Wednesday, December 30, 2015


My family always requests "homemade" macaroni and cheese for
Christmas dinner. Every year I use a different recipe to find one
they really like. The recipes always involve the oven and at least 
2 different kinds of cheeses. I was looking for a simple recipe using
just one cheese. I found what I was looking for on Food Network.
This recipe is adapted from Alton Brown's Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese.
Delicious. Easy enough for Ben (son) and Mark (son-in-law) to make.


1 pound elbow macaroni
1 stick of butter plus 1 tbsp.
4 large eggs
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
2 tsps. hot sauce
2 tsps. salt plus extra 1 tsp. 
2 tsps. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1  1/4 pounds sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, not packaged


Bring a large pot of water, adding 1 tsp. of salt, to boil.
Cook the pasta to package directions, then drain.
Return pan to stove, add the butter and macaroni.
Reduce heat to low.
Whisk together eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper and
mustard. Add this to the pasta and stir to combine.
Add the cheese a little at a time and stir until creamy,
about 3-5 minutes. Don't overcook.
Serve immediately.
Will keep for a few days in refrigerator. Reheat with a little


Here's a fun way to decorate your cake for a Christmas look.
You can also use cupcakes. I found several recipes on Pinterest
and adapted the recipe.


1 bag Wilton Green Candy Melts ( found at Michaels )
Bag of Pretzel Sticks ( look for the wider sticks, 3 3/4 in. long)
2 tsps. cooking oil ( like canola, not olive )
1/4 tsp. peppermint oil-based flavoring ( not alcohol-based)
 ( optional)
Colored sprinkles, red-colored sugar, or crushed peppermint candies


Take a piece of parchment paper and place on a cookie sheet.
Place 6 pretzel sticks and evenly space on the paper.
Put one bag of melts into a medium size microwave bowl.
Add 2 tsp. of oil to the bowl
Microwave 20 seconds, take out and stir, if not completely 
melted, heat at 10 second intervals and stir. Will be smooth.
Add the 1/4 tsp. peppermint flavoring and stir. (optional)
Using a gallon zip lock bag, add the melted mixture.
Twist the bag until the mixture is in the corner, cut a tiny
tip on the end and starting at the top of the pretzel, put a 
small amount and make squiggle lines to make it look like 
a Xmas tree.
If desired add decorations like colored sugar or sprinkles.
Place the tray in the refrigerator and continue with another
6 pretzel sticks. They harden up in about 5-10 minutes.
*This makes a lot of trees, but you will need to practice to
get it right. 
*They will keep in an air-tight container. I kept them in
my cold garage.
Carefully pick them up by the stick and push into your cake.
(see picture above)

Friday, December 18, 2015


Ron likes burritos, loves eggs, so after checking out McDonalds,
looking at a couple of recipes, here's what I came up with. They
are delicious and easy to prepare. The only issue was rolling them
up: I overfilled and added lots of cheese. Doesn't work. Adjust.

Big plus…they freeze well. Roll up after filling in plastic wrap.
Place several in a freezer bag. To reheat: place in microwave 
and heat for 30 seconds, take out and slightly unwrap and reheat
for an additional 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and let sit
for 1 minute. Yep, thumbs up from Ron. 


1/2 pound (8 ounces) pork sausage ( I used mild)
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
6 large eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
about 6 dashes hot sauce ( you decide how much)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus a little more
10 flour tortillas (6 inches, they were fat-free). You can
decide the size.. 8 or 10 inches also available.
Optional: salsa and/or sour cream as a topping


In a large skillet, brown the sausage and crumble; drain.
Add onion and green pepper to the skillet, cook till tender,
stir frequently.
Add eggs; cook and stir just until set..don't overcook.
Remove from heat and spoon filling off center onto each
tortilla, sprinkle with cheese.
Fold sides in then roll up. Done.
Can place on a plate to keep warm in oven while you make
up several.
If you intend to freeze, cool completely first.
* There will be extra, but good on toast or biscuits with salsa
or eat out of the bowl.


Here is a wonderful chocolatey brownie recipe from the best
Martha Stewart. (adapted by me)


1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter, cut in pieces 
1 cup from 1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour


1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped pecans
remainder of chocolate chips (from above)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 8x8 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray,
line bottom of pan with parchment paper, leaving an 
overhang on 2 sides, (easier to lift out and cut); spray
In a microwave safe bowl combine butter and chips,
heat at 20 second intervals to melt (stirring gently)
just till melted.
Stir in sugars, then eggs, then flour, stir just until
Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
Bake 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center
comes out with moist crumbs.
Take from oven. Sprinkle with marshmallows, pecans
and remaining chocolate chips. 
Back to oven, and bake till marshmallows are puffed,
about 5 minutes.
Cool in pan. Take from pan, and cut into squares.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Yep, this recipe is from the box, the fat free variety too. It's
delicious and making just a few changes, we are going to
make this as a food gift as well.

Here are 4 decorating ideas for your breads.


1 box Krusteaz  Fat Free Cranberry Orange Muffin Mix
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1/4 tsp. orange extract (this can be optional)
1/4 cup Ocean Spray Craisins (dried cranberries)
the zest from 1/2 of an orange


1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp. orange juice
a little orange zest, (use from the remaining orange)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Take the small can of cranberries from the pkg,
open it and pour into a bowl, add the 1/4 cup of
dried cranberries to this. Set aside.
We will be using 2, 3 1/2 inch x 7 1/2 inch small loaf pans.
Spray both pans with a nonstick cooking spray.
Stir together the orange juice and the mix just until
Add the bowl of cranberries to the batter, fold in gently.
Pour batter into the 2 prepared pans.
Bake 35 minutes, stick a knife in center, if comes out clean
it's done. If not leave in for another 5 minutes.
Let the breads completely cool before glazing.
Add the orange juice to the powdered sugar, stir
till smooth. Pour over both breads. Allow to dry
Can be frozen after wrapping with Saran Wrap.
I usually keep the breads in my cold garage, or 
you can refrigerate.


This is an easy put together casserole from an old Campbells
soup recipe I've had for awhile. Makes a great side dish.


1 can condensed Cheddar Cheese soup
4 ounces ( 1 cup) sharp cheddar cheese, plus a little more
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
4 cups Green Giant Select frozen broccoli florets, thawed,
   ( 1 pkg.  12 ounces, see picture)


2 Tbsp. butter melted
1 cup crushed buttery crackers ( about 20 )


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a casserole baking dish
with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine the soup, milk, cheese (added about
2 extra ounces), we like cheese, and hot pepper sauce; blend
well. (add 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce for a kick)
Add thawed broccoli, stir gently to mix. Pour into casserole
In small bowl, combine the melted butter and crackers,
sprinkle over top of casserole.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until bubbly. Check the center
to make sure, it's done. 
A good leftover.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


This recipe is for Jerry. He is the father of my son-in-law Mark.

Tired of left over turkey? Here's another easy recipe using
boxed Rice A Roni. Very tasty. On the table in about 40 minutes.


1 box Beef Rice A Roni
1 pound ground beef cooked and crumbled. You can cook the beef in the 
same skillet and drain off the excess grease, then remove to a separate 
2 Tbsp. butter
2 1/2 cups hot water
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. pepper
the 3 spices are optional, but remember I put these into all my
savory dishes.
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper (optional--I don't use, but you
might want a kick of heat.)
1 cup of sour cream (let it sit out while you prepare the rice to
take off the chill.)


In a large skillet, combine the rice and the butter. Saute
over medium heat till the rice is golden brown. Stir
Add the cooked ground beef to the skillet.
Slowly stir in the hot water and the special seasonings,
bring to a boil.
Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes
or until rice is tender.
Take off heat after the 20 minutes and stir in the sour cream
to combine. Cover and let sit for about 10-15 minutes, then serve.

This is a great left-over. Will keep in the fridge for about 2 days.


Yes, this is an easy apple pie to make. Guaranteed. Plus you
don't have to make the crust, unless you want too. Add ice-
cream or fresh whipped cream, it's delicious.



I box Pillsbury pie crust. Take out of the refrigerator as you
begin to slice your apples.


6 cups peeled, thinly sliced apples
3/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh lemon)
2 Tbsp. cold butter diced


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Will need a 9 inch glass pie plate.
Take 1 of the pie crusts and place it into the pie dish.
Press the dough firmly against the bottom and sides.
Combine all the filling ingredients into a large bowl,
(except the butter) stir gently to combine.
Put the apple mixture in the pie dish.
Sprinkle the diced butter over the pie mixture.
Remove the second crust from the wrapper and place
over the apple mixture.
Fold the excess top crust under the bottom crust edge,
and press the edges together to seal. 
Flute the edges.
Cut slits in the top crust.
(optional, sprinkle some sugar/cinnamon on top)
Bake 45 minutes until crust is golden brown, after
the first 20 minutes cover edges of crust with foil
(wide strips of about 3 inches) to prevent the crust
from becoming to brown. Finish baking.
Cool on rack for a few hours, this allows the pie 
to set up. 
Can be made day ahead. After cooling, cover 
with plastic wrap and foil, refrigerate. Take
from refrigerator a few hours before serving,
can be warmed up if desired.

Adapted from apple pie