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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Avacodo Stuffed Burger


  • 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef from the awesome TX Bar Organics
  • 2 avocados, ripe
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped NO OIL
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (makes it salty depending on your sun-dried tomatoes)
  • Bacon fat (Optional)


  1. Preheat your grill to medium-medium high heat
  2. Put your ground beef in a large mixing bowl and add black pepper, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and the zest of one lemon
  3. Mix well and then using your hands form into thin patties all the same size (you need them thin because you will be using two of them to make one patty)
  4. In another mixing bowl combine avocados, sun dried tomatoes, lemon juice, and the remaining teaspoon of sea salt.
  5. Mash the avocado and mix ingredients well to get as smooth as you like
  6. Place your avocado mixture on the bottoms of half of the burgers, ensuring you leave room to seal the burgers without it leaking out
  7. Put your other patty over the top of your mixture and pinch the edges of your burgers together to seal all the way around
  8. Now go out and grill to your liking. I normally do about 6-8 Minutes per side on my grill but yours may be different. Ensure you cook evenly on both sides of the burger or you will end up with an undercooked and an overcooked side
  9. While grilling, I drizzle my burgers with bacon grease and it adds an amazing flavor
  10. When done grilling, allow your burgers to rest for 10 minutes and then serve. You can use the rest of your avocado mixture to top your burgers with and go to town


Crockpot Gumbo


3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 cups frozen cut okra
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14.5 ounce size) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 package (12 ounce size) frozen shelled deveined cooked medium shrimp, rinsed
1 1/2 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
3 cups water


In small saucepan, combine flour and oil; mix well. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.This is your Roux. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes or until mixture turns reddish brown. Place flour-oil mixture in 3 1/2 to 4 quart Crockpot.

Stir in all remaining ingredients except shrimp, rice and water. Cover; cook on low setting for 7-9 hours. When ready to serve, cook rice in water as directed on package. Meanwhile, add shrimp to gumbo mixture in crockpot; mix well. Cover; cook on low setting for additional 20 minutes. Serve gumbo over rice.


Banana Layer Cake With Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting


Cooking spray
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2)
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 1/2 cups sliced ripe banana (about 2)


Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat bottoms of 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray (do not coat sides of pans); line bottoms with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon flour.

Beat sugar, shortening, and vanilla at medium speed of a mixer for 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.

Combine 2 cups flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Combine the mashed banana and buttermilk. Add the flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Remove wax paper. Cool completely on wire rack.

Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting. Arrange banana slices over frosting

Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.

Chill 1 hour. 

Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.


Homemade King Hawaiian Rolls And Loaf


•6 cups all-purpose flour, plus an additional 1/2 cup flour, divided
•3 eggs
•2 cups pineapple juice, room temperature
•3/4 cup sugar
•1 teaspoon vanilla
•2 (1/4 ounce) envelopes yeast
•1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, melted


1.In a small bowl, beat your 3 eggs. Add the 2 cups pineapple juice, sugar, vanilla, and melted butter. 

2.Measure 3 cups of the flour into a large bowl. Stir in your egg mixture until well-combined. Sprinkle in the yeast packets, one at a time, mixing well. 

3.Add the remaining 3 cups of flour and mix well. If it becomes to difficult to stir with a wooden spoon, just use your hands! Make sure all of the flour is well incorporated—the dough should be tacky to the touch but not overly sticky. If it appears too wet, sprinkle in a bit of extra flour, just a tablespoon or so at a time. Cover your bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. 

4.Remove your dough from the bowl and knead in an additional ½ cup of flour. I kneaded mine 10 to 15 times, making sure the flour was well incorporated. Form the dough into rolls, and/or loaf. Place in buttered pans. Cover and place in warm place to rise for an additional hour, or until the dough doubles in size.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush tops with melted butter, and serve warm

Source:  Louise's Country Closet

Sunny Spinach Pie

When you’re hosting a party, you want to surprise your guests with something out of the ordinary and extra special. This sunny spinach pie recipe will delight your guests and have them begging for the recipe. It’s super delicious and definitely way easier to make than you would think.

I saw this recipe on an Italian website .. and as I love Italian cuisine could not resist sharing it with you.



17 oz  of flour
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon salt


12 oz  of boiled spinach
12 oz ricotta
1 egg
3 oz  of grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper
Bread crumbs


1-Place all dough ingredients in a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, knead until the dough is smooth and combined. Wrap in plastic while you make the filling.
2-To create the filling, mix the spinach with the ricotta.
Next, add your egg, Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Mix well. Set aside briefly.
3-Unwrap your dough from the plastic and divide it into two equal parts.
4-Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball to create two circles 30 cm in diameter each.
5-On your first circle, sprinkle breadcrumbs over-top to help absorb the moisture of the filling and to keep the dough dry.
6-Distribute the filling on the circle that was just sprinkled with breadcrumbs.
7-Place one large dollop at the center of the circle, and spread the remainder in a ring around the dough. See the picture below for reference.
Sunny Spinach Pie8-Sprinkle the filling with grated Parmesan.
9-Now, cover with the second circle of dough.
Sunny Spinach Pie10-Seal the edges with your hands, and then use a fork to press.
11-Place a small bowl in the middle of the pie and press lightly to make an indentation.
Use your fork to press lightly.
Sunny Spinach Pie
12-Cut the dough into pieces approximately 2 cm thick, keeping it attached at the center. See the photo for reference.
Sunny Spinach Pie
13-Twist each slice and continue until each slice is twisted.
Sunny Spinach Pie
Sunny Spinach Pie
14-Bake the spinach pie at 180°C for 30 minutes or until golden
Sunny Spinach Pie
Yum! I can’t wait to entertain my guests with this amazing sunny spinach pie. It’ll be sure to brighten everyone’s day.


Bird’s Nests With Royal Icing

With St. Patrick’s Day over, now comes the Spring and Easter themed posts.  With the unseasonably warm temperatures we are experiencing here now one would think that we skipped  from Winter directly into Summer.  The birds chirping have woken me for the past few mornings, right along with the warm sunshine.  I’m enjoying it while it lasts.  Today seemed like the perfect day to herald new seasons with some easy but (I think) cute decorating ideas with royal icing.
Won’t be long before kids are running around fields and lawns in their Sunday best, Easter baskets in hand as they hunt down the hidden eggs.  Today I’m going to show you another place to store your eggs.  First off, a few birds nests made with leftover royal icing.  Cute and edible containers to stash some of your favourite Easter treats of the oval shape.
All you will need to make a nest like this is a small canning jar or bowl.  Some Saran Wrap, a little Crisco and royal icing (mine was leftover from cookie decorating), food colouring and a piping bag with a #233 tip, often referred to as the grass tip.
I also used a larger bowl and made a larger nest (fits more eggs right!)
Personally, I prefer the nests made from the small canning jars.  Ready to make some little nests of your own?  Here we go.
First of all, cover your small jar or bowl tightly with Saran Wrap.  Rub a light coating of Crisco all around the plastic wrap.
Now you are going to cover the *bottom* of the nest with royal icing tinted to the shade you want.  I piped the icing using the #233 tip and just smoothed it out with a spatula.  You want your icing fairly thick when working with the #233 so there really was no need to pipe a border and then flood the base.
Next step is to pipe your way around the jar with the #233 tip.  With the exception of the larger nest where I piped in the same direction, I made both long and short piping lines and just went in a random pattern until the jar was covered about 3/4′s of the way down.
Let the icing dry for a full 24 hours.  Then turn the nest over, carefully lifting the jar from the hardened royal icing nest.  Fill with coloured *straw* and your favourite Easter eggs :)
Next post I will show you how to make another nest, this time with sugar cookie dough and royal icing.

Easter Bird Nest Cake

Each Easter I try to come up with a creative dessert for the family and more often than not, I’ll end up baking a cake.  This year I decided to rely on our family favourite, carrot cake.  Only instead of frosting it with the traditional cream cheese frosting or even better (my husband’s favourite, pumpkin pie spice buttercream) I chose to go with a milk chocolate buttercream.  I knew I needed to use a buttercream frosting because in my head, I had a picture of a bird nest cake  that just wouldn’t go away and buttercream frosting had the consistency that would enable me to transfer the image from my head onto the carrot cake.

If you’ve never had carrot cake with milk chocolate buttercream frosting, let me tell you it is very good.  I frosted the piece that was cut to make the hole for the nest and had a few sample bites.  You know, just to make sure it was O.K. to serve to guests.
The recipe for the carrot cake is posted here.
The buttercream recipe is from Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Buttercream.  I doubled the recipe and added a 10 oz package of (melted in a double boiler and cooled to lukewarm temperature) Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Chips.
To make this cake:
Three layers of carrot cake, cooled.  Apply a layer of buttercream icing between each layer as you stack your layers.
Layers Frosted
When the top layer has been added, cut a line approximately 4″ in diameter around the center of the layer.
Cut for Nest
Using a small off-set spatula, cut all around the circle just deep enough to go through the top layer only.  Lift out the cut circle and set aside (for snacking on later).
Nest Scooped
Apply frosting around the remains of the top layer and inside the *nest.*  Finish dirty icing the entire cake.  Set in the fridge to cool before applying the finished layer of frosting.
Dirty Iced
When cake has cooled, remove from fridge and apply final coat of frosting.  Smooth out the frosting around entire cake.
Fill a piping bag with the milk chocolate buttercream.  Using a #4 tip, begin piping lines in random directions and random lengths.  Start piping insides the nest being and then work your way to the outside top of the cake.
Nest Design Application
Once you have completed piping the nest on the top layer, begin piping the sides of the cake.  I found it easier to pipe in 3-inch sections from top to bottom working my way all around the cake.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t take as long as you think it will.
Design on Sides
Once your *nest* design has been completed, fill the nest with your choice of coloured candy Easter eggs.  I used M&M’s.  If you are good at fondant sculpture, you can make the bird.  As you can see, I bought a little inedible one to decorate the nest.
Completed Cake 6
I removed the bird and the eggs before wrapping and storing the cake in the freezer where it will (hopefully) be safe until Easter weekend!

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2014:  This month I’ve received a lot of requests for the recipe for this carrot cake.  I do have a link to the recipe in the post but decided to update and publish the recipe on this page.  Enjoy!

Kathleen’s Carrot Cake Recipe


2 cups of unbleached flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
3/4 cup of white sugar
3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
2 cups of grated carrots
1 cup of crushed pineapple
1/2 cup of chopped pecans (optional)


Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl and whisk together well.  Set aside.
In your mixing bowl beat together sugars, eggs, oil and vanilla until smooth.  Gradually add flour and spice mixture until well combined.  With mixer set on low, add carrots, pineapple and pecans.
Pour into prepared cake pans or cupcake pans.
Bake cakes at 350° for 40 minutes until cake tester comes out clean.  For X-large cupcakes bake for approximately 28 minutes at 350° until cake tester comes out clean.  Let cool in baking pans before removing to cooling racks.


One Box Cake Mix Cookies

You can make cookies from any box of cake mix. 


1 Box of Cake Mix ( your choice of flavor) 18 oz.
2 eggs
1/3 cup of oil


Drop into 1-inch mounds and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes for delicious and easy cookies.

Source: Louise's Country Closet

Million Dollar Pound Cake

Just seven ingredients—and all of them common pantry staples—are all you need for this classic homemade pound cake recipe. Top your pound cake with ice cream or seasonal fruits for a tasty combination.


  • 1 pound butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. (The butter will become a lighter yellow color; this is an important step, as the job of the mixer is to incorporate air into the butter so the cake will rise. It will take 1 to 7 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer.) Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. (Again, the times will vary, and butter will turn to a fluffy white.) Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow yolk disappears.
  2. Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. (The batter should be smooth and bits of flour should be well incorporated; to rid batter of lumps, stir gently with a rubber spatula.) Stir in extracts.
  3. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. (Use vegetable shortening or butter to grease the pan, getting every nook and cranny covered. Sprinkle a light coating of flour over the greased surface.)
  4. Bake at 300° for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Note: For testing purposes only, we used White Lily All-Purpose Flour.
For the best results, preheat your oven to 300º before you begin. We also soften butter at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Key Lime Pound Cake

Key Lime Pound Cake
Just saying the word key lime makes my mouth water!  If you like pound cakes, you have to try this recipe from Southern Living.  This pound cake is so moist, and so delicious, you’ll be adding it to one of your most favorite cake recipes.  The cake is soft and so moist, and you can taste the lime throughout the cake; and then, you taste the Key Lime Glaze…it’s, soooo yummy and flavorful!


1 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup shortening (I use Crisco)
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon key lime zest
1/4 cup key lime juice


Preheat oven to 325 F.  Beat butter and shortening at medium speed, or until creamy.  Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Beat at low-speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla, key lime zest and key lime juice.  Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch (12-cup) tube pan.

Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes (I had to bake mine for 1 and 30 minutes for my oven), or until a long wooded pick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. 

Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes, remove from pan to a wire rack.

Prepare Key Lime Glace, and immediately brush over top and sides of cake.  Cool completely (about 1 hour).

Key Lime Glaze
1 cup confectioner sugar
2 Tablespoons key lime juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients together and brush over top and sides of cake.


Sloppy Joes

Both kids and adults love Sloppy Joes for their classic American taste and license to be a little messy. From BBQ to chipotle to classic combinations, these easy sloppy joe recipes can be on the table in minutes. These saucy ground beef sandwiches are a favorite with kids. Chili powder and hot pepper sauce provide a mild kick to this quick and easy recipe.


  • 1   pound 
    lean ground beef or ground pork
  • 1/2  cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1/2  cup chopped green sweet pepper (1 small)
  • 1  8  ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2   tablespoons water
  • 1 - 1 1/2  teaspoons chili powder
  • 1   teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2  teaspoon garlic salt 
    dash of bottled hot pepper sauce
  • 6   kaiser rolls or hamburger buns, split and toasted


1. In a large skillet cook beef, onion, and sweet pepper until meat is brown and vegetables are tender, stirring to break up any meat. Drain off fat.
2. Stir tomato sauce, water, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and hot pepper sauce into beef mixture in skillet. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve on rolls. Makes 6 sandwiches.
  • Pizza Joes: Prepare as above, except substitute one 14-ounce jar pizza sauce for the tomato sauce, water, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and hot pepper sauce. Add 1/2 cup chopped pepperoni. Serve on toasted rolls with slices of mozzarella cheese.
  • Tex-Mex Joes: Prepare as above, except add 1/2 cup fresh or frozen whole kernel corn and 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce with the tomato sauce. Serve on toasted rolls with slices of cheddar cheese.
Variation Veggie Joes: Prepare as above, except omit ground beef. Cook onion and sweet pepper in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil over medium heat until tender. Add 2 cups cooked brown rice; one 15- to 16-ounce can red kidney beans; rinsed and drained; and 1/2 cup shredded carrot with tomato sauce.


Taco Pizza


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1  1  pound loaf frozen whole wheat bread dough, thawed
  • 12   ounces lean ground beef
  • 1/2  cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1/2  cup bottled salsa
  • 1 1/2  cups chopped tomatoes (2 medium)
  • 1/2  cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1/2 - 1   cup shredded lettuce and/or spinach
  • 1   cup baked tortilla chips, coarsely crushed
  • Light dairy sour cream and/or bottled salsa (optional)


1. Lightly coat a 12- to 13-inch pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pat dough evenly into prepared pan, building up edges slightly. (If dough is hard to pat out, allow to rest for 10 minutes.) Prick crust all over with a fork. Bake in a 425 degrees oven for 12 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook the ground beef and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat. Stir in the 2/3 cup salsa. Top partially baked crust with meat mixture. Bake for 5 minutes more. Sprinkle with tomatoes and cheese. Bake for 2 to 3 minutes more or until cheese melts.
3. To serve, top with lettuce and tortilla chips. If desired, serve with sour cream and/or additional salsa.
Tip For a Stuffed Crust Pizza: Lightly coat a 12- to 13-inch pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pat dough evenly into prepared pan, extending edges over pan slightly. (If dough is hard to pat out, allow to rest for 10 minutes.) Sprinkle 2 ounces shredded cheese in a thin strip around the edge of the dough. Moisten edge of dough. Fold down edge over cheese and seal tightly to enclose the cheese. Prick crust all over with a fork. Bake as above.


Ridiculously Easy Whole-Apple Crisp

Ridiculously Easy Whole-Apple Crisp
This quick apple crisp recipe uses classic autumn seasonings, cinnamon and nutmeg, but it adds a new ingredient, Greek-style yogurt.


  • 8   medium baking apples, such as Macintosh or Rome
  • 1   cup orange juice
  • 1   cup rolled oats
  • 1/2  cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3  cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1   tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3  cup butter, melted
  • 1/3  cup honey
  • 1  6 - 7  ounce carton 
    Greek-style yogurt or other creamy-style yogurt


1. Remove a 1/2-inch slice from tops of the apples. With a melon baller remove core, stopping about 1/2 inch from the bottom of the apple. Arrange the prepared apples in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish (3-quart rectangular) and brush with 1 tablespoon of the orange juice. (If necessary, remove a thin slice from the bottoms of the apples so they sit flat in the baking dish; brush with some orange juice.)
2. In a medium bowl combine oats, brown sugar, almonds, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in butter until combined. Fill and top apples with oat mixture. (At this point, apples can be covered and refrigerated up to 24 hours.)
3. When ready to bake, pour remaining orange juice around the apples and cover with foil. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 50 minutes. Remove foil; bake for 10 to 15 minutes more or until tender. Cool about 30 minutes. Transfer to a platter or plates and drizzle with honey. Serve with yogurt. Makes 8 servings.


Slow-Cooker Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

Slow-Cooker Hot Fudge Sundae Cake
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hr 25 minutes
  • Servings: 6


1        cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/2     cup granulated sugar
2        tablespoons baking cocoa
2        teaspoons baking powder
1/2     teaspoon salt
1/2     cup milk
2        tablespoons vegetable oil
1        teaspoon vanilla
1/2     cup chopped nuts
3/4     cup packed brown sugar
1/4     cup baking cocoa
1 1/2  cups hot water


  • 1 Spray inside of 2- to 3 1/2-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Mix flour, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, the baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Stir in milk, oil and vanilla until smooth. Stir in nuts. Spread batter evenly in slow cooker.
  • 2 Mix brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa in small bowl. Stir in hot water until smooth. Pour evenly over batter in slow cooker.
  • 3 Cover and cook on high heat setting 2 hours to 2 hours 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • 4 Turn off slow cooker. Let cake stand uncovered 30 to 40 minutes to cool slightly before serving. Spoon warm cake into dessert dishes. Spoon sauce over top.

    Note: This recipe was tested in slow cookers with heating elements in the side and bottom of the cooker, not in cookers that stand only on a heated base. For slow cookers with just a heated base, follow the manufacturer’s directions for layering ingredients and choosing a temperature.

Expert Tips:

Cooling the dessert in the slow cooker gives the sauce time to thicken so it’s rich and fudgy.
Top off this chocolate lover’s treat with what else but a scoop of ice cream and a long-stemmed cherry!


Apple Crisp Snickerdoodle Skillet Cookie

Apple Crisp Snickerdoodle Skillet Cookie
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hr 10 minutes
  • Servings: 10


Snickerdoodle Cookie Base:

1        pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/2     teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2     teaspoon vanilla
3        eggs
1/2     cup butter, softened

Oat Topping:

1/2    cup quick-cooking oats
1/2    cup loosely packed light brown sugar
1/4    cup granulated sugar
1/4    cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2    cup butter, softened
1       tablespoon water

Apple Topping:

1       can (21 oz) apple pie filling


1      container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
       Additional ground cinnamon, if desired


  • 1 Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 9-inch cast-iron skillet with shortening or spray with cooking spray.
  • 2 In large bowl, beat cookie mix, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the vanilla and eggs with electric mixer until just combined. Add 1/2 cup butter; beat until smooth. Spread mixture in skillet.
  • 3 Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; place skillet on cooling rack.
  • 4 Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Grease cookie sheet with shortening or line with cooking parchment paper.
  • 5 To make Oat Topping, in small bowl, stir together oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. With fork, mash 1/2 cup butter into dry mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle water over mixture; stir briefly. Spread mixture on cookie sheet.
  • 6 Bake at 425°F 5 to 8 minutes or until mixture is golden brown around edges and bubbly in center. Remove from oven; break up topping with fork. Topping will be soft at first, but will harden as it cools. Cool topping completely on cookie sheet.
  • 7 Top Snickerdoodle Cookie Base with apple pie filling. Heap oat topping over pie filling. Spoon whipped topping onto top center of dessert; sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Store in refrigerator.

Expert Tips:

Whipped topping can be served on the side, if desired.

Reheat servings in the microwave on High in 30-second increments and serve with vanilla ice cream.


Old Fashion Beef Stew

Old Fashioned Beef Stew
This is a very basic beef stew. It’s easy, delicious and inexpensive to make. While there are hundreds of variations of this traditional recipe, it’s hard to improve on this version’s savory and comforting goodness.


  • 3 lbs boneless chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut in eighths
  • fresh parsley to garnish (optional)


  1. On medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil to a large heavy pot (one that has a tight fitting lid).
  2. When it begins to smoke slightly, add the beef and brown very well. Do in batches if necessary. Add the salt and pepper as the beef browns.
  3. Once browned, remove the beef with a slotted spoon set aside.
  4. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the flour and cook for 2 minutes stirring often.
  6. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add wine and deglaze the pan, scraping any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. The flour will start to thicken the wine as it comes to a simmer.
  8. Simmer wine for 5 minutes, and then add the broth, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and the beef.
  9. Bring back to a gentle simmer, cover and cook on very low for about 1 hour.
  10. Add potatoes, carrots, and celery, and simmer covered for another 30 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  11. Turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with the fresh parsley if desired.
This is best made the day before if possible, for even better flavor.

Source:  americanfood

Southern-Style Greens

Southern-Style Greens

The liquid in the bottom of a pot of cooked greens is called the "pot likker"—don't let it go to waste! Soak it up with a hunk of cornbread, as it's done in the South.

Makes: 8 servings 

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hr 45 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 pounds (about 4 bunches) collard, turnip or mustard greens, stemmed and leaves chopped
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, plus more for serving


  1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until almost crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  2. Add the greens, vinegar, sugar, hot sauce and 2-1/2 cups water; season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Transfer to a bowl and serve with more hot sauce.

Tip Smart move:
  • To stem greens, grip the tough, woody part with one hand, then run the other hand down the length of the stem until you're left with the edible leafy parts.

Source: rachaelraymag

The Ultimate Shrimp And Grits


  • 1 1/2  cups milk, plus a splash
  • 1 1/2  cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1   cup stone-ground white cornmeal
  • 1   tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1   medium white onion, minced
  • 1   garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1   pound spicy andouille sausage links, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2   tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2   cups chicken broth
  • 1   bay leaf
  • 2   pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4   shakes bottled hot sauce
  • 1/2  lemon, juice only
  • 2   tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 2   tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1   recipe Buttermilk Biscuits
Buttermilk Biscuits:
  • 4   cups all-purpose flour
  • 1   tablespoon salt
  • 1   tablespoon baking powder
  • 2   tablespoons baking soda
  • 1   cup cold shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 - 2   cups buttermilk


1. To make the grits, place a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat and add the milk and cream. Bring to a simmer. Slowly add the cornmeal, whisking constantly. When the grits begin to bubble, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from heat, and stir in the butter. (Thin grits with a little extra cream, if necessary). Season with salt and pepper.
2. To make the sauce, in a deep skillet heat a 2-count of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) over medium heat. Add the white onion and garlic; saute for 2 minutes to soften. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until a fair amount of fat has rendered and the sausage is brown. Sprinkle the flour into the fat and stir to create a roux. Slowly pour in the broth, continue stirring to avoid lumps. Add the bay leaf. When the liquid comes to a simmer, remove from heat. Keep warm.
3. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Quickly and carefully wipe the grate with oiled paper towels to create a nonstick surface. Season shrimp with plenty of salt and pepper. Place shrimp on grill; cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side until shrimp turn pink. Fold the grilled shrimp into the sauce. Add the cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and chives. Serve shrimp on top of the grits with Buttermilk Biscuits.

Buttermilk Biscuits:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or your hands, cut in the pieces of shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add 1 cup buttermilk. Using your hands, quickly fold the dry ingredients into the buttermilk until a sticky dough forms. (If the dough is too dry, you can add 1/2 to 1 cup of additional buttermilk, a little at a time, until a sticky dough forms.) Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Gently fold the dough three or four times to create layers. Press the dough out to a 1 1/2-inch thickness and cut with a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter. Lay the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with additional buttermilk. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.


Italian Macaroni Vegetable Bake


¼ cupOlive Oil
⅓ cupWater
2 clovesGarlic, pressed
1 tspItalian Seasoning
1½ cupsMacaroni, crushed with a rolling pin
3Tomatoes, cored and sliced ¼" thick
½ tspSalt
¼ tspBlack Pepper
2 cupsTightly Packed Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
½ cupFinely Chopped Fresh Italian Flat-leaf Parsley
1 can(14.5 Ounces) Diced Tomatoes


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil.
Stir the remaining olive oil and the water in a small bowl to blend. Stir in the garlic.

Scatter the macaroni over half of a large dish towel and fold the other half of the towel so the macaroni is covered. Take a rolling pin and pound or roll it over the macaroni until the pasta is in small pieces.

Arrange tomato slices in a single layer in the baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the spinach and parsley, and spread half of it over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the crushed macaroni over the top, and add a final layer of the spinach and parsley. Spread the stewed tomatoes over all of the ingredients. Drizzle the oil and garlic mixture evenly over the top. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour, or until the macaroni is tender.


Pecan-Parmesan Pork With Port Sauce

Pecan-Parmesan Pork with Port Sauce

Nuts and cheese make a flavorful coating for the pork tenderloin as it roasts. The tender pork is then served with a rich sauce , making this a perfect dish for entertaining.


  • 1   cup pecan pieces
  • 2/3  cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3   tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1   tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
  • 2  1  pounds pork tenderloins
  • 2   cups port or dry Marsala
  • 1   cup snipped dried Calmyrna or Mission figs (5-1/2 to 6 ounces)
  • 2   tablespoons packed brown sugar
  •  Kumquats (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a blender or food processor, combine pecans, cheese, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and blend or process until finely chopped. Press mixture on all sides of tenderloins to coat with a thin layer.
2. Place pork, side-by-side, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, for 25 to 35 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in meat registers 155 degrees F. Cover with foil; let stand 15 minutes. The temperature of the meat should rise 5 degrees F after standing.
3. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a medium saucepan, stir together port, figs, and brown sugar. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 2- 1/4 cups. Cool slightly.
4. Transfer half of the sauce mixture at a time to a blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until nearly smooth. Pour mixture through a sieve over a bowl, pressing solids to release juices. Discard solids. Return sauce to saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat just until heated through. Slice tenderloin and serve with warm sauce. If desired, garnish with kumquats. Makes 8 servings.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Cream Cheese Filled Banana Bread


1 c sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
2 eggs
3 mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp sour cream
2 c flour
1 c chopped nuts

Cream Cheese Mixture:

8 oz softened cream cheese
1/3 c sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp flour


Mix 1 cup sugar, butter & 2 eggs. Add bananas, salt, the soda dissolved in sour cream, & 2 cups flour. Mix well and add nuts.

Divide 1/2 of this mixture into 2 greased & floured loaf pans.

Combine cream cheese mixture ingredients and spread over mixture in pans. Spread remaining banana bread batter on top.

You can sprinkle a few extra nuts on top or sprinkle top with 1 T. sugar mixed w. 1/2 T. cinnamon before baking. Makes a nice crunchy top.

2 Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Test for doneness.
Cool and slice.

Grilled Lemon, lime and Honey Chicken Bacon Skewers


4 – 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, diced fine
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup raw honey
200g (1/4 lb) streaky bacon, cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) pieces (optional)
Zest of 1 large lemon, I use a zester that makes strips
Zest of 1 lime


In a large bowl add the cubed chicken and the rest of the ingredients except the bacon and mix well ensuring all of the chicken cubes are well coated. Cover and rest over night in the fridge to marinade.

The next day soak plenty of bamboo skewers in water for at least 1 hour. This will ensure that they do not burn when you cook the skewers over a hot grill.

Take the chicken out of the fridge and let come to room temperature for at least 20 minutes before you assemble the skewers.

To assemble, start with a chicken cube then a piece of bacon and then continue chicken, bacon etc till you have a layered skewer about 100mm, 4 inches in of length on the skewer.

Continue with loading skewers till you have used all the chicken and bacon.

Reserve the left over marinade to use as a baste when cooking. You can chill these covered on a flat plate until you are ready to cook. If you chill them take them out of the fridge for 20 minutes to come to room temperature before cooking.

BBQ – on a medium heat, for 10 to 15 minutes, turning and basting every few minutes or until chicken is no longer pink & bacon, if using is crisp.

Serve with seasonal fresh salads

Source:  tasteofhome

Honey Mustard Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenderloins

This is an easy to make brunch dish that kids can do and they love to eat.


1 kg (2.2 lb) free range chicken tenderloins
500 g (1.1 lb) streaky bacon
1/3 cup raw honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
Juice from half a lemon
1 tbsp orange zest
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 175  (350 F). 

Wrap each piece of chicken with a piece of bacon. Place on a cookie tray lined with aluminum foil. 

Mix together the honey, mustard, paprika, lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to coat the tops of the bacon wrapped chicken with the glaze. 

Bake in a the oven for about 12 minutes then flip the chicken over, brush the remaining glaze on the other side and bake for another 12 minutes or until the chicken is done.

Source:  touchofhome

Sausage, Bacon And Caramelized Onion Frittata

A little fresh red chilli, seeded and cored is a great addition. This is a quick and easy dish to put together. I quite often make this when I have leftover sausages from the night before. Great Sunday brunch.
If you have some onion marmalade replace the caramelized onions with two tablespoons of the onion marmalade.
Serves: 2-4


6 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of milk
¾ cup of grated, grass fed cows cheese of your choice, taste
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 half onion (large), sliced and caramelized
1-1/2 cups of sausage
4 slices of cooked chemical free bacon, diced
2 tbsp chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
¾  cup diced button mushrooms or peas
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 165C (360 F).
Combine eggs and milk, beat well, add parsley, season with salt and pepper then fold in grated cheese. Pour into a 20cm by 20cmm (8×8 inch) baking dish or cast-iron skillet.
Add in sausage, bacon, mushrooms or peas and caramelized onions. Top with the parmesan cheese. Bake in a 165C oven for about 30 minutes, or until the center is set but not hard.
Serve hot or chilled.

Source:  tasteofhome

Football Cheese Ball

This football cheese ball is thrice infused with bacon—the jalapeño is cooked in bacon drippings, there’s bacon mixed into the cheese, and bacon covers the football. Pig out.–Michelle Buffardi
This football cheese ball is thrice infused with bacon—the jalapeño is cooked in bacon drippings, there’s bacon mixed into the cheese, and bacon covers the football. Pig out.–Michelle Buffardi
Football Cheese Ball - A great recipe for game night ~ This football cheese ball is thrice infused with bacon—the jalapeno is cooked in bacon drippings, there’s bacon mixed into the cheese, and bacon covers the football. Pig out. 

1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon
1 to 2 medium jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped (if you want extra heat, retain some of the seeds)
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped scallions (light green and white parts)
Crackers, for serving

  • 1. Rev up the oven to 400°F (204°C).
  • 2. Place the bacon slices in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets lined with foil. Bake until crisp, about 15 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Spoon 2 tablespoons bacon drippings into a skillet and reserve the rest of the drippings for another use. Once the bacon has cooled, coarsely chop it.
  • 3. Heat the bacon drippings in the skillet over medium heat. Add the jalapeño and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • 4. Using a stand mixer or a bowl and a spatula, mix together 1 cup chopped bacon, the sautéed jalapeño, the cream cheese, Cheddar, and the scallions until combined. Scrape the mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and, using the plastic wrap to keep your hands from getting messy, shape the mixture into a round ball. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  • 5. Just before serving, with the cheese ball still wrapped in plastic, form it into an oblong football shape as best you can. Unwrap the cheese ball and roll it in the remaining chopped bacon to coat it completely. Strategically place a few strands of Cheddar cheese on the football to resemble laces. Serve with crackers and be ready for cheers.

  •

    • 1. Rev up the oven to 400°F (204°C).
    • 2. Place the bacon slices in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets lined with foil. Bake until crisp, about 15 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Spoon 2 tablespoons bacon drippings into a skillet and reserve the rest of the drippings for another use. Once the bacon has cooled, coarsely chop it.
    • 3. Heat the bacon drippings in the skillet over medium heat. Add the jalapeño and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
    • 4. Using a stand mixer or a bowl and a spatula, mix together 1 cup chopped bacon, the sautéed jalapeno, the cream cheese, Cheddar, and the scallions until combined. Scrape the mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and, using the plastic wrap to keep your hands from getting messy, shape the mixture into a round ball. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
    • 5. Just before serving, with the cheese ball still wrapped in plastic, form it into an oblong football shape as best you can. Unwrap the cheese ball and roll it in the remaining chopped bacon to coat it completely. Strategically place a few strands of Cheddar cheese on the football to resemble laces. Serve with crackers and be ready for cheers.

    Source:  tasteofhome