Monday, December 22, 2008

Butter Christmas Cookies

These cookies were so yummy and really easy to make. They were a perfect addition to my Christmas goodie plates. To make the dough even more festive, use food coloring to turn the dough red and green.
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together the flour, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and egg yolk; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Fill a cookie press or pastry bag with dough, and form cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.If you don't have a cookie press, roll dough into balls, use the bottam side of a cup to press down and use sprinkles to make designs. (This is what I did.)
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cookies are golden brown on the peaks and on the bottoms. Remove from cookie sheets at once to cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Brownies



I was in the mood to create a festive, Christmas dessert, and since I've been addicted to Candy Cane Oreos and Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses, I knew I had to use these special addition classics. What better way to accentuate the sweet peppermint taste than by adding chocolate? Even I was surprised at how incredibly delicious these turned out. I couldn't stop at one, or two, or even three. I promise that these will delight any and all. Get your napkins ready, because you're about to start drooling.

Christmas Brownies
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
12 Candy Cane Oreo Cookies, chopped
3/4 bag Candy Cane kisses, crushed and divided
3/4 cup Toll House Semi-sweet Chocolate Chunks (You can use semi-sweet chocolate chips if you don't have the chunks)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 by 13 inch pan.
Microwave the butter in a microwave safe bowl until melted. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the cocoa; beat well until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder and salt; beat well.
Add the Chocolate Chunks and stir.
Add the chopped oreos. Stir just until blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Sprinkle a light layer (about 3/4 cup) of crushed candy cane kisses over top of batter. This allows a little bit of the minty white chocolate to melt and sink into the batter making a heavenly taste.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the pan sides.
Remove and immediately add the remaining crushed kisses. They will just start to melt and give the brownies a very festive (and delicious) look.
Enjoy!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reindeer Cupcakes


We had a lot of fun with these little guys. We invited the cousins over and they all had a great time decorating their own cupcakes. One of the kids even came up with putting freckles on their reindeer. Quite creative. ;)

Reindeer Cupcakes

Your favorite cake recipe
Your favorite frosting recipe (I used my delicious chocolate buttercream)
Mini M&M's or something similar for eyes
Red gumballs or something similar for noses
Fruit loops or licorice string for mouths
Pretzels for antlers

Make cupcakes and then frost with chocolate frosting. Immediately decorate . Cut the fruit loops in half for a smile, break pretzels in half for antlers, and get creative with the rest. I only had mini pretzels, but I think regular large pretzels would look better and more antlerish. Have fun!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mini Cheescake Bites


I made these cute little cheesecake bites for an impromptu birthday celebration. I actually like the plain ones better than the chocolate topped ones, but either way they are scrumptious and addicting. I made these in November, but to make them festive for the the holiday season, you can sprinkle crumbled candy canes on top.

1 Cup crushed Nilla Wafers
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 8oz packages reduced fat softened cream cheese
½ Cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons light sour cream
Pinch of salt

½ Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place ground cookies and melted butter into a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of crust into each mini cheesecake pan or mini muffin tin. With fingers, press crust down until even.

2. Use a mixer to beat cream cheese and sugar until well combined. Add in eggs one at a time following with the vanilla, sour cream, and pinch of salt. Mix until just combined.

3. Fill each crust filled cup ¾ way full of cheesecake batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cheesecake is set. Remove from oven and let sit in pan at room temperature for 30 minutes before removing. Transfer to mini cheesecakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.

While Cheesecakes are cooling, place chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Stir in heavy cream until shiny and smooth. Spoon ganache over each cheesecake or half of the cheesecakes. Refrigerate until serving.

Makes 12 mini cheesecakes

Stay tuned for some yummy Christmas goodies! I finally have time to start baking.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Herbed Chicken in Pastry


I use the Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets for so many things. They are so versatile, not to mention just plain yummy. The possibilities are endless when it comes to pastry sheets.
Well, I just happened to look at the recipes on the inside of the box and found this little treasure. It was simple, delicious, and impressive to my kids and hubby. Can't beat that! I made it extra fun for my kids by making mini pastries. To make them mini, just use half of everything.


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 T. butter
1/2 pkg Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 egg
1 T. water
1 container (4 oz.) garlic & herb spreadable cheese
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

Season chicken with salt and pepper if desired. Melt butter in skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned. Remove chicken. Cover and refrigerate 15 min. or up to 24 hours.

Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 30 min. Mix egg and water. Preheat over to 400.

Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14" square and cut into 4 (7") squares. Spread about 2 T. of the cheese spread in center of each square. Sprinkle with 1 T. parsley and top with cooled chicken. Brush edges of squares with egg mixture. Fold each corner to center on top of chicken and seal edges. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Brush with egg mixture.

Bake 25 min. or until golden.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Shrimp Tetrazzini


This recipe turned out so incredibly delicious. Even my hubby, who doesn't normally like any kind of seafood, raved about it and licked the pan clean. And a big bonus, my kids liked it too... probably because of the cheesy noodles. It was fairly easy and perfect for an easy night at home or to impress guests with.
Sorry about the picture, I had completely forgotten to take a picture and when I remembered it was almost completely gone, so I scraped everyone's leftovers on to one plate and snapped a picture.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 16 oz shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 (8 ounce) package spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well.
  2. Over a medium-low heat melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add onion and garlic to melted butter and stir until soft. Add shrimp and mushrooms, cook for 5 minutes stirring often. Remove shrimp mixture from saucepan, place in a medium size bowl and set aside.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat. Combine flour, mayonnaise, salt, milk, and apple cider in the saucepan. Mix well. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook until sauce thickens.Add the cream cheese and stir until mixed well. Add a couple of shakes of freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Pour sauce into the bowl containing the shrimp mixture. Add the spaghetti to the bowl and mix well. Add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
  5. Place all ingredients in a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish (baking pan). Sprinkle 1/4 cup parmesan cheese on top of the mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake

I found this tasty little treat on Browneyed Baker . I have been wanting to make a yummy dense crumb cake for awhile. This was delicious. I had it for breakfast 3 days in a row. (nervous giggle) And it was so worth it. The crumb topping really makes it irresistible.
Butter Crumb topping:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup cold butter, cut into chunks
1 tsp vanilla extract
Batter:
1¼ cup plain flour
¼ cup cake flour
1 stick butter
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ cup mini bittersweet chocolate chips
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup buttermilk
1½ eggs
1½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup mini bitter-sweet chocolate chips, for sprinkling on top of the cake
Powdered sugar, for sifting on top of the cake
Preparation:
1) Preheat oven to 375°F.
2) Lightly grease a 9×4 inch loaf pan, and line the inside of the pan with parchment paper or foil, and then great it as well.
To make the topping:
3) Thoroughly mix the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Drop in chunks of butter, using a table knife, cut the butter into the flour until it reduces to the size of large pearls. Sprinkle vanilla extract over, working with fingertips, knead the mixture together until moist, clumpy lumps are formed. DO NOT overmix.
Mix the batter:
4) Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and baking soda. Then toss the chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of the sifted mixture in a small bowl.
5) Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer for about 3 minutes.
6) Add in the sugar in 3 additions, beating for 1 minute after each portion is added.
7) Add in egg and beat for 45 seconds.
Mix in the vanilla extract.
9) Alternately add in the sifted mixture in 3 additions with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the sifted mixture. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to ensure even mixing.
10) Stir in chocolate chips.
11) Spoon the batter into the baking pan, and spread evenly, smooth the top with rubber spatula.
12) Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly on the cake batter, make sure that the whole surface is covered.
13) Bake the cake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake turns out clean. The baked cake should pull away slightly from the sides of the pan.
14) Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly on top of the baked cake immediately.
15) Let the cake cool completely. Use the parchment or foil to lift the cake out of the pan, then sift some powered sugar on top of the cake. Serve.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Brownie Peanut Butter Cups

I found these little treasures on Bake or Break. At first I thought they were a little too heavy on the peanut butter... but then I kept going back for more and more bites and tastes. They are addicting. I think when I make them next time, I will use less peanut butter, but that's just because peanut butter is not a favorite in this house.
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray or grease 12 muffin cups.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar, butter, and water. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir in 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips until melted. Stir in egg and vanilla extract. Add flour and baking soda, stirring until blended. Allow to cool to room temperature. Then, stir in 1/2 cup each peanut butter chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Spoon batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into muffin cups.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out slightly wet. Place pan on wire rack. Centers of brownies will fall upon cooling. If not, tap centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole.

Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds, then stir. While brownies are still hot, spoon about a tablespoon of peanut butter into the center of each brownie. Top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Cool completely in pan.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tomato Gorgonzola Soup

The one thing I love about fall is that the cold, crisp air just begs for soup. Not only is soup comforting, warm, and delicious, it makes your house smell heavenly. Whenever I make soup, my husband always thinks that I have slaved away in the kitchen all day because of the aroma's coming from the soup pan. Little does he know that I pulled it all together an hour before he walks through the door. But let's keep that a secret. I'll take those bonus points. ;)
This soup was fairly simple to make, but huge on flavor. I served it in bread bowls which turned out to be perfect for dipping. At our house we love to dip stuff in our soup.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 large red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato juice or V8 vegetable juice. (I used V8)
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
  2. Add the cheeses, cream, and milk; heat mixture until cheeses melt and the mixture is simmering. Make sure the mixture does not come to a full boil. Keep the heat on medium.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes (including their liquid), tomato juice, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Continue to simmer mixture for 15 to 20 minutes while stirring constantly. Do not boil.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Candy Corn Bark


Okay, this is the last of my fun Halloween recipes. I saw this on All Recipes and it looked scrumptious. Warning: It is very sweet, but if you're a sweet tooth like me, it's perfect to munch on. ;)

  • 16 Halloween-colored oreos, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups broken small pretzels
  • 1/3 cup raisins or craisens
  • 1 1/2 pounds white chocolate, broken into squares
  • 2 cups candy corn
  • orange and brown sprinkles

  1. Spread the cookies, pretzels and raisins evenly onto a lightly greased small baking sheet. Melt chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave, stirring frequently until melted. Remove from the heat while there are still a few chunks, and stir until smooth. White chocolate burns easily.
  2. Drizzle chocolate with a spoon over the goodies in the pan, spreading the top flat to coat evenly. Top with candy corn and sprinkles. Let cool until firm. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Spiderweb and Snake Pizzas


This was supposed to be posted before Halloween, but you can make these anytime for a super fun kid lunch. I actually really enjoyed them too. They were yummy, easy, and fun. I saw the snakes in a magazine and the spiderwebs on Gourmet Mom on the Go. They are easily adaptable to make however your family likes.

Snake Pizza's
6 bagels
Pizza Sauce
Cheese
Pepperoni
Olives for eyes
red pepper or licorice string for tongue

Split the bagels in half, and then slice them in two. Spread pizza sauce on them and sprinkle with cheese. Add pepperoni for decoration.
Bake at 350 deggrees for 15 - 20 minutes. Add olives and pepper garnish after removing from oven. Enjoy!


Spiderweb Pizza's
4 Pita Pockets
Pizza Sauce
6 string cheese
Black Olives

Spread pita's with pizza sauce. Peel string cheese and make into a web design. You can add the olives before or after cooking. I added them after.
Cook pizza at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Slice olives and arrange to look like a spider. Enjoy!!!

Black Cat Cookies


Okay, I was planning on putting up the rest of my fun Halloween treats before Halloween, but it got crazy busy around here. So keep these in mind for next year or make them for a fun day with the kids. I made these cute cookies to take around to some neighbors and all the kids loved them. They are really cute all lined up. They are easy to make and fun to eat.

1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup baking cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
48 pieces candy corn
24 skittles or other round candy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place 3 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets.
Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Pinch top of cookie to form ears. For whiskers, press a fork twice into each cookie. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until cookies are set. Remove from the oven; immediately press on candy corn for eyes and skittles for noses. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Easy Pasta Casserole


I came up with this when i was in a hurry for dinner one night. It turned out better than I expected, and I will definitely be using this recipe again. My kids thought it was yummy too. The best part is that it is super easy.

16 ounces dry spiral pasta (or other pasta)
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
4 ounces pepperoni, sliced
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mix of mozzerella and cheddar)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente (slightly firm); drain.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until no pink shows; drain.
  4. In a 9x13 inch casserole dish combine pasta, ground beef, bell pepper, onion, tomato sauce and pepperoni; blend well. Top with shredded cheese.
  5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.

If you can believe it, I have more great Halloween recipes, so check back soon! ;)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Frozen Erupting Volcano's


This was by far the most impressive dessert I've ever made for my kids. They ate it up... literally. ;) I got the recipe from Gourmet Mom on the Go.

Ice Cream Sugar Cones
Chocolate Chips (or chocolate candy melts)
Ice Cream (any flavor)
Butterscotch or Caramel Ice Cream Topping
Red and Orange Candy Melts Or Red Licorice Strings
Red Food coloring

Optional Ingredients:
Candy Rocks
Flaked Coconut
Green Food Coloring

Directions:
Place chocolate chips in a bowl and mirowave on high for 60 seconds. Stir well. The chocolate shouldn't be thoroughly melted, you want it a little chunky so it looks like rocks & dirt.:)
Spread melted chocolate on the outside of the ice cream cones. Place on wax paper to dry.
If you are using candy melts for the lava "explosions", melt a small amount in a bowl, place in a plastic baggie, snip the end, and draw a few squiggly lines on wax paper. Let set completely. If you're using licorice, simply seperate the licorice strings and snip to various lengths.
Put carmel ice cream topping in a bowl and tint with red food coloring to make your lava.

When cones are dry, fill with your favorite ice cream, just to the top of the cone. Place upside down on a plate and carefully cut off the top inch or so of the cone to resemble a volcano. Get your butterscotch "lava" and fill the top and drizzle some down the sides of the cone. Place candy melts (or licorice strings!) in the top to resemble and explosion.

Serve and enjoy!

Optional: Put come coconut and green food coloring in a baggie, mix well to tint the coconut. Place around the base of your volcano to resemble grass along with a few candy rocks.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mummy Meatloaf

Picture courtesy of Gourmet Mom on the Go. We were in such a rush to devour the mummy, I forgot to take a pic.

Now this dinner was so impressive to my kids. They thought it was the coolest thing ever! The best part was that it was super easy and super tasty. I halved this recipe for our family and it was plenty to feed 2 adults and 3 kids. Yep, you guessed it, yet another great one from Gourmet Mom on the Go.

2 lbs. lean ground beef or turkey
3/4 c. seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 c. ketchup
2 T. Mustard
2 eggs
1 T. grape jelly (weird, but it's awesome, I promise!)
1 C. finely shredded carrots
Garlic salt, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Garnish Ingredients:
6-8 lasagna noodles, cooked
ketchup (optional)
2 slices cheese, any kind
2 green or black olives

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Mix all meatloaf ingredients well in a large bowl. Press into a glass bowl (make sure it's ok for the oven) and bake for 60 minutes or until center is done.
When completely cooked, Drain any fat off the meatloaf and turn onto a serving pan. Spread with a thin layer of ketchup, if desired. Cut cheese slices into circles and place on meatloaf as the "eyes".
Cut the cooked lasagna noodles in half then trim the edges so the "scallops" are cut off. Place them randomly across the meatloaf, cutting of extra and using it to fill in spaces.
Add olives for eyes and serve.

Cheesy Pumpkin Apps



These are so much fun. And my kids loved helping me make them. They are a quick and impressive appetizer, and very tasty. I halved the recipe for our family, but if bringing to a party definitely make the full recipe. Another great one from Gourmet Mom on the Go.

2 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 package Ranch dressing mix
1 C. shredded cheese, any kind (I used a half cup more cheese because we like it cheesy.)
1 C. crushed cheese crackers (like Cheese Nips)
Green Onion, for garnish
Green Pepper, for garnish

Directions:
Mix cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, and shredded cheese in a bowl until combined. Take a heaping spoonful, roll it into a ball shape and roll in crushed cheese crackers. For garnish slice green pepper and stick a piece on top. We didn't use the green onion.
My kids loved this part. They loved crushing the crackers in the bag and then rolling the cream cheese mixture in them. It was fun for them to make different sized pumpkins.
Serve with pretzel sticks, carrots, sliced bell peppers, pea pods, and whatever else you like.

Ghost Pancakes


I have had a lot of fun with Halloween themed food this past week. I will be posting a ton of fun treats and Halloween food, so keep checking back.
I got this Ghost Pancakes idea from Gourmet Mom on the Go. She has such fun ideas for kids.
These were super easy and my kids thought they were awesome.

All you need is your favorite pancake recipe and chocolate chips.
After pouring the batter on your griddle, press chocolate chips in flat side down for eyes and mouth. Flip and enjoy!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Caramello Brownies



Here is a very special treat. Mmmm.... There's not much that I love more than a good brownie. I have a basic brownie recipe that I use all the time. It is perfect for adding things to. Depending on my mood, I will add chocolate chips, or Andes Mint, or an assortment of chopped up candybars.
I saw a Caramello candy bar at the gas station, and I just knew I had found my next brownie creation.
Here is my basic brownie recipe to which I added 2 Caramello bars to. With the price of brownie box mixes at the store, it's always good to have a basic go to recipe on hand.
The brownies in the picture look dark because I used half dark cocoa, half regular cocoa. I'm a sucker for the dark stuff.

Note: If you do not keep unsweetened chocolate squares around, you can substitute 3/4 cup cocoa and 1/4 cup oil whisked together until smooth.

Sadie's basic brownies
4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate (sometimes I will use the cocoa powder/oil combo and use half Hershey's Dark Cocoa. )
3/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  1. Microwave chocolate and butter or margarine in large bowl at HIGH for 2 minutes or until butter or margarine is melted.
  2. Stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in white and brown sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and baking powder. Add any extra's that you want. For this particular time, I added 2 carmello bars broken into pieces.
  3. Spread in greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake for 35 minutes (do not overbake).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Classic Baked Macaroni & Cheese


I hate, absolutely despise, the boxed macaroni and cheese... but my kids love it. So in order to compromise, I decided to make my own. And I'm so glad I did because it was absolutely fantastic. Much better than the boxed stuff. My husband was very impressed too. He didn't know there was such a thing as "homemade" macaroni and cheese. :P

Classic Baked Macaroni & Cheese

1 package macaroni (8 oz)
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 tsp salt, Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2 cups shredded Medium cheddar cheese
3/4 cup Ritz Crackers

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside.
In a large saucepan melt butter. Mix salt and pepper with flour and add to butter. Use a whisk to stir until well blended. Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly).
Reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, 10 minutes.
Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.Turn off flame.
Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.
Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Grandma's Oatmeal Cookies


I'm on a quest to find the perfect oatmeal cookie. They are my husband's absolute favorite cookie, and if I can find just the right one, there's no telling what kind of bribery I can get away with. ;) This recipe proved to be very delicious, but I'm still on the search. One thing I find annoying with oatmeal cookies is that they are usually super soft right out of the oven, but as they cool off, they get crisper. My husband doesn't like the crispiness. He likes them to be chewy and soft, so that's something that I'm always looking for.
This recipe was very soft and chewy out of the oven, and only turned a little bit crisp after cooling off. I definitely recommend it. My girls and I had them almost all eaten before daddy came home, and they made the house smell incredible.

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups oats (Use Quaker Quick or Old Fashioned. Do NOT use instant.)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

1 Cream shortening and sugars, add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

2 Sift flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to first mixture and mix well. Add raisins and nuts. Add oats last.

3 Spoon out by rounded tablespoonfuls on to greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350°F. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Aussie Chicken


A good friend sent me this recipe to try. I love trying out new recipes, of course, and I gave it a shot only modifying a few things here and there. My husband LOVED it and begged for more, and my kids liked it a lot too. I served it with beets (our favorite vegetable) and mashed pototes, and the whole meal looked extra fancy because of the chicken. The honey mustard sauce had a great flavor and I actually used it as a "gravy" on my mashed potatoes. My kids thought I was weird, but I thought it was delicious.
Thanks Jolene for the yummy recipe!

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded to 1/2 inch thickness2 teaspoons seasoning salt
6 slices bacon, cut in half
1/2 cup prepared mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
DIRECTIONS:
Rub the chicken breasts with the seasoning salt, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until crisp. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the mustard, honey, corn syrup, mayonnaise and dried onion flakes. Remove half of sauce, cover and refrigerate to serve later.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the breasts in the skillet and saute for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until browned. Remove from skillet and place the breasts into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Apply the honey mustard sauce to each breast, then layer each breast with mushrooms and bacon. Sprinkle top with shredded cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken juices run clear. Garnish with parsley and serve with the reserved honey mustard sauce.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Creamy Ranch Chicken


This recipe is really easy, but tastes like it took hours to make. It is delicious! My kids and husband scarfed it up and asked for seconds. I found it at Mmm Cafe while blog surfing and looking for an easy dinner one night. I love that I had all the ingredients on hand.


6 slices bacon
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons ranch dry salad dressing mix
1 1/4 cups milk
3 cups egg noodles or fettucini
3 tablespoon finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Start your water for your pasta. Cook noodles according to package directions.
2. Cut bacon into narrow strips, then again into tiny pieces. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels.
3. In the same skillet, cook chicken until no longer pink, turning to brown evenly. 4. Mix flour, salad dressing mix, and milk in a small bowl. Move chicken into saucepan. Pour flour mixture over chicken. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir in bacon. Serve over noodles.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fun Kid Lunch


I told my kids that for lunch we were having Octopus and seaweed and they looked at me horror struck. When I put their dishes in front of them, their eyes almost popped out of their heads. This isn't the most healthy lunch, but I guarantee it will be slurped down in no time. I fix this lunch on those days when the kids are restless and need a distraction. They think it's the best lunch ever!

Octopus and Seaweed

1 package Ramen Noodles (or any noodles would work)
Hot dogs
Food Coloring
Sprinkles

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add noodles. Cut hot dogs leaving about 2 inches at the top. Turn over and cut lengthwise again. This will leave four "tentacles". Add hot dogs to boiling water. Boil 6 to 7 minutes. Drain water and carefully remove hot dogs. Add food coloring and seasoning to noodles. Put noodles on plates and top with hot dogs. Use sprinkles for eyes and mouth. Watch your kids eyes light up.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Autumn Cereal Balls


I was in the mood for something different... and to experiment. Some kind of treat to celebrate fall. I looked in my pantry and threw together a bunch of ingredients and came up with these cereal treats. The only problem is I'm not exactly sure how much of which ingredient I put in since I was winging it. (oops!) So I'm guessing here, and until I make them again, I don't know if I'll be leading some poor cook astray... So, if you want to brave this recipe and make them and tell me if they turn out right, it would be great!! For me that is. ;)
But seriously, my kids and I gobbled these up. They were a real treat.

1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 /2 package miniature marshmallows
9 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup roasted peanuts
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 bag of mini Reese's pieces (for baking)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Over medium high heat in a large sauce pan, combine the syrup and sugar, bring to a boil and continue to boil for one minute. Reduce heat to low and stir in the margarine and peanut butter until melted. Add marshmallows and stir until well blended. Add white chocolate chips.
  2. Pour the cereal into a large bowl. Add the peanuts and Reese's Pieces. Stir in the marshmallow mixture so that the cereal is evenly coated. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Form cereal mixture into balls and lay on wax paper.
  3. Melt Chocolate chips with 1 TBS shortening in the microwave. Stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Drizzle on top of balls.
*If you try this recipe and find the mix too dry, I would recommend adding extra peanut butter and marshmellows.
If you find the mix to sticky and wet, add more cereal, and stick the balls into the refrigerator to let firm.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fiesta Chicken Bake


This is so yummy and so easy. I threw it together the other night and my husband and kids loved it. I couldn't believe how good it tasted for how simple the recipe was. This will definitely become a staple around here. Rice and bell pepper would also be good in this dish.

1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
3/4 cup Chunky Salsa
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can Black Beans (or Kidney beans)
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
salt and pepper
paprika
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  1. Mix soup, salsa, beans, and corn in 2-quart shallow baking dish. Top with chicken and sprinkle with paprika, salt, and pepper. Cover.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes. Top with cheese and bake for 10 additional minutes.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Maddey's Snickerdoodles


I've always loved these soft, sweet cookies. Growing up, I remember my mom pulling them out of oven just as I was getting home from school. They are Madalyn's favorite. She requests them all the time... and I'm glad she does because I always forget how delicious they are.
These are the best cookies for kids to help make. My kids LOVE rolling the balls in the cinnamon/sugar.

1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups white sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.
  3. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Blend well. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Roll dough in sugar/cinnamon mixture and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheets.
We were feeling festive and really wanted to use our Halloween sprinkles.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tomato Pie


If you've never tasted Tomato Pie than you have no idea what you are missing. When people hear pie they immediately think "sweet". But this pie is definitely not dessert... it's what's for dinner.
I think it tastes better with fresh tomatoes from the garden, but of course store bought will do too. We usually eat it 5 or 6 times during the summer.
And it comes from the kitchen of Paula Deen. How could it not be delicious?

Paula Deen's Tomatoe Pie
1 deep dish pie shell (9-inch)
1 egg white (lightly beaten, about 1 tablespoon)
4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced (or use 5 Roma tomatoes)
8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 large green onion, chopped
salt & freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise

1. Set oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place the pie shell onto a baking sheet.
3. Lightly brush the bottom and sides with egg white.
4. Partially bake the pie crust for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. Layer the tomato slices with the basil and onion into the partially-baked pie shell, then sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
6. In a bowl mix together both cheeses and the mayonnaise, then spread over the tomatoes.
7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Harvest Hash


I just love generous neighbors! Since my garden was almost non-existent this year, it was completely delightful to receive a bag full of fresh produce from my neighbor's garden. I wanted to make something really yummy using it all, so I came up with this vegetable goulash type dish. It was incredibly delicious! I was so happy it turned out so yummy. Now... if next year, I can get my garden in on time and have it do well, I'll be making this quite a bit.
This is a really versatile dish. You could easily mix and match the vegetables to your liking. You could also play around with the spices. I'm sure I'll throw in whatever fits my mood next time.

1 pound lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 yellow crook neck squash, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon fresh or dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce
  1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the garlic. Drain fat.
  2. Return skillet to stove, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in green and red peppers, squash, zucchini, onion, tomatoes, paprika, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper; cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in beef and tomato sauce; simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Layered Reece's Peanut Butter Cake


My sisters came up for a visit and it just happened to be my older sister's birthday so I wanted to make her something special. She loves Reese's Peanut butter cups so I thought this cake would be perfect.
It looked fabulous, but unfortuneatly, it was just okay for us. It tasted like dipping a spoon in peanut butter and eating straight peanut butter. I didn't like it at all, but my sisters thought that it was okay. Very rich though. Anyway, since this is a record of my adventures, I thought I would post it even though it didn't turn out quite like I was expecting. If I were to make it again, I would greatly decrease the peanut butter in the cake, and leave it out all together in the filling. To me, a hint of peanut butter tastes much better than a smack in the face of it.


Reece's Peanut Butter Cup Cake

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
½ Cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

8 oz softened cream cheese
½ Cup powdered sugar
¼ Cup creamy peanut butter

2 packages Recees Peanut Butter Cups, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease two 9 x 1 1/2 inch pans. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2. Mix together brown sugar, peanut butter and butter for two minutes. Add egg and egg yolk and mix for another 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and mix for another minute.

3. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated about 20 seconds. Then add the sour cream, mixing again for 20 seconds. Gradually add the remaining flour mixture. Add the hot water in a slow, steady stream and mix on low to combine, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and mix for another 10 seconds. Add the peanut butter chips and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the ingredients until thoroughly combined.

4. Divide the cake batter into the prepared pans, spreading it evenly. Bake for about 15 minutes. If you have Use a toothpick to see if it is done. Let cool completely.

5. Place cream cheese, powdered sugar, and peanut butter into a medium bowl. Stir until smooth. Once cakes are cooled, spread cream cheese over bottom of one of the cakes. Top with 2nd cake.

Chocolate Ganache
1 Cup semisweet chocolate chips
¾ Cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Place chocolate chips into a medium mixing bowl. Place cream and butter into a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat cream/butter until just boiling. Remove and pour over chocolate chips. Let sit for 3-5 minutes then stir until smooth.

To Assemble: Place layered cake on a wire rack. Place rack on top of a cookie sheet so that the extra chocolate has a place to drip onto. Pour chocolate ganache over cake and using a narrow metal spatula, quickly pared it evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with chopped peanut butter cups in center of cake.

Courtesy of Picky Palate

My sister blowing out her candles (with a little help, of course)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Crispy Caramel Brownie Treats


Another one on my dessert list crossed off! This came from Picky Palate, of course. She's the master at ooey gooey treats. I did a few little things different but followed the basic recipe. I brought them to a neighborhood BBQ and they were gone fairly quickly. I thought they were quite delicious.

Crispy Caramel Brownie Treats

1 brownie mix of your choice 9x13 size
¾ Cup caramel ice cream topping (I did not have a jar of caramel topping, so I melted individual caramel squares with 1/3 cup of evaporated milk. I think this really made a difference.)

3 Cups Mini Marshmallows
2 Tablespoons butter
3 ½ Cups rice crispy cereal

1 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons coconut oil (you can also use heavy cream)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions. As soon as they are done baking, remove from oven and drizzle with caramel ice cream topping.

2. In a large microwave safe bowl, melt marshmallows and butter until puffed up. Stir in cereal until well combined. Quickly place over brownies and gently spread evenly over top. Place chocolate chips into a medium microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Stir in coconut oil or heavy cream until shiny and smooth. Pour and drizzle over top of brownies. Let cool then cut into squares.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

White chocolate Chip Chocolate Cookies


I'm a little bit obsessed with desserts... and anything sweet. (As if you didn't know that) I have been food blog surfing lately, and have a whole list full of sweet treats I want to try. Here is the first in the series. I found them on Picky Palate. Actually a whole lot of delectable desserts on my treat list were found there. She has an awesome collection. I can't wait to try some of them out.

First, these White chocolate Chip Chocolate Cookies. Perfect for dunking in milk!

1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder)
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsps. baking soda
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups white chocolate chips

1
. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheet.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with each addiction. Add the salt and vanilla.

3. In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa and baking soda and gradually add to the creamed mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until fluffy but still soft. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Chicken Divan


First of all, let me just say that this dish is divine. My hubby even said, "Most of your dinners are good, but this is out of this world." He couldn't stop eating it, and neither could I, and most importantly neither could my kids.
This is definitely a fail safe recipe that I will be making over and over again. And a big bonus: It's simple, quick, and I always have all the ingredients on hand.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups instant rice
2 (10 oz) packages frozen broccoli spears, thawed and chopped medium
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I put more cheese on of course)
36 Ritz crackers (1 sleeve), crushed to coarse crumbs (1 1/2 cups)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then cut into 2 inch chunks. Spread in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
Whisk the cream, broth, and mustard together in a large microwave safe bowl and microwave on high until boiling, about 8 minutes.
Stir the rice into the cream mixture, then pour over the chicken, Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Pat the broccoli dry, then stir with the cheddar into the baking dish. Sprinkle the Ritz crumbs over the top. Continue to bake until the edges are bubbling and the crumbs are browned, 5 to 10 minutes.
From America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Oatmeal Carmelita's (the wrong way)


I love carmel. And I'm always looking for carmel recipes. By the way, is it carmel or caramel? I got this recipe from Pilsbury. I was in a huge hurry while making them and just scanned the recipe before starting to put them together. It wasn't until I was over half way done that I figured out that I was not following the recipe. Oops! But I went ahead and continued and they turned out delicious. I'm wondering how the taste if they are made the right way though.
This is the recipe from Pilsbury... the steps in parentheses are what I ended up doing.

Oatmeal Carmelita's
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups margarine or butter, softened

Filling
1 (12.5-oz.) jar (1 cup) caramel ice cream topping (I only had a half jar so I used the half jar plus about 20 caramels melted with 1/4 cup evaporated milk.)
3 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
1 (6-oz.) pkg. (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I left out the nuts)


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9-inch pan. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine all crust ingredients; mix at low speed until crumbly. Reserve half of crumb mixture (about 3 cups) for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture in bottom of greased pan. Bake at 350°F. for 10 minutes. (Here was my first big mistake. I pressed all of the mixture into the pan and baked for 15 minutes.)

Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine caramel topping and 3 tablespoons flour; blend well.

Remove partially baked crust from oven; sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Drizzle evenly with caramel mixture; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. (I swirled the chocolate chips and caramel together, and obviously didn't have any reserve mixture since I pressed it all into the pan.)

Return to oven; bake an additional 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set. Cut into bars.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hazelnut Sour Cream Cake with Nutella filling and Hazelnut Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I love hazelnuts... I LOVE nutella, and I love anything that is flavored hazelnut. I've been thinking about doing some kind of cake or cupcake with these flavors for a long time, and I finally got out my apron and baking pans and came up with this recipe. (With a little help from my friend Suz). I am so excited about this. I'm more of a "trying out different recipes that I find online, then making up my own recipe" kind of girl, but this was really fun... And absolutely AMAZING! Mmmmm.... It's a must if you like the hazelnut and nutella taste.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease your pans.

Hazelnut Sour cream Cake
1 box Betty Crocker Yellow cake mix

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

2 Tbsp powdered Hazelnut coffee creamer

3/4 tsp. salt

3 eggs

1 cup water

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp. veg. oil

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

Whisk the dry ingredients.

Mix thel wet ingredients in a separate bowl and pour dry ingredients into wet. Beat on low for 2 minutes.
Pour into 2 nine inch round pans.
Bake at 325 until done. I have a convection oven so mine only took 20 minutes, but I imagine on a regular oven it would be double that so around 40 - 45 minutes.

Nutella Filling
While cakes are baking melt 1/2 cup of nutella with 1/4 cup of milk in a sauce pan on the stove. Stir continually until smooth.
Pour over first round cake after cake has been cooled. Top with second cake.


Hazelnut Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (I ONLY use Crisco)

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup powdered hazelnut coffee creamer

3/4 cup baking cocoa

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar

3 tbs milk or heavy cream

Cream butter and shortening. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Add cocoa and hazelnut creamer. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat on low. (I add milk as I'm adding sugar, little by little). Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

For the topping I used crushed up Heath bars and mini Heath bars for the top. I'm guessing crushed hazelnuts would go well too.
Enjoy with a big glass of milk.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pot 'O' Beans (for the cowgirl in you)


Growing up on a farm, we ate a lot of comfort cowboy food, and one of my favorites was my mom's big ole pot of beans with cornbread. My grandma also made a spectacular pot paired with her famous biscuits... Mmm.... just thinking about it takes me back to some good times.
So I decided to try my hand at a Pot O Beans. My kids liked the little pieces of bacon in it, and I sat at the table eating my beans in complete flashback mode. Love it when that happens.

Mom's Pot of Beans

1 bag of basic pinto beans
1 lb bacon
1/2 onion chopped
salt and pepper

Rinse the beans in a colander. Cover beans in water and soak beans in a bowl overnight. This releases a lot of the air bubbles.

Fill a big pot half-full with water and place it on the stove on medium heat. Add the beans. While the burner is warming up, add chunks of onion and the bacon. Add a couple tablespoons of salt. I've learned it's best to add a small amount of salt early, and then add the rest when you can taste the beans later.
Bring this to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for three hours or so, adding water every half-hour or when you think it needs it.
Add salt and pepper before serving.

For a great combination try Amy's sweet cornbread.