small peanut butter cups


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet.

In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, 1 cup sugar replacement, the egg, and vanilla, and stir well with a spoon. Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. Take some of the unwrapped peanut butter cups and press one into each cookie ball.

Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven, and cool slightly before removing from pan.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I was a kid my mom would make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for catering events.  Most of the time my sister and I would be able to snag a couple of cookies.  When my mom was making them for something fancy she would melt milk and white chocolate to drizzle over the top.  Who can say no to that?!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies:
(Quaker Oats)

1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2  cup granulated sugar
2  eggs
1  teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
1  teaspoon baking soda
1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon salt (optional)
3  cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1  cup chocolate chips


Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.

Add oats and chocolate chips.  Mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack.

Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is one of the dishes that reminds me of my grandma.  It was always her job to make the pecan pie and she always added more pecans than the recipe called for.  After all, it's pecan pie, not goo pie.

This is pretty close to the traditional Karo syrup recipe for pie.  There are ways to change it up to fit your needs but if you want to make a classic pecan pie, start here.

Pecan Pie:(adapted from Karo Syrup)

1 cup dark corn syrup
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust **
I'm using a store bought pie crust.  It's easy and taste better than mine.**

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. 

Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.


Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meyer Lemon Cranberry Sauce

I love cranberry sauce. My grandma made it fresh every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Canned cranberry sauce was a 4-letter word in our house.  I have found out that a lot of people get overwhelmed with it and just resort back to the stuff in a can.  I promise that this is beyond easy and will take almost no time, better yet... it'll sit in the fridge fine so there is no problem with making it ahead of time.

I'm using meyer lemons in this version.  They were on sale at the grocery store and I decided to go for it.  My mom usually makes it with orange juice and zest.  My grandma left out the citrus all together.  Go nuts, try new things.

Meyer Lemon Cranberry Sauce:
(adapted from my Grandma)

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Juice from 1 Meyer Lemon
Zest from 1 Meyer lemon

In a saucepan add sugar and water.  Boil until the sugar has dissolved.  Add the lemon juice and zest.  Add cranberries and let them boil until the skins have popped.

Let them come back down to room temperature then place in an air tight container and place in fridge to finish cooling.

See?  Cranberry sauce is easy and takes almost no time.  There's no reason to get all freaked out about it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint cookies are perfect for a holiday cookie exchange.  They're small and something a little different.

Thumbprint Cookies:
(adapted from Ina Garten)

1 cup of butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces), room temperature
1/2 cup of sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 cups of flour
1 cup of chopped nuts or coconut (optional)
3/4 cup of blackberry or strawberry jam
Parchment paper


Cream the butter and sugar on high speed for about 3 minutes.

Separate the eggs. Add the yolks and vanilla extract to the butter mixture. If using nuts place the egg whites in a shallow dish on the side and whisk them until bubbly and frothy (the egg whites will be used to keep the nuts on the cookies).

Add the flour and salt. Mix until just combined. Place the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 350F.

Roll the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place the balls on parchment lined cookie sheets.

Press down with your thumb to make a small well in the center of the cookie. Do not press too hard or the cookie will fall apart. Fill with 1/2 teaspoon of jam.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly firm. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet to firm up before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

I rolled some of the cookies in coconut before I put them in the oven.  Just give them a little bit of an egg wash before you put the coconut on them so it sticks.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chocolate-Mint Cookies

It's officially holiday time! One of my favorite things during this time of year are cookie exchanges.  My mom threw one at her studio recently and I made these cookies to share.  I love the red and green "chocolate candies" that a certain company puts out at this time of year.  The mint ones are my favorite.
I love the way chocolate cookies look like with the red and green so I decided to skip the chocolate chunks and go with the candies instead.

Chocolate-Mint Cookies:
( Toll House)

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Baking Cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups mint candies

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in candies.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set but still soft.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Steamed Green Beans

I love green beans.  They are my favorite vegetables and I love them almost anyway.  When I was a kid my mom would blanch them and serve them with ranch.  Kids love anything dipped in ranch.

Now that I'm older I can appreciate them in other ways.  The other night we had steamed green beans.  They were excellent.
Since we're in the middle of the holiday season I thought that this would be an great idea for anyone looking for a last minute side.  It takes almost no time.

Steamed Green Beans:
(My Mom)

1 bag of french green beans, ends snapped
1/2 cup of chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you want a vegan version)
2-3 slices of ham, chopped (again, leave out if you want this to be vegan/vegetarian)
salt and pepper

Pour the broth into a skillet and add the ham (if using).  Add the green beans and cover.

Let the beans steam for 5-10 minutes or until tender and bright green.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drain from the liquid and serve!

Friday, November 19, 2010


I made brownies recently.  I love brownies.  I think that they are quite possibly my favorite dessert.  I like them with nuts (pecans if I have the choice).

These were really easy to make and turned out great.

Chocolate Pecan Brownies
(adapted from Ina Garten)


1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups pecans (halves)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter.

Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into squares.

These were awesome.  The pecans make it, to me at least.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Buttermilk Biscuits

I love biscuits.  There are days that I seriously crave biscuits.  I love them with jam, honey, cane syrup, and as sandwiches.  They are perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Biscuits are something that I associate with my Grandma.  She would pull up a stool to the kitchen counter and let us "help" her make them.  (I think all that we did was make a mess.)  She never used a biscuit cutter, just the rim of a juice glass.

I decided to make biscuits one morning.  I was on vacation and had some buttermilk that I needed to use up.

Buttermilk Biscuits:
(adapted from Screen Doors and Sweet Tea)

2 cups all-purpose flour (use Martha White or White Lily)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
1/4 cup buttermilk, cold

In a bowl (or food processor) combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add butter and work until the mixture is the size of peas.

Using a fork stir in the buttermilk until all of the flour is moistened.  On a floured surface knead the dough for 1 minute.  Pat into a 1/2-inch circle and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill for at least 20 minutes or overnight.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  With a biscuit cutter or other sharp edge cut the biscuits into circles.  Place on a baking sheet with the sides touching just a little.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Feel free to brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter when they are still warm.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sweet Potato Latkes

Now that it's officially "The Holidays" I decided it was time to jump right into recipes that make me think of fall.  Sweet potatoes are one of those things.  I love sweet potato casserole and candied yams but maybe this year it's time for a change.  (Or at least time to make more than one type of sweet potato)

Sweet Potato Latkes:
(National Public Radio)

1 lb sweet potatoes
2 Tablespoon ginger
2 eggs
½ cup flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder

Shred sweet potatoes and mix with ginger. Mix all other ingredients together into a batter, then mix in the shredded potatoes. Fry in 1/2 inch of oil. About 1/3 cup of batter makes one latke.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cherry Bread

Every year when it starts to cool off my mom starts making bread.  She makes both yeast breads and quick breads.  Quick breads are breads that are made without yeast.  They take almost no time to make and with a good base recipe you can make anything.  I grew up eating cherry bread, cranberry nut bread, banana nut, and pumpkin among others.  I love to take a slice, toast it, and top it with cream cheese in the morning.

I am in the process of trying to use up some buttermilk and decided to make some bread with it.  I decided on the cherry because I had a can of cherry pie filling and I will never use it to make a pie.

Cherry Bread
(adapted from Martha Stewart)

3 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 2/3 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can cherry pie filling

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 3 loaf pans with nonstick baking spray (or butter and flour them).  In a large bowl bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set mixture aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment) mix the sugars until well combined.  Add eggs and oil, mix well, scraping down sides when needed.  Take the buttermilk and add the vanilla.  Turn the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in two batches alternating with the buttermilk-vanilla mixture.  Add the can of pie filling.  Fold in with a spoon so the cherries won't break.

Divide the batter between pans.  I got three loaves when I made this.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden and until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Remove from the pan and let cool completely.  This bread freezes fantastically and makes great holiday party gifts.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cubed Steak Sandwhich

I grew up eating cubed steak quite a bit.  My mom would always toss them in a little bit of flour, cook them in a cast-iron skillet, and serve them with rice and veggies.  I found this recipe from The Pioneer Woman and I decided to make it for my mom's workshop.  I tweaked it a little bit.

Cubed Steak Sandwich:
(adapted from Pioneer Woman)

1 whole Large (or 2 Small) Onions
1 container of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 sticks Butter
2 pounds (to 3 Pounds) Cube Steak
Lawry's Seasoned Salt (I used store brand, because I'm cheap)
½ cup (approximately) Worcestershire Sauce
Tabasco Sauce, To Taste
4 whole French/deli Rolls

Slice onions and cook in 1/4 stick butter until soft and light brown. Remove and set aside.


Slice cube steak against the grain. Season with seasoning salt.  

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter over high heat (in same skillet) until melted and beginning to brown. 


Add meat in single layer. Cook one side until brown, then flip and cook until brown, about a minute on both sides.

Add 1/2 cup of Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and 2 tablespoons butter. Add cooked mushrooms and onions. Stir to combine.

Slice the deli rolls in half and toast in the oven. Place the meat, onions, and mushrooms on top of the rolls.  Make sure that you pour the gravy on top of the meat.  

These really are good.  Mr. T is looking forward to eating these again.  I feel like there would be a lot of ways to change this up depending on what your family likes.  I added the mushrooms but I also think bell peppers would make a good addition.

Someone try it out and let me know.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Day Before Halloween!  I thought this would be a good recipe in case anyone was still looking for ideas for Halloween snacks.

I used this frosting to top my Pumpkin Cupcakes.  According to Mr. T it's what made the cupcakes.  It's pretty basic but sometimes that's all you need.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
(adapted from Baked)

3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp freshly ground cinnamon

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth with no visible lumps. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.

Add the powdered sugar, syrup, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add cinnamon.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Crock-Pot Chili

I love chili, Mr. T loves it more.  To me nothing says fall more than chili.  It's the perfect thing to eat when the air starts to get cold.  (of course cold is relative depending on where you are)

There are different styles of chili depending on the part of the country you are.  I was raised on chili with tomatoes, ground meat, and beans.  Topped with sour cream, cheese, and red onion if you like.  It's a little thicker.  Everyone likes eating their chili a different way, because of this I tend to set up a "Chili Bar" so everyone can just go through the line and pick the toppings that they want.

Crock Pot Chili:
(Inspired from the Publix Chili Seasoning packet)

1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
2 cans pinto beans (or kidney beans)
1 seasoning mix packet
2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce

Brown ground beef or turkey in a skillet.  Add worchestershire sauce and seasoning packet and mix, making sure that all of the meat is covered in spice.

In the crock pot add the cans of beans and tomatoes (undrained).

Add the meat to the pot, stir to combine, and let cook for a couple of hours.

As I said I love to set up a chili bar so everyone can make their chili how they like it.

Here's what I add:
red onion
bell peppers
sour cream
corn chips
fresh tomatoes
chopped jalapenos