Sunday, December 27, 2015

Green Bean Casserole with Goat Cheese, Almonds and Paprika

For the past two weeks,  I've been using some creative techniques when cooking.  Two weeks ago, my stove top stopped working.  No parts anywhere, they had to be shipped in from overseas.  They arrived just in time for Christmas and the repairman was scheduled to install them on Christmas Eve.  Also, arriving in time for Christmas was eight inches of snow,  because of the heavy snow, the repairman couldn't  get to our house to do install the parts. 

Over the past couple of weeks, I've relied on the  microwave and the slow cooker for things I would have cooked on the stove top.  I've hard boiled eggs and made cranberry sauce in the slow cooker.  Tim and I were planning on having green bean casserole for Christmas dinner.  If you're from the Midwest, you know the one, mushroom soup and french fried onion topping.  Tim found this recipe, with a Spanish spin on the traditional green bean casserole. 

This recipes calls for a white sauce with goat cheese.  I made the white sauce in the microwave.  It was easier and turned out much better than I expected.  It was a little thick not sure if that was from cooking in the microwave or the sauce itself.  I will make this again and thin it out with a little more milk next time. 

We enjoyed this recipe, the goat cheese adds a delicious tang and the Spanish paprika a wonderful kick! 

Green Bean Casserole with Goat Cheese, Almonds and Smoked Paprika

Recipe Courtesy of Food and Wine
  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8 to 10


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 2 1/2 pounds green beans
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 5 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
  • 3/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and butter a shallow 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish. In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the green beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and cool under running water. Pat dry and thinly slice on the diagonal. Pat dry again.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, whisking constantly, until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the goat cheese. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of the pimentón.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the green beans with the sauce. Spread the mixture into the prepared casserole and sprinkle the almonds and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pimentón over the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until bubbling and the almonds are lightly browned. Let the casserole stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Christmas Magic Bars

If you celebrate, are you all ready for Christmas?  We're ready at our house.  After weeks .... months of shopping, baking and wrapping, Christmas always seems to come and go so quickly.  We need to keep the spirit all year long.

I love Magic Bars!  Okay truth be known, I love most things sweet.  Magic Bars are one of those desserts that eating one makes me want another and another!  Like most desserts I make, these didn't stay at our house.  I made a large enough batch to use half for holiday BUNCO,  half for a holiday lunch at work, leaving just a couple at home for Tim and I!

I love how this recipe takes the traditional Magic Bar recipe and dresses it up for Christmas!  The original baker also used holiday chips, sprinkles and M&M's.  I used regular chocolate chips but they still shine with holiday color.  Bet you can't eat just one!!

Christmas Magic Cookie Bars

Yield: 12 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • One 14 oz Can Of Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 & 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup Holiday or regular chocolate chips (divided into 1/2 cup portions)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I prefer walnuts)
  • 1 cup Holiday or regular M&M's (divided into 1/2 cup portions)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups flaked coconut


  1. Unwrap butter and place in 13" x 9" pan. Place pan, with butter, in the oven and turn the oven on to 350*F. Butter can melt in pan while preheating. Keep an eye on it, checking every few minutes and pulling out of the oven when butter is melted. Please be careful while preparing recipe as pan will be very hot.
  2. Crush graham crackers in a food processor to create graham cracker crumbs (or buy crumbs).
  3. When butter is melted, remove pan from oven and carefully sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the melted butter. Press in lightly with fork or back of spoon.
  4. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the crumb layer.
  5. Sprinkle 1/2 of the chocolate chips, 1/2 of the M&M's & the nuts over the sweetened condensed milk layer. Sprinkle coconut on top, followed by remaining chocolate chips & M&M's.
  6. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven. Allow bars to cool completely. Slice, give and enjoy!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Birthday Cake Truffles

Am I the only one who is finding it hard to believe it's mid December?  Crazy, where did this year go?  Besides being close to the end of the year and the holidays, the second week of December is Secret Recipe Club time! I'm excited to be rejoining Secret Recipe Club Group B!!, Thanks to Group C for a fun 2016!

For December Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Amy's Cooking Adventures, Amy says she loves to cook and bake, decorate cakes and cookies. She also says she despises housecleaning and calls her look "organized chaos". Amy, that is my kind of housecleaning. Amy's blog features a wonderful assortment of sweet and savory recipes, stop by and check it out.

For me, SRC posts are usually sweets. Tim has a food day at work every few weeks, so I'm always looking for recipes. Since, food days are usually to celebrate his coworkers birthday's, these Birthday Cake Truffles were the perfect treat. These truffles are easy to put together, even forming the balls didn't take too long. Dipping them in chocolate is a bit time consuming but I find using a fork to rest them on, helps with the process. I also added a bit of shortening to thin the chocolate just a bit, making the dipping process a little easier.These could easily be dipped in milk or dark chocolate, sprinkled with red and green sugar for holiday parties or gifting.

Birthday Cake Truffles
Recipe Courtesy of Amy's Cooking Adventures

1 Box of FunFetti Cake Mix
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
12 oz Milk, Dark or White Chocolate or Almond Bark

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix and sweetened condensed milk. Mix on low speed until combined. The batter will be very thick.Prepare a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Roll the batter into 1-inch balls and place on the waxed paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Dip each cake ball into the chocolate and place on a second cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Decorate with sprinkles. Refrigerate the candies until the chocolate is hardened. Move to desired containers and refrigerate leftovers.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pausing to Remember

Thinking of my Father today, he was a Pearl Harbor survivor.  Thank you to him and all veterans for their service to our country.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

BBQ Spaghetti Casserole

Slow Cooker pulled pork is one of my go to meals, perfect for a Monday when I know I won't feel much like cooking when I get home.  We buy the large loins when they are on sale and have the butcher cut and wrap them into smaller ones, perfect for the freezer.  Even with the smaller loins, we still have lots of leftovers.  I am always looking for recipes using the leftover pulled pork.  

This BBQ Spaghetti Casserole caught my eye on Pinterest.  I've made BBQ Spaghetti before but never with the addition of pulled pork.  This is a delicious use for leftover pork just be sure to add enough BBQ sauce or it could be a little dry.

BBQ Spaghetti Casserole
Recipe Courtesy of Spicy Southern Kitchen

  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked until al dente
  • 1 pound bbq pulled pork
  • ⅔ cup of your favorite bbq sauce
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (I omitted this)
  • ¼ cup sour cream (I used greek yogurt
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • cilantro for garnish, optional
  • additional bbq sauce for serving
  1. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine bbq sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and sour cream. Stir well.
  3. Add pasta, bbq pork, and green onions to bowl and toss to combine well.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish. Top with cheese, cover with aluminum foil. (spray foil with cooking spray so it will not stick to the cheese.) Bake for 20-30 minutes or until hot all the way through.
  5. Top with cilantro and drizzle a little additional bbq sauce on top.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Peanut Butter Truffles

November is a five Monday month, you know what that means?  We have a bonus Secret Recipe Club  post!  Whenever there's a five week month, we do a themed Secret Recipe Club reveal.  What could be more perfect for this time of year but Holiday Treats?  Yummy!  A reveal of nothing but holiday treats is the best!!

My assigned blogger is Cathleen of A Taste of Madness. As always I had fun browsing Cathleen's blog and had trouble choosing just one recipe.  I ended up choosing these amazing Peanut Butter Truffles.  They're delicious and easy to put together.  If you're looking for a food gift or something fun to take to a party, give these a try.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

What you'll need:
  • 1 1/2 cups pretzel pieces
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  1. Put the pretzels into a large resealable plastic bag and crush into small bits using a rolling pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, butter and brown sugar until fully combined. Add in the pretzel pieces and icing sugar, and mix until fully combined.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Scoop around 2 tablespoons worth of peanut butter mixture, and gently shape into a ball with your fingers. Place the ball on the prepared cookie sheet, and repeat with the remaining peanut butter mixture. Place in the freezer for around 30 minutes.
  4. Boil 5 cups of water and pour into a medium bowl.
  5. Place the chocolate chips and shortening into a smaller bowl, and place it into the bowl full of water. Mix the chocolate chips and shortening until the mixture is smooth, making sure not to let the water mix in with the chocolate mixture.
  6. Take the frozen balls out of the freezer and dip them in the chocolate mixture. Place the dipped peanut butter balls back on the waxed paper. Quickly sprinkle the peanut butter balls while the chocolate is still wet with some extra broken up pretzels.
  7. In a microwave safe bowl, melt some peanut butter. Drizzle on top of truffles, and freeze until hard." title="click to view in an external page.">An InLinkz Link-up

Sunday, November 22, 2015

New Orleans BBQ Beer Shrimp

Tim and I have been brewing our own beer for about a year.  I regret not blogging about the process. Maybe in 2016?  It can be a little time consuming and a true test of team work.  Which in our cases is never a problem as long as Tim does it my way.   Ha!  Now that we have our system down, it's a fairly smooth process.  We've made a pumpkin ale, an IPA, a Hefeweizen a Lemon Coriander Weiss and a Holiday Ale.  Besides enjoying and sharing our beers, I love cooking with them.    This bbq beer shrimp is delicious, reminds me a little of good ole spiced shrimp with a kick.  I used our Lemon Coriander Weiss in this recipe.  Any mild or pale ale will work great.  I served this on top of rice with a loaf of crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce. 

New Orleans Barbecue Beer Shrimp
Recipe Courtesy of The Beeroness
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • ½ teaspoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
  • 1 cup pale ale
  • 1 pounds raw shrimp, deveined, shell on
  • Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add the remaining ingredients (besides the shrimp), bring to a simmer.
  • Add the shrimp, cook until shrimp have turned pink. Avoid over cooking or the shrimp will be tough.
  • Serve with crust bread to mop up all that beautiful sauce. And lots of napkins.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Loaded Sweet Potato Soup - SRC

For this month's Secret Recipe Club,  I was lucky enough to be assigned Debbie of Debbie Does Dinner Healthy.  Debbie is the hostess of Group C.  Thanks for all you do to make SRC a success.  I've been following Debbie's blog since I began blogging in 2009.  She has some great healthy and low cal recipes on her site!  Stop over and check them out.

I love potato soup but never thought about making sweet potato soup.  After making this recipe, I realized I've really been missing out. This soup is so good and the great thing is, it's healthy.  I did use the bacon, not a lot, but it really adds to the flavor.  I pureed the soup with my immersion blender, next time I will be using the blender instead.  It takes a while to puree this soup and the blender would be so much easier.

I love, love, love this soup.  One of the best soups I've made in a long time.  Thanks, Debbie for an amazing recipe, one I can't wait to make again soon!!!

Loaded Sweet Potato Soup 

Recipe courtesy of Debbie Does Dinner Healthy
1 large onion, diced
1 tbsp. bacon grease or oil
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 can broth (chicken or vegetable)
7 - 8 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
Pepperjack or extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour cream
Bacon (if desired and not vegetarian)

Saute desired amount of bacon. Save bacon grease for sauteeing. 

Add onion, bacon grease, salt and pepper to hot large pan and saute until tender.  Add garlic, thyme, chili powder and cinnamon, cook for a couple of minutes.  Add sweet potatoes, broth, vinegar and about 3 cups of water.  Season with more salt and lots of pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 25 minutes.  When potatoes are tender, puree with an immersion blender or carefully add to a food processor.

Garnish with cheese, sour cream and bacon. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Beef Green Chili Cornbread Skillet

When I saw this recipe on my blogging pal Renee's blog,  I knew it was a recipe I wanted to try.  If you haven't been to Renee's blog, Cheery Kitchen, you should check it out.  She and I have been blogging buddies for four or five years.  Renee has the best recipes and beautiful photos!

I used my favorite hatch chile's for the green chili's in this recipe.  They were a delicious addition to an already terrific recipe.  I also had corn in the freezer from extra ears of corn on the cob.  My husband said "oh this is good, I'd have this again!"  A true compliment!  Renee, thanks for a great addition to my recipe box.

Beef Green Chile Cornbread Skillet
Recipe Courtesy of Cheery Kitchen

Serves: 12 servings
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups green enchilada sauce (I used red)
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles (I used Hatch Chile's)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pink beans, drained (I left these out)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
  • 1 (8.5-ounce) box cornbread mix, (I used Jiffy)
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 8 ounces cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Over medium high heat in a large skillet, brown beef and onion together. Drain fat and return to pan.
  3. Add green chile sauce, cumin, salt and pepper, green chiles, beans, olives and corn and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Mix cornbread mix with egg and milk and pour over top of beef and vegetables.
  5. Place skillet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake for 10 more minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and serve.
  8. Garnish with sour cream, guacamole, and tomato chunks if desired.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Forever Royal!

 It's been 30 years since my home town celebrated a World Series win.  Over those 30 years, there were many where few people went to games and few watched on TV.  My how times have changed, over the past few years,  The Kansas City Royals drafted a talented group of players.  These players have determination and heart like nothing I've ever seen.  Their determination, talent and heart payed off just after midnight last night when they were crowned the 2015 World Series Champions!

Lucky enough to see these guys in Surprise this year during Spring Training, I was ready for a fun season.  From the beginning I felt they could Take The Crown!  162 regular games and 16 post season games,  I've watched all but a few!  Another come from behind victory last night, these guys never gave up!!

Can't wait for the 2016 season, how many days to opening day?!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Herbed Goat Cheese Polenta Bites

This recipe was originally presented on The Kitchen as an appetizer.  I decided to give it a try as a side dish.   These polenta bites begin with stove top polenta, poured into a square pan and cooled.  Mine was set and chilled in about an hour.    Once it's set, cut into squares and coat with panko.  I had trouble getting the panko to stick to the top side of the polenta.  Once I gave it a quick spray with olive oil, no problem getting the panko to stick to the top side.

I really wanted to taste the goat cheese in this recipe and neither Tim or I could find it.    Perhaps,  I should have used a bigger pan, made a smaller batch or used more goat cheese.  I love the idea of this recipe and will try again, with a smaller batch, more goat cheese and a little heavier on the spices.  Also, the original recipe says not to use quick cooking polenta.  I did and it worked just fine.  Anyone know how to prevent polenta from bubbling all over your hands and the stove when you make it? 


Herbed Goat Cheese Polenta Bites

Makes 16 Bites
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for pan
1 3/4 cups water, plus more if necessary
1 cup milk
3/4 cup stone-ground coarse cornmeal (not quick-cooking or instant)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Generous pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup soft goat cheese
2 tablespoon dried chives
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs 

Butter an 8x8-inch pan and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring water and milk to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and gradually whisk in the cornmeal, salt, and pepper. Cook uncovered until the polenta is thick and creamy, about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir often to prevent sticking or clumping. If it starts sticking to the bottom of the pan, add more water, 2 teaspoons at a time.

Once the polenta is very thick and creamy, fold in goat cheese, 1 tablespoon of the chives, and thyme. Stir a few times until the goat cheese has melted into the polenta. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Scoop the hot polenta into the prepared baking dish, and spread into an even layer. Refrigerate until firm, for at least one hour or overnight. Slice into 16 small squares. Spread the panko and remaining 1 tablespoon chives on a large plate and press each side of the polenta squares gently into the panko to coat completely.

In a nonstick pan over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Pan-fry the polenta squares for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown and crispy. As the polenta soaks up some of the oil, you’ll likely need to add 1 additional tablespoon to keep it from sticking. Once finished cooking, set on top of a paper towel-covered plate to soak up excess oil, and plate immediately. Serve warm.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake

It's that time of year when everything includes pumpkin.  If you're a fan of those pumpkin lattes at your favorite coffee shop, you'll love this cake.  Moist with hints of coffee and a deep pumpkin flavor.  I made this cake a few weeks ago when friends came for dinner.  Normally I would send the leftovers to work with Tim, rather than keep them around to tempt us each evening.  Not with this one, it was so good, I couldn't give it up.  And yes, I ate way too much cake.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake with Cinnamon Frosting
Recipe courtesy of Baking Bites
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp water
2 tsp instant espresso or 1 packet Starbucks Via

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, egg, pumpkin puree, vegetable oil and vanilla extract until very smooth. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Stir in remaining flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
In a small bowl, combine water and instant espresso or Starbucks Via and stir to dissolve. Add in 1 cup of pumpkin cake batter and stir until batter and coffee are well-combined.
Place dollops of pumpkin batter around your prepared pan, intermixed with dollops of coffee batter. Use a butter knife or spatula to swirl the two batters together.
Bake for 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Allow cake to cool completely before icing. Spreading icing on in a thin, even layer.
Serves 16-20
Cinnamon Frosting
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
2 tbsp brewed coffee, cold
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2-2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together at high speed. Gradually blend in the confectioners’ sugar until the frosting is soft and spreadable.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Crock Pot Caramel Apple Cake

Can you believe it's October?  I hope everyone is enjoying a beautiful fall season.  We've been blessed with amazing weather.  I'm hoping for a few more weeks before .....  winter!!  What else reminds you of fall?  Apples?  A couple of weeks ago Tim went with our friend the landscaper to pick apples.  Tim brought me home at least 4 dozen.

The third Monday of the month brings us Secret Recipe Club.  You can find out about this group, here!  For October SRC I was assigned Melissa's Cuisine.  A little about Melissa and her blog....

Let's start with the basics...I'm in my early 20's and I have been married to my sweet husband, Mike, since 2010.  We live in West Michigan with our adorable puppy, Champ.  We have a beautiful baby girl, Summer.  During the day, I am the office manager at a busy (and growing) counseling agency.  I spend most of my free time in the kitchen, so I've started running to avoid gaining a ton of weight from all the food I make!  So far, I've run a handful of 5k races and a half marathon.  I've recently discovered a passion for health and fitness and I love working out!  

I've only made a dessert in the slow cooker one time.  A camping weekend several years ago, I tried a chocolate cake.   It was delicious and fudgy and so easy in the slow cooker.  Tim had requested an apple crisp, busy making jam, apple butter and apple sauce with my bounty of apples, I decided to make this cake.  It's moist and delicious and quick to put together.  A perfect fall dessert.

Crock Pot Caramel Apple Cake
Recipe Courtesy of Melissa's Cuisine
1 C flour 
3/4 C brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large apples, peeled and diced
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
Caramel Topping

1.  In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

2.  Add diced apples to flour mixture and stir to coat.

3.  In a small bowl, mix eggs and vanilla.

4.  Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and gently stir.  

5.  Pour into a greased crock-pot.

6.  Cover and bake on high for 2 hours. 

7.  Drizzle with warmed caramel topping before serving. Serve along side whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.  

Note: This recipe is the perfect size for a small crock pot, if you're using a larger one, you may want to double the recipe.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Honey Beer Bread

On a recent trip to Minnesota, Tim picked up some local brews.  Looking for a nutty brown ale to use in a beer bread, I chose this bottle of Lost Trout from Third Street in Cold Spring, Minnesota.  Perfect to use in beer bread, this adds a delicious depth of flavor to the bread.  This bread is delicious warm, with a little honey butter.  Our favorite way to enjoy this beer bread was a grilled cheese sandwich.  As we approach winter and think about winter dinners, we'll be enjoying this with a bowl of chili or beef stew.

 Honey Beer Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar
1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
4 Tbsp. (half stick) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x 5x 3-inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer and honey into the dry ingredients until just mixed. (I recommend popping your honey in the microwave for a few seconds beforehand to make it easier to stir in!)

Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter. (Use a pastry brush to spread it around if you'd like.)

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick/knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve immediately.


If you're a big fan of beer-cheese bread, add a cup or so of cheddar (or your favorite cheese) into the batter to give it the queso-kick. :)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Parmesean Baked Potato Halves

Over the past few weeks these have become my go to potato recipe.  They're easy and delicious.  A great recipe for Sunday family night dinner or dinner guests.  Baking them side down, creates a moist delicious potato.  You can serve these with a side of ranch dressing or sour cream.  We normally enjoy them just as they are when they come out of the oven.

Parmesan Baked Potato Halves
Recipe courtesy of Favorite Family Recipes
  • 6 small potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder
  • other seasonings (to personal preference)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and pour into a 9x13 inch pan and spread evenly across the bottom. Generously sprinkle Parmesan cheese and lightly sprinkle other seasonings all over the butter. Place potato halves face down on the butter and seasonings. Place in preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool for at least a FULL 5 minutes before removing from the pan, otherwise the Parmesan crust won't stick to the potato. Serve on a plate with a side of sour cream for dipping.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Football Cookie Dough Dip

Tis the season, no not that season yet .... football season!  Are you having beautiful fall weather where you live?  I hope so, it has been so beautiful here the past two weekends.  Nothing says fall like football and a tailgate party!

Along with a neighbor, I helped host our neighborhood September BUNCO!  Perfect for the month of September, we decided on a football theme.  One of the things I made was a fun football dip.  Not only is it easy to make, it's delicious!! 

Cookie Dough Dip

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups mini chocolate chips
  • Frosting for laces 
For serving:
  • graham crackers
  • chocolate graham crackers
  • vanilla wafers
  • pretzels
  • apple slices
  1. Prepare cookie dough dip according to the recipe instructions. Chill for at least two hours,
  2. Pour into a mound on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using the parchment paper, shape the mound of cookie dough dip into the shape of a football. Or use a football shaped for shaping.
  3. Press additional cup of chocolate chips onto the outside of the football shaped cookie dough dip.
  4. Place frosting into a piping bag or a small sandwich bag with the tip snipped off. Pipe lines onto the top of the cookie dough dip football to resemble laces.
  5. Store in the refrigerator until about 15 minutes prior to serving. Serve with an assortment of crackers, pretzels, and/ or apple slices.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

BBQ Mac and Cheese

Happy Fall!  Fall and Spring are my two favorite seasons.  Living in the midwest, we enjoy the seasonable weather during those two seasons.  As an added bonus, we have beautiful Fall color in our trees.  The trees are just starting to turn here.  We're getting some cooler nights, so full blown color will be soon!  Can't wait!

I say this every month but hard to believe it's Secret Recipe reveal day again.  The third Monday of the month, brings us Secret Recipe Club.  Not familiar with this fun blogging group?  You can find out everything here!

For the month of September, I was assigned Living The Gourmet.  Catherine  has a beautiful blog, filled with amazing recipes.

Catherine says, "The heart of our home lies within the kitchen.
For us, it is so much more than a place where meals are created; it is where memories are made over meals that are meant to be shared."  

 So true for all of us who enjoy cooking and sharing it with friends and family. 

At our house, we love BBQ and mac and cheese, how about a recipe that combines the two?  Yum! 
This is a delicious version of mac and cheese, perfect to go with burgers for a weekend bbq.

BBQ Mac and Cheese
Recipe Courtesy of Living The Gourmet

Serves: 6 Servings
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • ½ jalapeño (I omitted this)
  • ½ cup Italian parsley
  • 1¼ cup milk
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion – diced
  • ¾ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2-3 tbs. butter
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded or your favorite
  • ¼ cup Italian style breadcrumbs or homemade breadcrumbs
  • 1 lb. of your favorite macaroni
  1. Prepare the macaroni as directed.
  2. Combine in a food processor the cottage cheese, milk, Parmesan cheese, ketchup, brown sugar, jalapeño, garlic, parsley and seasonings.
  3. Heat a frying pan with butter and sauté the onions until softened and transparent.
  4. Heat another frying pan with a pat of butter; add the bread crumbs; toss and brown a bit.
  5. Preheat Oven 325 degrees:
  6. Butter a baking dish. Add the macaroni, the mixture from the food processor, the shredded cheese, the onions and toss.
  7. Top with the bread crumbs a few pats of butter and grated Parmesan cheese and a little shredded cheese.
  8. Bake 25 – 30 minutes; until slightly golden.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Aronia Berry Oatmeal Cookies

Tim and I had been looking at an Aronia Berry bush for the yard at the Farmer's Market.  If you're not familiar with Aronia Berries, you can read about them here.  They're very good for you and tasty, too! 

Our bush had just enough berries on it to make these cookies.  You could substitute these for any recipe containing blueberries. 

Oatmeal Aronia Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or use your margarine wrappers to grease 2 baking sheets.
  2. Stir the flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer w/paddle or hand mixer, cream margarine, sugars until smooth.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Important: Mix on low and add dry ingredients only until incorporated. Over beating will make flat cookies.
  6. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the oats, then pecans and coconut.
  7. Add frozen aronia and fold quickly. This will keep the cookies from turning purple.
  8. Spoon uniform 1 1/2" balls on baking sheet with 2" spacing.
  9. Bake for 6 to 9 minutes. Remove when edges begin to turn. Cookie will continue to bake while cooling. After 5 minutes on baking sheet, remove to wire cooling rack.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Best Sugar Cookies with Cornmeal

  If you like sugar cookies, give this recipe a try.  The cornmeal adds a nice crunch to the already delicious sugar cookie.  The original recipe called for the zest of a lime.  No limes in my frig, so I used lemon.  Lemon and sugar cookies are the perfect combination of flavors!!

 Recipe Courtesy of A Spicy Perspective
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Zest of one lime  (I used lemon)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup 100% yellow cornmeal + extra for rolling (not cornmeal mix)


  1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, 3-5  minutes. Then beat in the salt, lime zest, egg, and vanilla. Once blended, slowly add the flour, followed by the cornmeal. Scrape the bowl and beat again for just a few seconds to combine.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (or 350 convection) and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Dump the dough out onto large piece of foil and use the foil to shape the dough into a 9 1/2 inch log, about 2 inches thick. Wrap well and freeze for at least 30 minutes to firm up the dough.
  3. When ready to bake, open the foil and sprinkle cornmeal over and around the dough log. Roll it back-and-forth to coat the log on all sides. Then cut the log into 16-18 equal slices. Lay the cookies on the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes until just barley golden on the edges, but soft in the middle. (7-8 minutes convection.) Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet completely before moving.