New Baby

Just to let my valuable fans and followers know...

I haven't disappeared. I had my baby 3 weeks early and have been quite busy with him. I promise to resume posting yummy recipes after the new year!

Hope you all had a great Christmas!!

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Simply Beef Stew

I got this recipe from my neighbor. She brought this stew over after I had my baby. It was so simple and delicious. We'll be making it again because my kids loved it! The other great thing was the veggies were in beautiful, big chunks but they were so tender and not crunchy or mushy like in most stews. The key is cooking them separately. Hope you enjoy this simple, yet full of flavor, stew.

from Jean

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, cut up
2 cups cubed potatoes
2 cups carrots, cut in thick circles
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp thyme or oregano (we used thyme)
pepper to taste
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 can tomato soup
Reserved veggie water

Cook hamburger with salt, pepper, and thyme. (Keep hamburger kind of chunky.)
In separate pots, cook potatoes and carrots until almost done. (Cook the onions with the potatoes.)Reserve water from potatoes and carrots.
Add veggies, Worcestershire, tomato soup, and veggie water to hamburger. (You might not need all the veggie water. Add to desired broth consistency.) Simmer for 30 minutes until veggies are fully tender (but not mushy).Serve with breadsticks or saltines.

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Yummy Homemade Alfredo Sauce

This is some VERY impressive homemade sauce! If you ever are looking for the taste of Olive Garden's Fettuccine Alfredo then this sauce qualifies!!! It is SO much better than the store bought kind and is the best of other recipes I have tried to make. It is pretty simple too. I added spinach and chicken to mine and also used this recipe to make Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Roll Ups)

4T Butter
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
2T flour
2 C Cream
1/2 C. milk
1C Fresh grated Parmesan
In a medium sauce pan heat butter and garlic and add flour once butter is melted and aroma of garlic is building. Add the Cream and milk and stir then add the Parmesan and bring to a boil and continue to stir frequently over a medium low heat as it boils and thickens. (I added a dash of pepper to it as well)
Serve with your favorite pasta. Add chicken or steamed broccoli (or spinach) if desired for a variation.

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Pumpkin Pie

This is a repost of an older post with a picture. This really is the best pie.....
from Grandma & back of Libby's label
with my slight changes

2 unbaked 9-inch pie crust
(I use my own pie crust recipe)

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups (29 oz can) Libby's Solid Pumpkin
3 cups (two 12 fluid ounce cans) Carnation Evaporated Milk

Mix sugars, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Add milk, eggs, and pumpkin. Whisk all together until mixed well. Using ladel or measuring cup, fill unbaked pie shells. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. My oven cooks hot, so sometimes I reduce heat to 400. After 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 350 and bake for 20-30 minutes more.
Note: This is a great recipe. I tweaked it a bit. The original label calls for 1 1/2 cups sugar, but using half brown sugar makes a better pie. It holds together better and has better flavor. It also originally called for 1/2 tsp cloves, but I don't like that flavor, so I omitted it. This is one of the best pumpkin pie recipes I have found and it never dissappoints on Thanksgiving -or any other time of year that we're craving pumpkin pie. The crust is a great recipe, too. Look for it under the pie or crust.

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Mini Breakfast Pizzas or Muffin Cups

This recipe is adapted between two separate recipes I found. One recipe is from another great recipe blog, Taste the Joy, who got it from a Pillsbury cookbook. The other recipe is what I adapted our mini deep dish pizzas from. It is found here. These breakfast pizzas are fun, easy, and your kids can help. It's also a great little breakfast to make up quick and take around to the neighbors or to make when you have company. They'll love you for it!

You will need:
1 tube Flaky Layers biscuits (flaky layers biscuits just work best)
Scrambled eggs, cooked and flavored to you liking
Sausage (ground or links), chopped ham, or bacon
Shredded cheese
Muffin Pan

Cook eggs. We like scrambled. It's fun to add different things to it (peppers, onions, etc). But my kids are more plain-old-scrambled-eggs-with-salt-&-pepper kind of kids, so we kept it simple. Even though we put shredded cheese on top, I still like to add a bit of cheese to my eggs 'cuz I like me some CHEESE!!!

Cook desired meat. I prefer to use the sausage links and then cut them up. But we've used ground sausage and it works fine as well. Chopped ham (in small chunks) is wonderful in these little cups and as well as chopped bacon slices. If I'm feeling really energetic, I do a couple of each kind so people have a variety to choose from.

Grease muffin pan. Then carefully cut each biscuit in half.
Spread each biscuit half into the bottom and up the sides so there is a little well in the middle.Bake at 350 for about 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and press the dough back up the sides and the bottom since they will puff up a tiny bit. (I didn't pre-cook them when I made them the first time (as you can see from the picture) but it is definitely something that makes a difference.)
Carefully spoon eggs, meat, and sprinkle with shredded cheese.Repeat until you've got as many "cups" as you'd like. As seen in the picture, I used 3 biscuits and made 6 pizzas. Then I use the remaining biscuits the same day for mini pizzas for a snack or quick lunch or dinner.

Bake at 350 for another 8-10 minutes or until edges of biscuit are lightly golden and cheese is melted. Carefully remove from muffin pan and cool for a couple of minutes on a rack.Serve with desired side dish... hashbrowns and orange juice are our favorites.

These store great in the fridge -if there are any left- and are so easy to reheat. My kids loved making these and we'll have to make them again.

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Nutter Butter Reindeer

I was going to post this on Monday, but I couldn't wait. They're too much fun!

These turned out absolutely adorable. We made them for a cub scout activity along with the Candy Corn Turkey Treats. No two reindeer or turkeys turned out the same. Each had their own little personality. I think the reindeer would be fun to take to neighbors (with kids) for Christmas treats or just make for fun as a family night activity.

Nutter Butter cookies (head)
small pretzels (antlers)
red m&m's (nose)
mini chocolate chips (eyes)
Chocolate frosting

Carefully eat the bottom part of the pretzel. Or if you'd rather use the whole pretzel, go ahead and leave it whole. If you're really careful, you can use the little round piece as a mouth under the red nose! Spread just enough frosting on top of Nutter Butter to hold the pretzel antlers in place. Use a small amount of frosting to place the chocolate chip eyes and the m&m nose in place.

These were super simple to make. Even my 6 year old and 4 year old could do it. The boys in my scout group got pretty creative with theirs, biting the pretzels into funny pieces for the antlers and putting the spare pretzel parts in crazy places. No matter the age, they all enjoyed making them as well as eating them!

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Candy Corn Turkey Treats

I'll be the first to admit this isn't the cutest picture. I just couldn't get a cute one. But these little turkeys are great fun! We made these for a cub scout activity and the boys really enjoyed it. We made them along with Nutter Butter Reindeer. I'll be posting it soon.

Ritz crackers (body)
Hershey kisses (head & neck)
Chocolate frosting
Candy Corn (feathers, gobbler, & beak)

Make your frosting (or buy it). Spread a layer of chocolate over Ritz cracker. Press 5 candy corns into the top, making sure the fat part is at the top (like a feather). I prefer the darker candy corns (with the brown and orange), but the store I went to didn't have them. I think it would be fun to actually alternate the two kinds of candy corn, too. Press one Hershey kiss into the bottom part of the turkey for the body and then, with a tiny bit of frosting on the bottom, stick one more candy corn on top of the Hershey kiss to make the gobbler and beak.

Feast on a sweet treat!!!

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Freezer Butterhorn Rolls

from Melanie S.
I went to a community function and these rolls were there. I'm a huge roll fan. And although they are my nemisis (I've never conquered making good rolls or bread), I wanted the recipe. Thankfully this recipe does not require a mixer. Right up my alley. They were very simple and the taste is great. I also loved the fact that they could be frozen for another day.
2 pkgs yeast (or 2 Tbsp SAF yeast)
1/3 cup warm water

Let yeast dissolve in water.
2 cups warm milk
1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
6 eggs
2 tsp salt
9 cups flour (you may not need all of it so add it slowly)

Add everything except flour to yeast mixture.Mixing by hand, add flour to form a soft, sticky dough. Take out of bowl. Spray bowl with non-stick spray and put dough back in.Let rise until double in size.Once risen, punch dough down and cut in half. Cut each half into 3 sections. (So, eventually you'll have 6 sections total.) On a lightly floured surface, roll into each a 9 inch circle, brush with melted butter and cut into wedges with a pizza cutter. Roll up into crescent shapes and place on cookie sheet.

These rolls can be frozen. If you are going to freeze them, place them on the cookie sheet and put them in the freezer.Once frozen, put them in a freezer bag until you're ready to use them.When you're ready to use them, take them out of the bag and place them on the cookie sheet. Allow them to thaw for 2-4 hours and double in size. Cook as directed below.

If you're going to bake the rolls right away, let rise about 1 hour or until double in size. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Brush with melted butter.
Eat and enjoy!

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Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Roll Ups

MMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!! This was Olive Garden worthy!!! (in my opinion!!)
I sort of mixed things up on a Lasagna Roll Up recipe... I had the Idea from the Chicken Lasagna... but it really is nothing like it! Try it and you will see!! I found the recipe for the Alfredo sauce here on and the way to cook the chicken also... from there it just became what it is.

The Chicken:
2 large *thaw* chicken breasts sliced (fajita style)
2 *fresh* cloves garlic, minced
1 T Olive Oil
1 1/2 C. FRESH Spinach leaves
Heat oil in pan with garlic until the aroma builds... Do not burn or over brown. Cook until chicken is fully cooked then add the Spinach and stir until the leaves are wilted into it.

The Sauce
4T Butter
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
2T flour
2 C Cream
1/2 C. milk
1C Fresh grated parmesan

In a medium sauce pan heat butter and garlic and add flour once butter is melted and aroma of garlic is building. Add the Cream and milk and stir then add the parmesan and bring to a boil and continue to stir frequently over a medium low heat as it boils and thickens. (I added a dash of pepper to it as well)

The Pasta/Filling:
24 oz (1LB 8oz) cottage cheese
1 egg
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper
9 lasagna noodles cooked al dente

Mix the cottage cheese, egg, parmesan, mozzarella, and a dash of salt and pepper and Parsley til it looks good. Spoon on the cooked noodles and roll up and place in 9X13 pan with a little sauce spread on the bottom. **You will have left over filling but only 9 rollups fit in the pan**

Mix some sauce into the chicken... just enough to spoon on top of each roll up (you will have left over sauce I still had about a 1/2 cup or just a little more left over) and then top with a little more parmesan and mozzarella cheese and diced tomatoes for color (I added the tomatoes after the picture was taken)

Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Until Cheese is starting to golden and sauce is bubbling.

Let sit for 10 minutes after removal from the oven. Serve and Enjoy!

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Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

This recipe has been roaming around several recipe blogs. There's one version here at Mmm.. Cafe. She got it from Rachel Ray. I thought these sound like fun. My kids loved them and getting to make them with their own desired toppings. A fun activity for family night or for a Saturday dinner at home.

1 tube Pillsbury Grand Flaky Layers biscuits
1 jar Ragu pizza sauce
Desired pizza toppings, we like canadian bacon, pepperoni, sausage, etc
Shredded mozzarella

Cut biscuits in half to make 2 circles. (Mmm.. Cafe suggested trying to get 3 circles out of each biscuit, but I had a hard time getting 3, so I just did 2.) Grease a muffin pan and carefully push up the sides. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.
Per Mmm... Cafe's suggestion, I also put the little cups on a baking sheet to finish cooking. I undercooked mine by about 3 minutes so mine aren't as golden brown as they should be. Make sure you cook them long enough or they'll be a little bit dough-y after the sauce has cooked and the cheese has melted. And nobody likes dough-y pizza. The dough will puff up a little bit so just use a spoon and push it to the sides so you have a little pocket to put the sauce. Spoon about a tablespoon of sauce into each pizza. Add desired toppings and sprinkle with cheese. Put back in oven until cheese is melted, about another 7 minutes or so.

Enjoy! Makes 16 mini deep dish pizzas.

Note: These reheat very nicely under low broil for 3 or 4 minutes. They crisp back up and are warm and bubbly.

We make another version of these, mini breakfast pizzas. I'll be posting the recipe soon. They are also a fun recipe to make with your kids.

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Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Adapted from the twiced baked potatoes recipe. This is a great recipe to take to a potluck or if you want the same great taste as twiced baked potatoes, but don't have the time to scoop out the potato from all the potato shells.

4-5 large potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 tsp dried minced onions
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Cook potatoes like you would for mashed potatoes. Pour all the water off of potatoes and pour potatoes into a large bowl. Add sour cream, milk, minced onions, salt, and pepper. Mix until fluffy with beaters but being careful not to overmix. By hand, stir in cheese and bacon -just before serving.

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Frank's Heinz 57 Meatballs

These meatballs were created purely from "throwing in this and that" until it looked right. In fact I still don't know what to call them. If you make them and come up with a good idea.... let me know. :) The flavor of these meatballs was amazing! They don't look pretty.... no matter how hard I tried to take pictures from different angles. However, you won't be disappointed. And don't let the Frank's Red Hot Sauce throw you off. There's not a lot in the recipe and it just gives it a great flavor. They're not spicy by any means. My kids loved them!

1 lb hamburger, thawed
1/3 cup Italian style bread crumbs
2 Tbsp Heinz 57
2 tsp Frank's Red Hot Sauce, original flavor
1 tsp minced onions
1/2 tsp minced garlic

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. (Note, I accidentally put in an egg. It doesn't need it. In fact, it is better without it.)

Now, I don't normally like the smell of ground beef (especially when I'm pregnant), but the smell of this was so yummy! I couldn't wait to see what the end result would be.Using an ice cream scoop (and plastic gloves if desired), roll mixture into about 1 inch balls.
Place in glass baking dish. This made 24 meatballs.Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Turn over and bake an additional 10 minutes.Serve with your choice of side dish. We did loaded mashed potatoes and a salad. The kids liked dipping their meatballs in Bullseye BBQ sauce. With or without sauce, they were super delicious! I'll be posting the recipe for loaded mashed potatoes on Monday.

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from Ivy in New Zealand
This is my husband's all time favorite from his days in New Zealand. Thanks to Ivy for the recipe and beautiful pictures.

3 egg whites
1 teaspoon malt vinegar
3 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup caster sugar
3 teaspoons cornflour

Preheat oven to 300 (150ÂșC).
Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff. Add water and beat again. Add sugar very gradually while still beating. Slow beater and add vinegar, vanilla and cornflour.

Line an oven tray with baking paper. Draw an 8 inch (22 cm) circle on the baking paper. Spread the Pavlova to within 3/4 inch (2 cm) of the edge of the circle, keeping the shape as round and even as possible. Smooth top surface over, still while maintaining the shape.

Bake Pavlova for 45 minutes, then leave to cool in the oven.
When cool, carefully lift Pavlova onto a serving plate. Decorate with whipped cream and any topping you may want.
This serves up to 6 people.

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Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

This recipe is one of our favorite family recipes. However, so often we forget to take pictures because we're usually taking them to some potluck kind of get-together. So I made this recipe the other day for us and just a few friends and actually remembered to take pictures. I figured I'd repost it so you can see how delectably delicious it really is. Hope you enjoy!

Cookie Crust:
3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup mini chocolate chips

2 pkgs softened cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugars.

Beat in egg & vanilla.Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda; add to the creamed mixture & mix well.Fold in the chocolate chips with spoon.Set aside 1/3 cup dough for topping.Press remaining dough into a greased 9x13 inch pan.Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese & sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.Spoon over crust. Crumble reserved dough over filling.Bake at 350 for 35-40 min or until lightly golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.Cut into bars. Cover & store remaining bars (if any) in the fridge.

Note: If desired, add 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts to cookie dough when adding the chocolate chips.

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