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

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year~


Here's hoping that you had a very  MERRY CHRISTMAS full of fun, laughter
wonderful times and happy memories with friends and loved ones
...AND OF course, some scrumptious food!
 Time is precious and our children are only close by for a short time so in light of
the events that have taken place in our country over the past few weeks,  
I am taking the next two weeks off to enjoy a little time with my sweet family. I'm going to
enjoy the minutes and moments that I have with them, no matter their age...they are all precious to me.
I will be back in the kitchen whipping up fabulous food and posting come January 7, 2013
Come back then for some fun new recipes...until then ENJOY THE VAST array  of recipes
that we presently have on our blog....there isn't a one that you won't love!

Thanks for being the wonderful fans that you are, WE LOVE YOU!
See you SOON~

Monday, December 24, 2012

Cheesy Potato Casserole

I am a complete sucker for "Cheesy Potatoes" of ANY KIND! I love, love, love them!!! THIS Cheesy Potato Casserole is perfect for holiday dinners, Sunday dinners, or any ol' time! It packed with ooey gooey cheese that just drips from your fork. It tastes like a million bucks and makes your mouth sing! Its going on my dinner plate TONIGHT!!

Cheesy Potato Casserole

1 bag (32 oz) frozen hash browns (check *note below)
3/4 c. butter, melted and divided
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. salt
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 can cream chicken soup
2 c. sour cream
2 c. grated cheddar cheese

Topping:
2 c. crushed corn flakes

Combine THAWED hashbrowns with 1/2 c. butter (melted). Stir...add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Spoon into 9x13 baking pan. Spread until pan is covered evenly. Combine crushed cornflakes and 1/4 c. melted butter in a small mixing bowl. Stir until combined. Evenly spread on casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve while hot.

*NOTE: I use the "Ore Ida Hash Browns" that come in the red bag. I have found them to be the best. They aren't completely frozen into clumps and they cook up so nicely...AND they taste great too!!

Julie~

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sausage Jalapeno Poppers

THIS is a must try...don't think you can go another day without having one of these melting in your mouth. IF you love Jalapeno Poppers wrapped tightly with a strip of bacon, you are sure to love these as well! I can't say enough GOOD THINGS about them. I crave them all of the time and can't wait for another family gathering so I can make a PILE OF THEM and devour more than my share!! Mmmmm!!

Sausage Jalapeno Poppers

1 lb. ground sausage (hot, medium or mild), COOKED and drained
8 oz. cream cheese softened
1/2 c. cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
12-14 jalapeno, halved lengthwise and seeded

Soften cream cheese and combine with sausage and cheeses. Spoon into prepared jalapeno halves. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until jalapeno is softened slightly and cheeses are brown and bubbly. 

Julie~

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Caramel Apple Dip

Don't you just love my darling serving dish...not!! BUT by the time I got things on the table, I was not about to take some out and stage a picture...NOT on this particular day. So just "imagine" this scrumptious dish on a gorgeous platter with apples adorning the sides. I could have (but didn't) eaten this dip with a spoon. It was rich, but OHHHHHHH so tasty! I actually preferred it with banana's, but the apples were great too. This dip would be a hit at any party you are planning!

Caramel Apple Dip

2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 c. caramel ice cream topping
1 1/2 c. crushed graham cracker crumbs
6 T. melted butter
1/4 c. sugar

Whip cream cheese until fluffy (about 1-2 minutes). Add caramel topping and stir. Set aside. In separate bowl combine cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Mix with a fork until crumbly. Add to cream cheese mixture and stir until well combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers...or just it all!

Julie~

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bacon Pineapple Cheese Ball

Entertaining, parties, pot luck, appetizers, FOOD.... all seem to be words that describe this time of year. From the company party to the "family get together's",  we are always looking for the "right" thing that will bring people back to the "food" table looking for seconds.. This Bacon Pineapple Cheese Ball will do the trick for sure. Its the sweet/salty/ smokey taste that got me wanting "just another bite", another cracker, another ANYTHING...it's a dandy and scores a big "10" on my taste scale!

Bacon Pineapple Cheese Ball

1 1/2 packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 can (regular size) crushed pineapple, WELL DRAINED
3 T. powdered sugar
1/2 c. cooked, crumbled bacon (not imitation bacon bits...the REAL stuff!)
1 c. chopped walnuts

Combine cream cheese, pineapple, powdered sugar and bacon. Stir with an electric mixer until well combined. Set aside. Place a LARGE piece of saran wrap (any plastic wrap will do) on the counter. "Plop" (I know, such a "correct" cooking term) the cream cheese mixture in the middle of saran wrap. Bring the sides up around the mixture to form a ball. Wrap gently, keeping the "ball" form and place in a bowl (yes, with saran wrap STILL on it). Refrigerate for 1 hour or until ball is relatively firm...it won't be hard, 
but it will be firm-ish. Remove from refrigerator, remove plastic wrap (gently as to NOT disturb your "ball" form). Place chopped nuts on a plate or in a pie tin. Roll ball in chopped walnuts...pat them on if needed, to keep the ball shape. serve with crackers...my favorite were the wheat thins and the club crackers...but any of your favorites will do. 

Julie~

Friday, December 14, 2012

Taco Nacho's

Nacho's...who doesn't love them? There are MANY recipes, ideas and "pins" from all over the internet, for any flavor, any kind and variety of Nacho! These just happened to be a family "creation" that I won't lay claim too (because I am SURE that we weren't the ones to invent it)...but I will say that they are a family favorite and have been for years! Its an EASY, QUICK lunch, snack or dinner....and satisfies both the young and the old, they are the BOMB!

Taco Nacho's

1 lb ground beef
1-2 packages taco seasoning
1/2 c. water

Cook meat in a medium frying pan. When meat is browned, but not completely cooked, add seasoning packets (1-2 depending on how strong you like it) and water. Cook until meat is completely done. Drain...but don't rinse (sorry you healthy people...if you rinse, you take away a lot of the flavor). Set aside.

Corn chips
Grated cheddar cheese
diced tomato
diced avocado
diced onion
Ranch dressing (optional...but tastes really good!)

Layer chips and cheese until you have the desired amount. Cook in the microwave for 30 seconds or until cheese is melted to your liking. Top with meat mixture, tomato, onion, avocado and OF COURSE, Ranch dressing...EAT UP!

Julie~

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sweet Gingerbread Pancakes

The smell of these pancakes cooking just SCREAMS "THE HOLIDAYS"...from October to January this scent needs to permeate my home!! Besides them smelling so good, they taste delish too!!

Sweet Gingerbread Pancakes

1 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. ginger
3/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/2 c. + 2 T. milk
2 eggs
1/2 cube butter, melted but NOT boiling

Spray griddle with cooking spray. Heat to 375 degrees. Combine dry ingredient and whisk until well mixed. In separate bowl combine milk, eggs and melted butter. Whisk together. Add wet ingredient to dry ingredient and stir well. Let batter stand for 10 minutes. Pour pancakes onto hot griddle, enough to make a large, good sized pancake. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface (1-2 minutes), flip and continue to cook other side until golden brown. Continue until all pancakes are cooked. Serve with butter, maple syrup and a dollop of whipped topping. 

Julie~

Monday, December 10, 2012

Grant Barber's Sausage Dip


I love recipes that are passed around. They are tried and tested and obviously loved by many. My daughter Kim made this "sausage dip" for a family gathering that we had... she got the recipe from a friend, Grant Barber...and now it has become a family favorite and I'm passing it on to you! We eat Grant's Sausage Dip every time the family gets together, its FABULOUS! The pan is ALWAYS LICKED CLEAN and leaves me wishing that I made more (usually because I don't get my fill before its gone). With the many holiday parties, get together's and dinners coming up, this dip will be a HUGE HIT!! Thanks Grant for sharing this AWESOME  recipe...it will forever be a favorite of mine!!

 Grant Barber's Sausage Dip

1 lb. cooked ground sausage (hot, medium or mild...your choice)
1-2 (8 oz) cream cheese...if you want it "cheesier," add the extra cream cheese
1 can Rotel tomatoes (the kind with chili's in it)...Kim likes to BLEND her tomatoes, she doesn't like chunks

Place cooked sausage, cream cheese and canned tomatoes (blended or not blended)  in a microwave safe dish, cook for 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Continue until melt, mixed and HOT. Serve with corn chips or crackers. YES, its that easy!!!

Julie~ 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Caramel Apple Bread

It seems the holidays are a time for baking...baking cookies, cakes, sweets and breads.This 
is a great recipe for giving to your friends or eating all up yourself. 

It stays moist and pleases even the pickiest quick bread eaters....its one of those 
breads you'll make again...and again!

Caramel Apple Bread 

1 1/2 c. apples, peeled and shredded
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. oil
4 eggs, beaten
3 c. flour
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
1 t. nutmeg

Glaze:
2 T butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. milk
1/2 c. powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 bread loaf pans with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine apples sugar, buttermilk, oil and eggs. Beat well. stir in remaining ingredients just until moist. Pour into pans. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until done. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Loosen from pan and place loafs on paper towel to cool completely. 

Glaze instructions:
In sauce pan melt butter, stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling point, stir constantly. Reduce heat to low. Boil and stir for 2 minutes, add milk. Stir, return to boil. Remove from heat. cool for 30 minutes. Gradually stir powdered sugar into cooled glaze mixture. Place sauce pan (with glaze still in it) in a bowl of cold water. Beat with a whisk or spoon until smooth and thin enough to drizzle over bread. Add additional milk if glaze is too stiff (1/2 t. at a time) or heat over low heat, stirring constantly. Drizzle over bread, let cool. Wrap bread in plastic wrap. Keeps best in refrigerator. 

* NOTE: I did NOT use the glaze recipe here...I thought I could take a shortcut and use Caramel topping (the kind for ice cream), it worked really well IF YOU ARE GOING TO EAT all the bread immediately (it tasted great) ..BUT when I went to store it, it was a huge sticky mess!! WHEN I make it again, I WILL use the glaze recipe provided!

Julie~   

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pumpkin "Poke" Cake

Pumpkin is my downfall right now...pumpkin anything just calls my name...OVER AND OVER AND OVER!! THIS Pumpkin Poke Cake is to die for!! Its the perfect thing to eat ANY TIME! Its great for holiday parties, family get together's or a night alone, curled up on the couch with a good movie! Its DIVINE!

Pumpkin Poke Cake

1 box spice cake mix
1- 15 oz can pumpkin (NOT THE PIE FILLING just the PUMPKIN PUREE)
1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1-8 oz tub whipped topping
1/2 bag Heath Bits (the kind with chocolate on them)
Caramel Ice Cream Topping

Mix cake and pumpkin (NOT THE INGREDIENT ON THE BOX...JUST THE cake mix itself). Pour batter into a 9x13 cake pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 23-25 minutes or until done. Let cool for 10 minutes. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the top of cake. Pour condensed milk over the cake, filling all the holes. Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes. Spread whipped topping over cake. Sprinkle with Heath bits and drizzle with caramel ice cream topping. Refrigerate OVER NIGHT. Cut and serve!

Julie~

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mock Pizza Hut Bread Sticks

MY FAVORITE thing that we get at Pizza Hut isn't the pizza...its the bread sticks!!! The yummy, gooey, cheese that just drips from the bread and into my mouth is just tooooooooooo good!!! SO when I fell upon this recipe I knew that I had to try it. I was a little saddened that mine didn't taste just like Pizza Huts bread sticks, but I attribute that to my not getting enough practice making them...BUT I WILL be practicing up because I will be making these again and again...THEY WERE STUPENDOUS bread sticks regardless of whether they were "Pizza Hut Approved" or not, they didn't disappoint! Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce and Italian dish and dinner will be a hit!

Mock Pizza Hut Bread Sticks
1 1/2 c. warm water
2 T. sugar
1 T. yeast
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. dry milk
3 c. flour
1/2 c. melted butter (divided)
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water for 15 minutes. AFTER 15 mintues add sugar, milk and salt in a large bowl (I used my Bosch). Add half the flour, mix well. Add remainder flour...enough to make a moderately stiff dough. Knead for 6 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes. Place half the melted butter on to the bottom of a large baking pan (with a large lip...like the Texas Sheet Pan). Place dough on pan, stretch/roll to fit pan,this takes a little time because you STRETCH and it shrinks...let it rest for a minute and stretch again...repeat process until bread dough fits pan (closely...mine didn't fit perfectly). Let raise for 15 minutes. Spread the remainder of the butter on top of raised dough. Top dough with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut bread sticks with pizza cutter and serve with your favorite dipping sauce. 

Julie~