Thursday, April 20, 2017

Gnocchi Zuppa Toscana

Melissa shared this quick and yummy soup recipe with me. My family really enjoyed it!


  • Italian sausage, about 1 pound
  • 1 onion, minced
  • garlic to taste (1-2 tsp, minced)
  • Carton of chicken broth
  • milk
  • package of gnocchi
  • a few handfuls of kale, washed and chopped
  • salt 
  • pepper 
  • Parmesan cheese

In a big pot, brown the italian sausage. Add the onion and garlic, and saute until fragrant. Add the carton of chicken broth and some milk (as much as you want to make the soup as thin or as thick as you prefer). Bring to a boil. Toss in the package of gnocchi and a few big handfuls of kale. Cook until gnocchi floats and kale wilts (3-5 minutes). Add salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese to taste. Done!

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies

Melissa shared this fantastic recipe with all of us. She says they are a bit more work, but worth the effort! Click HERE for the full recipe!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ham Casserole

I found a recipe for a similar casserole online and tweaked and changed until it worked best for us. Here is the final result. My family really likes this one!


  • 5 or 6 small to medium russet potatoes
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped 
  • 2 large carrots, sliced 
  • 4 1/2 cups water 
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 3 cups cubed fully cooked ham 
  • About 1/2 a red bell pepper, chopped
  • About 1/2 a small onion, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons butter 
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 2 cups milk 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Place potatoes, celery, and carrot in a large pot and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a 9x13 baking dish.

3. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir ham, red bell pepper, and onion until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer ham mixture to baking dish and mix with potatoes.

4. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a clean skillet; cook and stir flour in melted butter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Gradually stir in milk and season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add Cheddar cheese; stir until melted. Pour cheese mixture over ham and potatoes.

5. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake in preheated oven until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Allow casserole to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

We went out for sushi over Thanksgiving Break with LaVon and Kelly. In addition to some DELICIOUS sushi, we had the tastiest bowl of chicken teriyaki chicken and rice. I've been craving it ever since. We have come up with our own version of this meal, and we think it's pretty close to the original! Bonus, it's easy and inexpensive to make. This is definitely going to become a regular at our house.

  • Rice, cooked
  • Chicken, cooked and seasoned as desired
  • Any vegetables you like in your rice bowl (we prefer to leave the vegetables out of the bowl but make edamame for the side - yum!!)
  • 1 Batch of Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 5 tablespoons packed brown sugar 
  • 1 -2 tablespoon honey 
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch 
  • 1/4 cup cold water 

Mix all but cornstarch and 1/4 c cold water in a sauce pan and begin heating. Mix cornstarch and cold water in a cup and dissolve. (I like to add the cornstarch slowly while whisking.) Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce in pan. Heat and stir until sauce thickens and darkens to desired consistency. Add water to thin if you want it thinner, but for me this is perfect! Just like that nice, sweet, thick Teriyaki sauce we had at the restaurant. YUM!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Banana Muffins

This is a easy, quick banana muffin recipe that makes moist and delicious muffins!


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 3 large bananas, mashed 
  • 3/4 cup white sugar 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, mixing only until combined - don't over mix! Scoop into muffin pans. Bake in preheated oven. Bake mini muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and large muffins for 20 to 25 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies II

We made these cookies to remember dad's birthday this past weekend. I know we already had a recipe for this on the blog, but I have been wanting a softer, less crumbly peanut butter cookie recipe. This is my new favorite recipe for these cookies!

  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar, or as needed
  • 2 (12 ounce) bags Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped

Beat peanut butter, shortening, 2/3 cup white sugar, brown sugar, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract together with an electric mixer in a large bowl until creamy and smooth.

Spoon flour into measuring cup (don't scoop - it adds too much flour). Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. ( I don't sift, I just mixed well.)

Gradually fold flour mixture into peanut butter mixture to form a smooth dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1/4 cup white sugar into a shallow bowl. Scoop dough into 1-inch balls, roll balls in sugar, and place 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake cookies in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Open the oven door and press a chocolate kiss about halfway down in the center of each cookie. Bake for until chocolate begins to melt and lose form, about another 2 minutes. Cool on wire racks until chocolate hardens, at least 3 hours.

A few notes:

Refrigerating the dough at least 1 hour is not strictly necessary, but I recommend it because it makes the dough easier to work with when shaping balls and also helps retain the shape when baking and avoid too much cracking when adding kisses.

Prep kisses by unwrapping foils and lining them upright on a plate or cookie sheet for easy transfer to cookie dough. Baking dough too long before adding kisses can cause kisses to fall out of the cookie dough when cooled. Kisses need to bake long enough to adhere to the cookie base but not to the point that they lose shape. Do not over bake!

Stacking cookies before chocolate has fully cooled and hardened will cause them to squish and loose shape. If desired, freeze immediately when cooled. I've kept them up to 2 months and they taste as fresh as the day they were baked.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Magic Cookie Bars

My sister in law Jennifer made these for everyone on the 4th. They were DELICIOUS!Seven Layer Magic Cookie Bars

  • Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray 
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted 
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk 
  • 2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut 
  • 1 cup chopped nuts 

HEAT oven to 350°F. Coat 13 x 9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray. COMBINE graham cracker crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with fork. BAKE 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Loosen from sides of pan while still warm; cool on wire rack. Cut into bars or diamonds. For perfectly cut cookie bars, line entire pan with foil, extending foil over edge of pan. Coat lightly with no-stick cooking spray. After bars have baked and cooled, lift up with edges of foil to remove from pan. Cut into bars.

VARIATIONS SUBSTITUTE chocolate chips or nuts with candy coated pieces, dried cranberries, raisins, mini-marshmallows or butterscotch chips.