Monday, December 17, 2012


I really do not make a lot of pasta dishes, but every once in awhile, especially on cold winter days, a yummy pan of lasagna, some crusty french bread and a good salad is just what the doctor ordered.  I've tried many lasagna recipes in my life, but this is my families favorite.  Give it a try.  It really is a good tried and true recipe.
I have found lasagna to freeze really well, so you might as well make two if you are making one and freeze one for another night.  
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. Italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 heaping tsp. of minced garlic, more if you desire
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can tomato sauce
3-4 cups cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Mozzarella Cheese, to taste
10-12 lasagna noodles (or more if you like a third layer)

Brown ground beef, Italian sausage, onion and garlic.  Add salt and next 5 ingredients; stirring until well mixed.  Simmer at least 1 hour.  Cook your lasagna noodles (or if you are like me, I prefer Barilla oven ready lasagna noodles) according to package directions; drain and set aside.  Spray a 13 x 9" baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine cottage cheese, eggs, pepper, 2 tablespoons parsley, Parmesan cheese and 1/2 of mozzarella cheese; In a lasagna pan, layer noodles, meat sauce, and cheese mixture; repeat.

Bake at 375F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until cheese mixture is melted.  This freezes well, so make 2!  If frozen, bake on lower heat (275 for the first hour) and then turn up to 350 until it is melted and hot.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mint Chocolate Cake

I made this Cake for our Christmas party last night and thought it was pretty Heavenly.  The chocolate ganache over the peppermint icing is the perfect blend of mint and chocolate.  I’m not even a cake lover and I loved this cake.  Enjoy!

Mint Chocolate Cake
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped Andes Mint chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of three 8 inch cake pans with wax paper and spray the sides of the pan with cooking spray. Bring some water to a boil and keep it simmering while you mix the other ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat with mixer until combined.

Add 3/4 cup of the boiling water and carefully stir until it is mixed in. Beat for 1 1/2 minutes with mixer. Carefully stir in the andes mints in the batter (distribute as evenly as possible as you pour into pan).  Bake for 20 minutes (until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean).  NOTE:  Batter will be thin

Mint Buttercream Frosting
  • 3 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 9 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • green food coloring
  • Around 3/4 Cup Milk
Mix butter, sugar, vanilla, peppermint and food coloring on low speed in large mixing bowl. Gradually add milk until you reach the desired consistency. Keep covered.

    • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Place the chocolate chips and cream in a microwavable bowl. Heat in short increments (30 seconds) until blended and smooth.  Stir in between each increment.  Pour carefully over the top of cake and let it slowly drizzle down the sides. Store cake in refrigerator

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

    Maple Cinnamon Rolls

    I just made these and they are seriously heavenly.  They are so good that I am actually going to delete my previous cinnamon roll recipe!


    • 2/3 cup milk
    • 1/3 cup maple syrup
    • 1/3 cup butter, softened
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 cups bread flour
    • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
    • TOPPING:
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons bread flour
    • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 6 tablespoons cold butter
    • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1 to 2 teaspoons milk


    • Warm milk and add yeast and 1 tsp. of sugar.  Let sit until foamy.  In your mixer, add the butter and maple syrup.  Mix well.  Add egg, salt, flour and yeast.  On low speed, with a dough hook, let it knead for 10 minutes.  Let rise until double.
    • Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into two 12-in. x 7-in. rectangles. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle half over each rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting from a long side; pinch seam to seal.
    • Cut each roll into slices. Place cut side down in one greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 20 minutes.
    • Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, syrup and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Spread over warm rolls. 

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    Crockpot Italian Roundsteak

    This is a great hearty meal for a busy day.  Throw everything in your crockpot.  You don’t even have to pre-thaw the meat.  Let it simmer all day and by the end of the day when you are tired and your kids are all hungry, you won’t have any work left to do, but serve.  Okay, and clean the dishes. :)

    2 lbs. round steak (thawed or frozen)
    2 cans tomato sauce
    1 packet lipton onion dry soup mix
    4 TBSP. red wine vinegar
    2 tsp. oregano
    1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    1/2 tsp. pepper
    6 Red Potatoes, cut in half
    5-8 Carrots, peeled and chopped about 1” thick
    1 large zucchini, quartered

    Place the meat on the bottom of your crockpot.  Place tomato sauce and all seasonings next.  Top with potatoes, carrots and zucchini.  Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-7.

    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    Low Carb Tortillas

    I loved this easy chicken burrito filling.  I love it because it uses greek yogurt, but tastes like you haven’t skimped a bit!

    1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast meat
    1 cup chopped onion
    1 cup chopped bell peppers
    3/4 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
    3/4 cups shredded lowfat 4 cheese mexican cheese
    3/4 cup salsa
    Low carb tortillas

    Sautee onions and bell peppers in a small skillet using cooking spray until onion are lightly browned.  Add shredded chicken, yogurt, cheese and salsa.  Once the cheese is melted, spread on tortilla and top with cilantro and more salsa.

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    Butter Chicken

    I love this recipe for Butter Chicken.  It is sincerely heavenly!

    2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bit sized pieces
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. black pepper
    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
    1/4 tsp. groud coriander
    1/4 tsp. cumin
    1/4 tsp. cardamom
    1 whole lime, juiced

    Combine above ingredients in a bag or lidded bowl and marinate overnight in the fridge.

    1 whole onion
    1/4 cup butter
    1 can (14.5 oz.) tomato sauce
    1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomato
    1 pint whipping cream
    1 bunch cilantro, chopped (to taste)
    2 cups cooked basmati rice

    Saute the onion in butter until soft.  Add the marinated chicken and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is mostly cooked.  Add the tomato sauce and diced tomato and simmer over medium low heat for half an hour with a lid on.  Stir occasionally.  Thicken with cornstarch.  Add the whipping cream.  Serve over the rice with the fresh chopped cilantro to taste.

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Grilled Teriyaki Salmon and Asparagus

    I love grilled Salmon!  Tonight I tried this simple recipe and threw on some Asparagus to go with it.  It was delicious.  I always cook the salmon layered in tinfoil and then flip it.  Towards the end, open up the tinfoil and allow it to vent a little while cooking.  I like it to cook in the juices, or small amount of butter inside the tinfoil.  

    1/8 cup soy sauce
    1/8 cup brown sugar
    1/8 cup water
    1 TBSP. olive oil
    Lemon Pepper
    Garlic Powder

    Rinse your salmon and pat dry.  Cut four pieces of tinfoil large enough to fold the edges over and still fit the salmon inside.  Place your Salmon on top of two of the pieces of tinfoil.  Season both sides lightly or 1 side heavily with lemon pepper, garlic powder and salt.  Mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, water and olive oil in a small cup.  Brush over all sides of the salmon, leaving a little bit of extra juice on the tinfoil to cook in.  Put the remaining two pieces of tinfoil on top and double fold in the sides all around the salmon.  Cook on the grill on medium high heat until desired doneness (about 6-8 minutes each side, depending on thickness of salmon).  Be careful not to let it burn.

    Asparagus Directions:

    Rinse and snap the asparagus at the natural breaking point.  Brush the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Throw on oiled grill, turning until desired crispness.  You can cook this on or inside tinfoil if you would like as well.

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Cheater Breakfast Omelette

    I love a good omelette, but let’s face it, rarely do I feel like taking the time to make one.  So, I’ve come up with an easy way.  Chop your green peppers, onions, mushrooms, bacon, ham, etc. up and place them in a freezer ziploc bag, with the right amount you would need for your morning omelette.  When you decide you want an omelette, pull them out for a quick and yummy breakfast.

    2 egg white
    1 whole egg
    pepper jack cheese
    swiss cheese

    In a frying pan, melt 1 TBSP. of butter.  Place all your veggies and meat in the omelette and saute to your desired crispness, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Crack your eggs in a bowl, eliminating two of the yolks.  Whip with a little milk until smooth and then pour over your veggies.  Cover pan and cook on low to medium heat until done to desired level.  I like them cooked all the way through.  Then add whatever kind of cheese to the top.  Slant your pan and slide the omelette off onto the plate, folding the omelette in half as you go.


    Best Ever Carrot Cake

    I love a moist, dense cake and this one is heavenly.  Keep it chilled in the refrigerator and I promise, you won’t be able to stop eating it.  I have children with nut allergies, so instead of making it a triple layer, I doubled it and made another 8x8 pan without nuts for my two girls.

    You won’t need to search any further for your favorite carrot cake recipe again.  I promise, this is it.


    6 cups grated carrots

    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup raisins, optional
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 heaping TBSP. ground cinnamon
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional


    In a medium bowl, combine grated carrots and brown sugar. Set aside for 60 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour three 8 inch round cake pans.

    In a large bowl, beat eggs until light. Gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir into the wet mixture until absorbed. Finally stir in the carrot mixture and the walnuts. Pour evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.  Frost with cream cheese frosting.

    1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
    1/4 cup butter, softened
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 (16oz.) bag powdered sugar (May not use the whole bag, depends on the consistency you prefer.  I only use about 3/4’s of a bag).

    Beat cream cheese and butter until whipped smooth.  Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until creamy.  Frost cake when entirely cool.  Frosting will melt if the cake is hot.  It’s even better to refrigerate the cake for awhile before frosting.


    1 1/2 cups coconut
    1/4 cup butter
    1/4 cup brown sugar

    In a saucepan, toast the coconut in butter and brown sugar until caramelized.  Sprinkle on top of cake just before serving.  

    Bran Cereal Muffins

    2 cups raisin bran cereal, crushed in blender
    1 1/4 cups buttermilk
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
     1 egg
    1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    3/4 cup white flour
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
    • Heat oven to 400°F. Grease bottoms only of 12 regular-size muffin cups with shortening, spray with cooking spray or line with paper baking cups. Lightly spray paper baking cups with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, stir crushed cereal, buttermilk and vanilla until well mixed. Beat in oil and egg with fork until blended. 
      In another medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients until well mixed; stir into cereal mixture just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
      Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If baked in greased pan, let stand 5 minutes in pan, then remove from pan to cooling rack. If baked in paper baking cups, immediately remove from pan to cooling rack. Serve with butter.

    Saturday, March 3, 2012

    Super Easy Swiss Steak

    This is one of those great meals that you can just throw in a crock pot and let simmer on low all day.  I love it.  It’s very easy to make ahead and to make and freeze.  If you find a great sale on round steak, come home, cut it in strips, flour it and brown it.  Place it in a ziploc bag with the spices and the tomatoes and soup.  Seal and Freeze.  When you are ready to eat it, just pull it out and dump it in your crock pot.  Super easy and yummy!


    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 1/2 pounds boneless beef round steak (about 1-inch thick), cut into serving-size pieces
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
    • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup, undiluted
    • 1 large onion, sliced
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 bay leaf


    1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. Remove steak from bag; flatten to 3/4-in. thickness.
    2. In a large skillet, brown steak on both sides in oil over medium-high heat. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, tomato soup, onion, marjoram, thyme, paprika, cloves if desired, bay leaf and remaining salt; pour over beef in your crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Serve over mashed potatoes.

    Wednesday, February 29, 2012

    Leap Day Treats

    There is something about holidays and special occasions that just get me excited to cook.  Today was no exception.  I mean, how often does Leap Year come around?  And what better way to celebrate a fun day than with fun food?

     I decided to try my hand at frog pancakes this morning.  So, I died my pancake batter green and made me some goofy looking frog pancakes.  I knew it was a success though, when one by one the kids came in and when I quizzed them as to what they were, they all answered correctly, “frogs!”  Yeah!  Score one point for me!  I will have you know, I was good and didn’t eat one bite. :)

    I decided to surprise them with a fun after school snack...okay...treat.  I decided to make some chocolate bowls.  First, I filled some water balloons with water, placed them in a cupcake pan and froze them.  Then I melted white chocolate with a little green food coloring in a double broiler.  When my balloons were frozen, I dipped them in the chocolate and placed them on wax paper.  There they sat, until all the water was melted.

     Once the water was melted, I turned them upside down, holding onto the wax paper, over the sink and popped the water balloon.  What I had left was the cutest little lily pad chocolate bowl.

    Next, I made up some pistachio pudding and filled the little bowls and then printed these cute signs.  I had them waiting when the kids arrived home from school.  

    Tonight, was youth night at the church and I decided to make these froggy cupcakes to send with my husband, Warren, to share with all the young men.  These aren’t just ordinary cupcakes, they are filled with chocolate ganache, dipped in white chocolate, then frosted with green whipping cream.  The ears are made out of york peppermint patties, with a coconut M&M to make the buggy eyes and licorice rope to make them smile.  I know they are a tad cheesy, but I loved my frog cupcakes.

    I promise, I did cook a healthy dinner!

    Monday, February 27, 2012

    International Pancake Day!

    February 21st this year was International Pancake Day.  I always like to have a little fun with food holidays, so we planned a pancake dinner.  I tried quite a few different pancake recipes, including granola pancakes, blueberry, raspberry, caramel, chocolate chip, lemon poppyseed, cream cheese and regular buttermilk.  My favorite was the cream cheese recipe.  They tasted heavenly with Strawberries and whipping cream or that heavenly caramel syrup.  I always use the frozen strawberries with sugar (thawed) for my strawberry topping.  It is quick, easy and delicious.

    Obviously, this isn’t the healthiest meal, however, for a once a year dinner, it tasted pretty heavenly.

    Here is that Cream Cheese Pancake recipe!

    1 pkg. (8oz) cream cheese
    2 cups Bisquick mix
    1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 cup milk
    2 eggs

    Mix together bisquick, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, milk and eggs until blended.  Slice cream cheese into bite size pieces and stir into the batter.  You may need to add more milk if it is too thick.  Pour batter onto your hot griddle and cook until it is ready to flip.  Turn and finish cooking.  Top with the toppings of your choice.

    Marinated Flank Steak and Roasted Red Potatoes

    Grilled Marinated Flank Steak Recipe


    Marinade Ingredients
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 pounds flank steak
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground pepper


    Score the surface of the steak with 1/4 inch deep knife cuts, about an inch apart, across the grain of the meat. Combine the marinade ingredients. Place steak and marinade ingredients in a large freezer bag. Coat the steak well with the marinade. Seal the bag and place in a bowl. Chill and marinate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

    Take the steak out of the marinade bag and sprinkle generously on all sides with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. The salt and pepper will help form a savory crust on the steak. Place steak on the hot grill. If you are using a gas grill, cover the grill. Grill for 4-6 minutes on each side. Half way through grilling on each side, turn the steak 90° so that you get more grill marks.

    When the steak has cooked to your preferred level of doneness, remove from the grill and place on a cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil to hold in the heat and to keep the steak from drying out, and let rest for 10 minutes.

    Make very thin slices, against the grain, and at a slight diagonal so that the slices are wide.
    If you want, you can take the excess marinade and bring it to a boil, simmer for several minutes, and serve with the flank steak.

    Roasted Red Potatoes


    • 2 TBSP. Olive Oil
    • 2 pounds Red Potatoes, quartered
    • 1 TBSP. finely chopped green onion
    • 1 tsp. minced garlic
    • 1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
    • 1 tsp. dried thyme
    • 1/4 balsamic vinegar
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper


    In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the potatoes, onion and garlic; toss to combine.  Add the thyme, rosemary and nutmeg; toss well.  Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until potatoes are hot.  Transfer to a 15 x 10 x 1” baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are golden and almost tender.  Add the vinegar, salt and pepper; toss well.  Bake 508 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

    Monday, February 6, 2012



    1Tbs olive oil
    cups onion, chopped
    3garlic cloves, minced
    2large eggs
    ½cup milk
    2tsp dijon mustard
    1tsp hot sauce
    tsp fresh marjoram, or ½ teaspoon dried, crumbled
    tsp fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried, crumbled
    salt and freshly ground pepper
    2lb ground beef

    cups plain bread crumbs
    ¼cup fresh parsley, minced
    ½cup ketchup
    ¼cup light brown sugar
    Tbs cider vinegar


    1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2 In a skillet over moderate heat, add the oil. Heat the oil until hot, but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
    3 In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, mustard, and hot sauce together. Add marjoram, thyme, salt, and pepper.In a large mixing bowl, combine the meats, egg-milk mixture, bread crumbs, parsley, and the cooked onion mixture.
    4 In a small bowl stir together ketchup, sugar, and vinegar. Set aside.
    5 Form 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture into a small patty, add it to a small oiled skillet, and cook until no longer pink. Taste for seasoning and adjust.
    6 Transfer meat mixture to an oiled loaf pan. Brush meat with ketchup glaze.Bake in oven for about 45 minutes, until glaze has set.
    7 Brush meat loaf with remaining glaze and bake for 15 minutes more; glaze again.
    My oven takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the desired doneness. Times do vary, so allow for that!
    8 Internal temperature of loaf should be 160 degrees F.