More Potatoes ~ Cheesy Au Gratin Potato Casserole

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I have a serious addiction to potatoes.  I love them in any form and we have potatoes fairly often.  DH is not a fan but humors me.  I found this recipe on allrecipes and changed it around a bit to suit me and it’s delish!

This recipe is pretty easy even though you will have to make a cheese sauce.  Just take your time and it will work.  I especially love that it makes a small casserole so if you are a small family, it will work perfectly.

Cheesy Au Gratin Potato Casserole

4 russet potatoes, sliced into very thin slices
1 onion, sliced into thin rings
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsps butter
3 tbsps flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400º and grease a 1 quart casserole dish. I used a 9×9 glass dish.

Layer half the potato slices in the bottom of the dish, top with all the onion slices, top onions with the rest of the potatoes and season with salt and pepper if desired.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Mix in flour and salt and whisk continuously for 1 minute. Stir in milk and continue whisking until the mixture thickens. Stir in the cheese ALL AT ONCE and stir until the cheese melts, about 60 seconds or so. Pour sauce over the potatoes. Cover dish with aluminum foil.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Candy Corn Cookies


These cookies are just so adorable and I knew I had to try them when I saw them on the Betty Crocker site.  They take some time to make so be prepared for that but they are not in the least bit hard to make.

If the directions aren’t clear ~ there is a Youtube video that shows how to make them and I’ll link it at the end.

Candy Corn Cookies

1 pouch sugar cookie mix
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 egg
orange gel food coloring
1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted and cooled

Line an 8×4 loaf pan with parchment or waxed paper, making sure it extends over the sides of the pan.

In a medium bowl, stir the cookie mix, butter and egg together until a soft mix forms.

Place dough on work surface and divide into thirds. Take 1/3 and sort of shape it into the shape of the pan and place it in the pan; patting so that it covers the entire bottom of the pan as evenly as possible.

Take 1/3 of the dough and work the cooled chocolate  into it with your hands, making sure the color is as even as possible. Shape into the shape of the pan and place on top of the white layer already in the pan, smoothing as much as you can.

Take the last 1/3 of the dough and work the orange gel coloring into it, shape into the shape of the pan and put on top of the chocolate layer, making as smooth as possible.

Cover the pan and place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or until the dough is firm to the touch.

Heat oven to 375º.

Remove dough from pan and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slice. Cut each slice into 5 wedges. Place on ungreased cookies sheet about 1 inch apart.

Bake 7-9 minutes or until set and lightly golden brown. Cool on pan for 1 minute then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes about 9 dozen small cookies.


Happy Cooking!

Holiday Frittata


I actually make frittatas for dinner quite often ~ especially when I don’t feel like cooking.  They are very easy, always delicious, and I can use of bits and pieces of veggies in my fridge.  I can also use meat or not depending on how I feel.  This recipe (from allrecipes, I think) is super easy and would be great on a holiday morning.

Holiday Frittata

1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsps butter
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I used mushrooms instead)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
6 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups shredded mozzarella (I used cheddar)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a frying pan, melt the butter and saute the onion, green pepper, and garlic for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes and parsley and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Stir in the veggies.

Pour into an ungreased 9 inch pie plate and bake, uncovered, at 350º for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

Makes 6 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Recipes for Halloween

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If you are looking for some recipes for Halloween, here are a few that I have posted previously:

Candy Apples


Halloween Sugar Cookies


Halloween Krispie Treats


Peanut Butter Cups


Treats for the Canine Crowd


Easy Caramel Corn

Happy Halloween!

Another Roast Chicken Recipe

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Goodness, I have been gone a long time.  I really haven’t been cooking much and in between feeling crappy, I haven’t done much at all.  BUT I am feeling better so on with the recipes 🙂

Roast chicken is one of my very favorite meals so I make it all kinds of ways.  This one I found in an ad in a magazine and it turned out great.  If you don’t like using canned cream of whatever soups, you can always make your own.

Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy

1 lemon
1 can cream of chicken soup (I used 98% fat free but you can use regular)
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (5 to 7 lb) roasting chicken
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup water

Heat oven to 375º. Grate 1 1/2 tsp zest from the lemon and then squeeze 1 tbsp juice.

Stir together the zest, juice, soup, rosemary, thyme and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside one cup of this mixture for the gravy (I stuck mine in the fridge).

Place cleaned and dried roaster in a roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes then brush with 1/4 cup soup mixture (NOT the cup that you set aside). Continue roasting the chicken for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through and no pick remains. Remove to a platter and keep warm.

Spoon off fat from juices (I put it through a gravy separator). Stir wine into the roasting pan and heat over medium-high heat to boil, scraping up the browned bits form the bottom of the pan. Stir in reserved soup mixture and water and cook until hot and bubbly.

Serve gravy with chicken.

Makes 6 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Grilling Pizza


We LOVE grilled pizza.  In fact, we make it about once a week.  We usually make pepperoni but sometimes we throw on whatever veggies we have on hand.  It’s really not hard to make.  I know the first time I did it, I was convinced the dough was going to fall through the gates and make a huge mess of the grill but it’s never happened.

I use my usual dough recipe ~ Pizza Dough I always make it in my bread machine but I’m sure it would work making it by hand although I have never done it.  I would think that frozen dough, dough from a can, and the dough you can sometimes buy at a pizza place would work as well but I haven’t tried it.

When the dough is done in the machine, I take it out and put it in a greased bowl and cover it with greased plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled.  I punch it down, and take it out of the bowl onto a floured surface and roll it out.  I brush olive oil on the WRONG side of a cookie sheet and put the rolled out dough on it.  I take it out to the preheated grill (Somewhere between 375º and 400º) and slide it onto the grill.

Dough ready to go on the grill:

Dough on the grill:

I close the grill and let it cook for a few minutes.  Using tongs with rubber ends, I check the bottom of the dough every few minutes and when it looks crisp and has grill marks, I carefully turn it over.  Don’t be surprised if the top of the dough bubbles up ~ you don’t have to pop them as they will go away on their own.

The dough after is it turned over:

Now I am ready to add toppings:

I use my regular pizza sauce recipe ~ Super Easy Pizza Sauce I put toppings on in this order:  sauce, cheese (2 cups) and half a bag of pepperoni.  I like to put the cheese under the toppings since it helps them to stick but you can do it in whatever order you like.  It also has to be done rather quickly so the bottom of the crust doesn’t burn.  I may help to turn your grill down a bit.

Toppings on and ready to finish baking:

Close the lid and let it continue baking until the cheese is nice and melted and it looks done.  Here’s the finished pizza:

Using the tongs again, slide the pizza back onto the back of the cookie, let it sit for a minute or two and it will be easier to cut.

A couple of things I have learned along the way:

*Use tongs with rubber ends.  Regular tongs will rip the dough.

*Saute any veggies that you want to put on the pizza.  It cooks so quick that the veggies will still be very crunchy (unless you want it that way, then don’t saute).

*The dough can be made early in the day and put in the fridge until later.  Make sure it has come to room temperature and has risen some before rolling it out.  Cold dough will not roll out ~ it will keep shrinking back.

*Don’t be afraid of trying this ~ my DH and I have lots of fun doing it and we’ve done it enough that we have it down to a science, LOL!

Happy Cooking!

Brisket Sandwiches

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I’ve been trying out recipes for a party we are having in August and this is one I tried last week.  The brisket was delicious and not difficult to make.  It just takes quite a bit on time in the oven.  I really enjoyed the sandwiches but the recipe is not really what I’m looking for so I won’t be having it at the party but I will be making it again for our family.  The recipe came from the FN show 5 Ingredient Fix.

Brisket Sandwiches

1 (6-pound) beef brisket, trimmed of fat
1/2 cup BBQ spice blend
4 cups water (1 cup cold, 3 cups hot)
1 tablespoon very finely ground coffee
1/4 cup brown sugar
Black pepper
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Potato or dinner rolls, split

Rub the brisket on both sides with the spice blend, cover with plastic wrap and let marinate overnight in refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350º.

Put the roast, fatty side up, in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup water to the pan and roast the brisket uncovered for 1 hour.

In a medium bowl, combine the coffee, brown sugar, pepper, to taste, 3 cups hot water and cider vinegar.

Remove the brisket from the oven, pour the coffee mixture over the brisket, cover with foil and braise until brisket reaches an internal temperature of 185 and is fork tender, about 3 hours. Remove to a carving board to let rest.

Simmer the braising liquid in the roasting pan on the stove top, skimming fat and allow to reduce just slightly or to desired consistency. I removed the fat and poured the liquid in a small saucepan and let it reduce.

Thinly slice beef across the grain (I shredded mine since it was so tender it wouldn’t slice). Place meat on a bun and spoon a little sauce over the meat on the bun. Serve. Pour the remaining sauce into a small bowl and serve it with the sandwiches.

Makes 12-16 sandwiches (depending on the size of your brisket)

Happy Cooking!

Hearty Lentil Soup


This really hit the spot on a cold, cold day.  It’s easy to make but plan ahead as it takes some time to simmer.  I used red wine vinegar and I sprinkled with Parmesan since everything tastes better with cheese!  This recipe makes loads of soup so I tossed the leftovers in the freezer and we’ll see how that works.

Hearty Lentil Soup

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tsp basil
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups dry hearty lentils
8 cups water
1 cup baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until tender. Stir in garlic, oregano, bay leaf, and basil and cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in lentils, water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Happy Cooking!

A BIG, Zesty Sandwich

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I was not in the mood to cook over the weekend and came across this recipe and it was just perfect for lunch.

This makes a BIG sandwich ~ I’m guessing it would feed 6-8 making it perfect for a picnic or tailgating.  I would think you could switch up the meats and cheese to make it your own ~ in fact I used provolone.  I also think a little bit of red onion would add to the flavor.

A Big, Zesty Sandwich

1 round loaf of sourdough bread ~ I used Italian
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 slices Gouda cheese ~ I used Provolone
5 slices Genoa salami ~ I used hard salami
1/3 lb. smoked deli turkey, sliced thin ~ I used oven roasted turkey
1/3 lb. Black Forest deli ham, thinly sliced ~ I used honey ham
1 1/2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup red wine vinegar and olive oil salad dressing

Cut the bread in half and hollow the top and bottom piece leaving a little bread.

Drizzle 2 tbsps red wine vinegar over the top and 2 tbsps over bottom. Layer the cheese, the salami, the turkey and the ham. Place the lettuce and tomatoes in a bowl and toss with the salad dressing; then place on top of the ham. Place the top of the bread over the lettuce/tomato combo and press down. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4-10 hours.

Cut into wedges and place a toothpick in each wedge to hold together.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Caramelized Butternut Squash ~ Ina Garten


This is one of my very favorite recipes from Ina Garten.  It is so delicious and somehow seems so decadent ~ maybe because it tastes like dessert.  It’s super easy to make especially if you are having a roast since you can just stick it in the oven at the same time.

If there is one thing I hate, it’s peeling a butternut squash ~ it’s almost impossible!  I am so lucky that my store sells containers of butternut squash already peeled and cut up so this recipe becomes even easier.

I know the picture isn’t that great but everyone was hungry and I took this picture at the table.

Caramelized Butternut Squash

2 medium butternut squash or 1 large package of already cut-up squash

6 tbsps butter, melted

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 tsps kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400º.

Peel squash, remove seeds and cut into chunks. Place chunks on a baking sheet. Add the rest of the ingredients to squash on the sheet and toss together. Make sure squash is in a single layer on the sheet.

Roast for 45-55 minutes or until the squash is tender and it begins to caramelize; turn a few times so that it caramelizes evenly.

Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.


Happy Cooking!