Friday, February 29, 2008

Calico Squash Casserole

In honor of my garden, I'm posting one of my most requested recipes. Before you wrinkle your nose, you should know, that even some of the most vocal squash haters have enjoyed. While this recipe can take a little time to prepare using fresh ingredients, it can also be quick and simple with some preplanning. During the summer, I make it with fresh ingredients from the garden, so chopping and dicing are required. I also, freeze veggies in appropriate proportions for winter consumption so I can just throw everything together in a matter of 10 minutes and the oven does the rest!! You should try it atleast once!

Calico Squash Casserole (adapted from a recipe originally posted in Taste of Home 1997)
2 cups sliced yellow summer squash (1/4 inch thick)
1 cup sliced zucchini (1/4 inch thick)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 cup water
1 tsp salt/divided
2 cups crushed butter-flavored crackers
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted (cream of mushroom works well too for a more vegetarian friendly version)
1 large carrot, shredded or finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimientos, drained
1 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
In a saucepan, combine the first five ingredients; add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook until squash is tender, about 6 minutes on medium-high. Drain well. Combine crumbs and butter; spoon half into a greased shallow 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Combine soup, 1 cup cheese, carrot, mayonnaise, pimientos, sage, pepper and remaining salt; fold in squash mixture and pour gently over crumbs. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs and cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Yield 8 servings.

Delivery? No, its Digiorno!

In all actuality, its usually Schwann's but hey, whatever works. I just couldn't tolerate ordering pizza anymore. I'm not very fond of pizza personally, but when you don't feel like cooking and/or you crave the occasional pizza, there has to be a better choice. Pizza is too expensive and well, its just not that great anymore. Home made pizza is fine, but sometimes, you don't want to do the chopping, dicing and rolling that is required for that. What's left you ask?? I will tell you. A frozen pizza. OMG, I said it, FROZEN PIZZA. But really, its not a bad thing. Paired with a fresh salad and/or my homemade barbecue wings? It's just like ordering in, but better (and cheaper). Here's your perfect pizza and movie night recipe: Cook your frozen pizza of choice per directions on the box (goes great with a pampered chef pizza stone).

Barbeque Chicken Wings
One package drumlettes -1lb (or more if you prefer)
1/2-3/4 cup of thick BBQ sauce (flavor and brand is your preference) I use Hunts Honey Hickory Smoke
3 tbs water

Place drumlettes close together inside tinfoil, spread BBQ sauce over them, add water on top of BBQ sauce, cover with tinfoil. Bake at 400 for about 30-45 minutes.

Comfort Food: Cheeseburgers

There are some days, when you just want your favorite childhood food or cozy foods. One of mine is home made cheeseburgers. I have fond memories of my father grilling burgers, errr, rather burning burgers on the grill. My father wasn't the best with the grill, everything was slightly charred, but it is a memory I always carry in my heart, and probably the reason I always requested to grill out for my birthday. Springtime, family gathered, grill smoking, my mom forming the hamburgers, dad smacking her butt as he takes the plate out to the and there any better mix? I have perfected my mom's hamburgers over the years, and fortunately, I'm better on a grill as well, but I can never eat a homemade hamburger without getting the warm fuzzies.


2 lbs ground chuck
One packet Vegetable Dip Mix
1/4 cup Oats (For Gluten Free you can use an extra egg and leave the oats out)
One egg, beaten
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl....and mix well..make sure all the veggie dip powder is mixed into all the meat well. Divide into 6 portions, for portions into balls and then press down for a on grill (works well in grill pan for a winter feel good fix ;) and after a few minutes flip. I sometimes flip two or three times to keep from burning any part. As soon as you flip for the last time, or take them off the grill, cover each one with your preferred cheese. I use colby jack.

Friday, February 22, 2008

It's Time...for a Garden!

Quit staring at the screen as if I were insane! I promise you, I'm not. In the past week, my jonquils have bloomed, the grass has had a mysterious shade of green appearing in spots, and my Spring Fever has switched into overdrive. That means, its time to be thinking about your gardens! Preparation is key to a thriving garden and really, there isn't that much prep time left. Ask me how I know!
Coming from a long line of farmers and gardeners, I decided last year, I would try my hand at gardening. Ofcourse, me being me, I could not simply do things the way my family has always done them. If its not broke, don't fix it right? WRONG. I wanted a different way. One that suited me a little better, and didn't require all the gardening gadgets that we didn't have like a tractor and a tiller and at that point.....we were even hoeless. What were we thinking?
So Steve and I looked at our land and how we used it, and picked out a spot. I set off in early spring to research and investigate and read as much as I possibly could so that I would have a show piece of a garden. I was not about to do the trial and error method my first year out...which ofcourse as you know, no matter how much you think you know, its always trial and error the first time around! After much research, we decided on the BioIntensive Method. This method is basically ecologically friendly and yields four times the amount of produce on less land. (Perfect for suburban kitchen gardens.) My Garden bible? "How to Grow More Vegetables than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine" by John Jeavons. I live with this book and occasionally have even slept and bathed with this book. If you want to garden on a small plot of land, BUY THIS BOOK.
To give you a brief overview of last year, I will go ahead and tell you..we made several mistakes. We started too late, miscommunicated the design (but finally got it right-our first argument was literally over the garden..or as my husband NOW refers to it "my wife's dam garden boxes"), planted too late, didn't water enough, etc. The area we chose was a landmine field of roots and stumps which was a problem in itself so we did end up needing a tractor for the initial dig.
Fortunately, my father became our knight in shining armor and rode in on the most beautiful pile of rust I had ever seen in my uncles crappy old tractor with glorious blades of rust that dug in, turned soil, and ripped at roots. After much chopping, digging, and raking we had the majority of the roots and grass removed and it was on to the tiller and the hoe. Now, the normal Biointensive Method uses a double dig process which is labor intensive but can be done with a simple shovel, but in case you haven't figured it out, I'm not I did bring in some of the traditional methods in the beginning. Once our boxes were built and in place (thanks to my darling sweet and complaining husband) we did the Double dig method more or less to "fluff" the dirt....all of this...took so much longer then we originally thought; so we were WEEKS late in planting and missed the initial spring crops all together. We did not actually get any "food" until the first of JULY.
My point in all of this is: Gardening Prep takes time, so plan early. Seed starting for my area of NC actually starts in two it is TIME to be thinking about your garden plans. Most farmers who do traditional row plantings have already started preparing their plots and it is a beautiful sight to behold. Gently rolling fields of NC dirt (red clay) spreading off in rows for acres and acres as you drive through the country. Your first seeds should be started inside (if you choose to do seeds rather then buying the plants already started) on average six weeks before your estimated last frost. For my area, that date is April 22nd this year, so that only leaves two weeks to get ready. I am not big on starting seedlings, and usually buy beautiful plants from my reputable local nursery to save me time and space, but this is a good date for me to go by to know when I need my garden beds prepped for planting!
All in all, despite the mistakes and late starts, my garden was beautiful (even though it was weedy) and produced more then anyone expected. We suffered losses (RIP baby zuchini and squash) and reaped the benefits (tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, and green beans coming out of our ears). We had corn and cucumbers, eggplants, spaghetti and acorn squash, watermelons etc. We have a better idea of time frames, planting methods, and produce quantities. I even had praise from my mother who referred to my garden as the 'yuppie garden' in the beginning but was envious of it by the end of the year. This year, I pledge to have a better handle on it, and share the amazing journey of mother natures bounty with all of you! So grab your gloves and a shovel and come plant with me!

These pictures were taken last week (on Valentines Day actually). This is my garden with its "boxes" bedded down for the winter and melting snow. Four 5' x 20' boxes and Two 5'x 10' boxes surrounded by 3 foot pathways. At the very far end is our big pile of sandy soil that we will be adding to our boxes along with lots of horse manure over the next few weeks!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chicken Tettrazini

In my quest to expand our palate, as even I, gourmet goddess that I am, get in a rut, I came across a dish that my human garbage disposal (aka husband) wouldn't touch. I had no idea he did not like tettrazini. I'm not quite sure he knew as he had no idea what the dish was. Alas, he took a bite and put it down. I felt so bad that I even offered to make him something else. Needless to say, I was really worried about taking a bite. What did I do wrong? Nothing. It actually was perfectly fine. Apparently he just is not a tettrazini type of guy. Ode to the steak and potatoes. Anyway, while this recipe will not be a repeat for us, it is not a bad recipe at all, just make sure your family or friends knows and appreciates tettrazini.
Chicken Tetrazzini (Southern Living)

3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
(10-ounce) container refrigerated Alfredo sauce
1 (3 1/2-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
7 ounces vermicelli, cooked
Stir together chicken, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and next 7 ingredients; stir in pasta. Spoon mixture into 6 lightly greased 6-ounce baking dishes or an 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated. The only changes I made: I used Classico Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce and 1/4 cup Blush Wine instead of dry sherry (it was already open) but turned out fine. What I wish I had done and what I suggest to you should you choose to accept the challenge: mix the 1/2 cup of shredded pamesan with a 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and then top before baking also maybe add some finely chopped/sliced celery to the dish and it would have been perfect!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Chicken Basil Pannini

I decided to get creative and put my Pampered Chef Grill press to the test! I love pannini's but don't have a real pannini press so here is my version: Grill boneless, skinless chicken breast (in grill pan) in about a tablespoon of olive oil. after cooking the chicken wipe out the pan and put back on the burner with the press top inside to heat the top as well. Cut open a loaf of italian bread and one one side completely cover bread with Basil pesto. Layer cheese of your choice over pesto (I used white American but a stronger cheese such as colby jack would be great) and top with slices of red onion. Top with chicken breast (whole or slices) and cover with the bread. Use butter on both top and bottom of bread and place in grill pan and press the top down...cook on medium/high for one minute or two and flip if needed for another one or two minute until bread is grilled and cheese is melted. I sliced into inch sandwiches and served was very good!!

Pizza Bites/Balls

I can't remember where I found this recipe but here it is. These were okay. My husband didn't care for them. To me they were okay. I actually liked the contrast between the sweeter crescent roll and the spicy was the cream cheese that threw it off a bit.....but I think maybe I should just add more pepperoni. And actually, I had the leftovers the next day and they were even my suggestion...if you decide to try this one....Make your pepperoni/cream cheese mixture ahead of time...and refridgerate so flavors blend better.. then make them. The upside is they are super easy and make quite a few so its a great quick appetizer for a casual party or an indulgence for movie night with the family.

2 packages Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls

1 package cream cheese

1 package Hormel sliced pepperoni (or any brand)

Directions:Take out the crescent rolls, and separate into the individual triangles. Flatten each triangle and slice it so that it becomes three small triangles. Dice or chop your pepperoni (I used an electric chopper). Mix the pepperoni into the cream cheese, stir very well so all of the pepperoni pieces are mixed into the cream cheese. Take a little spoonful of your cream cheese/pepperoni mixture and put it in the middle of one of your crescent rolls triangles. Pinch up all of the sides around the filling. Repeat and place them all on a cookie sheet or a baking stone. Bake for the amount of time stated on the crescent rolls (usually 12-16 minutes at 350) Let cool.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

A very interesting Valentines Day started off with 2 inches of fluffy snow and bright sunshine this morning. I was able to get out and play in the snow with my dog so I have to share a photo because I love it.
After work (and all the snow had melted away) my darling husband helped me cook. I planned a very good but relatively easy dinner which included a new recipe that I tweaked before even trying it as is typical of me.

The Menu:

Turkey Mignon (from Schwanns')

Garden Salad (bagged salads, extra veggies, croutons, dressing...just wash and throw it all together!)

Baked Potato Soup (see below for recipe)

Chocolate Mousse (see below for recipe)

Turned out yummy and we still had plenty of time to relax and watch TV together (and ofcourse for me to post this!)

Chocolate Mousse

9 ounces semisweet Morsels
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
Pinch fine salt
1/3 cup sugar
Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave on 50% power for 1 minute...stir...repeat until smooth and creamy. Whip the cream in a medium bowl until it holds soft peaks. Don't overwhip. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Put the eggs in another bowl that sets over water on medium heat. I used a large stock pot with a drain insert and just set the bowl in the insert so it didn't touch the water. Beat the egg yolks, pinch of salt, and sugar until foamy and light, about 30 seconds. Set the bowl over the water and whip with an electric mixer or whisk, moving in a circular motion around the bowl, until the eggs are fluffy and warm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue beating on high speed about 5 minutes more until you can pull beaters from mixture and thick creamy ribbons drip back down.
Slowly pour egg into chocolate and mix on low until creamy. Slowly add whipped cream into mixture and mix on low until a mixed mousse. Pour the mousse into 4 serving dishes or wine glasses. We crumbled up graham crackers in the bottom and poured the mousse over it and garnished with a few chocolate can also add "whip cream" as a topping with chocolate shavings. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Serve. This is a very thick rich creamy mousse. For a darker richer mousse you could try bittersweet chocolate and/or decrease cream as some other recipes suggest but I haven't tried that. This recipe was adapted from a Food Network recipe.

Triad Nestie GTG

A group of the nestie girls in the triad area (and a few from outside) met at Outwest Steakhouse in Kernersville last night to share fun, food, laughter and some adorable babies. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting these gals and ofcourse I have baby-fever BAD now, but alas, that will have to wait awhile. So IHO of my nestie gals and all their great advice and good cooking, cheers to you!

Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup (Cooking Light)Ofcourse MY options were not light but it was what I had on hand from making other recipes
4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds) I used about 8 white potatoes which are smaller so I cooked them for about 45 minutes
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 ounces)
6 cups 2% reduced-fat milk I used one cup of Heavy cream and Five cups Whole Milk
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extrasharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream I used regular sour cream
3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
Cracked black pepper (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°.
Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes; coarsely mash.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place flour in a large Dutch oven; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 8 minutes). Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat.
Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated (do not boil). Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 8 bowls. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons onions, and about 1 tablespoon bacon. Garnish with cracked pepper, if desired.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

MORE Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

I am not going to repost the recipe as it is one of the first ones I posted. However, I did make it again and used the little paper loaf pans so I could give them away, and they came out very well. I also tried them as Mini Muffins which I took to an Open House and everyone loved them. So I'm just posting some more pics to give you ideas!! I love taking recipes and making them suit different occasions and this is such an easy yummy recipe I figured it was worth a repeat!!

My little helper

I couldn't animals like to help the garden, cleaning the house....Truffles is particularly fond of laying in the barstool in the dining room while I'm in the least she knows better then to get on the counters and table so I don't worry about hair or anything...but isn't she adorable.
As is only fair, since she watched me bake, she decided to be an equal opportunity helper and keep her daddy from falling off the sofa after a long day of work.....such a sweet baby ;)

Pumpkin Puppies

This recipe is actually for Pumpkin Doughnut Holes, but the process and looks reminded me of I renamed them...LOL
Pumpkin Puppies aka Pumpkin Doughnut Holes
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt1 tablespoon baking powder (if you use Self Rising Flour, you can skip this step)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup pumpkin
2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 quart oil for frying
optional - powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar mixture
Heat oil in deep fryer to 375 degrees F. (I used a stock pot and heated on high but reduced to medium before dropping in the batter, you may have to adjust as you fry them or the outsides will burn and the insides will be raw). Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix in butter until crumbly. Mix in pumpkin then stir in milk and egg. With floured hands, lightly knead the smooth dough. Dough is VERY sticky so I spread out a large amoutn of flour on my counter and rolled the dough around in it to be able to easily handle it and punch it out. Turn onto area prepared with flour. Pat dough into 1/4 inch thickness. Dip either doughnut cutter or two biscuit cutters (one 1-inch and one 3 or 4-inch) in flour. Use to cut-out doughnuts. I actually used a large shotglass that worked EXTREMELY well for a perfect size. Carefully drop doughnuts into hot oil, only a few at a time. Fry, turning once, for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. (Only takes about 60 seconds on each side) Drain on prepared paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or cinnamon-sugar mixture. I kept a plate with powdered sugar/cinnamon beside the drain bowl and did it like an assembly line...out of the oil, into drain, while next batch is cooking, roll previous batch in sugar and move onto serving bowl.

Friday, February 8, 2008

White Chicken Lasagna this is a recipe I made up. Yes..I made it up completely. Several years ago, I was trying to mimic something from a I started playing around and through complete error, this recipe was invented. For YEARS, I've been asked for this recipe but I never write it I wrote it down this time. It's not exact ( I never measure on my own creations) but it's close...make it, experiment with it, make it your own. This is a VERY RICH will not want large servings. Pairs great with salad and garlic bread. Also, It makes a large lasagna so its great to share or for leftovers. I hope you enjoy and please feel free to leave me comments.

1 cut up whole chicken with skin or three large chicken breasts with bone and skin (boil and save broth)
1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth (your base)
2 blocks of Cream cheese (16 0z)
2 tbs butter
1 medium onion (minced/finely chopped)
1 1/2 tbs garlic (I used the minced in a jar)
(DRIED Seasonings)
1 tbs parsley
1/2 tbs oregeno
1 tbs Italian Seasoning
Dash Basil
Dash Rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 can of Mushrooms
1 can Green Peas (or drained spinach works well)
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 cups of Mozzerella (this time I used a blend so the lasagna isn't completely white in the pics...LOL)
8-12 lasagna noodles (cooked)

Remove skin and bones from chicken and chop or shred chicken meat. Over medium heat start with your chicken broth and melt butter into it, add garlic and onion, stirring constantly slowly add in all of your seasonings, keep stirring and add in your cream cheese STIR CONSTANTLY as this melts in (I use a whisk). once cheese is melted ad in creamed soup (keep whisking till smooth), add in your mushrooms, greenpeas(or spinach) and shredded/cubed chicken. Sauce pictured HERE:

In lasagna pan of your choice (for this recipe I prefer glass) layer sauce, noodles, sprinkle of cheese atleast twice...finish with sauce and a sprinkle of cheese....bake at 375 for 30 minutes (55 if you use the Oven ready lasagna noodles which I do not like with this). Serve and enjoy (this will not set up as well as normal lasagna because of the cheese sauce.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Breakfast Casserole

I found this recipe on someone's blog (again, I can't remember who but I think it was one of the NC girls, McJamie maybe?) The original recipe makes "sausage cupcakes", but as I only have a 6 muffin tin and a minimuffing tin, I decided to change it up a bit and it worked really well as a quick dinner entree.

1 can of grands biscuits
4 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz Neese's sausage
1 cup of Mexican blend Cheese (I always use this instead of plain cheddar or colby or mozzerella)
Place biscuits in a stone or cast iron dish (I use the Pampered chef deep dish baker)Heat sausage and chop into small pieces, add egg(with salt and pepper added) till almost set. Pour over biscuits. Spread shredded cheese over top. Bake at 400 for approx 25 minutes.

To make the original "muffins" place one biscuit and a small amount of mixture and cheese into each tin (need to grease tins before biscuits) and bake for 11 to 13 minutes.

Quick Winter Steaks

This is a quick meal idea for those in a rush!! Grab your Grill pan (I use the pampered chef grill pan) and some beef steaks for searing. Sprinkle pan with Olive Oil and heat (on medium/high). Place steaks in heated pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and parsley. Flip steaks after five minutes or so and cook five minutes or so more until done on both sides with nice grill marks. Goes great with zesty broccoli and/or fried potatoes (or your favorite sides).


1-1.5 lbs chicken (I used chicken tenders and cooked them in the crockpot while I was at work, then diced them)
8 oz Frank's hot sauce (I used One cup of Texas Pete)
8 oz ranch dressing
16 oz cream cheese
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese (I used Mexican Blend)
I put all of my ingredients in a crock pot and stirred occasionally for about an hour and a half and kept on low to serve. There are several versions of this including putting it in a baking dish and baking until bubbly. Also, some add blue cheese, less hotsauce etc. This recipe is a take off of Buffalo Chicken Dip and is a favorite on (where it got the name Crack dip for its addictive quality to many). Goes GREAT with tortilla scoops. It is pretty good, but a bit spicy for me and not quite as good as my Sausage dip which I will be posting soon!! ENJOY though!!

Zuchini Crabcakes

Makes 2 servings

2 cups grated zucchini (about 4 medium zucchini) I used 2 cups frozen shredded from my garden
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon low-fat butter, melted (I used regular salted stick butter)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used Herbed Seasoning)
2 tbs. cup minced onion
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

Directions1. Grate zucchini into colander. Squeeze out as much water as possible. Place on papertowel and salt. Let set for 30 minutes. Again, squeeze out at much water as possible with papertowel.2. In a medium bowl, combine zucchini, egg, and butter. Stir in breadcrumbs, minced onion, and Old Bay. Mix well.3. Preheat over to 400 degrees.4. Shape mixture into patties and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.5. Bake in preheated over for 12 - 15 minutes on each side.

Zesty Broccoli

This is a side dish that I came up with on the spur of the moment but turned out well. I was looking for something interesting to pair with the Cheeseburger Meatloaf below. It has a nice little mild kick to it.
Zesty Broccoli
Broccoli Spears- fresh or frozen (2 cups)
Zesty Ranch Dressing (about 2 tbsp)
Sprinkle of chipotle cheese (1/4 cup)
Sprinkle of breadcrumbs (1/4 cup)

Boil Broccoli till tender, mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve warm. Serves 2.

Cheeseburger Meatloaf

Cheeseburger Meatloaf
-1 lb lean ground beef (I used 11% I believe and used 1 1/2lbs)
-1 cup finely chopped onion (and 3 1/4" thick slices, for topping)
-1/2 c quick cooking oats
-2 tbsp milk (recipe called for whole, but you can use skim)
-1 large egg, lightly beaten
-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used Mexican Blend shredded)
-1 tbsp ketchup (I used 2 tbsp of condiments)
-1 tbsp mayonnaise
-1 tbsp yellow mustard
-1 tbsp pickle relish ( I skipped this)
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
I added two tbsp real bacon bits

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl (except for onion slices). Pat mixture down in a lightly oiled 9x5 loaf pan( I did not oil it as I knew the extra fat in the meatloaf would be plenty to keep it from sticking). Top with onion slices, keeping them intact. Bake until firm--about 1 hour. (Because I used higher fat meat, I drained the grease off at the end and it firmed up more). Makes 6 servings..

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bread

So I had this HUGE pumpkin my dad had given me sitting on my counter taunting me for about two weeks. This past weekend I finally broke down and cooked I have tons of while surfing the blogs from thenest What's Cooking board I found Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin recipe (can't remember exactly which blog I got it from though..I do apologize)...decided to give it a try. Well, I only have a six muffin pan so I ended up using the rest of the batter and making it into a loaf, which worked really well. Also a note on the muffins, I filled the cups to full and they ran over....thus they look more like Smurf huts then muffins..LOL Enjoy.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (or Loaf)
8 ounces cream cheese
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped (I did not use these as I'm not fond of nuts)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder (left this out as I use Self Rising Flour)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (left this out as I use Self Rising Flour)
1 1/4 cups solid-packed pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 375° F. Lightly coat two 12-cup standard muffin tins with oil and set aside. Mix the cream cheese, 1 egg, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Toss 5 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 cup flour, pecans, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon together in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine the remaining sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and remaining cinnamon in a large bowl. Lightly beat the remaining eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour the pumpkin mixture into the well, and mix with a fork just until moistened. Evenly divide half of the batter among the muffin cups. Place two teaspoonfuls of cream cheese filling in the center of each cup and fill with the remaining batter. Sprinkle some of the pecan mixture over the top of each muffin and bake until golden and a tester, inserted into the muffin center, comes out clean -- 20 to 25 minutes. (if you use a loaf pan like I did, it takes about 30 minutes longer)

Spinach Quiche

This was the first Nestie Recipe I tried. It is courtesy of Stephanie from I really enjoyed it and my parents LOVED it.

Makes 2 - 4 servings

Ingredients2 tbs. low- fat butter (I used regular)

2 tsp. minced garlic

1/4 chopped onion

4 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1(4 oz) package herb and tomato feta, crumbled (really any kind of feta)(I used Mediteranean Feta)

1 (9 inch) unbaked regular pie crust (I used Pillsbury Roll out Pie Crusts)

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup skim milk (I used Vitamin D)

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup low-fat shredded Swiss cheese

Directions1. Thaw and drain spinach in colander. Squeeze out as much water as possible while still in colander. Place spinach on papertowel and let sit for 30 minutes. Again, squeeze out excess water.2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).3. Bake pie shell for 5 minutes in preheated oven.4. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion in butter until until onion is clear. Stir in spinach and feta. Spoon mixture into pie crust.5. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry shell, allowing egg mixture to thoroughly combine with spinach mixture.6.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with Swiss cheese, and bake an additional 30minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving

Fried Potatoes and Beef Roast Dinner

This is a traditional southern dinner in our house. Quick and Easy. Roast beef with veggies and Fried Potatoes.


One of my DH's Favorite foods, and the one thing that he requests almost everyday. This is great because you can make as much or as little as you need.

Wash and peel potatoes (Baking Potatoes and White Potatoes work best)

Slice into 1/4 inch thick slices

Heat Olive Oil (light layer to cover the bottom approx 2 tbs) in skillet

Place potatoes in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle OO over top

Cover and cook on medium to high approx 4 minutes

Flip slices over, recover and cook another 4 minutes or until tender (cook longer for a crispier potato.

Drain on papertowel and serve hot. I like them plain or with ketchup!

ROAST BEEF with Veggies

Beef Roast (size of your choice)
Place in crockpot with a package of French Onion Soup Mix, a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup and fill with water until it covers meat. Cook on low several hours (atleast 5). I like to put it in before I go to work or at lunch, and its done when I get home.

When you get home add thawed veggies of your choice. I used greenbeans from my garden that I thawed from my freezer (already cooked), a can of carrot coins, and a can of mushrooms. Let these cook with the beef while you make the potatoes. Occasionally I will add potato chuncks directly to the roast with the veggies, but DH prefers them fried. You can do it either way. ENJOY!