French Onion Dip ~ Rachael Ray


I’ve always loved onion dip but the mere mention of it sends people into hysterics ~ it’s so 60s.  This dip is is all grown up and so much better than the onion soup mix stuff.  Give it a try!  It’s easy to put together and you can make it the day before and stick in the fridge until party time.


French Onion Dip ~ Rachael Ray

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 medium onions, quartered then thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 beef bouillon cube
1/2 cup water
1 tsp thyme
2 tsps Worcestershire sauce
2 cups sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
pinch of salt
2 tbsps chopped chives

In a skillet over medium to medium high heat, add the olive oil and butter. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bouillon cube to the onion/garlic mixture and the 1/2 cup water until the onions are coated, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes or so. Season with the pepper, thyme and Worcestershire. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate so that it can cool for a bit.

In a bowl, mix the sour cream and cream cheese together. Stir in the onion mixture until all are completely combined. Add salt if necessary. Chill until serving time and then garnish with the chives.

Serve with sturdy chips or crackers.


Happy Cooking!


Christmas Party Recipes ~ Sweets


I made a couple of sweets for our party and there weren’t any left at the end of the night.


Charleston Cherry Bars

2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 10 ounce bottle maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350º and coat a 13×9 pan with butter.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar about 2 minutes. Add 1 of the eggs and 1 egg yolk, reserving the egg white. Mix well. Add both extracts. Blend in flour mixture until smooth.

Place dough in prepared pan and pat down evenly. Set aside.

Beat reserved egg white to stiff in a medium bowl. Pat cherries dry with a paper towel. Stir cherries and brown sugar into beaten egg white until well combined. Spread over dough in pan. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Bake at 350º for 30 minutes. Cool completely on rack before cutting into squares and serving.

Makes 24 bars.


Mini Turtle Cheesecakes

1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on package
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsps caramel topping
1 egg
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tbsps finely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 450º. Remove 1 crust from pouch and unroll on work surface. Roll lightly with a rolling pin. Cut 12 rounds from crust with a 2 1/2 inch to 2 3/4 inch cookie cutter. Press rounds into 12 mini muffin cups. Repeat with remaining pie crust. Place about 5 chocolate chips in each crust.

Bake 6 minutes. Leave crusts in pan and reduce oven temperature to 375º.

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, brown sugar, caramel topping and egg with electric mixer until well combined and creamy. Spoon about 1 1/2 tsps into each crust covering chocolate chips.

Bake at 375º for 10 to 12 minutes or until cheesecake is set. Cool 10 minutes. Remove tarts from pan to cooling rack.

In a small microwaveable bowl, place remaining chocolate chips and vegetable oil. Microwave 30 seconds on HIGH and stir. Continue to microwave on HIGH at 30 second intervals until melted. Stir to smooth out. Drizzle over each cheesecake and immediately sprinkle chopped pecans over the top.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Cover and refrigerate any remaining tartlets.

Makes 24 mini cheesecakes.


Famous Fudge

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk (one of those little cans is 2/3 cup)
1 package semisweet chocolate chips
1 7 ounce jar marshmallow cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Grease a 13×9 pan and set aside.

Mix butter, sugar, and evaporated milk in a saucepan.

Bring to a rolling boil and boil, stirring constantly, for exactly 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Add marshmallow cream and vanilla and nuts (if using). Stir until smooth. Pour into prepared pan and cool to room temperature. Cut into small squares.

Makes 3 pounds.

Happy Cooking!


Christmas Party Recipes ~ Hot Appetizers


I don’t like standing over a hot oven when we have company so I only do a couple of hot appetizers.  For this party I did three.

I love mushrooms so what could be better than a wild mushroom pizza?  It’s easy and delicious.  I used shitake, baby bella, and button mushrooms.


Wild Mushroom Pizza

1 tsp olive oil
1 can refrigerated pizza crust
1 tbsp butter
1 pound assorted fresh wild mushrooms, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 8 ounce pkg cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
4 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Heat oven to 400º. Brush a large cookie sheet with the olive oil and press out pizza dough into a 15×10 rectangle. Bake 8-10 minutes or until crust is very light brown.

Meawhile, in a 12-inch skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat until melted. Add mushrooms, cook about 6 minutes stirring frequently until well browned, then drain. Stir in thyme, salt and pepper.

Spread cream cheese evenly over crust. Sprinkle fontina cheese over cream cheese. Spread cooked mushrooms over cheese. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over mushrooms.

Bake 10-12 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and crust is golden. Coll 5 minutes. Cut into 8 rows by 6 rows (I cut mine bigger).

Makes 48 servings (I made about 24 servings since I cut them bigger)


This next recipe is super easy and would make a quick lunch as well as a quick appetizer.


Pepperoni Roll Ups

1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
16 slices pepperoni, cut in quarters
2 pieces mozzarella string cheese, cut into quarters
3/4 tsp Italian seasoning, divided
1/4 tsp garlic salt

Unroll cresecent dough, spearate into 8 triangles. Place 8 pepperoni pieces on each. Place a piece of string cheese on the long side of each triangle, sprinkle some of the Italian seasoning. Roll up, starting with the side with the cheese. Sprinkle with garlic salt and remaining Italian seasoning.

Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375º for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with warmed pizza sauce for dipping.

Makes 8 appetizers.


This next recipe is my recipe for meatballs ~ actually, I think it’s my Mom’s.  I just make them tiny for appetizers.  They are cooked for the same time as the regular sized meatballs.


Easy Meatballs

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together and shape into balls ~ about the size of a golfball or make about the size of a walnut for appetizer meatballs.

Brown the meatballs by placing in a shallow baking dish and baking at 350º for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Place hot meatballs into sauce and let simmer while your pasta cooks. If I am making appetizer meatballs, I just put them in a crockpot with the sauce a couple of hours before the party, on LOW, and they will be ready when you are!

Here’s how I freeze the meat spheres ~ I make them up and cook them as above. I let them cool a bit, place on a cookie sheet in the freezer and when they are frozen, transfer to a ziplock. I take out the amount I need for dinner and put them in a pan with a jar of sauce (or more depending on the number of spheres I am cooking) and let them simmer for 30 minutes at least ~ no need to defrost them first ~ until they are cooked! Very simple!

Happy Cooking!


Christmas Party Recipes ~ Cold Appetizers

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We had a good time at our Christmas party last night as evidenced by my aching knees.  The dogs were really good so no problems there ~ I’m surprised someone didn’t dognap them since our friends were all fawning over them.

On to the food…a couple of things I didn’t get pictures of but I’ll post the recipe anyway.  I’m going to do cold appetizers today, the hot ones tomorrow, and the desserts and niblles on Tuesday.

These were the most popular appetizer.  The recipe makes 40 and I think we had three left.  I made them earlier in the day and refrigerated until party time.


Ham and Cheese Biscuits

2 tubes (12 ounces each) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
2/4 cup stone-ground mustard, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
10 slices deli ham
10 slices Swiss cheese
2 1/2 cup shredded lettuce

Cut each biscuit in half forming half circles. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Spread the top of each half circle with 1/2 tsp stone ground mustard. Bake at 400º for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Remove to wire racks to cool.

In a small bowl, combine butter and green onions. In another bolw combine mayo, honey, and the rest of the mustard.

Cut each ham slice and each Swiss slice into four triangles.

Split each biscuit in half and spread bottom half with butter mixture. Layer ham, cheese and lettuce on top of butter. Spread honey mustard mixture on the bottom of the top biscuit and place on lettuce. Secure with sandwich pick. Refrigerate before serving and any leftovers.

Makes 40 sandwiches.

I didn’t get a picture of this next recipe but everyone was raving over it.  It’s super simple to make and you can make it earlier in the day and let it marinate in the fridge. I use a chunk of mozzarella and cube it myself.

Marinated Mozzarella

1/3 cup good olive oil
1 tbsp chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp minced fresh chives
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 pound cubed part-skim mozzarella

In a ziplock bag, combine the all ingredients except mozzarella and squish to combine well. Add cheese cubes. Seal bag and squish lightly around to coat all the pieces of mozzarella. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Transfer to serving dish and serve with toothpicks.

Makes 8-10 servings

This cheeseball recipe came from Recipezaar and got loads of thumbs up.  It’s easy and delicious and it’s make ahead.  The link to the recipe: Amy’s Beer & Ranch Cheese Ball


This spicy recipe also came from Recipezaar and it is really tasty.  I was a little hesitant about the combo but it works and everyone seemed to like it since it was almost gone and it couldn’t be easier to make.  Here’s the link:  Spicy Cranberry Cheese Spread


I am not a fan of refried beans so for this dip so I switched out the refrieds for black beans and it worked great.  The picture isn’t so great but you get the idea.


Layered Tex-Mex Dip

1 16 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsps salsa
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup guacamole
1 cup shredded Chddar cheese
1/s cup chopped tomatoes
2 green onions, chopped
Tortilla chips

Mix black beans with sals ain a small bowl and spoon in a thin layer over a 12 or 13 inch serving plate.

Spoon sour cream over beans leaving about 1 inch border of beans around the edge. Spread guacamole over sour cream, leaving a border of sour cream showing.

Sprinkle cheese, tomatoes and green onions over guacamole.

Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, for no more than 6 hours.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Makes 16 servings

I used to make a recipe similar to this cheese ball years ago but I misplaced it.  This one that I found on Recipezaar is very close to that one.  I love horseradish so I always sneak in a lttle more than called for.  I rolled it in some of the chipped beef and made it into a log just to be different.  Here is the link to the recipe:   Chipped Beef Cheese Ball


Happy Cooking!


Happy Birthday Cake ~ My Mom’s Chocolate Cake


Today is my DH’s birthday! Happy Birthday!

This recipe is my standard birthday cake.  Everyone gets one.  It’s the same recipe my Mom used when she would make birthday cakes for us kids when we were young.  It’s an old fashioned cake and it’s best made in the morning, frosted, and let sit in the fridge until serving time.  You can frost it with any kind of frosting but we always used whipped heavy cream.  I don’t sweeten the cream since the cake is sweet and I like the combination of the sweet cake the cream.

My Mom’s Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 (1 oz) unsweetened baking chocolate squares, melted
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup ice water

Stir butter to soften gradually, add sugar, creaming until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time beating well after each.

Blend in cooled chocolate and vanilla.

Sift together flour, soda and salt, add to creamed mixture alternately with water, beating after each addition.

Bake in 2 (8-inch) round, greased cake pans at 350º for 30-35 minutes.

Frost with 1 pint heavy or whipping cream, whipped or your favorite frosting.


Happy Cooking!

Hot Artichoke Dip


Believe it or not, I have never made this popular dip so when the kids were here over the weekend, I finally did.  Simply said, it’s great!  I would eat it with a spoon and no crackers, LOL!

I am putting this on my menu for our Christmas party ~ I’ll probably put it in my little crock pot to keep it warm.

Here is the link to the recipe ~ Hot Cheesy Artichoke Dip

Happy Cooking!