Thursday, November 11, 2010

Zuppa Toscana

Better than Olive Garden!

1 lb Italian sausage (i used 2 fresh bratwurst, so good)
3 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half,and then in 1/4 inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
4 strips bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups kale chopped
2 cans chicken broth (i used bullion, so dont salt until you taste it)
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream (half cream half milk)
Change Measurements: US | Metric

Directions:Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 1 1/2 hrs
Remove sausage casing and crumble meat, saute until done, set aside. saute onion, bacon and garlic until bacon is done. add potatoes, chicken broth, water, garlic in pot, and cook on medium heat until potatoes are done. Add sausage. pepper to taste. 6 Simmer for another 10 minutes. 7 Turn to low heat. 8 Add kale when kale is tender add cream. 9 Heat through and serve.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Diamond Dough!

Salt dough has a sparkly texture. It is heavy and strong and is especially suited for large or standing pieces, such as plaques or trivets, or as foundations for other, more delicate craft doughs. Salt dough keeps indefinitely when covered and refrigerated.

Recipe 1
2 cups salt
2/3 cup water
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
Food coloring, tempera, or other water-base paint

Mix salt and 2/3 cup water in a pan. Heat until quite warm. Remove from heat. Mix cornstarch and cold water together and add to mix in the pan, stirring constantly. Return pan to stove and keep stirring until mixture forms a smooth mass. Turn out on a plate and cover with a damp cloth until cool. Work in coloring if desired.

Shape on a foil-covered cookie sheet and let dry thoroughly - several hours in a warm oven or several days at room temperature. Smooth away rough edges with a nail file.

Cinnamon Clay Ornaments

All Mimi's Grandbabies!

Isabella, Jackson, Tyler and the Twins!

1 1/8 cup flour
3/4 cup ground cinnamon
1 cup salt
...1 cup water
1 Tbsp. ground nutmeg (optional) I am going to add these.
1 Tbsp. ground cloves (optional)

Mix dry ingredients with water to form smooth, stiff dough. Divide dough into three or four portions. Place each section between two sheets of waxed paper, and roll to 1/4-3/8 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut Christmas shapes out of dough. While dough is still soft, use a straw to make a hole near the top of each shape where ribbon can later be inserted for hanging. Bake cut shapes at 350 degrees 15-20 minutes to dry. If desired, insert ribbon in hole, tie, and hang as ornaments.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Non-edible Homemade Clay for ornaments!

4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups water

Directions:Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 40 mins

1 Combine ingredients and knead dough for 15 to 20 minutes. (or 5-10) ;-)

2 Roll dough out and cut around hand or cut circles out for making hand imprints. Use cookie cutters for ornaments or gift tags. If necessary, slightly dampen pieces to make them stick together. (I make the whole batch into a log and cut slices like slice and bake cookies and then roll out the slices, they look more homemade that way, not perfect.)

3 Make a small hole for the hanger and prick to prevent air bubbles.
I use a straw to make the hole, its like a tiny cookie cutter.

4 Bake at 300ºF about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. You may have to bake considerably longer depending on how thick your items are. They may not feel hard right away but will harden as they cool.

5 Paint and decorate as desired. Acrylic paints work best and use a varnish to make them shiny. You can also just color them with markers and then your ready to go.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Creamy Cheesy Mac and Cheese

1 tablespoon salt
1 pound elbow, shell or other bite-size shaped pasta
6oz heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
1 dash ground mustard
1 dash paprika
1 dash salt (be careful with the salt!)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese ( I used Kraft pregrated Italian cheese blend, in the bags)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (I used the pregrated sharp cheddar here too)
8 oz grated colby jack cheese

1.Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in large soup kettle. Add salt and pasta. Using package directions as a guide, cook until done. Drain and quickly rinse. Return to pot. (the pasta should finish cooking about the same time as the cheese sauce)

2.Meanwhile, microwave the milk and chicken broth in a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup or bowl until hot and steamy (not boiling). About 1 min.

3. Melt butter in a large pan; whisk in flour, cook about 2 min, then add hot milk mixture. Continue to whisk until thick and bubbly, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in mustard, paprika, Parmesan and pepper. Turn off heat, stir in the rest of the cheese until melted.

4..Add drained pasta to sauce, and stir until everything is well combined . Serve hot.

Magic Bars


1 sleeve graham crackers- crushed

1 stick butter melted

1 can condenced milk

1 bag chocolate chips (you can use whatever you want, white, milk, dark, or a mix of all)

1 small bag coconut

pecans (or your fave nut or both!)

You don't have to stop with those ing. You can add flavored chips, caramel, chopped up candy bars... you get to play Willy Wonka! :-)

Line a 9X13 pan with foil, SPRAY with cooking spray. Heat oven to 350. Before you open the sleeve of crackers hit them a few times with a large spoon just so they are crushed up, but not fine. Empty crumbs into the bottom of pan. Pour butter over crumbs. Drizzle half the can of milk over the crust. Next sprinkle chocolate chips, then coconut, then nuts. drizzle the rest of the milk over the top and bake until coconut starts to brown. cool and cut into SMALL bars. The hubby tried to eat 3 but was defeated by the second one! They are so yummy with a tall glass of milk!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Texas Sheet Cake

This is the best non-fussy chocolate cake ever!
I always ask mom to make this cake any time the cake is for me!
Make sure the glaze is hot when you pour it on the hot cake!
I think it is better the next day!
Thick, moist, chocolate goodness!!

Bring to boil:
1 cup butter
1 cup water
5 Tblsp. cocoa
Add to flour mixture consisting of:
1 1/2 cup of flour
2 cups sugar
now add 1 tsp. soda to 1/2 cup milk and add to mixture.

Add 1 tsp. vanilla
Now add 2 slighly beaten eggs and bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
Don't over cook.

Heat to boiling:
1 stick butter
6 Tblsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tblsp. cocoa
1 lb. confectioners sugar
1 cup chopped nuts
and pour over hot cake.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shepherds Pie

This was the best Shepherds Pie I have made so far, and I have made a few. I followed the directions all the changes I made I added to the sides.

For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
(I think I would steam or boil these in advance so they lose the crunch...
it is not needed in this recipe)
(I used frozed pea and carrot mix, I would use the fresh next time
so they can get tender with the onion.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb (used ground beef)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste (used a small can of tomato sauce)
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves (I didn't use, the hubby hates this herb)
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves (used some ground thyme)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas

Top with grated cheddar cheese in last 10 min of baking.

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the corn and peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Indian Tacos!

Ok, if you already know about these, shame on you for not telling me about them!
I made them for the first time and am in LOVE!!
I also think that the bread would be awesome dusted with cinnamon and sugar for dessert.
So fry all that dough!

2 cups All Purpose Flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup Buttermilk
2 cans Pinto Beans (The only beans I had were red kidney beans and they worked great)
1 can Ranch Style Beans
1 lb. hamburger meat
1 packet Taco Seasoning

Lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese to garnish
You can also use sour cream and salsa if you like.

Brown ground beef and cook according to package of seasoning mix. Add the beans and heat.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Stir in buttermilk until dough forms.

Turn out on floured surface and kneed a few times. Using a ball of dough roughly 2 to 3" in diameter, pat out to form a flat round of dough. Continue till all dough is used, roughly 4 to 6 fry breads.

Fill skillet with 1 to 2" of oil and fry till golden brown, turn over and repeat. Drain on paper towel or paper sack.

Top with meat, beans and all the yummy toppings!

*Recipe found at

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Super Easy Pizza Crust

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup milk
1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a rimmed pizza pan or baking sheet.
2.In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt, oregano and black pepper. Mix in eggs and milk; stir well. Pour batter into prepared pan and tilt until evenly coated.
3.Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 min until crust is set.(will depend on how thick your crust is)
4.Remove crust from oven. Drizzle on pizza sauce, toppings and sprinkle on cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder (use one without aluminum)
1 teaspoon kosher salt or salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
3/4 cup buttermilk (approx) I used almost 3/4c milk and about 1 tsp vinegar
1Preheat your oven to 450°F.
2Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor.
3Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.
4If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.
5Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined.
6If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk.
7Turn the dough out onto a floured board.
8Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1/2" thick.
9Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.
10You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.
11Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet- if you like soft sides, put them touching each other.
12If you like"crusty" sides, put them about 1 inch apart- these will not rise as high as the biscuits put close together.
13Bake for about 10-12 minutes- the biscuits will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.
14Do not overbake.
15Note: The key to real biscuits is not in the ingredients, but in the handling of the dough.
16The dough must be handled as little as possible or you will have tough biscuits.
17I have found that a food processor produces superior biscuits, because the ingredients stay colder and there's less chance of overmixing.
18You also must pat the dough out with your hands, lightly.
19Rolling with a rolling pin is a guaranteed way to overstimulate the gluten, resulting in a tougher biscuit.
20Note 2: You can make these biscuits, cut them, put them on cookie sheets and freeze them for up to a month.
21When you want fresh biscuits, simply place them frozen on the cookie sheet and bake at 450°F for about 20 minutes.

Recipe Found Here

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yummy, Indian Food!

Last night I made a wonderful dinner. My first attempt at making Indian food and it was fabulous. This is something I am going to make again and again and I am going to try more and more recipes! Here is the first one, in I hope, a long list of Indian recipes!

Chole (chickpea curry) Don't be scared of the chickpeas, it is wonderful!

Vegeterian, but would be yummy with the addition of chicken!

Serves 2-3

1 can chickpeas (I used Bushes brand)
1 TBSP oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 onion, cut in half and then sliced
1/2 small can tomato sauce
1 potato, peeled and cut into quarters and thinly chopped
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/8 tsp turmeric powder*
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp curry powder
dash of ground black pepper
1 1/2 -2 cup water
chopped fresh cilantro

(I did not salt this recipe, you can add at the table it you like, if you add while cooking I am afraid you will over salt because it will reduce down.)

Heat oil. Add onion and garlic. Saute until soft. Add tomato sauce and potato. Add dry spices.
Drain and rinse chickpeas, add to pan. Mix well. Add water to make gravy, simmer and cook covered for about 10 min, or until potatoes are soft. Mash some of the peas and potatoes (like an 1/8th) mix well, this will thicken the sauce. Serve over white rice (I like basmati) and top with cilantro.

We fould indian bread at HEB, tandori bread (I think) it was near the deli. I put it under the broiler to warm on both sides and then served with butter and we scooped up the yumminess with the bread!

Serve with veggie of your choice. (We had sauteed sweet peas)

*Spices- the spices are kind of $$$ but they will go a long way. If you have a HEB with bulk foods and spices I got the turmeric, garam masala and curry powder for dirt cheap in small bags!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Crockpot BBQ pork and all the fixin's

BBQ Pork

Boneless pork ribs or pork roast (as much or as little as you need)
1 bottle of your favorite bbq sauce
1 or 2 onion depending on the amount of meat you use

-Put the meat in the crockpot, pour in half the sauce, and add the sliced onion.
Cook according to crockpot instructions until done. Remove from liquid and place
on platter, cover with the other half of bbq sauce.

** When I cook, I often do not use a recipe and so these next few recipes don't really have measurements, its kind of "to your taste" so TASTE it! I am cooking for 2 and a toddler so keep that in mind as well.

Baked beans

1 can pork n' beans (or more :-)) *note the double chin!
2 slices bacon, diced
1/4 bell pepper, diced
1/4 onion, diced
dash or two of dry mustard
about 1 tsp. worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. ketchup
start with 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
dash of pepper

Saute the bacon, onion and pepper. When done add the beans. Now for the part that drives everyone crazy, just add a little of everything, don't go nuts with the sugar, you can't take it out! Simmer a few min, taste again, your done!


1/2 head cabbage
1 carrot
1 small chunk of onion
chop together in the food processor until as fine as you like it

1/2 cup mayo
2 TBL milk
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
mix together, taste, you may need to add more sugar or more vinegar...I added a little pickle juice to mine! ( I am preggers ya know!) Pour over the slaw and mix, refridge for atleast 3 hours before serving.

Potato Salad

4 med size potatoes
small chunk of onion, diced small
1/2 c. mayo
1 TBL yellow mustard
1 TBL pickle relish (sweet or dill, up to you)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the potatoes, if I have time I boil them whole and then slip the skin off and dice them, if I don't have much time I microwave them in the skins and peel them. If I microwave them I want them a little firm so if you use the baked potato button and you have 4 potatoes tell it you have 3 and that should work well. Dice potatoes place in bowl. In another bowl mix together sauce ing. and taste. When its tangy enough, pour over potatoes, stir, cover, and chill. (if it seems like to much sauce thats ok, the potatoes are like sponges so you will be glad there was extra!)

Serve with your choice of bread or rolls and sweet tea!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rolls that even I can't mess up!

**I rolled out the dough, placed it on a sprayed cookie sheet and cut it with a pizza cutter. I then made a cream cheese filling topped some of them for cream cheese kolaches! I also did not refrigerate over night, I left them for about 4 or 5 hours. I dusted the counter with flour and dumped out the dough, don't kneed it, just work it enough so its not sticky, roll out and have fun!

SERVES 24 , 2 dozen 1 (1/4 ounce) package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1/3 cup margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1 dash salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 1/2 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water and add 1 tablespoon sugar and baking powder.

Allow to stand for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile scald milk. Add margarine, 1/3 cup sugar and salt. Cool a little and then add eggs. (I do this step in my 4 c glass measure in the microwave.).

Combine all with flour. (it will be sticky, thats ok) Cover and refrigerate overnight. (The dough will more than double in bulk, so make sure your container is big enough. If it looks like it might outgrow its bowl, you can always punch it down once or twice without any ill effects.).
Two hours before serving, divide dough into thirds and roll out into large circles about 9 inches in diameter on a floured surface. The dough will be sticky, but don't worry. It will quickly come together and handle really well with a few sprinklings of flour (not too much). Cut into 8 wedges and make crescent rolls by starting at the wide end and rolling up. Place on greased pans to rise, covered with clean towels. ****You can make them whatever you would like individual rolls, pull apart rolls, kolaches, cinnamon rolls...*****

Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Rub the hot rolls with a stick of butter when they come out of the oven. It makes them so beautiful.
Cream cheese filling:
1 pk cream cheese
1 egg yolk
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Combine, spoon onto rolls after they have risen.

Friday, February 12, 2010

So You Think You Hate Lentils Soup

Well, I heard about lentils being some kind of super food and thought I better try them.

I found this recipe and it was very easy and very good.

I have freezer bags full of soup in my freezer for a healthy and hearty meal anytime!

Seriously folks it's delish!

*This makes a TON so use your big pot!

1 Tbl. butter

2 onion diced

2 clove garlic crushed

4 strips of bacon ( I didn't sautee my bacon)

1 bag lentils sorted and rinsed

10 c. water or broth (if you use water add bullion of your choice, I used chicken)

~Sautee onion and garlic in butter until tender. Add lentils and water, bring to a boil while you chop the veggies.
If the soup gets too thick as you are cooking, just add more water or broth.

4 carrots chopped

5 celery ribs chopped

1 box frozen spinach, you can use fresh

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

(you can add any veggie you like, the recipe called for leeks, greenbeans, mushrooms and bell peppers. I didn't have those and really I think they would have been a strange addition.)

~Add the veggies as you get them chopped.

Season to taste with





Sorry, I know it annoys some people (Laura) but I don't really measure my herbs. I know which ones I like more or less and I add accordingly. If you don't get carried away you can always add more!

*****Use salt lightly as the bacon and the bullion are both salty and as it cooks down the salt will concentrate. You may want to save the salt for the end after you taste it.*******

Simmer and stir until the lentils are done and the veggies are tender.

Freezes very well.

Serve with crusty bread and your choice of beverage!

Try it, you really will like it!