Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Creamy Tomatillo Dip

1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
1 cup mayo
1 cup cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tomatillos-peed off paper, chop
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. Put all ingredients in blender and puree. Make sure garlic, tomatillos, and cilantro are sufficiently chopped. More buttermilk can be added to achieve a more runny consistency.
This recipe is great for dipping tortilla chips, crackers, or vegetables. I also really like it on tacos and burritos instead of sour cream.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Maple Apple Crisp


  • 5 apples - peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (Yes, you CAN taste the wheat)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4-1/3 cup butter, softened


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Place apples in an 8x8 glass inch baking dish. Toss apples with syrup. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle mixture evenly over apples.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, until topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
This recipe is quick and easy, and it's pretty hard to mess up, too. I usually make it when I have the elders over, or I just need to cook for several people. This is sure to please.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Overnight Blueberry French Toast


12 slices day-old bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup fresh blueberries
12 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup

1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon butter


Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange half the bread cubes in the dish, and top with cream cheese cubes. Sprinkle 1 cup blueberries over the cream cheese, and top with remaining bread cubes.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and syrup. Pour over the bread cubes. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the bread cube mixture from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Cover, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking 25 to 30 minutes, until center is firm and surface is lightly browned.
In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the remaining 1 cup blueberries. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, until the blueberries burst. Stir in the butter, and pour over the baked French toast.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Peppermint Cocoa Mix in a Pint Jar

Ingredients for Jar
1/2 cup powdered coffee creamer
1 (2.25 oz.) bottle red sugar (you can color 1/3 cup sugar with a few drops of red food coloring and mix well)
1/4 cup hard peppermint candies, crushed
circle of heavy paper
1/2 cup chocolate flavored drink mix (like Quick)
1/2 cup dry milk (scant 1/2 cup)

1. Place ingredients in Jar in order listed above, placing a circle of heavy paper on top of the crushed peppermints to prevent powdered sugar from sifting down through the peppermints. (If you want to make a diagonal design tip jar on edge but cut out your circle into an oval.)
2. Decorate jar.
3. Attach tag.

Peppermint Cocoa
1. Empty cocoa mix into a large mixing bowl. Remove and discard paper circle.
2. Blend mix very well with a whisk.
3. Place mix back into jar or a container of your choice.
4. Place 1 1/2 to 2 Tblsp. mix into a cup. Add 1 cup boiling water. Stir until mixture is completely dissolved. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Basic Hot Cocoa Mix

2 cups nonfat dry milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup non-dairy creamer
1 dash salt
mini marshmallows, optional

Combine ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 4 cups.

To use Hot Cocoa Mix:
Add 3 to 4 Tblsp. of mix to your favorite mug and fill with boiling water. Stir to blend. Add some marshmallows or cream.

Flavored Cocoa Variations
*Use flavored creamers such as Hazelnut, Irish Cream, French Vanilla, etc. (We actually used blueberry cobbler this year that was really yummy!)
*Some people like to add a package of Raspberry or Cherry unsweetened dry beverage mix (like Kool-Aid) to cocoa mix. It makes it a bit tart, you will need to add more sugar. You might try only part of an envelope. (I have never tried this variation, so let me know if it's good.)
*Try adding one teaspoon of cinnamon to the cocoa mix.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cheese Burger Chowder

I made this the other night and we were pleasantly surprised with how good it was. It was very yummy! However, I feel I should warn you, I felt more full 30 minutes after dinner than I did when I quit eating! I also added some carrots, which were good too. (And extra cheese, but I used mild and it was still good.)

Cook Time: 35 minutes

1 pound lean ground beef
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed, about 2 cups
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules or beef base
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preparation:In a 3 to 4-quart saucepan brown beef. Drain off excess fat. Stir in cubed potatoes, chopped celery, chopped onion, chopped green pepper, bouillon or base, salt, and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Blend flour with 1/2 cup of milk. Add to saucepan along with the remaining 2 cups of milk. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Add cheese; heat and stir until cheese is melted. Serves 6 to 8.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This is actually Uncle Cliff's recipe but one of my families favorites. It works great in a cock-pot or stove. And it makes the whole house smell so yummy!!

Brown 1-1 1/2 lbs. stew meat with chopped onion. Season with:
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. basil
2 beef bouillon cubes
Simmer with 1-2 cups water for several hours until tender. Mix 1 can cream of mushroom soup and 1 cup sour cream into mixture. Heat but don't boil. Serve over rice or noodles.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Darn Good Thumbprint Cookies

This falls into the "I just can't do the same thing as everyone else" category!

Mix together:
  • 2/3 c butter (margarine? really -- why bother making cookies to use margarine -- if you are going to blow the diet, use the good stuff!)
  • 1/2 c coconut flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
Chill for 1/2 hour or so. This does two things 1) makes it easier to roll the dough and 2) the coconut flour needs a little time to soften. (Bob's Red Mill makes coconut flour.)

Finely smash/chop a cup or two of macadamia nuts.

Make the dough into 1 inch balls. Dip the dough balls as follows:
  • 2 lightly beaten egg whites
  • 1 cup of smashed/chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup fine coconut -- not the huge candy pieces -- use really finely shredded macaroon coconut (Bob's Red Mill again for me.)
Place the cookies on the cookie sheets (we can't do this without referring to a certain SNL skit w/ the crazy Alec Baldwin) and make a thumbprint in each one.

Bake at 350 for 10 - 12 minutes. While the cookies are cooling, spoon a bit of jam into each one. They are really good w/ sunshine marmalade or the "Oops I screwed up Carrot Cake Jam" because they both have extra pineapple.

Makes 42 cookies, which is enough to share with two families and still get to eat one after DH snarfs what's left! I was going to post a photo, but someone ate the samples!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stuffed Pumpkins

This is an old family favorite. Many of you may have it, but I was typing it up for a friend and thought I'd just put it on here too.

1 - 3to4 lb. sugar pumpkin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 lb. beef
1 medium chopped onion
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 tsp. pepper (or less)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard

De-seed pumpkin and prick inside all over with a fork. Rub 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. dry mustard on inside of pumpkin. Brown beef and onion. Mix in eggs, rice, pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. dry mustard. Put beef and rice mixture into pumpkin and put the lid on. Place pumpkin in shallow 8X8 pan with 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the pan. Bake 350 for 1 1/2 hours. Add more water if necessary. Eat the stuffing and pumpkin.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rachel's Famous 7 Layer Bean Dip

Please keep in mind, this is a recipe I don't measure things on, I just add stuff until it tastes good. However, the sour cream and the guacamole is what makes this the best. (This is my husband's absolute favorite and he asks me to make it for everything!)

2-3 cans of refried beans
1 cup (or so) or sour cream
1/2 pkg. taco seasoning (or more to taste)
2-3 ripe avocados
3/4 cup (or so) mayo
garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. lemon juice
chopped tomatoes
chopped green onions
tortilla chips

Spread out the beans in a 9X13 pan. Mix the sour cream and taco seasoning together and spread over the top of the beans. For the guacamole, mash the avocados. Add mayo, garlic powder, salt, pepper, onion powder, lemon juice and mix. (Just add what you like until it tastes good or you can follow a guacamole recipe but the mayo is key to making it taste so good!) Layer the guacamole, salsa, cheese, tomatoes, and green onions. Add olives if you like, but I never do because I don't like them. Eat!!! And keep refrigerated.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tangy Chicken Nuggets

I thought I might share a recipe that my family loves! The girls love to help out with this and they are so tasty. I always get compliments when I make them. (This is the same recipie I posted on my blog several months ago but thought I'd log it in here too.)

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups crushed crackers (I use Saltines)
1 tsp. oregano
1 egg white
1 Tblsp. water
3 Tblsp. BBQ sauce
2 Tblsp. peach or apricot jam

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut chicken into 1-inch chunks. Place flour, salt, and pepper in resealable plastic food storage bag. Combine cracker crumbs and oregano in another bag. Whisk egg white together with water in a small bowl.

Place 6 or 8 chicken pieces in bag with flour mixture; seal bag and shake until coated. Remove chicken from bag and dip chicken pieces into egg white mixture, coating all sides. Place in cracker crumbs until coated. Place on shallow baking pan. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Bake until nuggets are golden brown, about 10-13 min.

To make dippinng sauce, stir together the BBQ sauce and jam in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until heated through. Serving chicken nuggets with dipping sauce (or I like ranch). If freezing nuggets for use at another time, do not prepare dipping sauce at this time.

Note: If you don't want to use apricot jam, honey can be used to sweeten the sauce while 1 tsp. cider vinegar and a few drops of hot pepper sauce will give the sauce a tany flavor.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Enchilada Casserole

I saw that Katrina wanted this recipe, so I thought I'd post it. It's pretty easy and the kids like to help do the layering. I'll put down the recipe that I have but I seldom to never use corn. I frequently add refried beans or kidney beans though. Sometimes I'll add a little taco seasoning with the hamburger too. That's good. Enjoy!

1lb. hamburger
1 small onion
taco seasoning (opt.)

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup salsa

Also needed:
tortilla chips
lots of cheese
1 can corn, drained
refried beans (opt.)
kidney beans (opt.)

Layer in 9X13 pan: 1/4 of sauce, tortilla chips to cover bottom of pan, all of hamburger, some cheese, more sauce, corn (drained), (add your beans here if you want), more tortilla chips to cover, rest of sauce, and more grated cheese. Bake at 350 for 35-40 min. Serve with sour cream, salsa, guacamole, or whatever else suits you.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Homemade Granola Bars

Wow! The girls and I just tried out this recipie and we love it!!! It calls for dried fruit and nuts, but feel free to try other flavors. We omited the cinnamon, fruit, and nuts and added mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. YUMMM!!!

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups crisp rice cereal
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried fruit bits
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1. Heat the oven to 350° F. Coat a 9- by 13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. 2. Melt the butter or margarine in a large pot over low heat. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the sugar, honey, flour, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
3. Transfer the mixture to the baking pan. Using a sheet or waxed paper and the palms of your hands, press the granola firmly into the pan, packing it to a flat and even thickness.
4. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow the granola to cool 1 hour in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into bars. Makes 16 to 24 rectangular bars.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I Should Be on a Tropical Island Granola Breakfast Cereal

Again, this is my own strange variation on something normal. Pre-heat oven to 300. Line a cookie sheet w/ foil -- that no-stick stuff works great! You can use garden variety oatmeal for this, but I like a mixture of weird stuff -- rye flakes, wheat flakes, spelt flakes, etc. You can get the weird stuff from Bob's Red Mill -- or ask me, since I either have a stash or I'm getting ready to order.

Melt together:

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/2 a cup of honey


  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 cups of flakes

Once all the flakes are coated, spread onto the foil lined cookie sheet. On top of that add:

  • 1 - 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (Bob's Red Mill again!)

Roast your granola for 30 minutes, stir it around every 10 minutes. The coconut flakes should be lightly browned. Once the mixture cools a little, I spoon mine into a zipper bag (it goes too quickly to bother with a canister). Add:

  • 1 - 2 cups macadamia nuts -- lightly chopped

When serving, I add either fresh fruit or dried cherries or cranberries. You could add dried fruit w/ the nuts, but I like to keep my options open! I think you could add some extra honey and form this into bars before baking, but I haven't tried that. I have been known to put 1 cup into zippy bags & put that into a scrapbook bag w/ a tag as part of a goodie basket.

Top Secret Brownie Recipe

This recipe was tested numerous times -- mostly on Sunday afternoons -- see variations........

Pre-heat oven to 350.

In a saucepan, melt:

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • a couple of handfuls of marshmallows -- it's really impossible to use too many

after marshmallows are mostly melted, add:

  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder

remove from heat once cocoa powder is mixed in. Then mix in:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • if you have chocolate extract, you can add some of that as well

After that is combined, add:

  • 1 and 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

bake in a greased/floured METAL pan @ high altitude for 30 - 35 minutes. This recipe doesn't work as well at sea level or in glass pans.

Variations -- the usual nuts, etc work and

PB Option:

Mix together 1 cup of peanut butter, powdered sugar & milk (evaporated milk or cream work really nicely here) until you have a batter consistency. Drop spoonfuls of the PB mixture into the chocolate after it is in the pan -- swirl together and bake as normal.

Coconut option:

Substitute 1/2 cup of coconut flour for 1/2 cup of the normal flour. Add coconut flakes (I like the unsweetened kind) and chopped macadamia nuts.

Alien moon landing version:

Mix in a bunch of big marshmallows at the very end. They float to the top during baking and make really yummy craters.

Funky flours:

If you have hazelnut flour or almond flour -- you can substitute 1/2 a cup of that for the regular flour. I would add a co-ordinating nut. If you don't have funky flours, try Bob's Red Mill. Actually, ask me first -- I either have a stash, or I'm getting ready to place an order.

Don't try this at home version:

One time when I was making this -- I think I was about 13, we were out of vanilla. So, I thought I'd add some almond extract instead. Then I decided that I really didn't like the taste of the almond extract. So I added three times as much peppermint extract to cover up the almond. Well, that was even worse. So I dumped in a bunch of lemon juice and stuck it in the oven. They were hands down the most horrible batch that I ever made. Paul, Johnny & Bryce ate the whole pan.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread & Variations

This is my first contribution, so we'll see how it goes! My family loves this different take on traditional banana bread! (Note to self: don't forget tags!)

Prep: 15 min., Bake: 1 hr., Cool: 40 min.
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
1 cup chopped pecans (opt.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in bananas, pecans and vanilla. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 8X4 inch loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Shielding with aluminum foil last 15 minutes prevents over browning.) Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing bread from pans. Cool 30 minutes before slicing.

Toasted Coconut-Topped Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread
Prepare and bake bread. While bread is baking, stir together 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, and 1/4 cup milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, 1 cup chopped pecans and 2 tsp. vanilla. Remove baked bread and immediately spread tops with coconut mixture. Broil 5 1/2 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or just until topping starts to brown. Cool in pans for 20 minutes. Remove and cool 30 minutes before slicing.
Orange-Pecan-Topped Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread
Prepare bread batter as directed and spoon into pans. Sprinkle 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans evenly over batter in pans. Press slightly so they stay. Bake as directed. Cool bread in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks. Stir together 1 cup powdered sugar, 3 tbsp. fresh orange juice, and 1 tsp. grated orange rind until blended. Drizzle evenly over warm bread and cool 30 minutes.
Cinnamon Crisp-Topped Cream Cheese-Banana Nut Bread
Prepare batter as directed and spoon into pans. Stir together 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1 tbsp. flour, 1 tbsp. melted butter and 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture evenly over batter. Bake and cool as directed.
Peanut Butter Streusel-Topped Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread
Prepare batter as directed and spoon into pans. Combine 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. flour and 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar in small bowl. Cut in 1/4 cup putter with 3 tbsp. creamy peanut butter until mixture resembles small peas. Sprinkle mixture evenly over batter in pans. Bake and cool as directed.
Toffee-Topped Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread
Prepare batter as directed and spoon into pans. Stir together 3 tbsp. melted butter, 1/3 cup pus 3 tbsp. flour 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 2 (1.4-ounce) chocolate-covered toffee candy bars, finely chopped. Sprinkle evenly over batter in pans. Bake and cool as directed.
Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Muffins
Spoon evenly into 24 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake ate 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire racks. Makes 24 muffins.

Note: This recipe calls for all the pecans to be toasted. I didn't add that because it tastes fine regular too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fruit Cocktail with Dumplings

1 big can fruit cocktail
1/2 cup flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp oil
ground cinnamon (opt)
ground nutmeg (opt)

(You can add sugar, butter, and lemon juice to fruit cocktail if desired.) Pour fruit cocktail, undrained, into skillet. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Add milk and oil. Drop into pan of boiling fruit cocktail. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over top. Cover lightly with lid so steam can escape. Cook until done.

French Breakfast Puffs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups or line cups with paper muffin liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, cream together 1/2 cup sugar and shortening. Beat in egg. Stir flour mixture into shortening mixture alternately with milk. Beat well. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. While muffins are baking, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Remove muffins from oven and muffin pan. Immediately, dip the tops of the muffins into the melted margarine, then into the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Repeat with each muffin, until all muffin tops are covered. Serve warm.

Pot Roast

2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
1 1/4 cups water
5 1/2 pounds pot roast


In a slow cooker, mix cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture. Add vegetables if desired and add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook on High setting for 4-5 hours, or on Low setting for 8 to 9 hours.

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken

1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon steak sauce
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Preheat the grill for medium heat.
In a shallow bowl, mix the mustard, honey, mayonnaise, and steak sauce. Set aside a small amount of the honey mustard sauce for basting, Place the chicken and the remaining sauce in a Ziploc bag and marinade for 1-3 hours, if desired.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill chicken over indirect heat for 18 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until juices run clear. Baste occasionally with the reserved sauce during the last 10 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Aubrie's Fajita Black Bean Soup

1 lb cooked chicken or ground beef
1 large can (29 oz) or 2 medium cans (15 0z) diced tomatoes
1 onion
1 can chopped green chilies or jalapenos
1 envelope Taco seasoning
1 1/2 cup chicken or beef broth
1 15 oz can of black beans (undrained)
1 15 oz can of corn (undrained)
1 can black olives (drained)

Combine meat, tomatoes, onion, chilies, seasoning, and broth together in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes. It is better to simmer for 1 to 2 hours if possible and it also does well in a crock-pot all day on low.
15 minutes before serving, add black beans, corn, and black olives. Bring soup mixture again to a boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
Serve with corn chips, grated cheese, and sour cream.
Serves 4-6

Sugar Cookies

1/2 lb butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add dry ingredients. (I find mine turn out better with an extra 1/4 cup flour. I am not sure if it is the elevation, or what, but you might give that a try.) Refrigerate overnight or for 4-5 hours. Bake at 400 degrees F for 6-9 minutes, until edges are just starting to turn light brown. Do not overcook.

If you double the recipe, use 3 eggs.

Split Pea Soup

This recipe is the best split pea soup we've ever had!

1 cup split peas
3 cups water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb cooked, cubed ham or crumbled bacon
Soak split peas in water overnight
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Sautee carrot, onion, celery and curry for about 5 minutes. Add the peas and water, cream, salt, and ham. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 to 50 minutes, or until very thick.

Apple Cranberry Stuffed Pork Chops

2 tablespoons butter
1/8 yellow onion, minced
1 Granny Smith apple - peeled, cored and diced
2 stalks celery ribs, finely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 (1 inch thick) boneless pork chops
1 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a Dutch oven, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until the onions are very soft and begin to brown. Remove from heat. Stir in apple, celery, and dried cranberries. Season with salt.
Lay each chop flat on cutting board, and with a sharp knife held parallel to the board, cut a pocket into the pork, leaving three sides intact. Stuff each chop with apple-cranberry mixture.
Melt remaining butter in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Pan-fry chops in butter for two minutes on each side. Cover, and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
Transfer chops from pan to a plate, and cover with foil. Place the Dutch oven back on the stovetop over medium heat. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together apple juice, cornstarch, and brown sugar; pour into Dutch oven. Reduce liquid volume by half, stirring frequently. Season to taste with black pepper. Serve this apple glaze over pork chops.

Note: I've tried these in my Express 101, and they were tasty that way! It was faster than the oven and kept the meat very moist. I've never tried it in the oven, so I'm not sure how it works.

Mike's Favorite Bread

3 to 3 1/2 cups flour (or more)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp yeast (one package)
1 cup very warm water (120-103 degrees F)
2 TBSP oil
1 large egg
Butter or margarine


  1. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in mixing bowl. Add warm water and oil. Add egg and beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
  2. Knead for ten minutes, or have electric mixer do it until dough is smooth and springy. Place dough in large greased bowl. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
  3. Grease bottom and sides of loaf pan. Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Shape into loaf and place in greased loaf pan. Cover loosely and let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until almost double.
  4. Move oven rack to low position so that top of pan will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 375 and bake 30-35 minutes, or until loaf is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan to wire rack. Brush loaf with butter; cool.


This is the basic recipe. I seldom make it that way, though, because we love to try new things. So here are a few we try. Let me know if you try somethings else that's really good.

Token Wheat Flour: Exchange one cup flour for wheat flour.

Honey Wheat Flour: Use half wheat, half white flour, and use honey instead of sugar.

Oat: Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups quick oats and slightly less flour.

Rye: Use half white flour, half rye flour.

Buttermilk: Use buttermilk instead of water. You can also exchange the water for milk in any of the other variations. Just scald it and let it cool until it is 120-130 degrees.


If I'm in a hurry, I let the dough rise in a warm oven. Also, my oven always makes the crust on the top of my loaf too crunchy, so I put a piece of aluminum foil on the top with the SHINY SIDE OUT and the DULL SIDE TOWARD THE BREAD. I take it off with about 15 minutes left to bake, and that way the crust doesn't start to brown until the end.

Cheesecake Supreme

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 5 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the melted butter together. Press mixture into the bottom of one 9 or 10 inch springform pan.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, eggs, and egg yolks; mix until smooth. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups sugar, the flour, and the cream. Blend until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, then turn oven temperature down to 200 degrees F and continue baking for 1 hour, or until filling is set. Let cheesecake cool, then refrigerate.

Grilled Chipotle-Lime Fish Tacos

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
1 pound tilapia fillets

1 (8 ounce) container light sour cream
1/2 cup adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
salt and pepper to taste

1 (10 ounce) package tortillas
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 small head cabbage, cored and shredded
2 limes, cut in wedges


To make the marinade, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, honey, garlic, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning, black pepper, and hot sauce in a bowl until blended. Place the tilapia in a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the fish. Refrigerate fish and marinade for 30-90 minutes.
To make the dressing, combine the sour cream and adobo sauce in a bowl. Stir in the lime juice, lime zest, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning. Add salt, and pepper in desired amounts. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.
Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Set grate 4 inches from the heat.
Remove fish from marinade, drain off any excess and discard marinade. Grill fish pieces until easily flaked with a fork, turning once, about 9 minutes.
Assemble tacos by placing fish fillets in the center of tortillas with desired amounts of tomatoes, cilantro, and cabbage; drizzle with dressing. To serve, roll up tortillas around fillings, and garnish with lime wedges.



  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cup pistachio nuts
  • (I like to substitute semi-sweet chocolate chips and slivered almonds for last 2 ingredients)
  • 4-6oz white chocolate for melting and dipping (semi-sweet if using chocolate chips and almonds)


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Mix together oil and sugar. Add vanilla, almond extract, and eggs. Combine flour, salt and baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture. Mix in cranberries and nuts by hand.
  3. Divide dough in half. Form two logs (12 long by 2 tall, and maybe 5 wide) on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Dough may be sticky;wet hands with cool water to handle dough more easily.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes, or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees F.
  5. Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Lay on sides on parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake approximately 8-10 minutes on one side, flip to the other side, and bake for another 8-10 minutes, or until dry. Cool.
  6. Once cookies are cooled, melt dipping chocolate and put on a plate. Dip bottoms only of biscotti in melted chocolate. Place on cookie sheet and allow chocolate to set up.