Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 Recipes of 2014

2014 is drawing to an end and I thought we should take a look back at some of the fan favorites.  Most of them are from this year but a few from last year snuck in. 

I hope you enjoy the look back with me. Click on the title to see the recipe or click on the "pin it" link to go right to Pinterest to re-pin for later!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party #127

Welcome to the Foodie Friends Friday
Linky Party!!

Meet Our Co-Hosts!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sweet Potato Casserole

Crispy topping and smooth and creamy custardy middle! We eat it as a side at holiday meals but you could serve it as a dessert. 

Sweet Potato Casserole                                                                             Printable Recipe

2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

5 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
7 Tablespoons flour
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Melting Snowman Hot Cocoa Toppers

My daughter is always asking for marshmallows for her hot cocoa and all I had were large ones. They don't melt nicely in hot cocoa unless it is super hot and we don't, for safety reason, heat ours that warm.  This uses whipped topping instead.  Even though it is frozen, the heat from the hot cocoa is just enough to melt it and if you did happen get your cocoa too hot it will help cool it.

Using the decorating design of some snowman cupcakes I made a few years ago I came up with these. I did skip the orange spice drop as noses  The thought of a gummy orange flavored candy floating (or maybe it wouldn't float) in my hot cocoa didn't sound great.  I used orange-colored whipped topping instead. 

Your kids can help you with the chocolate chips and if you need to you can use clean tweezers to place the mini chocolate chips.

Melting Snowman Hot Cocoa Toppers (makes approximately 10)

Small tub whipped topping, thawed
Regular size milk chocolate chips
Mini milk chocolate chips
Orange food coloring gel
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party #125

Welcome to the Foodie Friends Friday
Linky Party!!

Meet Our Co-Hosts!

Cindy's Recipes and Writings In the Kitchen with Jenny HTML Map

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

 I love the classic “turtle”combination of caramel, pecans and chocolate so I decided to put them into a cookie!  I used the original thumbprint base, changed up the nuts, added caramel and then a finishing drizzle of melted chocolate.  Your friends and family will think you are a gourmet but won't believe how easy they are to make.  Bite sized and super delicious!

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies (28-30 cookies)                                   Printable Recipe

2/3 cup butter
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg whites, beaten
pecans, finely chopped
24 caramels
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup milk chocolate chips (or semi-sweet or dark if you prefer)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Pecan Tassies

These little darlings are great to add to your holiday cookie plate.  The crust is light and flaky and there is just enough filling to fix your sweet tooth without going overboard.  They are freezable so you can make them ahead and not be in a time crunch closer to the holidays.  

Warning though, if you think that freezing them will keep you out of them, I can tell you from experience that they are pretty tasty, and edible right out of the freezer.  I didn't even break a tooth trying to eat one. 

Pecan Tassies          makes 24                       Printable Recipe (with doubled ingredients)

4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 sticks) butter, softened
1 cups all purpose flour

1 egg
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party #124

Welcome to the Foodie Friends Friday
Linky Party!!

Meet Our Co-Hosts!

Cindy's Recipes and Writings In the Kitchen with Jenny HTML Map

Sloppy Joes

No more sandwich from a can.  This mixture is juicy and packed with flavor.  I added a little bit of dry tomato powder and WOW!...even better!

Sloppy Joes                                                                                              Printable Recipe

2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 2/3 cups canned crushed tomatoes (or 1 pint home canned chopped tomatoes)
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon steak sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Candy Cane Biscotti

Biscotti means twice-baked.  The traditional recipe uses no form of yeast or fat  but I added a little butter to my dough. These crunchy little beauties are great dipped in your coffee or hot cocoa or wrap them up and give them as gifts for others to enjoy.  

Candy Cane Biscotti                                                                                   Printable Recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon mint (or peppermint) extract
2-1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/16 teaspoon salt
6 candy canes

1/3 cup milk chocolate
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
2/3 Tablespoon shortening, divided
1 candy cane crushed (optional)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tuscan Roma Chicken and Pasta

There is this pizza, called Tuscan Roma, that I LOVE from a local pizza chain . It's Roma tomatoes, spinach, alfredo sauce and of course cheese! I have my own recipe to make it a home.

This hearty pasta takes all of those flavors I love and puts it all together in this creamy pasta dish.  Italian comfort food, good for the tummy and good for the heart!

Tuscan Roma Chicken and Pasta

1-1/4 pound chicken breasts or tenders
olive oil
salt and pepper

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1-1/2 Tablespoons flour*
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1-1/2 cups whole milk or half and half if you prefer it richer
4 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
6 ounce bag (1-1/2 cups) shredded Parmesan (not the stuff in the shaker)
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped

4 ounces spaghetti noodles (or other favorite pasta, GF works well too)

Friday, November 28, 2014

2014 Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway

Welcome to the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway! 

Thanks to HOST Dixieland Reviews and CO-HOSTS Mom 'N Daughter Savings, Ottawa Mommy Club, Finger Click Saver, Susie Q-Pons and Giveaways and Michigan Saving and More for letting me tag along and to the various companies for sponsoring. 

There will be a total of 19 Winners! You could be one and it's so easy to enter!

 To see a list of winners at the end of this contest, just click here. This event is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada who are 18+. Void where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond. If no response is received, winner forfeits the prize and a new winner will be chosen. We are not responsible for late or misdirected email or email ending up in your spam folder. Please add to your safe list so the email will reach you if you win. 

This event will begin at 11:59 pm eastern standard time on November 28th, 2014 and end at 11:59 pm eastern standard time on December 8th, 2014. All entries from all tools will be combined and then ran through to ensure a fair draw. Chances of winning varies depending on number of entries received. Approximate retail value of all prizes is $4440. Participating Bloggers are not responsible for shipment of prizes. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Turkey Pesto Panini

Thanksgiving Turkey is delicious but no matter how moist it was when it was served it can quickly dry out in the days following. Transform your leftovers with a little help from Hellmann’s Mayonnaise.   Hellmann’s Mayonnaise is made with real, quality ingredients; like eggs, oil and vinegar and will make turkey moist and delicious. 

This loaded panini is one of the perfect ways to use up your leftover Thanksgiving turkey!  You can even use up the leftover rolls (if there are any) to make smaller slider size paninis.

I wanted to use fresh sliced tomatoes and my husband suggested marinara so I made it both ways.  We tried bites of each of them and while he preferred the marinara I liked both!

Turkey Pesto Panini (recipe makes 2 sandwiches)                         Printable Recipe

1 Tablespoon Hellmann’s Mayonnaise 
1 teaspoon pesto, purchased or homemade
4 slices of bread (or 2 larger rolls cut in half)
4-6 tomatoes slices or 2 Tablespoons marinara sauce
leftover turkey (slices or manageable pieces)
2 slices mozzarella (or your favorite sliced melting cheese)
olive oil (optional)

Mix together pesto and Hellmann's mayonnaise.
Spread the mixture on the top slices of each sandwiches, using half for each.
Add 1 tablespoon marinara sauce to the bottom slice of bread OR slices of tomatoes - whichever is your preference.
 Add your sliced leftover Thanksgiving turkey to the top slices.
 Add your mozzarella to the bottom slice.  I used my shredded goat mozzarella.
My large bread rolls did not need any olive oil.  If I had used sliced bread I would have used some to aid in browning.  Brush on olive on to top outside piece and place face down in grill pan that has been pre-heated on medium.  Brush other outside piece with olive oil.  

Grill until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted, about 2-3 minutes per side. I used my bacon press to compress the sandwich like a panini maker. Any pan will do and you can use your pancake turner to press down on your sandwich. The only thing that will be missing will be the grill marks and ridges.  Your sandwich will still taste yummy!

The top two sandwich pieces in this photo have marinara and the bottom two I used fresh tomatoes.
Visit to find more recipes to try! Don’t forget to add Hellmann’s Mayonnaise to your shopping list when you’re at the grocery store picking up items for your Thanksgiving meal– it’s the secret to great-tasting leftovers!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Modern Mom Insider for Hellmann’s. All opinions expressed are 100% mine.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Do-ahead Potatoes

Just as the name implies, it's a dish you can make ahead and bake another day.  The ingredient list is simple but the taste is phenomenal!  This recipe came from my great-grandma's hairdreser.  It was made it for many holiday meals.  I'm sure she used full on fat cream cheese and regular sour cream but I lightened it up a little but using the light versions of both.

Do-ahead Potatoes                                                                     Printable Recipe

8-10 medium size russet potatoes
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons grated onion
8 ounce package light cream cheese
1 cup light sour cream
About 2 Tablespoons butter

Peel and wash potatoes, chunk and boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until fork inserts easily into potato. Drain well.
Make mashed potatoes with your mixer out of the cooked potatoes, milk, salt and pepper. You may need more or less milk depending on how large your potatoes are.
Add cream cheese, sour cream, and onion.  Mix until blended.
Spread into 7x11"  or 8x8" baking dish.
Dot with butter slices and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.
The butter will melt and the top will start to be golden brown.  It may be even more brown that this photo. This one arrived late to the Thanksgiving meal and we hurried this one along with the help of a microwave and broiler at the end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Creamed Chicken and Biscuits

If you are looking for a belly-warming dish my creamed chicken and biscuits are simple to make.  Yes, even the biscuits. You can skip the biscuits and serve over noodles or mashed potatoes but nothing compares to the flaky fluffiness of these biscuits.

Creamed Chicken and Biscuits                                                   Printable Recipe

3 cups cubed cooked chicken (breasts and/or thighs)
3 cups chicken broth 
15 ounce can mix vegetables, drained  or 1-1/2 to 2 cups frozen vegetables
3 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste

Monday, November 17, 2014

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

My mom lightens this up by replacing some of the milk with chicken broth. I personally like more potatoes so I add even more to mine.  Top with all the extras you want and your bowl will be perfect!

Loaded Baked Potato Soup                                                Printable Recipe

2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
7 cups milk
4 large baking potatoes, cooked and cubed
1 pound bacon
8 ounces Velveeta
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Mexi-blend cheese
1 bunch green onions, sliced

Cut up bacon and cook.  I know this picture isn't necessary but it sure looks yummy!!  Drain.
I used to bake my potatoes, then peel and chop.  Now I use 4 cups of Yukon golds, chunked and cooked by boiling. Much less messy and you keep the nutrients of the skin. 
In a large pot melt the butter.
Stir in flour, heat and stir until smooth.  Cook for 1 minute.
Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until thickened. I find it easier to have the milk warmed to prevent burning the milk on the bottom while it tries to warm up the rest of the milk. *
This is with about half of the milk
Add potatoes and bacon.
 Add cheese and stir until melted. Stir in sour cream.

TO FREEZE.....Omit potatoes (they will become gritty when you unthaw) cool and put in bags. When ready to use reheat and add potatoes.

Edited to add that if I use YUKON GOLDS they do not turn gritty and they keep their shape even in the freezer!

*An alternative method is to add the milk to pan and warm.  Make a roux out of the butter and flour.  Add the roux to the milk and stir. It will thicken in just a few minutes.  You can see this method on my Cheeseburger Soup and Chicken, Corn and Potato Chowder.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Baked Chocolate Buttermilk Donuts with Chocolate Coffee Glaze

 Soft, moist, and just the right amount of coffee in the glaze.   You'll want to share with a friend (or two!) 

Baked Chocolate Buttermilk Donuts with Chocolate Coffee Glaze         Printable Recipe

1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1-1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

Monday, November 10, 2014

Spaghetti Meatballs (with Gluten Free Options)

On top of spaghetti, all covered in....I think you know the rest!! Piled high on pasta or stuffed in a sandwich, these meatballs are versatile! With just one mess you can make extra and freeze them for another time which is great when ground beef is on sale.

Spaghetti Meatballs (with Gluten Free Options)                         Printable Recipe

2 eggs
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 pound ground beef
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (sometimes I use 1/2 grated and 1/2 shredded)
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs *
1 jar favorite pasta sauce
cooked pasta *

In large bowl beat eggs, garlic, and parsley. Crumble the beef over the mixture and mix well. Sprinkle with cheese and bread crumbs; mix gently.

Shape into 1-1/2 inch balls using a medium size scoop. Makes 16 balls. *