Monday, December 31, 2018

Blackberry Lemon Muffins

Fresh blackberries that burst in a lemon muffin that are a perfect way to start off your day.  I added a cinnamon streusel on top....because you just have to.  OK, you don't but I just like it.

Blackberry Lemon Muffins

12 oz fresh blackberries, mixed with 1 tbsp. flour
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. and 1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 - 5 oz plain yogurt (I used Siggi's)
1 large egg
1/2 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
zest from 1 lemon
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp lemon extract


1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces

Blend together all the streusel ingredients until it's in small pea size.  Set aside until you are ready to put the muffins in the oven.
In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.  Add in the yogurt, egg, lemon juice, extract and buttermilk.  Stir until well blended.  Gently fold in the blackberries.  I used large muffin cups, fill 2/3 full and sprinkle streusel on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin tins.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Instant Pot Split Pea & Ham Soup

Today we had a blizzard.  I left work at noon and came home with the intention to make soup and work on making greeting cards.  The soup is done.  The cards might get worked on this evening.  Growing up my favorite soup was Campbell's Split Pea and Ham soup but they have changed the recipe so much over the years that it was my turn to take over making it.  And here it is ~

Instant Pot Split Pea & Ham Soup

5 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup onions, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. celery flakes
1 1/2 cups carrots, small slices
1# green split peas, rinsed and sorted
1 tsp Liquid Smoke
2 cups ham, diced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Bay Leaves

Saute the olive oil, onions and garlic together until translucent.  Add in the stock and remaining ingredients.  Set to soup mode and cook for 20 minutes.  Allow the soup to naturally release.  This is a thick soup.  You can add an additional 1 cup of stock to make a thinner soup.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Peppermint Crunch Cookies

I had bought a package of Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips and decided to make a chocolate cookie.  I used my dutch oven to melt, mix and cool in - one 1 pan, a cookie scoop and baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Easy clean up!

Peppermint Crunch Cookies

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 tbsp. water
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups flour
1 - 10 oz package Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips

In your dutch oven, or a large saucepan, melt the butter, sugar and water over medium heat.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips.  Stir until completely melted.  Let cool for 10 minutes and then stir in the remaining ingredients, leaving the chips until the last.  Chill the dough for 1 hour.  Using a regular size cookie scoop, place the balls on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce

This sauce is so easy to make and it tastes like you were simmering this it all day on the stove top.  

Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce

1# extra lean ground beef
2 tbsp extra light olive oil
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 cup beef broth
1 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic & oregano
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

Turn your instant pot to the simmer function and heat the olive oil.  Add in the ground beef, season and brown.  Stir often.  Add in onions and cook until they are translucent.  Turn off the instant pot and add in the remaining ingredients.  Turn to manual cook to 10 minutes on high pressure.  I let the machine sit for an additional 20 minutes as I was getting the pasta ready.   Release the pressure and open the lid.  Remove the bay leaf and season to taste.  

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Beef Barley Soup

It's definitely soup season now.  The temperatures have been dropping down towards 0 degrees at night and flu is starting to make the rounds.  I've been using my Instant Pot every weekend and I made this soup in under an hour yesterday.  It's so good.  Today I'm going to freeze some so I can have easy weeknight meals in the coming weeks.  

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

1# Beef stew meat
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 cups water
1 - 16 oz can stewed tomatoes, crush before adding
2 cups carrots, I used frozen
2 tbsp celery flakes
1/2 cup pearled barley
1 tbsp beef Better Than Boullion
1 tbsp parsley
Salt & pepper to taste (also season the beef while cooking)

Heat the olive oil on the saute mode.  Brown the seasoned beef (in batches).  As the final batch is browning, add in the onions and garlic to cook.  Cancel the saute.  Add in the rest of the ingredients.  Hit the meat/stew button and you are set.  I used this button over the soup/broth so the meat was extra tender.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Winter Squash & Apple Soup

There's nothing more comforting on a cold and rainy day than a hot bowl of soup.  I took my winter squash soup and added a few things ~ like an apple and some chili powder.

Winter Squash & Apple Soup

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken stock

1 1 /2 cups squash, cooked
1 apple, peeled & diced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup cream

Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large sauce pan or dutch oven.  When heated, add in the onions and cook until they are translucent.  Add in the minced garlic and cook for another minute.  Add in the chicken stock, squash and apple.  Cook over medium heat until the apples are tender.  Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.  Heat soup until it comes to a simmer stage.  Add in cream.  

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Instant Pot Chicken Wild Rice Soup

It doesn't matter that it's supposed to be 92 degrees today, the rest of the week calls for much, much cooler temperatures and rain.  I made this soup for then.  Plus as an easy weeknight dinner.  Just heat and eat.  This is my favorite soup and 15 minutes of cook time and 10 minutes for the release.  It's the quickest way to cook wild rice.  I keep celery flakes on hand instead of buying celery and wasting most of it.

Instant Pot Chicken Wild Rice Soup

2 boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp butter
2 carrots, sliced
2 tbsp celery flakes
1/2 cup onion, minced
1 Bay Leaf
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp thyme
32 oz low sodium chicken stock
1 cup wild rice/brown rice mixed
3/4 cup cream
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Saute the carrots and onions for a few minutes with the butter in the instant pot.  Add in the garlic and celery flakes and cook for just one minute.  Add in the chicken, stock, cream, rice thyme, salt & pepper.  Seal the pot and cook for 15 minutes.  Let the steam release naturally.  While waiting, mix together 1/4 cup flour and 3/4 cup cream.  When the pressure pin drops, open the instant pot and take out the chicken breasts to shred.  Return to the instant pot and then stir in the flour/cream mixture.   Allow it to sit for a couple minutes to thicken.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Crock Pot Apple Crisp

Fall is in the air and it's apple season.  I decided to make apple crisp in my crock pot so I could enjoy the aroma of apples and cinnamon for 4 hours verses 30 minutes in the oven.  

Crock Pot Apple Crisp 

5 apples, I had Gala on hand
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Mix together and spread out evenly on the bottom of the crock pot.


1 cup regular oats
3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces.

Mix the topping together with your fingers until the butter and mixture forms small clumps.  Spread out evenly over the apples.  Cook on medium for 4 hours until the apples soften.  Serve warm or cold.  I topped mine with ice cream and caramel sauce.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Instant Pot Apple Butter Pork Chops

I've fallen in love with my Instant Pot.  I bought it last year during Black Friday sales and tried to unpack it one time and the directions were overwhelming.  After listening to co-workers rave about their Instant Pots, I hit up YouTube and found it's much easier to watch a video for a couple minutes than to try to decipher the factory instructions.  These are the 4th meal I've made using the Instant Pot.  Super easy and it took less than a half hour for fork tender pork chops.  I happened to have 2 jars of apple butter and will be using my Instant Pot to make more this Fall.

Instant Pot Apple Butter Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup Dr Pepper
1 cup apple butter

Heat the olive oil and brown the seasoned pork chops on the saute setting.  Add in the Dr Pepper and brush the tops of the pork chops with the apple butter.  Close the Instant Pot and using the manual setting cook for 20 minutes.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes after it has finished.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Cherry Coke Meatballs

It was the typical dilemma ~ I have a pound of ground beef and what am I going to make with it.  It ended up being a toss up making ground beef stroganoff, Swedish meatballs or trying something new meatballs in a Cherry Coke sauce.  Since I had the Coke in my refrigerator for a couple months, I decided to go with that.

Meatballs -

1# ground beef
1/2# ground pork

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Roll into balls (or use a scoop) and bake on a non-stick aluminum foil lined pan for 25 minutes at 350°.  

In a dutch oven or crock pot, combine the following -

1 1/2 cups of Cherry Coke
1 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Add meatballs and cook over medium heat until the sauce cooks down.  Serve over rice.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Dark Chocolate Buttermilk Brownies

Cakelike brownies made with buttermilk in the brownie batter and the icing.  I only had the option of a half gallon of buttermilk at the grocery store so there will be lots of recipes made with it this week.  So far I've made these and buttermilk baked chicken.  I made the brownies in a large saucepan - there's no need to dirty up extra dishes if not needed.

Dark Chocolate Buttermilk Brownies

Place in a large saucepan and heat until the butter has melted

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water

Stir in ~

1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Stir until smooth.  Pour into an 8 x 8 greased pan (I used non-stick aluminum foil and lined it).  Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.  Allow to cool before icing.

Icing ~

2 tbsp. melted butter
3 tbsp. buttermilk
2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Ice the brownies and cut into serving sizes.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Breakfast Sausage Muffins

These muffins are packed with breakfast sausage and cheese...what a great way to start the day especially if you are on the go.  

Breakfast Sausage Muffins

1 - 9.6 oz package Jimmy Dean Sausage Crumbles, heated and drained
2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter melted
1 cup milk
1 large egg slightly beaten
3/4 cup cheddar cheese shredded

Heat sausage crumbles in a large frying pan and place on a paper towel to drain off any excess fat.  Mix together dry ingredients.  Gradually add in milk, butter and egg.  Add in cooled sausage and cheese.  Grease a standard muffin pan and fill each cup 2/3 full.  
 Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown at 350°.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from cups.

Makes 12 regular size muffins.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Strawberry Ricotta Crepes

I was watching the Great British Baking show this afternoon and decided my original dinner plans seemed to be rather plain and I needed to do something a little bit I had all the ingredients in my refrigerator to make these crepes.

Crepes ~  make ahead and let sit for at least a half hour.  Perfect for getting the rest of your ingredients together

1 cup flour
1 cup milk - I used 2%
2/3 cup Perrier
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 dash salt

Whisk all the ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit until you are ready to cook.  Heat a 10" non-stick frying pan.  I sprayed a coating of cooking spray as it was heating.  Add in 1/4 cup of crepe mixture and tilt the pan until the batter is evenly spread.  Cook of medium heat until the edges start to turn brown.  Use a spatula to gently flip the crepe over.  Cook for another minute or two until the 2nd side is done.  Place on a plate.  Insert a piece of wax paper between all the crepes so they do not stick.

Ricotta stuffing ~

15 oz ricotta
2 tbsp. honey
1 dash of cinnamon

Mix together in a small bowl and use to fill the crepes.  

Assemble crepes by spreading some ricotta mix down the center and rolling up burrito style.  Top with macerated strawberries and whipped cream (optional).

Makes 8-9 crepes

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Malted Milk Ball Cookies

We had a chilly start here this morning.  The air conditioning was going full blast earlier in the week so I refused to back track and turn on the furnace.  Baking is the best solution to the problem so I decided to make cookies using some Malted Milk Balls I've had waiting around for a month or so.  The hardest part of making these was getting the butter to soften in a chilly house.  The fun part was placing Malted Milk Balls into a Ziploc bag and hitting them with a hammer.

Malted Milk Ball Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 3/4 cups flour

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add in the eggs and vanilla.  Gradually add in the dry ingredients and then the oatmeal.  Fold in 1 1/2 cups crushed Malted Milk Balls.  Scoop out onto parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 9 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Blueberry Lemon Cookies

It's finally Spring here, bordering on summer since we went from 40 degrees to 80.  I thought it was a good weekend to bake some cookies and happened to have a lemon and some fresh blueberries in the refrigerator.

Blueberry Lemon Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp lemon extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup quick oatmeal
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Cream together butter, brown sugar, milk and sour cream.  Gradually add in dry ingredients.  You can use a mixer until you add the blueberries.  Gently fold in the blueberries.  Using a medium scoop, place cookie dough on parchment lined cookie sheets.  Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and let sit for 2 minutes before placing on a cooling rack.  

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Strawberry Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

It's strawberry season, at least somewhere since they are plentiful and on sale in the grocery stores.  It's still awhile until it hits here since we just got rid of the snow a week ago.  My neighbor has been out of the country for the past couple of month and is flying home today so I made these treats to welcome her back.

Strawberry Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar

1 lemon - use all the zest in the dough
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 cup fresh strawberries, diced


1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Mix all the dry ingredients together.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the dough turns into course crumbs.  In a small bowl, mix together sour cream and the egg.  Add into the dry ingredients and stir until it's completely combined. Turn out on to a floured surface.  Pat into a circle that is approximately 1/2 - 3/4" thick.  Cut into 8 slices and put onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Make sure they are spread out since the scores will spread slightly.  Brush 2 tbsp whipping cream on top of the scones.  Bake for 15 minutes at 400°.  Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then spoon glaze over the scones.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Creamy Raisin Rice Pudding

I was craving rice pudding last weekend and decided to try making a smaller (and easier) way to make it.  I buy Uncle Ben's boil in the bag rice.  It's the easiest way I've found to make rice and it turns out perfectly every time.  And I ended up only using one win.

Creamy Raisin Rice Pudding

1 bag Uncle Ben's boil in the bag rice
1 cup Half and Half
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins, I used golden

Cook your boil in the bag rice in a large saucepan.  Empty into the sink and put the saucepan back on the stove with the Half and Half and 1/2 cup milk.  Stir in the sugars, rice (remove from the bag).  Cook over low heat until it thickens.  In another bowl whisk together egg yolks and the remaining 1/2 cup milk.  Add a little of the hot mixture into the yolk mixture gradually, stirring constantly to temper the egg yolks.  Pour all of the yolk mixture into the saucepan.  Add in the raisins and cinnamon and cook until thickened.  Serve warm or cold.  Refrigerate any leftovers. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Garlic Cheese Spread

This is a delicious and easy to make recipe for a garlic bread spread that will go great with your favorite Italian meals or as a side for your grilling favorites this summer.

Garlic Cheese Spread

1/4 cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley

Mix all the ingredients together and spread over French bread.  Refrigerate.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Chipotle Barbeque Sauce

This is a super easy to make barbeque sauce but it packs so much flavor. 
I put it on top of chicken in the crockpot but it can be used indoors or out.



Chipotle Barbeque Sauce

½ cup applesauce

½ cup barbeque sauce

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp  chipotle powder

Stir all the ingredients together and baste
over chicken, beef, pork...whatever
you choose.