Where Cooking is Fun
We want cooking to be as fun for you as it is for us.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Salmon Patties with Homemade Tatar Sauce

Salmon patties are one of my families "stand by" favorites. We have eaten them for years. I first learned to make these when I got married and my mother-in-law made them for us on one of our visits to her home. I loved them immediately. They were easy and delicious....which was right up my alley. Give them a try...I think you'll like them too. I serve them with my homemade tarter sauce and we very seldom have anything left over...this meal disappears in a hurry.

Salmon Patties
2 cans of Salmon, drained and de-boned (you don't have to take the bones out if you don't want to, they are soft and
   won't hurt you...but I just don't like the looks of them or the skin in my patty...but you choose)
4 eggs
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1 t. season salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 c. oatmeal

After de-boning your salmon, mix all ingredient together in a bowl by using a large wooden spoon or your hands (I use my hands because it's easier to mix that way). Put a small amount of oil in a frying pan and heat. Make patties by using the same technique that you would when making hamburger patties. Place patties in hot pan and cook for about 15 minutes, flipping periodically so they won't burn (just like a burger). Serve on a bun (if you like) or as the main course with potatoes and a salad...serve them however your family will eat them. 

*Yield: approximately 8-10 patties depending on the size that you make them...BUT this recipe can easily be cut in half to make a smaller batch.

*Don't let the "fish" part of this dish make you turn your nose up at this recipe...Salmon Patties taste a lot better than they sound...they really do. 

Homemade Tartar Sauce

1 c. mayonnaise (not salad dressing!)
1/3 c. lemon juice
2 dill pickles, diced into small pieces

Mix all ingredient together, chill until ready to serve.
We use this on almost ALL of the fish dishes that I make, my family loves it. I hope yours does too.

Happy Cooking~

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

I LOVE snack food. Cheese balls are one of my favorite. I saw a chocolate chip cheese ball at the store the other day and it looked absolutely incredible. I wanted to eat it right then and there. I came home and did some research and found this delicious recipe for a Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball. It was absolutely fabulous. Everyone loved it and it was so easy to make. I'm definitely adding this to my go-to party recipes. You should too!

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

1 pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped chocolate chips

Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until soft. Add powdered sugar and brown sugar. Mix well. Beat in chocolate chips. *Cover and let sit in fridge for 2 hours. Roll into a ball and return to fridge for 1 hour. Serve with graham crackers.

*I place my soft cheese ball in the center of saran wrap and then roll it up into a ball. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours (over night would be best) and when I'm ready to serve it I already have a ball made. Just remove saran wrap. Easy.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oatmeal Raison Cookie Pancakes

Who could ask for better than this...OATMEAL RAISON COOKIE PANCAKES? If you are fond of Oatmeal Raison Cookies, this will become a favorite breakfast in your house. These pancakes were moist and taste just like an oatmeal cookie, maybe not quite as sweet, but they fabulous none-the-less. I didn't get one complaint from the gang...they loved them so much that they licked the platter clean!

Oatmeal Raison Cookie Pancakes
2 1/2- 2 3/4 c. cold buttermilk (you might have to add extra to thin the batter down a bit)
2 c. old fashioned oats
3 T. sugar
1/2 c. flour 
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/4-1/2 c. raisons (more or less according to your families tastes)
1/4 t. salt
2 eggs
1 T. melted butter

Mix buttermilk, oats and raisons in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let set in a refrigerator over night. The next morning add eggs and butter to oatmeal mixture. Stir in dry ingredients. Spray griddle or frying pan with pan coating. Heat pan until HOT. Spoon out 1/4-1/2 c. pancake batter (more or less depending on the size you want your pancakes) onto hot griddle/pan, flip when bubbles form on top of pancake. Serve with maple syrup or butter and powdered sugar. NOW enjoy your yummy breakfast! 

Happy Cooking~

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shrimp Fondue

We hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Every year at Thanksgiving we fix the traditional meal but we always have to have an appetizer table as well. This year I wanted to try my own rendition of shrimp fondue. I took a basic family recipe and added a few more things to make it more me (CHEESE). It turned out to be everything I ever imagined it could be. I sat next to the bowl for most of the afternoon. It was kind of sad-- but oh so delicious.

Shrimp Fondue

2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can tiny shrimp
2 pkgs cream cheese
1 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups cheddar cheese

Heat cream of chicken soup and cream cheese until softened. Add shrimp, dill weed, garlic powder and cheddar cheese. Mix well. Heat until bubbly. (can be done in the microwave or on the stove) Serve with bread chunks or crackers.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Walnut Brown Sugar Butter

I don't know about you...but Thanksgiving is a HUGE deal in my family.  There is so much food, I think we could feed an entire town....but we love it and always have a fabulous time....food, family and lots of laughs, what else could you ask for?! We gather up our families and drive to one of my siblings homes, with many a "pot luck" dishes in hand. We all bring an appetizer, because heaven forbid that we might get hungry before we actually eat dinner, as well as at least ONE pot luck dish to contribute to the meal. I always like to bring something new (along with something I've made before)...to try out on the family, you know, to shake things up a little bit with the "routine foods" that we eat over the holidays. A few years ago I tried a "Walnut Cranberry Butter" recipe that was AMAZING (watch for that recipe around Christmas), we spread it on hot rolls and happily there wasn't a bit of it left over for me to take home...guess that means it was a success?! A few weeks ago I made this Walnut Brown Sugar Butter which I think will be making an appearance at this years Thanksgiving Feast!!! It was so darn good that I ate way too many pieces of homemade bread, more than I should have, but I couldn't help myself...it was just that good! Its quick, its easy and its delicious! See what happens when you put it on your Thanksgiving table today....go ahead, try it out.

Walnut Brown Sugar Butter
1 c. butter (REAL butter not margarine)
1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. finely chopped walnuts

Let butter sit at room temperature for 30-40 minutes to soften up (don't want it melted, just soft enough). With a wooden spoon, smash butter and brown sugar together until mixed well. Add chopped walnuts and stir until all ingredients are well combined. Put in a serving dish and refrigerate until ready to use. Spread on bread, rolls or eat it with a spoon...you choose!

Happy Thanksgiving!!! 
Enjoy your day~
Give thanks for all the many blessings and bounty that you have been given. 

Happy Cooking~

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brownie Trifle

I realized the other day that I hadn't used my Trifle bowl in quite a few weeks. It made me sad. So for Sunday dessert I decided to whip up something delicious (it's a good thing I did because it is the ONLY thing that was worth eating that night). This dessert made my entire weekend. Try it out because I'm sure it could make yours too!

Brownie Trifle

1 pkg brownie mix
1 lrg pkg instant chocolate pudding
1 lrg tub cool whip
4 skor bars
caramel sauce

Cook brownies according to pkg directions. Prepare pudding and set aside. Crush skor bars into small pieces. When brownies are cool (I usually cook them the night before) break them into small bite sized pieces. Layer half of the brownies in the bottom of your trifle bowl. Top with half of the chocolate pudding, half of the cool whip and a handful of crushed skor bars. Drizzle with caramel and repeat process.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hawaiian Pancakes

Pancakes are always the "Ol' Standby" breakfast at my house...when I can't think of anything else to cook, I serve pancakes. Sometimes I get really creative and jive things up a bit...I add a little of this and a little of that and then everyone forgets they are eating "pancakes," they get the feeling that they are eating something new and COOL for a change....Actually my family really likes pancakes, plain ol' ordinary pancakes OR the spruced up kind...like these. I thought these were fun, tasty and something different. Give them a try for your family breakfast tomorrow and shake up your "pancake routine".

Hawaiian Pancakes
1 c. flour
2 T sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
Combine in a bowl and stir with a whisk so all dry ingredient is combined well.

In a mixing bowl combine:
3/4 c. vanilla yogurt
2 T. melted butter
2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
5 T. sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 smashed, ripe banana

Mix well. Add dry mixture and continue to mix. Add:

1-1 1/2 c. heavy cream or milk

Stir until all ingredient is well blended. 

Spray pancake griddle or skillet with cooking spray and heat until HOT. Pour about 1/4-1/2 c pancake batter onto HOT surface (you may need to spread batter out with a spoon...batter is a little thick). Cook until the tops are covered with bubbles and the edges looked cooked. Turn pancakes and cook until bottoms are lightly browned. Serve with butter and maple syrup. 

Happy Cooking~

Monday, November 22, 2010

Raspberry Lime Rickey

I love fancy drinks - so when I saw this recipe on Desire 2 Create I knew I had to try it. I tested it out on my sister and sister in law and between the 3 of us we downed the entire gallon in less than an hour. Sigh. It was THAT good.

Raspberry Lime Rickey

12 oz pkg frozen raspberries
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
4 tsp grated zest
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (juice from approx 4 limes)
2 liters club soda

In a saucepan combine raspberries, sugar and water. Cook until raspberries release their juices- about 5 minutes. Grate lime zest and sqeeze the juice from your limes. Add to raspberry mix and let cook until slightly thickened. Pour into bowl and let cool completely- about 30-45 minutes in fridge. Combine raspberry mix and club soda. Garnish with lime wedges and serve.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mexi Pizza

Pizza is one of those dishes that is so versatile....you make a crust, put just about anything on it, call it "PIZZA" and its taste fabulous...and better yet, everyone likes it! I whipped up this little dandy one night when I was in a hurry but thought I owed it to my family to feed them more than a PBJ (peanut butter and jelly sandwich). Everyone thought it was awesome and agreed with my theory of "better than PBJ's"....(they love peanut butter and jam sandwiches, so I know that they really did like this yummy dish)!

Mexi Pizza
1 lb. ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
1 12-14 oz can enchilada sauce (use the mild, medium or hot, whichever you prefer)

Brown ground beef. Add taco seasoning when meat is almost cooked. When meat is completely cooked drain grease and add a small amount of the enchilada sauce, stir in just enough to make it moist but NOT soggy and sloppy...(we aren't making sloppy joes) and set aside.

4 small (individual size) pre-made pizza rounds
(I used Mama-Mary's...but you can use any kind OR make your own...that always taste the best, I
was just in a hurry)
black beans
canned corn, drained

cheese, grated
tomatoes, diced
green onion
diced chiles
sour cream

Preheat oven according to your "crust package instruction's" or your homemade crust instructions. Spoon enchilada sauce onto crust and spread around until it covers your crust. Top with ground beef, black beans and corn. Bake for 10 minutes (or refer to your crust cooking times). Remove from oven and top with cheese. Return to oven and bake long enough that your cheese melts. Remove from the oven and top with remaining ingredients. Top with sour cream and salsa or serve with ranch.

Happy Cooking~

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Thanksgiving is less than a week away and I can hardly stand it. I love everything about thanksgiving dinner- but perhaps my favorite is the pumpkin pie. I am a sucker for pumpkin. It's one of my favorite things about fall. That's why when I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls I knew I had to try it. They turned out absolutely delicious. Exactly what I needed on a cool fall evening. I'd like to snuggle up with a cup of hot chocolate, a good book and one of these cinnamon rolls. Anyone care to join?

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

1 Tbsp. dry yeast

1/4 cup warm milk

1/3 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

2 ½ cups flour

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons melted butter

Caramel Frosting

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 dash salt

3/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine yeast and warm water in a bowl. Let sit until yeast is bubbly. In small saucepan, heat milk and 2 tablespoons butter until warm and butter is almost melted, stir constantly. In large mixer bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Add milk mixture and beat with electric mixer until well mixed. Beat in egg and yeast.

Add half of the flour to pumpkin mixture. Beat mixture on low speed 5 minutes, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Add remaining flour and mix thoroughly (dough will be very soft). Turn into lightly greased bowl, then grease surface of dough lightly.

Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Spray a surface with cooking spray or turn onto floured surface. Knead a few turns to form a smooth dough, sprinkling with enough additional flour to make dough easy enough to handle. Roll dough into 12x10 inch rectangle.

In small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Brush surface of dough with melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Beginning with long side of dough, roll up jellyroll style. Pinch seam to seal. Cut into 1- inch slices. Place rolls, cut side up, in greased 11X17 inch square baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees about 15-20 minutes or until golden. Cool 10 to 15 minutes. Drizzle with Caramel frosting. Makes 12 rolls.

Caramel Frosting:

In small saucepan, heat butter until melted. Stir in brown sugar and milk.

Stir in brown sugar and milk. Cook over medium low heat 1 minute.

Transfer to small mixer bowl and cool mixture. Stir in vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and confectioners' sugar. Beat with electric mixer until well blended. If necessary, add more confectioners' sugar for desired consistency.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mock Wendy's Chili

Nothing hits the spot like a big bowl of chili during the fall and winter months. It warms the soul. I remember growing up and eating chili often. We always served it with cheese and saltine crackers. It was one of my favorite foods. Now that I have a family of my own, I don't get to make it very often because none of them like chili unless its served on a scone as a Navajo Taco. On this particular occasion when I made this chili, we were having a party and most of my brothers were coming over. I knew that they loved chili as much as I did and thought it would be a great time to try out this recipe. I made a HUGE pot, thinking maybe...just maybe there would be leftovers....BUT in reality, I knew that there wouldn't be, because my brothers all like chili and I was happy to see them gobble it right down. I got many, many compliments on this chili and will most defiantly be making it again. It's not an exact duplicate of Wendy's Chili, but it's my version of the (my) all time favorite "fast food chili" and it tastes very similar to the real thing. Serve it on a scone, over a baked potato or in a bowl...any way you eat it...just ENJOY this fantastic chili!

Mock Wendy's Chili
2 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
1 can (29 oz) tomato sauce
1 can red beans with liquid
1 can pinto beans with liquid
1 onion, diced
1-2 can green chili (according to your taste...I used 1 can)
3 tomato's, diced
2 t. cumin
3 T. chili powder
2 t. pepper
2 t. salt
1 c. water (or 2 if you like your chili a little more soupy)

In a crock pot/slow cooker combine ALL ingredients. Mix well and cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring periodically. (I cooked mine on low for 4-5 hours and then turned my crockpot onto "warm" and let it stay there until I served it.) Serve hot with grated or diced cheese and saltine crackers.

*for an added ZIP to your chili add 1-2 seeded jalapenos, diced into small pieces.

Happy Cooking~

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Caramel Corn Pops

Who doesn't love a big hand full of gooey, sticky, scrumptious and addictive CARAMEL POPCORN?! I could snack on it every day and not get tired of it....although, I don't...but if I lived in a perfect world...I WOULD! I love this recipe. Its rich, its tasty and it's my kind of yumminess. Make yourself a bowlful and dig IN!

Caramel Corn Pops
1 c. karo syrup
2 c. brown sugar
1 cube butter (not margarine)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 large bag of Corn Pops (get them at your local grocery store in the "chip isle").

Cook syrup and brown sugar until warm. Add butter and mix well. Add milk and cook until it reaches the "soft ball" stage on your candy thermometer. Remove from heat.

Pour corn pops in a large, oversized bowl. Pour hot caramel sauce over corn pops and stir until completely covered. Cool. Cover bowl with a lid or plastic wrap. (You can also store in ziplock bags...just wait for it to cool down first.) This will last for several weeks IF you keep it covered. EAT up and enjoy every last bite!

Happy Cooking~

Monday, November 15, 2010

Freezer Jam

I'm not a huge fan of store bought jam. It's just too much..... something. I can't quite decide what it is that I hate. So for the past year or so I've tried to become proactive and make freezer jam. I buy strawberries whenever they are on sale and I collect raspberries at my moms house when she has leftovers. We go through it like crazy at our house. So of course I was really disappointed last week when I ran out of jam. I thought I would have to wait until next summer when all the berries come back. I did some research and was assured by my momma that I could whip up freezer jam using FROZEN BERRIES. I didn't believe her but bought the stuff anyway and prepared for the worst. I was completely shocked when it turned out amazing. Thanks to this I will never ever buy store bought jam again. I can whip this up in less than five minutes and it costs less than buying a jar of the good stuff. If that's not reason enough to switch I don't know what is!

Freezer Jams

3 cups crushed berries
7 cups sugar
1 pkg Sure Jell Fruit Pectin
3/4 cup water

Combine crushed berries and sugar. Mix well. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stirring ocasionally. Stir 1 box pectin and 3/4 cup water in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat- stirring constantly. Let boil for one minute- continue stirring. Remove from heat and stir into fruit/sugar mixture until sugar is completely dissolved (approx 3 minutes) Pour into prepared containers. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Then move to fridge/freezer.

2 cups crushed berries
4 cups sugar
1 pkg Sure Jell Fruit Pectin
3/4 cup water

Combine crushed berries and sugar. Mix well. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stirring ocasionally. Stir 1 box pectin and 3/4 cup water in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat- stirring constantly. Let boil for one minute- continue stirring. Remove from heat and stir into fruit/sugar mixture until sugar is completely dissolved (approx 3 minutes) Pour into prepared containers. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Then move to fridge/freezer.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Magic Cookie Bars

Magic bars have been around forever. Everyone has eaten them, and almost everyone likes them...at least in my house. They are rich, gooey and chewy...so who wouldn't love them, right!? I don't think to make them very often but when I do...they disappear right before my eyes. I guess thats why they call these "Magic Bars"...they must get their name from their vanishing capabilities. Try them at your house and see if they hold true to their name for you......

Magic Cookie Bars
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c. sugar

Mix together and press into the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan to form a crust.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 c. chocolate chips (1 bag)
1 1/3 c. flaked coconut
1 c. chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over graham cracker crust. Top with remaining ingredient. Press down firmly with a fork (or your hand). Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars. Cover any leftovers.

Happy Cooking~

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chicken Nugget Pizza

During my Freshman year of college I worked at Icon Health and Fitness in the testing department. I worked out for 4 hours a day testing exercise equipment. We would walk on treadmills/elipticals for one hour incremints and then give feedback so the engineers could make the changes they needed to to sell the best products. I'm not going to lie, it was a seriously sweet job. And it's a good thing I worked out so much because my room mates and I ate GOOD in college. Friday nights were a great excuse to destroy our bodies. We'd rent scary movies, make enough food to feed our entire block and spend the weekend overeating. This was one of our favorite recipes. It is quick, easy and so worth the calories.

Chicken Nugget Pizza
1 loaf french bread
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup chicken nuggets

Cook chicken nuggets according to package directions. While cooking melt cream cheese and butter together in a small sauce pan on medium/low. Add garlic powder and let simmer. Cut french bread in half horizontally (this recipe only uses one half- to use both sides double the recipe). Spread sauce over one side of the bread. Top with cheese and chicken nuggets. Broil until cheese is melted- approx 3-5 minutes.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas are one of my favorite comfort foods during the cold winter months (although I make them year round). They are warm, inviting and melt in my mouth. There are so many different recipes out there for this yummy dish, each one varies a bit from the other (I am sure you have one that is your favorite too)...and I like them all. BUT one of my favorite recipes for chicken enchiladas is this one that is topped with cream sauce and pine nuts. It adds a little "twist" on an old family favorite.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
Cream Sauce: (Make first)

1 large can green enchilada sauce
1 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
2-3 T flour
Combine the enchilada sauce, cream and broth in a sauce pan and heat. Stir constantly or it will burn (experience tells me this). When cream sauce starts to boil-add cheese and flour, stir in with a whisk. Continue to stir constantly until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.

4 c. cooked rice (you can use Minute Rice with this, but I prefer the REAL thing)
1/2 package taco seasoning
1 T. oil

Cook rice according to package instruction. In a frying pan heat oil, add cooked rice and taco seasoning. Cook until warm. Remove from heat, set aside.


6-8 chicken breast, cooked and cut or shredded (I've made this with grilled chicken, leftover fried chicken, leftover rotisserie chicken, baked chicken and boiled chicken...all of which we have loved)
3 T. oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. cumin
12-16 corn tortillas (I've tried this with flour tortillas and I don't like it as well...but whatever your preference is, make what your family will eat)
1-2 c. shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in frying pan; place cooked chicken, garlic, salt, pepper and cumin in frying pan and saute' until warm and flavors have blended (approx. 5-10 minutes). Remove from heat.

Pour 1/3 of cream sauce into bottom of a 9x13 baking pan.

In a small frying pan, heat a small amount of oil (1-2 T). Fry corn tortillas one at a time until softened.
After all tortillas are cooked, place a small amount of chicken mixture, rice, 1 T (approx.) cream sauce and small amount of grated cheese down the center of each shell. Roll each filled tortilla and place "seam side" down, in prepared baking pan. Continue until baking pan is full (I pack my enchiladas in the pan really tight) pour remaining cream sauce over the top and cover with shredded cheese. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm with chips and salsa.

Happy Cooking~

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fruit Dip

We all know that I absolutely love dips. Any delicious food can usually be made better when it's dipped. That goes for fruit too. This fruit dip is an Ady family favorite--Jack requests it any time we have a party. It's been a staple for all holidays at our house. Give it a try and I'm sure it will become a staple for you too!

Fruit Dip
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 (7 oz) container marshmallow cream
3 Tbsp. Orange Juice
Brown sugar

Mix cream cheese, marshmallow cream and orange juice until smooth. Sprinkle with brown sugar and chill until served.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Grandma's Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Okay....so the picture DOES NOT do these yummy cheesy potatoes justice, I apologize...just KNOW that these potatoes are THE BEST of their kind. Mashed potatoes are awesome and cheese is even better, you combine the two ingredients and you have HEAVEN on your plate. My kids think that their Grandma Wilkerson makes the best Cheesy Mashed Potatoes in the world...I happen to agree. There isn't a dinner that we eat at Grandma's house that the kids don't ask me before hand if "we are going to eat Cheesy Mashed Potatoes". Its one of those "comfort foods" that just makes them think of their sweet grandma and how much they love and appreciate her. I am sure this delectable dish will be made and gobbled up by her family for generations to come. You have to give it a try!!!! YOU won't be disappointed, I promise!

Grandma's Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

 5 lb. potatoes, peeled, cubed
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 cube butter
1-2 c. grated cheddar cheese

Boil potatoes in a LARGE sauce pan until they are soft. Drain ALL water off of potatoes. Put hot potatoes in a LARGE bowl. Add remaining ingredients and beat with electric beaters, Kitchen Aide   OR smash with a potato smasher (if you are really tough)....but I highly recommend something HIGH powered and electric. Serve while hot. These mashed potatoes are just as good the second time as they are the first time so leftovers aren't a problem. If you don't want as many potatoes....cut the recipe in half. We like them served with ANYTHING...but ham is one of our favorite "side dishes" when eating these yummy taters....oh yum!

Happy Cooking~

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sausage Queso

A few months ago the Hubby and I went on a double date with my sister and a friend of ours. We spent the evening laughing and talking over dinner at Chilis. We ordered Queso and chips and I ate way more than my share. I figured if something was that good I needed to learn how to make it on my own. I made my own spin to make it unique and different. The sausage adds such a delicious flavor that you just keep coming back for more. I served it at our Halloween party and the next day I got messages asking me for the recipe-- from our GUY friends! That's how good it was.

Sausage Queso
1 lb velveeta cheese
1 1/2 cups salsa * I hate chunks so I blend my in the blender
1 cup sausage

Combine cheese and salsa. Melt in microwave. Approx. 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally. When melted add sausage and cook for 2 additional minutes. Serve with corn chips.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Paradise Taco's

I love the idea of anything new that you can roll up in a taco shell because that usually means...EASY!
These Paradise Taco's are so good and make for a quick dinner. Everyone loved the unique taste of the coconut and chicken combined together. For a light and yummy dinner, give these a try.

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
5 t. coconut extract
2 t. garlic powder
4 T. sugar
1/2 c. coconut

Place diced chicken, garlic powder, sugar and extract in a frying pan (lightly sprayed with pan coating) and cook until chicken is browned and cooked entirely. Drain any liquid and add 1/2 c. coconut, cook for 3 minutes longer.

2 c. cooked rice (white or brown)
1/2 c. pineapple tidbits + 1/2 c. juice
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. garlic powder

Combine pineapple, juice, sugar and garlic in a medium frying pan. Simmer for 5 minutes, add cooked rice and simmer for 10 more minutes to allow rice to soak up the flavor of the pineapple. Be careful as to not let all the pineapple juice cook right out, you want the rice to soak it up. (add a little bit more of the pineapple juice if you need to). Set aside, but keep warm.

8-10 flour tortila shells
1 c. grated cheese

Place flour shells on baking sheet (you won't be able to do all of them at the same time) and sprinkle with grated cheese. Place them under the broiler in your oven just until the cheese is melted (watch closely so they won't burn)...around 1-2 minutes at the most.

Fill cooked tortillas with the pineapple rice and chicken. Garnish with spinach leafs, avocado and sour cream. EAT UP!

Happy Cooking~

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bacon/Cheese/Ranch Dip

My little brother is an amazing cook. He lives on his own and is constantly making elaborate meals for himself, he makes pies for Thanksgiving dinner and he is the creator of this chip dip. I can think of many times we've sat at the counter in my moms house and chatted about what's going on in our lives over a bowl of this dip. I hope my kids grow up with the same fond memories and delicious food.

Bacon/Cheese/Ranch Dip

2 cups sour cream
3 Tbsp. dry ranch mix
3 Tbsp. bacon bits
1/2 cup grated cheese

Mix sour cream and ranch mix. Add bacon bits and grated cheese. Serve with BBQ potato chips.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oven Fried Chicken Strips

Fried chicken makes everyone happy doesn't it? Its one of those "comfort foods" that just makes us all smile. Although the "OIL" factor sometimes keeps some of us from eating it like we might want to (like a lot). This recipe is one that someone gave me at a weight watcher meeting several years back and I make it all of the time. The nice thing about this chicken recipe is that it doesn't taste like you're missing out on anything, its juicy and the chicken is tender...its just a mouthwatering, tasty dish. Give it a try, I think you will enjoy it too. PS...don't tell anyone (hubby and kids) that they are eating "healthy" food for dinner...it can just be "our little secret".

Oven Fried Chicken Strips
1 1/2 c. flour
2 t. onion powder
2 t. garlic powder
2 t. season salt
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1/2 t. cayenne pepper

Mix together in a medium bowl and set aside.

3 c. buttermilk, put in a shallow bowl and set aside

3 c. CRUSHED cornflakes, put in a medium bowl and set aside

2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast cut into strips

Put chicken in flour mixture and coat completely. Dip into buttermilk and then into the crushed cornflakes and coat both sides. Place chicken on a lightly sprayed (cooking spray) baking sheet. Continue until all chicken is coated and placed on the pan. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes...turn chicken over after 15 minutes and then continue to cook. Chicken will be done when it's no longer pink.

*Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, our family likes ranch (or course) and barbecue sauce.
*if you want to make this for an appetizer or snack, cut chicken into cubes and follow the same instructions for the strips (although your cooking time might be less). When serving, insert a toothpick into each piece and place on a nice serving plate...makes for a yummy snack thats healthy too.

*PS...leftovers are great!

Happy Cooking~

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I always thought of yams as the side dish brought to Thanksgiving for the sake of tradition. They weren't good. They were usually canned yams topped with marshmallow. Who wants that? So when one of my best friends invited the Hubby and I over for a Christmas dinner I was a little leery to try her yams. I didn't want to be rude so I took a small spoonful and planned on downing it with lots of water. Much to my surprise these yams were actually good. More than good- they were absolutely delicious. They are now a staple for all the holiday dinners I cook. I hope they become a staple for your dinners too.

3 medium fresh yams
3 Tbsp. real butter
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Peel and cut yams into cubes. Boil until tender (about 30 minutes). Drain, add butter, sugar and cinnamon. Mix until smooth. Scoop into baking dish.

2 Tbsp. Flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup melted real butter

Mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Add melted butter and stir together. Sprinkle over yams and put under broiler until topping has dissolved into the yams.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Julie's Crock Pot Cola Chicken Taco

In my search for yummy "crock pot" dishes, I came up with a lot of soups, stews, and chili recipes...all of which I adore, but my family isn't big on. I love using my crock pot and having dinner cook all by itself while I go about my day...so I knew that if I was going to make something good that my family would eat AND do that all in the crock pot, I had to come up with something a little different than what I was finding....thats when I thought of this fantastic meal idea, all from my own little "thinker". My recipe was a huge hit. I made enough chicken for leftovers "hoping" that everyone would like it and I am glad that I did because we ate it and ate it and ate it...never once did I hear anyone complain as they shoveled another bite into their mouth and made themselves another taco. I love meals like that! Hope your family loves this delicious dish as well as mine did.

Julie's Crock Pot Cola Chicken Taco
6-8 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast

Place chicken in crock pot. Cook on low until it will easily shred. Every crock pot is different, my chicken took about 5 hours to cook...yours may take more or less time. Remove chicken and shred it. Drain all liquid from the crock pot and put shredded chicken back into your crock pot.

Then add:
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 can cola
1 small can enchilada sauce
1/4 c. Franks (must be this brand) hot sauce

Pour over shredded chicken, stir well and cook on low for 2 hours. Serve in hard shell taco's with your favorite taco toppings...example: diced onion, tomato, cheese, avocado, black beans, corn, olives, sour cream or RANCH. ENJOY to your hearts content!

* There will be a lot of sauce on your chicken so as you are getting it out of the crock pot to put into your taco, you may want to use a slotted spoon and drain it a little so that you don't end up with "soupy chicken taco's"...just sayin'.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Homemade Rootbeer

This year for Halloween all I wanted was homemade Rootbeer. I planned my menu weeks in advance and I was so excited when Halloween finally rolled around. I was shocked that this recipe could be so easy. I don't know why it took me so long to try it. It was absolutely amazing. Everything I imagined it would be.

Homemade Rootbeer
6 cups sugar
3 gallons cold water
2 oz rootbeer extract
4 lbs dry ice

Combine sugar and cold water in a large container. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour rootbeer extract in sugar water and stir until well combined. Add 3 1/2 lbs dry ice. Cover with lid (leave a hole so pressure can release). Let sit for 1 hour. Stir occasionally- dry ice may stick to the bottom of the container. Add remaining dry ice right before serving.