Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Tree Punch

4 bags constant comment tea
4 cups boiling water
1/2 cup of simple syrup (use fresh ginger in your syrup if you have some)
3/4 cup of white cranberry juice
1/2 cup of fresh lime juice
1 1/2 cups of white rum
2 bottles of sparkling wine or champagne (chilled)
1 cup of frozen cranberries
1 bunch of rosemary
1 cup of thinly sliced limes

Freeze 1 cup of fresh cranberries.  Brew tea by steeping tea in 4 cups of
boiling water for 10 minutes.  Place in refrigerator to cool.

In small punch bowl or glass pitcher, combine simple syrup, white cranberry
juice, fresh squeezed lime juice and rum.  Add the chilled iced tea and

Right before serving, add the chilled sparkling wine, frozen cranberries and
rosemary sprigs to the bowl.  Add ice if needed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Chicken Marinara

  • 8 whole Chicken Thighs, Bone-in, Skin-on
  •  Salt And Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 jars (24 Ounces Each) Marinara Sauce
  •  Fresh Basil - To Taste
  •  Parmesan Cheese, For Sprinkling
  • 16 ounces, weight Penne Or Rigatoni
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

Sprinkle chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown chicken thighs quickly on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a separate plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon grease/oil. Add onions and garlic to pan and stir around to cook, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in marinara sauce and stir to heat. Add chicken thighs back into the sauce. Cover and place pan in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. (You may also simmer on the stovetop on the lowest heat possible.)

Cook the pasta according to package instructions Serve 1 chicken thigh with sauce over pasta, adding more marinara if needed. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve. (For smaller children, you can cut the meat off the bone for them. Chicken is very tender!)
Photo credit: Sandy
Pioneer Woman:recipe

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sandy's Cornbread

1 c. white, plain cornmeal
1 c. yellow, plain cornmeal
1/2 c. AP flour
2 t. Baking powder
1 T. sugar
3/4 t. salt

Mix together and add:
1 egg
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
3 T. melted butter
3 T. shortening
1/8 c. oil
Mix well.

Heat 1/8 c. oil in a black cast-iron skillet until smokin' hot.
Pour mixture into hot oil.
Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes until it cracks.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My Favorite Brownies

  • 2 (20 oz each) boxes brownie mix -- I use Family Size Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge
  • 12 Tablespoons butter, melted 
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Frosting:
  • 8 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a 9 x 13 metal baking pan with foil -- lightly spray the bottom with baking spray.
  2. Put the brownie mix, butter, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Batter will be very thick. Spread in prepared pan evenly and bake for about 45 minutes, until center is set, but still a bit soft.
  3. Let brownies cool for about 20 minutes. Prepare frosting: In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt your butter. Once the butter is melted, add the cocoa powder and milk, stirring until the mixture becomes thick and is JUST starting to boil. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar. Pour over brownies, spreading quickly before it sets.
  4. Let brownies cool to room temperature. Refrigerate them (for easier cutting) and once chilled, remove foil from pan, peel off of brownies, and cut into squares.
From The Cake Mix Doctor Returns 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Congo Bars

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups semi-sweet baking melts or chunks (or chocolate chips)
  • ½ cup milk chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. Line a 9 x 13 pan with aluminum foil and coat liberally with nonstick spray.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and both sugars for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, vanilla, salt and baking powder and mix for an additional minute on medium, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour, mixing until just combined.
  5. Finally add in the baking melts or chunks and the milk chocolate chips.
  6. Spread the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are set and lightly golden and the center appears slightly under baked.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely before cutting.
  8. Alternately you can chill the bars before cutting.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

Yield: 8 servings Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes


1 cup + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil (I used butter)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups very hot water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium sized bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and spices. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl, stir pumpkin, milk, melted butter and vanilla together to combine. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix to create a thick batter. Pour into a small 8-inch casserole dish with high sides.
In a separate bowl, stir sugar, brown sugar and pecans together. Spread over the top of the batter evenly. Pour hot water over the entire thing {WITHOUT STIRRING A THING!} and bake for 40 minutes or once the middle is set. {Be sure to place on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over.} Cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with more pecans and vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Nutty Molasses Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed/flax seed meal
1 cup regular oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup buttermilk
1 whole Egg
2 mashed bananas
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup molasses (not black strap)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 12-count muffin pan with Pam.  Spray a 6-count muffin pan with Pam.

In a large bowl, combine flours, flax seed meal, oats, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, walnuts, and raisins.  Stir together until combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk, egg, bananas, oil and molasses.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until it just barely comes together.

Scoop 1/4 cup helpings into the muffin cups and bake for 18 minutes, or until deep golden brown.

Serve with honey butter for extra goodness.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

English Baked Beans & Toast

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 lb hickory smoked bacon, fried until crispy
5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
2 large sprigs fresh oregano (keep whole)
1 large sprig rosemary (keep whole)
2 (14 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes (I use fire-roasted)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
2 Tablespoons Heinz 57 (or THIS HOMEMADE STEAK SAUCE)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I used Trader Joe’s with white wine)
2 (14 oz.) cans Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained well
1 loaf crusty bread, sliced, buttered and toasted in skillet (like you would grilled cheese)
Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed Dutch oven. Add the onion, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, over medium heat, until translucent and tender. Add garlic. Cook for 1 additional minute. Add most of the fried bacon (save a bit for garnish,) thyme leaves, oregano sprigs and rosemary sprig, tomatoes, brown sugar, jalapeno, steak sauce, Worcestershire, and Dijon. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Stir in the Cannellini beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Liberally butter thick, crusty, rustic bread slices. Toast them in a skillet as you would grilled cheese sandwiches. Place one or two slices on each plate, top with a generous amount of beans. Serve with or without tea and eggs. Garnish with a little more crumbled bacon and finely chopped, fresh parsley if you wish.  We like ours with a soft-yolked, fried egg broken over the top.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Brownie Pie

recipe homemade brownies (see recipe below)
1 packaged pie crust (homemade graham cracker is best)
2 cups whipped cream
Chocolate Sauce for drizzling
Prepare brownie batter.  Pour batter into pre-made pie filling and bake for 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees, or until center is firm and an inserted toothpick is removed mostly clean.
Allow to cool completely.  Top with whipped cream, ice cream, or whipped topping then drizzle with chocolate sauce.

Homemade Brownies

    Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Wet Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter melted, then cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Sift together all dry ingredients. Place into a jar or airtight container.
  2. On a gift tag or label write the wet ingredients and quantities and then directions. "Melt butter and set aside to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, beat two eggs with the vanilla. Add in and gently stir dry ingredients. Pour the melted butter into brownie mixture and mix until just incorporated. Spread batter in a prepared 8-inch square pan and bake for 20-22 minutes at 350 degrees."

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Iron Skillet S'mores

  1. 12 (1-ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate, chopped or 12 oz. semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
  2. 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  3. Graham crackers
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, add chocolate in an even layer. Sprinkle marshmallows over chocolate.
  3.  Bake at 450° until marshmallows are browned and chocolate is melted, 4 to 5 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving

Serve with graham crackers for dipping.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Darn Good Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting

  • vegetable oil spray -- for misting pan
  • flour -- for dusting pan
  • 1 package cake mix -- devil’s food or dark chocolate fudge
  • 1 package chocolate instant pudding and pie filling -- 3.9 ounces
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 350. Lightly spray a 12-cup bundt pan, then dust with flour.
Place cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, warm water, and oil in a large mixing bowl. Blend with and electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down sides. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 to 3 minutes more, scraping sides if needed. The batter should look thick and well combined. Fold in chocolate chips, making sure they are well distributed. Pour batter in pan.
Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly pressed with your finger and just starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Invert onto rack and cool 20 minutes more.

Prepare Frosting.
Martha's Chocolate Icing
1 cup granulated sugar
5 Tbs. butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 


Place sugar, butter and milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until it comes to a boil--about three to four minutes. Still stirring, let mixture boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Stir in semisweet chocolate chips and stir smooth. Spread icing over a cooled cake or cupcakes, or pour over a Bundt cake. 

from Cake Mix Doctor--Chocolate

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Loaded Reese's Brownies


For the brownies:
1 batch brownies, baked and cooled - use your favorite recipe or box mix
For the peanut butter filling: 
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
For the chocolate frosting: 
1 cup white sugar 
6 tbsp butter 
6 tbsp milk 
1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi-sweet) 
For topping:  
8 ounces Reese's Minis 


1. Use your favorite brownie recipe or box mix to bake a batch of brownies in a 9x13 baking dish. Let cool completely before proceeding. 
2. To prepare the peanut butter filling, beat together the butter and peanut butter until well combined in the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment. On low speed, beat in the powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream until mixture is thick and fluffy and well combined.  Thin with more heavy cream if desired to reach the consistency you prefer.
3. Spread the peanut butter mixture over the brownies. 
4. To make the chocolate frosting, add sugar, butter, and milk to a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for exactly 60 seconds and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips and continue stirring until the chocolate has melted. 
5. Immediately pour the chocolate frosting over the peanut butter layer and gently spread with an offset spatula. 
. Let the chocolate frosting cool for 5 minutes before sprinkling with chopped Reese's candies. 
7. Let sit for 30 minutes before cutting and serving. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Red Potato Salad


3 pounds red bliss or other bite size potatoes
1 teaspoon mesquite liquid smoke
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 jar of roasted red peppers
16 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon of hot Hungarian paprika
1 cup gently chopped fresh parsley
8 scallions, chopped


In a large pot, add the potatoes, liquid smoke, garlic, a nice pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper and water to just cover. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender all the way through, about 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and rest the colander over the top of the empty pot to allow the heat to dry the potatoes. Once cool enough to handle but still warm, cut the larger potatoes in quarters and the others in half to make all the same general bite size. Some may not need to be cut at all. Add to a large mixing bowl.

In a large pan on medium heat, add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp, about 8 minutes. (Or cook bacon in the oven or microwave but keep the fat.) Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the vinegar, sugar, mustard, paprika, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper to the still-hot pan. Cook at a rolling simmer until the sugar and salt dissolve, about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and toss until they soak up the vinegar mixture.

Transfer the potatoes back to the large bowl. Add the red peppers, bacon, parsley and scallions and toss. Pour into a serving bowl and serve warm or cold.

Deep Dish Boston Cream Pie Poke Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 boxes instant vanilla pudding according to box directions.
  • 8 ounces chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Beat eggs and sugar until combined.
  2. Add flour, milk. oil,baking powder and vanilla.
  3. Mix just until combined.
  4. Pour into 9x13 pan that is greased!
  5. Bake at 350 for 40-50 mins until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Once out of the oven, use a wooden spoon handle to poke holes throughout the cake.
  7. Prepare pudding according to box directions and pour over the cake.
  8. Let cool.
  9. For ganache, heat heavy cream just to a boil.
  10. Pour over the chips and let sit 2 mins.
  11. Whisk smooth.
  12. Pour through sieve to strain.
  13. Let cool a few mins and pour over pudding layer.
  14. Chill until cold and then cut!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Oreo Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. red food coloring 
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Oreo Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
12 Oreo's, coarsely crushed

Additional Oreo cookies, for garnish (if desired)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 regular-size muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry cupcake ingredients. Stir with a whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the wet cupcake ingredients with an electric mixer. Stop the mixer and add half of the dry ingredients into the wet. Mix to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake papers, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until cupcakes test done when a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To prepare the frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the Oreo's and mix well. The frosting should be light and fluffy. 

Top the cupcakes with the frosting. If desired, cut additional Oreo cookies in half and garnish cupcakes.

**Note: I found this to be enough frosting for my family and our tastes .... if you like a lot of frosting, you may want to double the frosting