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.