Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christmas Crackers


For the past few Christmas seasons I've done some wonderful but time consuming cakes.  This year, I'm taking a totally opposite direction!  Keep It Simple Sweetheart!

Don't you just love it when you get a last minute request for a cookie exchange, a classroom party or an office food day!  You have little to no notice and you need to produce something from what you already have in your pantry.  These recipes are tasty solutions to an urgent need or when you just want to do something out of the box for the holidays!

Cracker Brittle aka Little Bricks of Golden Goodness.  This is my son's favorite - they will still hang out near the cooling rack with glasses of milk to get the first shot at these!

You'll need:

20  graham crackers
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Place crackers on a deep cookie sheet.  Melt the butter in the microwave for 1 minute.  Add sugar and heat for an additional minute.  Whisk and add vanilla and pecans.  Pour the butter mixture over the crackers and brush to make the nuts even over the crackers.  Bake at 350* for 10 minutes.  Place on cooling rack  - they will set when they cool. 

Firecrackers!  My friend Michelle introduced these to me about a year ago!  She said they were addictive and boy was she right!  These are GREAT alone or with cheese and meat assortments.  Super quick and easy and a great make ahead item for your parties!

You'll need:

1 1/4 cup canola oil,
1 pkg ranch dressage mix
2 tbsp. red pepper flakes (more if you like it really spicy)
2 sleeves of saltine crackers.

Whisk oil, dressing mix and pepper together.  Place your crackers flat in one layer on an edged cookie sheet then drizzle the spice mix over the crackers. Use a pastry brush to baste each cracker to coat them well.  Bake at 250* for 10 minutes.  Remove and turn each cracker over and bake another 10 minutes. Remove crackers to cool on a paper towel lined (absorbs excess oil) cooling rack.  Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days.

Cracker Toffee - this was new for me but I'm so glad I tried this!

You'll need:

40 saltines (about 2 sleeves)
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
1 tsp canola oil
8 oz English Toffee bits

Melt the butter in the microwave for 1 minute, add sugar and heat for an additional minute and stir well.   Brush over crackers and bake at 350* for 10  minutes.  While the crackers bake, microwave the chocolate chips with the canola oil for 1 minute, stir well to melt the chips -  heat an additional 30 seconds if needed to melt completely.  Pour chocolate melt over the crackers when they come out of the oven.  Sprinkle with English toffee and nuts.  Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to set then slice or break into sections to serve.

These are three different options that are "outside the box" but wonderfully delicious ways to make your holiday season simple and spectacularly delicious!  I hope you enjoy these and have yourself  Merry Little Christmas Now!!!


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

It's Fall Ya'll and it FINALLY cooled off enough to prove the calendar right!  I love all things Fall, the leaves, sweaters, football, fireplaces and FOOD!  Every Thanksgiving, we all see the same pies -   one pumpkin and one pecan.  I got all twisted up this year and threw the two together into a cobbler!!!  When I first learned of this hot water baking technique, I was a complete skeptic but my kitchen adventurer still lives within me and I went for it.  Here's what you need:

Dry Mix:
1 cup + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Wet Mix:
1/2 cup pumpkin pie mix
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups very, very hot water

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a smaller bowl, stir pumpkin, milk, melted butter and vanilla together to combine. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix to create a thick batter. Pour into a greased 8-inch casserole dish with high sides.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir sugar, brown sugar and pecans together. Spread over the top of the batter evenly.
  5. Pour hot water over the entire thing {WITHOUT STIRRING A THING!} and bake for 40 minutes or once the middle is set. {Be sure to place on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over.}
  6.  Cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with more pecans and vanilla bean ice cream.
This recipe takes some faith as I did not believe for one minute that this hot water baking would work but  oh my goodness it did the trick!  There is a lava quality goodness to this and it will become our new Thanksgiving Favorite for years to come!!! Grab a spoon and Fall in Love!!!


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Mexican Cornbread Casserole

With the cool temperatures finally here, I'm looking for something different for dinner.  Something that goes together easily makes my home smell wonderful and cooks quickly (hey, this cook is busy)!  A friend suggested that I make Mexican Cornbread but that just didn't seem like enough so I started looking around for a heartier version and nothing quite suited me so I went off on my own! 
Here's how is goes...

2 lbs lean ground beef
2 or 3 shakes of red pepper flake
1/8 cup chili powder
salt and  pepper
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
1 can cream corn
1 can whole kernel corn
3 batches of cornbread (a box mix is fine)
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 bunch green onions
sour cream, salsa or Tobasco

Chop the bottom half of the green onions (including the white tips) and add the chopped onion to your ground beef, add chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and brown in a large skillet.  Drain well and add the meat back into a large stock pot. 

Drain the Rotel but don't press the tomatoes, you want some moisture but not too much. Add the Rotel to the ground beef and keep it cooking over low heat.  I had some cherry tomatoes on hand so I quartered those and added them in (why not right?).

Mix your cornbread. You can make it from scratch or use a box mix - either is fine.  Mix in the cream corn to the cornbread.  Spray your baking dish well and put down about 1/2 the cornbread mix. Top with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar (about 4 ounces), spread the drained whole kernel corn then cover with the ground beef mixture.  Top with the remaining cornbread mix and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake at 350* for 30 - 40 minutes.  I like this with a dollop of sour cream or salsa and garnished with green onions.  You might like it spicier so dash it with Tobasco sauce if you're a hottie!  If you really what to zip this all the way up, add a can of chopped green chilies (drained) and you'll totally kick the flavor to the top of the scale.  I made mine a mild version and it's just yummy!!!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Apple Crumble Cheesecake

Apple Festival is almost here and I've been saving this beauty for just this occasion!  She's a little long on baking time but oh so worth it!  My house smells amazing and I can't wait to drizzle this baby and grab a cold glass of milk!  I shopped a lot this weekend so those calories have had a preemptive strike! :~)

You'll Need:

For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted
For the Filling:
3 ( 8 ounce) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 (21 ounce) apple pie filling
For the Crumb Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted
For the Drizzle:
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon water
For the Crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon; stir in butter.
Press into a 9-inch spring form pan on the bottom and up the side of the pan 1-inch.
Bake 6 minutes.
For the Filling:
In a large mixing bowl add the cream cheese and sugar; beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs (one at a time), sour cream and flour.  Fold in the pie filling; pour into crust. Bake 45 minutes.
For the Crumb Topping:
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon. Use a pastry cutter or fork to cut in the butter. Sprinkle over hot cheesecake; bake an additional 45 minutes or until crumbs are lightly browned. Turn oven off; let cake stand in the oven with the door closed 1 hour. Run a knife around the edge to loosen. Uncover cheesecake; remove side of pan.
Cool on rack; cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
For the Drizzle:
In a medium bowl whisk together the confectioners' sugar and water. Using a fork, drizzle over cake.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Cinnamon Roll Cake

I have to give credit where credit is due!  The applause for this delicious creation goes to my Sister-In-Law, Kathy.  She served this when I was at home a few weeks ago and I ate almost every bite she sent home to the hubs!  I've never baked with sour cream but this came out wonderful!!!  I baked a few in wide mouth pint mason jars - the presentation was amazing!  We love this and I hope you do too!

1 (18 1/4 ounce) box yellow cake mix
34 cup oil
1 cup sour cream
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 cups white powdered sugar
4 tablespoons whole  milk

Preheat oven to 325°F Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Mix together cake mix, eggs, oil and sour cream. Pour into prepared baking pan.

In a separate bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over cake batter then swirl into batter with a knife. The more you swirl, the more combined it will be so don't over-swirl otherwise the cinnamon/sugar will not be swirly.

Bake for 40 minutes.
For icing (optional) combine milk with icing sugar and mix thoroughly. Pour over slightly cooled (10-15 minutes on cooling rack) cake.  I had to take this to a picnic so I covered the cooled cake with wax paper then sealed with press and seal.  Traveled GREAT!!!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Country Ham and Tomato Quiche

I've been home to Tennessee recently and it always makes me nostalgic.  Growing up in the country at a slower pace...before fast food and the internet overtook our lives - things were just simpler and maybe even more savory.  In my food memory, country ham always takes be back to Daddy's hams hanging in our smoke house.  Having grown up with his home smoked hams has made me country ham Snob!  If you have to purchase your ham, get Cifty Farms Country Ham.  It's made in my home town of Paris, Tennessee and is completely wonderful.  I've found it at all the local grocery stores (thank goodness)!!!

6 oz Country Ham
2 1/2 c Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Box Cherry Tomatoes
8 Eggs
1 c Heavy Whipping Cream
1 c Half an Half
1 pinch Nutmeg
1 pinch Cinnamon
1 pinch Sugar
2 grinds of Salt
6 grinds of Pepper
1 Refrigerated Pie Crust

Fry your country ham but don't over cook it (if you cook more than a minute on each side - it can be tough).  Drain then chop the ham into small pieces and set aside to cool.  I quartered each cherry tomato - you could get away with halving them but I like my bites to have tiny pieces instead of large ones - you could also just cube a very large Big Boy tomato and it would be just fine.

Spray your baking dish (you can use ramekins, a large pie dish or a spring form pan)  liberally with Bakers Secret (I swear by that stuff).  Add your rolled pie crust to line your dish.  I left a two inch over the edge drop.  Add the country ham, then the tomato bits and top with 2 cups of the shredded cheddar.

Whip 8 eggs with a cup of heavy whipping cream and a cup of half and half.  Spice with nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper.  You need very little salt as the country ham is salty already.  When your egg mix is completely blended, gently pour over into your shell.  Take that extra crust edging and fold it to make a rim around your dish.

Always use a cookie sheet or baking sheet under your baking dish.  The eggs will get really high while baking and you don't want overflow.  Having to urgently clean your oven is not fun - trust me on this one! :)

Bake at 350* oven for approximately 1 hour.  Start checking you quiche at 45 minutes and remove from the oven when a skewer inserts to a firm center and comes out clean.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and return to the oven until melted (just a minute or two).

Let the quiche sit for 5 minutes if using ramekins or a pie dish.  Let sit 15 minutes if using a spring form pan, then release the sides.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  I pair this with garlic bread and a Caesar salad to give it a nice  accompaniment. 

If you have left overs - this also makes a delicious breakfast! The first recipe that I found for this dish said it took 3 hours to make!  That's just crazy!  I'm too busy to make a three hour dish this week so I took some liberties and made this a 15 minute prep time plus the hour to bake.  Toss your salad while it's in the oven then pour something to relax the cook and sit down for a bit.  A relaxed cook is always the BEST cook!

I loved being home and seeing my family.  I hope you get the chance to try this soon and that your family enjoys this as much as we do!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Mousse




There are some things you just don't need to know!  Having figured out this dish is just way to dangerous to my dress size!  I have the great fortune to get to travel to St. Louis frequently and this is my favorite dessert at a downtown restaurant.  I normally get this early in the week and nibble on this nightly to make it last - and man - is it worth it!  This has that perfect combination of chocolate sweetness and pretzel salty that I just can't resist!
I made two big batches of this to take to the office tomorrow.  From start to clean up - 40 minutes flat with no oven time!
You'll need: 

8 oz crushed pretzels
1 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
6  oz melted milk chocolate
1 Tbl canola oil
caramel sauce (store bought ice cream topping)
2 small boxes instant chocolate pudding
4 cup cold whole milk
1 large tub of  whipped topping
extra whole pretzels for garnish
Make the crust first, mix crushed pretzels, melted butter and sugar and put in the bottom of a greased 9x13 dish.  Place the dish in the freezer for 10 minutes to "set" your crust.  Microwave the chocolate chips with a tablespoon of oil - 30 seconds per session until melted and smooth (stir well between sessions).  Drizzle the chocolate over the pretzel crust and return the crust to the freezer. 
Make the mousse next - there are tons of ways to make mousse - I took the simplest route possible.  Add two small boxes of chocolate pudding mix to your large mixer bowl then add 4 cups whole milk.  Using the whisk attachments, beat until smooth and lightly thickened.  Add 1/2 large tub of whopped topping, mixing on slow speed to gently fold into your mixture.  You want your mousse to be smooth so no lumps! 

Remove your crust from the freezer and drizzle with caramel sauce, then top with chocolate mousse.  Return to refrigerator until the mixture has a "set" consistency.  Top with the remaining whipped topping. Cover and keep refrigerated until time to serve.

The garnish on this dish is simply additional pretzels and another drizzle of caramel sauce.

Grab some spoons and get ready to make everyone happy!  This dish got two thumbs up at my house from everyone between the ages of 1 1/2 to ...... well  - let's keep that cap number a secret shall we?  Let's just say the photo op is all gone and we are super happy this Sunday afternoon!

I hope you like this as much as we do - it was totally worth taking a photo of my dinner and playing around with options to figuring out the path to this deliciousness!


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Apple Carrot Coleslaw

Summer is here and it's too hot to don't!  This recipe requires absolutely zero heat in your kitchen and takes just minutes to whip together!  You're getting invited to one cookout after another and you always need to bring a dish.  This cool treat  will leave them asking for seconds and the recipe!  This light and nutritious treat and pairs well with grilled meats as a cool side or  would top a BBQ sandwich with succulent style!

You'll Need:

For the dressing:
10 ounces of plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
2 Tablespoons  apple cider vinegar
a pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Slaw:
1 small cabbage, shredded (6 - 7 cups packed)
1 1/2 cups matchstick carrots
2 large apples, sliced into matchsticks (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup sliced green onions
3/4 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 lemon
I did half a head or red cabbage and half a head of green cabbage to add color.  I used one  granny smith apple and one honey crisp apple to mix the tart and sweet flavors.
Whisk together Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, honey and apple cider vinegar until smooth, while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Chop the vegetables into julienne strips. When you chop your apples, place them into a small dish and toss with the juice from the lemon to prevent browning.
In a large bowl toss together cabbage, carrots, apples, green onions, almonds and cranberries. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture, add a couple pinches of sugar and toss to evenly coat. You can serve this right away or chill it for an hour or so.  If you let it sit in the dressing overnight, your carrots may soften and take away some of the fresh crunch of the dish.  For a picnic or cook out, take your veggie mix and dressing in separate containers then toss together and serve!  This makes such a pretty presentation and you can save some "undressed" for the little ones as healthy finger food to munch!
I just love how this turned out and I hope you will too!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Strawberry Rolls


 It's Spring and my memories of growing up in West Tennessee takes me back to all our Spring Festivals!  I grew up thriving on the World's Biggest Fish Fry in my home town of Paris, followed by the Iris Festival in Erin and the Strawberry Festival in Humboldt.  I've lived in Kentucky for over 30 years so the Kentucky Derby is now part of my Festival tradition.  This sweet roll is a perfect combination of my past and present and will serve beautifully at your Oaks or Derby Feast!  Sweet enough to hold her own or perfect paired with a cup of coffee or a tall chilled glass of milk!  Add this to your Festival menu, sit back and revel in the applause!  This is a Winner's Circle Recipe!

I won't kid you about this recipe, she takes some time and organization.  Pre-measure your ingredients in advance so that you'll be ready when the yeast says go!  Get your day organized and make the most of the time you have while your rolls are "proofing".  This strawberry lady is well worth the wait!
You'll need: 
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup white  sugar
1 ½ Tablespoons active dry yeast (2 standard size packets)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into small  pieces
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ½ cups  all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting/rolling


1¾ cups finely chopped strawberries
1/3 cup white sugar
1½ Tablespoons cornstarch

Lemon Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
2- 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Start with the dough:

In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until lukewarm. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or you can use a handheld mixer). With a whisk, manually stir in the yeast then sugar. Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes. If the yeast does not dissolve and foam, start over with fresh yeast. On low speed, beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the salt. The butter won’t really be mixing into the mixture, so don’t be shocked if it stays in pieces. On low speed, gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms-about 4 minutes.
Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 6 minutes longer. If you do not have a stand-mixer with a hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough loosely with aluminum foil  (spray the underside with baking spray so that it doesn't stick to your dough) and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. I turn the oven on to 200°F then turn it off.  Put a large bowl of warm water on the rack below your dough.  Stick the covered dough inside the oven and allow it to rise in this warm environment.

Make the filling:

Warm the strawberries in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly for 4 minutes until the strawberries begin to release juices. Add the white sugar and cornstarch and continue to stir for another 2 minutes. The mixture will thicken. Remove from the heat, spoon into a heatproof bowl or container, and chill until ready to use. You do not want a warm filling as you spread it onto the dough.

Grease the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 12×18 inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick, even at the corners.

Spread the strawberry filling all over the dough. Tightly roll up the dough to form an 18-inch-long log. Cut into 12 even rolls (about 1 1/2 inches in width each). Arrange them in the prepared baking dish.

Cover the rolls (again, spray the underside of your aluminum foil to prevent sticking) and allow to rise in a warm environment once again until the are puffy—about 1 – 2 hours (or overnight - extra notes below for this option).

After the rolls have risen for the second time, preheat the oven to 375*. Bake for about 25 minutes, until they are golden brown. About halfway through the bake time, cover the rolls loosely with aluminum foil so the tops don’t get too brown. Remove pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes as you make the glaze.

Make the glaze:

Whisk the lemon juice and powdered sugar together until smooth. Pour over warm rolls and serve. Cover leftovers tightly and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2-3 months and warmed up to enjoy at later.


Cover the sliced rolls very tightly and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, remove from the refrigerator and allow to rise in a warm environment for 1 hour then bake and glaze.
Fill and slice the rolls then let them rise the second time.  Bake them at 375* for only about 10 minutes. Cool completely, then cover tightly and freeze up to 2-3 months. Take the rolls out of the freezer and thaw completely in the refrigerator. Let the dough come to room temperature for about an hour then bake an additional 10 minutes and glaze.  
Grab a fork and enjoy!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Key Lime Pound Cake

Spring has sprung and there are special events at every moment.  I have a very important bridal event coming up and Key Lime is her favorite.  After a good deal of research, I think I've found a real winner to make her celebration wonderful!  This is a delectable twist on an old  Southern favorite...Key Lime Pound Cake!  Light and luscious!

This classic cake  can accompany any variety of menu items or hold it's own with a simple cup of coffee.  Prep and baking time are manageable...the result is Magnificent!

You'll need:

Cake - 
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup Butter flavor Crisco
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1  1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup fresh Key lime juice
Glaze -
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh Key lime juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
I learned a lot about juicing and zesting today!   Who knew there was an art to these simple tasks!  Zest the fruit whole  - then juice - trust me, on this.  You get much more zest from the whole fruit and the press from the zest frees up the juice for the next step. Do these tasks first. it makes your process faster and easier.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In your stand mixer, beat butter and Crisco at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.
Mix in vanilla, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes at 325* or until a sharp knife inserts and comes out clean.
Whisk together powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons fresh Key lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Immediately brush or drizzle over top and sides of cake.
Cool completely before serving
This has a pleasant presentation and pairs well with other dishes or stands alone beautifully.  I just love it and I hope that you do too!
Cheers and Congratulations! xxooxx

Sunday, March 6, 2016

March Madness Seven Layer Sandwich

It's March in Kentucky and that brings a special type of competition known as March Madness!  People plan their lives and vacation around the upcoming college basketball games and assemble in mass to cheer on their favorite teams.  I am not a basketball fan but I do love many that are, so my role is to FEED them!  I got this recipe from my cousin and it's been very popular on the Internet lately.  I thought I'd give it a try to see if all the buzz was worth it.  I think we have a WINNER here! 

You'll need:

2 (12-oz) sirloin or top loin steaks
Freshly ground salt and pepper (buy grinders for both, you'll be glad you did!)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
½ large yellow onion, chopped
2 cups button mushrooms, chopped
1 large sourdough bread bowl
5 slices cheddar cheese
1 cup baby spinach
8 strips cooked bacon
5 slices Provolone or Swiss cheese

Season each steak generously with salt and pepper, making sure to rub the salt and pepper into the sides of the steak.

Using your heaviest skillet, heat 3 pats of butter until melted.  Lay one steaks in the pan and cook for about 3-4  minutes. Flip the steak, add one more pat of butter and baste while cooking another 3-4 minutes.   Set the steaks aside on a cutting board to rest.  Repeat this process with the second steak.

Wipe out the skillet and heat the 3 pats of butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and sauté, stirring constantly, until caramelized, about 20 minutes.  If this starts to get too dry during cooking, add a pat or 2 of extra butter.

Using a serrated knife, slice the top off the bread and scoop out the insides to create a bread bowl. Nestle one steak into the bottom of the bread bowl. Layer the cheddar cheese evenly on top. Add the caramelized onions and mushrooms and use a spoon to spread them evenly over the cheese. Top with the spinach, then the bacon, then the Provolone or Swiss cheese.

Finally, put the second steak on top, tucking it under the lip of the bread bowl. Cover with the bread lid and wrap the entire loaf in foil. I didn't scrimp on the foil, I used about  4-5 layers tucked tightly to avoid any possibility of this bad boy drying out!

Place the wrapped sandwich on a baking dish.  Stack weights or large books on top cutting board to compress the sandwich.  Chill in the fridge for at least 5 hours.  I used three 10lb weights that I borrowed from Thing #2 and let mine chill for 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 275˚F. Remove the foil from the sandwich and place it on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until the bread is slightly crisp. Slice into wedges...mine was still cool in the center so I microwaved each slice for 1 minute to completely melt the cheese.  Brace yourself - this will smell heavenly!  I added a side of salt and pepper kettle chips and dill pickle spears then watched the hubs devour it!

This is the perfect make head sandwich for the big game.  My  crew loved it!   I hope yours does too!   GAME  ON!!!

Sunday, January 31, 2016


Valentine's Day is right around the corner so I'm baking up some treats for my sweets!  No matter how old we get, everyone loves to dunk!  Biscotti is just the right mix of cookie and cake that dunks like no other or can stand alone as a delicious sweet treat.

You'll need:

Base Cookie
2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (melted)
1/2  teaspoon canola or vegetable oil
Baker's Secret Spray

Milk Chocolate Chips
Vanilla Chips
Dark Chocolate Chips
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Melt your butter in the microwave.  I use a coffee cup and heat it for 30 seconds.  Melt your unsweetened chocolate squares (chop into individual squares) with 1/2 teaspoon oil in the microwave (30 seconds, stir, repeat).

Mix both the sugars, eggs, vanilla and melted butter, blend well.  Add the sugar mixture to the flour and blend (I use a mixer beater and hand blend)  until the dough starts to set, then switch to using your hands (dusted lightly with flour).

Flip your dough on to a floured cutting board and divide dough into two equal pieces.  Return one piece back to the mixing bowl.  Split the section on your cutting board  and roll each into two 10 inch logs.  

Add melted unsweetened chocolate to the dough in the mixing bowl.  This can be messy, just flour your hands lightly and do it!  Take the chocolate dough to the floured cutting board and divide in two.  Roll into two 10 inch logs.

Place a chocolate dough on top of plain dough and roll to fuse them together.  Place each diagonally in the center of a well sprayed (Baker's Secret is the best)  large baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350*  Remove from oven and cool the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Use a large spatula to transfer dough to a clean floured cutting board.  Use a serrated knife to slice diagonally.  I use my best bread knife for this.  Be gentle, you don't want to crumble your cookie. Re-spray your baking sheet and place slices of cookie cut side down and bake 15 minutes at 300*.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt your chocolate and vanilla chips in separate dishes - 10 ounces of chips and 1 Tablespoon of oil.  Microwave 1 minute, stir and repeat.  Drizzle over cooled cookies then place in the fridge for 20 minutes to set the chocolate after each drizzle.  You'll need to refrigerate after each flavor of chocolate topping or they blend together into a very unattractive mess!

Place on a serving tray, garnish with strawberries for a colorful and pretty presentation.  Serve these heavenly treats with your favorite coffee, cocoa or a big chilled glass of milk and let the dunking begin!

Life is Short.
Love is Precious.
Share Special with your Loves as Often as Possible.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Kentucky Marinade Pork Tenderloin

It's a very important time of year!  It's SEC Football Bowl Season (yes, I know other NCAA teams play but I only cheer for SEC teams), NFL Playoff Season and almost Super Bowl Season!  I do love the game of pigskin and I always want to serve something super yummy when cheering on our favorites!  I took a tour of my old trusty  recipe box (you know, the real wooden box that holds your best recipes -  those written by hand on recipe cards or photo copies for the best dishes from your family and friends .  There was an entire  Pre-Pinterest era....believe it - it was real).  I happened upon an old and ingredient laden recipe (I'm not always neat when I'm mixing.  The goodness level is -  the more stained, the better the recipe)!  I haven't made this in years and I have no idea why!  Bringing back an oldie but a goodie!

For the marinade you'll need:
1/2 cup Kentucky Bourbon
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Brown Sugar (packed)
3 Cloves of Minced Fresh Garlic (can substitute 3 tsp dried if needed)
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Powdered Ginger
3 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

1 pkg Pork Tenderloin (there are two per package)

Whisk together all marinade ingredients, reserve 1/2 for basting when cooking.  Place the tenderloins in a gallon size zip lock bag ( I double bag - no one wants a messy surprise if you have a leak).  Add the remaining half of the marinade to the pork and seal tightly.  Refrigerate for 12 - 24 hours, flip package over half way thru the chilling cycle.  Refrigerate the reserved marinade until time to cook.

When it's cooking time, put the reserved marinade in a sauce pan and heat to a low boil for at 8 - 12 minutes.  Whisk frequently to keep this from burning - it has a high sugar content and can get away from you quicker than you think.  The cooking will "marry" your ingredients and cook out the alcohol content.  You'll use this to baste while cooking your pork.

Remove the pork from marinade and place on a well greased grill (spray with cooking pray - this can get sticky).  Grill tenderloins over medium high heat for 30 - 40 minutes or until the core temperature is at least 165*.  It was dark and cold tonight so I baked mine in the oven at 350* for 45 minutes. I miss the classic grill marks but this is just as tender and tasty!  I baste every 10 minutes and flip half way thru cooking for a nice even brown on the outside.  Be sure not to let this dry out by overcooking.   I baked open dish, no foil.

Serve this on your favorite bread.  I like to mix  several pairings to give my guests a variety.  Onion Rolls, Ciabitta Rolls and Hawaiian Rolls are my favorites.  You can add a cheese of choice, I like Swiss and Sharp Cheddar the best.  The hubs loves caramelized onions on top served on an Onion Rolls - it's his fav!  I like Swiss on Ciabitta myself!  Top the way YOU like it and cheer that team to a tasty WIN!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Cabbage Steaks

Happy New Year Ya'll!

You know that New Years day requires pork, black eyed peas and cabbage...those are the rules here in the South.  The Hubs loves cooked cabbage and I try to please, so today I took a venture into Cabbage Steaks!

Man what a success!  I've never even tasted cooked cabbage until today - I am now a convert!

You'll need:
1 head green cabbage (wash, drain and slice into 1inch steaks)
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp fresh ground sea salt
1/2 tsp onion flakes
1/2 tsp garlic flakes
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

You'll use half your seasonings on one side then use the remainder when you flip your steaks - except for the red pepper - one sprinkle was enough for me!

Spray a baking pan and lay your cabbage on the pan, drizzle with Olive oil (I used as little as possible).  Season with salt, black pepper, onion and garlic then add just a pinch of red pepper flakes - a little of those go a looong way!

Bake at 400* for 20 minutes.  Flip (very carefully) then sprinkled the up side with the other half salt, black pepper, onion and garlic. Return to oven for another 10 - 12 minutes.

This made four steaks for us and they are all gone!  I tried something New and loved it!  I hope you do too!