Monday, December 28, 2009

Southern Sausage Balls

1 lb. hot sausage (Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage)
3 cups of Bisquick
1 cup water
12 ounces sharp shredded cheese

Mix all ingredients blending well…….use your hands……
Roll into small balls and bake 350 degrees for 15 minutes

Makes about 4 dozen balls

This recipe has been a part of our family
parties  for as long as I can remember.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Creole Green Beans

Green beans are low in calories and loaded with nutrients — an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium, foliate, and iron . . . they are a good source of magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, copper, calcium, phosphorus, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and niacin.

Substitute olive oil instead of butter and use fresh green beans to make this recipe healthier.  Bacon? Up to you . . . but bacon makes everything better.

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 (14 ounce) package frozen green beans
6 thick slices bacon, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt to taste

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. 

Stir in green beans, bacon, onion, green pepper, and garlic; cook and stir until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. 

Stir in cayenne pepper, Creole seasoning, and black pepper. Cover; reduce heat to low. 

Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. 

Season to taste with salt. 

Ham and Swiss Cheese Potato Bake

There is nothing like an awesome meal that
is quick and
easy . . . this is comfort food!

Serves: 6

Prep. time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 65 minutes

1 package Betty Crocker® julienne potatoes
2 1/2 cups boiling water
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, (4 ounces)
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs

Heat oven to 400°F.

Stir together potatoes, sauce mix and boiling water in
ungreased 2-quart casserole. Stir in milk, ham and cheese.

Bake uncovered 50 minutes; sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Bake 10 to 14 minutes longer or until top is golden brown.

Source: Betty Crocker® Cookbook

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cooking and Cleaning Tips

This article from the Old Farmer's Almanac
website was meant for the holidays,
but they are great tips for any day of the year!

I have added the website link on the sidebar for future reference . . . check out their cooking and recipe section, it is awesome!

  • Before you cook even one holiday recipe, remove kitchen clutter, making as much room as you can for holiday preparations. Cast a cold, hard eye on those kitchen counters. Get out a large cardboard box and fill it with all the things you won't need, and stash the box in the attic or basement.

  • Attack the refrigerator. Discard everything that's past its prime. Make space to chill bowls of cookie dough, batches of eggnog, and perishable food gifts you may receive.

  • Read recipes carefully and think through every special meal you'll cook. Organize your work area. Pay special attention to pan sizes and the space you will need for such activities as rolling dough and combining several bowls of ingredients.

  • Check to make sure you have plenty storage containers and materials, including of plastic wrap, waxed paper and aluminum foil. If you use glass or plastic containers with snap-on lids, organize them so they're easy to find—and that includes the lids that fit them.

  • Clean as you go. Make a habit of washing, drying, and putting away equipment as soon as you can after using it.

  • If you face a roasting pan with baked-on grease and gunk, fill the sink with hot water, add 2 tablespoons of dishwasher detergent, and soak the pan overnight. Then scrub it with steel wool.

  • If you burn something and it sticks to the bottom of the pan, let the pan cool off. Scrape out as much of the burned food as you can. Then fill the pan with cold water and add 3 tablespoons of salt or baking soda. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, bring the water slowly to a boil and let it simmer for 20 minutes. The pan should just wipe clean.

  • If your glassware looks cloudy, put 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the offending vessel and fill it to the top with hot water. Let it sit for at least three hours. Then rinse it out and wash it in warm, soapy water.

  • When cleaning heavily tarnished silver, rub it with a damp cloth sprinkled with salt; then wash off the salt and polish the silver. If you run out of silver polish, use toothpaste. It works just as well and smells a whole lot better.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


1 teaspoon white sugar
1 package active dry yeast (.25 oz)
1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with flour; stir well to combine. Stir in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour is absorbed. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for about 1 minute.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly.

Pat or roll the dough into a sheet and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the dough with oil and sprinkle with salt.

Bake focaccia in preheated oven for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired crispness. If you like it moist and fluffy, wait about 10 minutes. If you like it crunchier and darker in the outside, you may have to wait 20 minutes. Keep close watch the first time you make this recipe so you will know how long to bake it the next time.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Salsa Cornbread


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, or equivalent buttermilk powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup drained canned corn kernels
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Place a 9-inch cast-iron skillet (or similar ovenproof skillet, see Tip) in the oven to heat.

  2. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

  3. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, butter and honey in a medium bowl. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients; mix with a rubber spatula. Stir in corn, onion, tomato, garlic and jalapeno.

  4. Remove the skillet from the oven and coat it with cooking spray. Pour in the batter, spreading evenly. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake the cornbread until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.


Almond Party Spread Cream Cheese

1 package cream cheese -- (8 ounce)
1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese -- (6 ounces)
1/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
2 tbl chopped green onion
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp pepper
1/3 cup sliced -- toasted almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Thoroughly mix all ingredients
except crackers and spread into a 9
inch pie plate.

Bake 15 minutes, stirring after 8 minutes.

Serve with crackers.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups

Super Bowl Sunday Snacks
Source: Home Cooking January 1996

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Caramel Pecan Pie

1 9-inch pie crust -- pre-baked for 12 minutes at 350

1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups pecans (toasted and chopped)

Combine sugars, butter, and honey in a heavy-bottom sauce pan; cook over medium heat, and stir only until melted. Heat until mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream and pecans (mixture will bubble slightly).

Pour into pre-baked pie shell and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes.

Serves 6-8

Source: The Florida Department of Agriculture

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cream cheese pound cake

Can't wait to try this one out!

1 1/2 C. butter softened
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese softened
3 C. sugar
6 eggs
2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. lemon extract
3 C. all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
Confectioners' sugar
sliced fresh strawberries and whipped cream optional

In a large bowl cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; beat into creamed mixture until blended.

Pour into a greased and flour 10" fluted tube pan. Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Garnish with confectioners' sugar, strawberries.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

7-Layer Meatless Tortilla Pie

from Campbell's Kitchen

Prep Time: 20 min.
Bake Time: 40 min.


2 cans (about 15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup Pace® Picante Sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 can (about 15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small tomato, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
7 flour tortillas (8-inch)
8 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)


Mash the pinto beans in a medium bowl with a fork. Stir in 3/4 cup picante sauce and the garlic powder.

Stir the remaining picante sauce, cilantro, black beans and tomato in a medium bowl.

Place 1 tortilla onto a baking sheet. Spread 3/4 cup pinto bean mixture over the tortilla to within 1/2-inch of the edge. Top with 1/4 cup cheese. Top with 1 tortilla and 2/3 cup black bean mixture. Top with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat the layers twice more. Top with the remaining tortilla and spread with the remaining pinto bean mixture. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake at 400°F. for 40 minutes or until the filling is hot. Uncover the pie. Top with the remaining cheese. Cut the pie into 6 wedges. Serve with additional picante sauce and sprinkle with additional cilantro, if desired.

Serves 6.

kitchen clip

If you like spicy food, stir some minced jalapeno into the Pace® Picante Sauce and garlic powder.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Turtle Praline Tart

1 refrigerated pie pastry
36 caramels
1 C. heavy whipping cream divided
3 1/2 C. pecan halves
1/2 C. semi sweet chocolate chips

On a lightly floured surface unroll pastry. Transfer to an 11" fluted tart pan with removeable bottom; trim edges. Line unpriced pastry with a double thickness of heavy duty foil. Bake at 450 for 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5-7 minutes longer or until light golden brown.
In a large saucepan, combine caramels and 1/2 C. cream. Cook and stir over medium low heat until caramels are melted. Stir in pecans. Spread filling evenly into crust.

In a small microwave safe bowl, melt chips, drizzle over filling. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set. Whip remaining cream serve with tart.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Panera Bread's Baked Potato Soup

Panera Bread is one of my favorite places to hang out . . . rarely do I miss out on a cup of this awesome soup.

4 large baking potatoes
5 slices bacon
1/2 cup butter
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups milk
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups (6-ounces) grated cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Scrub potatoes well and prick several times with fork; bake approximately 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out potato pulp; set aside. Discard skins.

Cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving drippings, crumble, and set aside.

In a large soup pot over low heat, add reserved bacon dripping and butter. Add onion and saute approximately 4 to 5 minutes until soft. Stir in flour until well combined; cook for several minutes, but do not let brown. Gradually add milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add potato, salt, pepper, crumbled bacon, and 1 cup cheese.

Stir while cooking until cheese is melted, add in sour cream. Additional milk may be added to adjust thickness.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cherry Chocolate Cobbler

1-1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter
1 (6 oz.) pkg. Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/4 c. milk
1 egg
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
1/2 c. nuts, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter; cut with pastry blender until crumbs are the size of large peas.

Melt Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate morsels over hot (not boiling) water. Remove from heat and cool slightly at room temperature (about 5 minutes).

Add milk and egg to melted chocolate and mix well.

Blend chocolate into flour mixture. Spread cherry pie filling in bottom of 2 quart casserole. Drop chocolate batter randomly over cherries. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes.

Serve warm with heavy cream.

Makes 6 servings.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Coconut Oatmeal Crispies

1 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup flaked coconut
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

In a mixing bowl, cream the shortening and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

Combine the oats, flour, coconut, baking soda, and the salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture.

Shape into two 6 inch rolls. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

Unwrap the dough and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 F for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove to the wire racks to cool. Makes 4 dozen

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Caramel Cream Sandwich Cookies

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour

2 tbsp butter (do not use margarine)
1 1/4 cups powdered sygar
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 to 5 tsp milk

In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar and 1 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium speed. Scrape the bowl occasionally until light and fluffy.

Beat in the egg yolk.

On low speed, beat in the flour until well blended.

If necessary, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes for easier handling.

Heat the oven to 325 F.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. With a fork dipped in flour, flatten each ball to 1 1/2 inches round.

Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool for 1 minute. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a 2-quart saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, until light golden brown. Remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining frosting ingredients. Add enough milk until smooth and spreadable. Spread 1 teaspoon of frosting between the bottoms of pairs of cooled cookies.

Makes 30 sandwich cookies

Recipe Source: Pillsbury Bake-Off - Helen Beckman

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Colorful Caramel Bites

1 cup + 6 Tbs. flour, divided
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
1-3/4 cups "M&M's" semi-sweet chocolate mini baking bits, divided
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
12 oz. jar caramel ice cream topping

Heat oven to 350.

Combine 1 cup flour, oats, sugar, baking soda and salt;
blend in melted butter to form crumbly mixture.

Press half the crumb mixture onto bottom of 9x9 inch baking pan;
bake 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with 1 cup "M&M's" baking bits and 1 cup nuts.

Blend remaining 6 Tbs. flour with caramel topping; pour over top.

Combine remaining crumb mixture, remaining 3/4 cup "M&M's" and remaining 1/2
cup nuts; sprinkle over caramel layer.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool completely.

Cut into squares. Makes 36 bars.

Source: Favorite Brand Name 100 Best Bake Sale Recipes

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Crab Toast

I have not tried this recipe personally, but plan on trying it out soon. I would use real crab meat! Don't know what the originator of the recipe considers to be Italian cheese blend, but I would use mozzarella cheese . . .

1 loaf French bread
1/4 C. butter cubed
4 plum tomatoes peeled and finely chopped, divided
1 jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
2 t. minced fresh cilantro
2 (8 oz) pkg. imitation crab meat
3/4 C. ricotta cheese
1/2 C. sour cream
2 C. shredded Italian cheese blend divided

Cut bread in half horizontally, hollow out top and bottom leaving 1" shells. Crumble removed bread, set aside.

In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat; add half of the tomatoes. Add the jalapeno, garlic and cilantro; cook and stir for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, combine the crab, ricotta and sour cream. Stir in the tomato mixture, reserved bread crumbs and 1 C. cheese blend. Spoon into bread shells. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Top with remaining cheese blend and tomatoes. Bake 5-7 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Source: Dorie @

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Apple Crisp Muffins

3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 medium apple, pared and copped
1/2 tsp cinnamon

2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup margarine
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 400.

Grease muffin pan.

Beat milk, oil and egg. Add apples. Stir in
flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinamon, all at once, until flour is

Divide into muffin tray.

Mix the crisp ingredients together,
generously top each muffin with the crisp mixture.

Bake about 18-20 minutes.

(makes 1 dozen)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Double Coconut Cream Pie

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1 8 ounce can cream of coconut (3/4 cup)
3 beaten egg yolks
2 tbl. margarine
1 cup flaked coconut
2 tsp. vanilla
1-9" baked pastry shell
3 egg whites
½ tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbl. flaked coconut

For filling:
In a medium saucepan combine first 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir
in milk and cream of coconut. Cook and stir over medium heat till thickened
and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Gradually stir about 1 cup of the
hot milk mixture into the beaten egg yolks, stirring constantly. Return all
the mixture to saucepan. Cook and stir till bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes
more. Remove from heat. Stir in margarine till melted. Stir in 1 cup coconut
and 2 tsp. vanilla. Pour filling into baked pastry shell.

For meringue:
Let egg whites stand at room temp. for 30 minutes. In a mixing bowl beat egg
whites, ½ tsp. vanilla, and cream of tartar on medium speed of electric
mixer till soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tbl.
at a time, till stiff peaks form. Evenly spread meringue over hot filling;
seal to pastry edge. Sprinkle with 2 tbl. coconut.

Bake in 350°F oven for 15 minutes. Cool for 1 hour on wire rack. Cover and chill 3-6 hours before serving.

Coconut Macadamia Nut Pie

1 refrigerated pie crust
1 can cream of coconut
2 boxes cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
1 3/4 cups milk
4z macadamia nuts, chopped
1 ½ cup heavy cream
2/3 cup shredded coconut, toasted

Heat oven to 450°F.

Place piecrust into 9" pie plate and crimp edges.

Bake at 450°F for 10 min.

Cool completely.

Reserve 3 tbl. of the cream of coconut.

In a medium saucepan, mix remaining cream of coconut, pudding mix and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick, about 18 min.

Take off heat and stir in half of the nuts.

Pour filling into cooled piecrust and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Whip cream and reserved 3 tbl. cream of coconut to stiff peaks.

Spread over top of pie.

Top with remaining nuts and toasted coconut.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

Bleu Cheese and Onion Dip


3 ounce package of cream cheese
3 ounces of bleu cheese, crumbled
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried minced onion (or fresh chopped fine)
dash of garlic powder
dash of black pepper

In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese and bleu cheese together.
Stir in the remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.

This dip is good with crackers, raw
vegetables, and potato chips.

Gooey Chocolate Cookies

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 pkg. (18 1/4 oz.) chocolate cake mix

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. Add the cake mix and mix well. The Dough Will Be Sticky.

Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Roll rounded tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 F. for 9-11 minutes or until the tops are cracked. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen

Recipe Source: Taste Of Home - Angela Bailey

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Old Fashioned Split Pea Soup

All I need are carrots and celery to make this yummy soup . . . my mom just brought me the ham bones from Easter dinner . . . can't wait for the aroma of this soup cooking to fill my house! Oh yeah . . . don't forget some really good bread to go with this.


1 pound dry green split peas
2 quarts water
1 meaty ham bone
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
dash pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste


In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, cover dried peas with 2 quarts of water. Bring split peas to a boil; boil gently for 2 minutes. Set aside to soak for 1 hour. Add ham bone, chopped onion, garlic powder, marjoram, thyme, and pepper. Bring split pea soup to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove meat from bone; dice and return to pea soup with chopped celery and carrot. Simmer split pea soup slowly for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste split pea soup and add salt.

Yield: 8 Servings

Source: my recipe files . . . I have no idea where this recipe came from

Friday, April 3, 2009

Better than Anything Cake

I love those recipes that are "semi-homemade" . . .


1 box yellow cake mix
1 c. sugar
1 large can of crushed pineapple


1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding
2 c. milk
1 9-ounce tub of Cool Whip (whipped topping)
1 large back of shredded coconut


Bake cake as directed on the box for a 9x13 pan.

Just before the cake is ready to come out of the oven, mix the sugar and pineapple in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Dissolve sugar completely.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, take a fork and poke holes all over
the top of the cake.

Pour sugar/pineapple mixture over hot cake and set aside to cool completely.

Meanwhile, mix the pudding with 2 cups of milk. Add shredded coconut and
spread evenly on top of cooled cake.


Just before serving time, spread a large container of Cool Whip over the entire top of cake and keep refrigerated.

Source: CakeClubRecipes

Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins


1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1-1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup strawberry jam


In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

In another small bowl, whisk the egg, milk, brown sugar, butter, lemon peel and almond extract.

Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Spoon half of the batter into greased muffin cups. Top each with 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture and 1 teaspoon jam. Top with remaining batter.

Bake at 375° for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Yield: 1 dozen.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Banana Sour Cream Cake

18 oz. box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup oil
8 oz. pkg. Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
16 oz. pkg. powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
1 cup Planters Walnut pieces, finely chopped

1. Heat oven to 350. Beat cake mix, eggs, bananas, sour cream and oil
with mixer on low until moistened, scraping bottom of bowl often.
Beat on medium 2 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 13x9" pan.

2. Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out
clean. Cool cake completely in pan on wire rack.

3. Beat cream cheese and butter with mixer on medium until blended.
Gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition.

4. Remove cake from pan. Carefully cut cake crosswise in half using
serrated knife. Place 1 cake half, top-side down, on plate; spread
top with frosting. Top with remaining cake half; top side up. Frost
top and sides. Press nuts onto sides.

How to Neatly Frost the Cake:
Freeze cake layers about 20 minutes before frosting. This helps to
set the crumbs on the cut edges of the cake layers so they don't pull
up into the frosting. And don't worry if the frosting does not look
perfect on the sides of the cake - the nuts will cover any

Variation How to Prepare in Round Cake Pans
Prepare as directed. Pour evenly into 2 greased and floured 8- or
9-inch round cake pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick
inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on wire
rack; remove from pans. Fill and frost with Philadelphia Walnut
Frosting. Store in refrigerator.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cheap Meals 101 . . . the Gina way

This is more of a cooking concept and what I try to have in the kitchen pantry than an actual recipe.

In my personal every day cooking, if I'm not following a specific recipe, I literally throw a meal together based on what is in my refrigerator and what I'm hungry for. Even in days when money is not a concern, I still cook "cheap" because I hate to waste anything.

It is said that poor people are fat people . . . such is the case with my style of cooking, which usually includes rice, pasta, potatoes or Campbell's "cream of something soup".

Bisquick is my secret to awesome biscuits and pancakes. I must come up with a recipe for both a Bisquick type of baking mix and a "cream of soup" recipe to make cooking even cheaper.

While it is important to pay attention to the
type of food you are eating, what is equally or more important is to eat in moderation.

There are other "must haves" for my pantry . . .

One of my greatest cooking secrets is using the mind boggling variety of salad dressing on the market. Cheap, expensive, healthy, not healthy, low fat, no fat . . .

My favorite salad dressings for cooking are . . . italian dressing, vinegar and oil combinations and my favorite for an oriental flavor is something called Asian Sesame with Ginger and Soy. Check out the salad dressing section of your grocery store . . . I stock up when they go on "buy one get one free" sales.

An assortment of cheeses . . . mozarella, cheddar and parmesean . . . always have them on hand.

Pasta sauces in a jar . . . red and white . . . they come in an assortment of flavors . . . stock up when they go on "buy one get one free" sales.

Dry or canned beans . . . whatever you love. Different varieties of beans and rice are among my favorite meals.

Veggies . . . I always have potatoes, onion, pepper assortment and LOTS OF GARLIC. Tomato is also great to have on hand, but you can do without it. When I can afford it, fresh mushrooms are a must . . . I love them in almost everything.

Meat is optional . . .

I buy eggs two dozen at a time . . .

Although I am not necessarily a vegetarian, I could easily adapt to that lifestyle. I rarely eat beef. I stock up on frozen chicken tenderloins . . . fast, cheap and easy. When whole chickens are on sale . . . go for it . . . super bargain . . . even cheaper.

An example of a thrown together fast and easy "cheap" meal . . .

Start a pot of white rice or pasta . . .

Saute onions, pepper and garlic until almost caramelized . . . throw in chicken, fish or pork and cook until browned. (If using shrimp . . . wait until the last 4 minutes of cooking to add to the mix)

Add salad dressing of your choice . . . between the juice of the onions, pepper and salad dressing, this is your sauce . . . put in as much salad dressing to make the consistency you like.

Cook around 10 minutes or enough for the flavors to blend . . . you must taste as you cook . . . that is half the fun!

Voila . . . cheap, fast, easy and delicious meal . . . let the stove do the work. I find that the longer you cook a meal, the better it tastes as the flavors blend. Usually I get it started, turn down on a lower heat and let it cook down, sometimes for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.

I don't use anything but stainless steel cookware . . . it works for my style of cooking and it does make a difference.

There are various combinations of type of meat and spices that I use . . . I'll try to come up with specific recipes.

Otherwise . . . don't be afraid to experiment . . . if it turns out bad, either have a salad or peanut butter and jelly sandwich or call for a pizza delivery . . . depending on how your money situation is. :)

If you use ingredients that you naturally enjoy anyway, you can't go wrong.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
1/2 cup firm butter or margarine
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. Flour
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 egg
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
1/2 tsp. Ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with
Cooking spray.

2. Place cookie mix in large bowl. With pastry blender or fork, cut in
Butter until mixture is crumbly and coarse. Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb
Mixture; press remaining crumbs in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla and
Egg with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.

4. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked crust. In medium
Bowl, mix pie filling and cinnamon. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.
Sprinkle reserved crumbs over top. Sprinkle with walnuts.

5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool about 30
Minutes. Refrigerate to chill, about 2 hours. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4
Rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Caramel Rice Krispies

1 bag caramels
1 stick butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 pound bag marshmallows
1 med. box rice krispies

Mix unwrapped caramels, butter, and milk. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir. Microwave for 3 more minutes.

Stir in marshmallows, stir until melted. Stir in Rice Krispies, mix until coated. Put into a greased 9x13" pan.

Scalloped Potatoes

Yummy, inexpensive and easy . . . the ultimate comfort food :)


4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
1 can (10 oz.) cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper


Layer potatoes and onions in a 1 1/2 quart casserole.

Mix soup, milk, and salt and pepper. Pour over top the potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika.

Cover and bake at 375 degrees for about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until potatoes are cooked.

Remove cover for the last 10 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chicken and Stuffing Skillet

I can't wait to try this recipe . . . there hasn't been a Campbell's Kitchen recipe that I did not like. It has ingredients I already love . . . except that I will probably add mushrooms. This is one of those recipes that can be totally different using another flavor of soup, cheese or adding vegetables.


1 tbsp. butter OR margarine
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 box (6 oz.) Pepperidge Farm® One Step Stuffing Chicken Mix
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup OR Campbell's® Condensed 98% Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


HEAT butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 12 to 15 min. or until no longer pink. Remove chicken.

PREPARE stuffing in skillet according to package directions except let stand 2 min.

RETURN chicken to skillet. Mix soup and milk. Pour over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and heat through.

Serves 4.

Source: Campbell's Kitchen

Friday, March 6, 2009

German Chocolate Turtle Bars


18 oz. German chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup melted margarine
5 oz. can evaporated milk
14 oz. pkg. caramels (50 candies)
1 cup chopped nuts
6 oz. pkg. chocolate chips


Melt caramels with 1/3 cup (1/2 can) evaporated milk.

Mix together cake mix, margarine, 1/3 cup milk and nuts.

Press 1/2 of the cake mixture into 9x13 pan.

Bake at 350 for 6 minutes.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Pour on caramel mixture. Dab remaining dough over caramel layer.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Seafood Bisque

2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) condensed cream
of mushroom soup, undiluted

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of
celery soup, undiluted

2 2/3 cups milk

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce

1 1/2 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled
and deveined

1 can (6 ounces) crabmeat, drained, flaked, and
cartilage removed

1 jar (4 1/2 ounces) whole mushrooms, drained

3 tbsp Madeira wine or chicken broth

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Minced fresh parsley

In a dutch oven or soup kettle, combine the first eight ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat.

Add the shrimp, crab, and the mushrooms. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Stir in the wine or broth. Add the salt and the pepper.

Cook for 2-3 minutes longer.

Garnish with parsley.

Makes 10 servings

Source: Taste of Home

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Seasoning mixes

I love making my own mixes . . . in my mixes, I use ground red pepper instead of black pepper . . . here are some general guidelines for several types of seasoning mixes:


2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon sage

1 tablespoon ground bay leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
3/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoons red pepper
1/4 teaspoons ground mace (optional)
1/4 teaspoons ground cardamon (optional)

1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons oregano
1 teaspoon red or cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Three Cheese Pasta Bake


1 (16-ounce) package ziti
2 (10-ounce) containers refrigerated Alfredo sauce
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese


Prepare ziti according to package directions; drain and return to pot.

Stir together Alfredo sauce and sour cream; toss with ziti until evenly
coated. Spoon half of mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking

Stir together ricotta cheese and next 3 ingredients; spread evenly over
pasta mixture in baking dish. Spoon remaining pasta mixture evenly over
ricotta cheese layer; sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Makes 8 servings.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ham and Broccoli Bake

TIME: Prep: 15 min. + chilling Bake: 35 min.


1 loaf (8 ounces) day-old French bread, cubed
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Toss bread cubes with butter. Place half in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Top with half of the cheese and broccoli; sprinkle with ham. Top with remaining broccoli, cheese and bread cubes.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and pepper. Pour over casserole. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

Yield: 8 servings.

Taste of Home
October/November 2008 issue

Friday, February 27, 2009

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake

from Simple and Delicious magazine

1 jar (12 oz) maraschino cherries
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 chocolate cookie crust (9 inches)

Drain maraschino cherries, reserving 2 teaspoons juice. Cut cherries into quarters, set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and reserved cherry juice.

Add eggs; beat until just combined.

Fold in chocolate chips and reserved cherries.

Pour into crust, crust will be full.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until center is almost set.

Cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Frugal and healthy cooking . . .

There is a new entry to my favorite food links (found on the side bar of this blog) . . .

The Country Cook is a new blog I discovered today with great articles and practical ideas about saving money in the kitchen and cooking healthy . . . hope you enjoy it as much as I do :)

Cream soup base

Since I use Campbell's Cream of whatever soups alot in my cooking, I have been on a quest to find a recipe so I can save money and make my own . . . this one looks promising. I'll comment on it when I have tried it . . . if you try it first, please comment . . . or if you have a recipe for cream soup base to share.

You can use this recipe to make cream soup from most vegetables. Consider this for asparagus, fresh pea soup, carrot soup, celery soup, and more. Since tastes and veggies vary, be ready to tinker with amounts until you have it just right. You can make hot or cold soup with this recipe.

This is a great recipe for summer when the garden is overflowing with produce.

1 sweet onion, diced
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups vegetables of choice, diced
salt to taste
2/3 cup cream

Sauté the onion dices in the butter until they are tender and translucent but not browned.

Add the flour and stir and cook until a soft paste has formed but not browned.

While still cooking, pour in 1/2 cup of the broth while stirring with a whisk. Gradually add the rest of the broth, stirring to make the mixture smooth and not lumpy as if you were making gravy. Continue cooking until the mixture is bubbly and has thickened.

Add the vegetables and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are soft enough to mash easily.

Pour two to three cups of the liquid into your blender. Puree the mixture until it is smooth. Continue in batches until the entire soup is puréed.

Pour the soup through a strainer into a clean pan. Press any pieces through the sieve with the back of a spoon.

Salt the soup to taste. Add the cream. If the soup needs further thinning, add water. Reheat and serve.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Sassy Fruit Salsa

Sassy Fruit Salsa
1 1/3 cups large chunks peeled kiwifruit (2 medium)
1 cup chopped peeled oranges (2 medium)
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root, if

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
1 cup milk
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
Powdered sugar, if desired

In large bowl, mix salsa ingredients. Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour or until chilled.

Heat oven to 325°F. Generously grease and flour, or spray with baking spray with flour, 10- or 12-cup fluted tube (bundt cake) pan. In medium bowl, beat dry cake mix, milk, cream cheese, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 2 minutes longer. Pour into pan.

Bake 40 to 46 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes; turn upside down onto cooling rack or heatproof serving plate and remove pan. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Place cake on serving plate; sprinkle with powdered sugar. Stir salsa; serve with cake. Store cake loosely covered. Store salsa covered in refrigerator.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reese's Cookies

3/4 cup butter or margarine or 1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat over to 350

Cream butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Add eggs; beat well.

Combine flour and baking soda; blend into creamed mixture.

Stir in chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet.

Makes 5 dozen.

Source: Reese's Peanut Butter Chips package

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Crab Quesadillas

Provided by provided by EatingWell

(an awesome resource for healthy recipes!)

These quesadillas have an irresistibly creamy filling.

They also make great appetizers.

Make it a meal: Serve with your favorite salsa on top and a cup of black bean soup topped with chopped avocado.


  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese , softened
  • 4 scallions , chopped
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper , finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 8 ounces pasteurized crabmeat , drained if necessary
  • 4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil , divided


  1. Combine Cheddar, cream cheese, scallions, bell pepper, cilantro, jalapenos (if using), orange zest and juice in a medium bowl. Gently stir in crab. Lay tortillas out on a work surface. Spread one-fourth of the filling on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.

  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 quesadillas in the pan and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.

Serves 6

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lemony Olive Chicken

from Campbell's Kitchen


1 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
4 lemon slices
4 cups hot cooked rice

HEAT oil in skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned.

ADD soup, milk, lemon juice, pepper and olives. Top with lemon slices. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 5 min. or until done. Serve with rice.

Serves 4.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini

One of my favorite meals!  There are many ways to make what I call shrimp pasta, either a butter base or white sauce with many variations in between.  If you click on the label "shrimp pasta," you will find more recipes.

This recipe comes from one of my favorite chefs, Tyler Florence from the Food Network.  All of his recipes are fabulous!  The link to more recipes from him follow the recipe.


    • 1 pound linguini
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
    • 2 shallots, finely diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
    • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves


For the pasta, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it has come to the boil, add a couple of tablespoons of salt and the linguini. Stir to make sure the pasta separates; cover.

When the water returns to a boil, cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the pasta is not quite done.

Drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the shrimp from the pan; set aside and keep warm.

Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil.

Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil.

When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle over a bit more olive oil and serve immediately.

Source: The Food Network . . . Tyler Florence

Seafood Tomato Alfredo

from Campbell's Kitchen


1 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic Soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup diced canned tomato
1 lb. fresh fish fillet (flounder, haddock or halibut), cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cups hot cooked linguine


Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat.

Add the onion and cook until it’s tender.

Stir in the soup, milk and tomatoes. Heat to a boil.

Add the fish to the skillet and reduce the heat to low.

Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Serve over linguine.

Serves 4

Make it cheaper . . .

Leave out the fish and make veggie pasta by adding broccoli, cauliflower . . . veggie leftovers would be perfect.

This would also be good with rice . . .

An idea for leftovers of this meal . . . use the sauce with some rice in a frittata!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


I'm bumping up this article on Frittata since I consider this one of the best "cheap meals" ever. It is one of my favorite recipes to go to when I am low on funds and have leftovers. Since I eat rice often, I've perfected my frittatas and vary them often.

Last night I made a basic Broccoli Frittata and decided to add some seasoned bread crumbs to the mix and it was AWESOME. I was low on many ingredients that I normally use in my frittata . . . so this was very basic . . . rice, broccoli, egg, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and a handful of seasoned bread crumbs . . . seems like you can't mess this up!

Frittata is a type of Italian omelet that frequently features fillings such as meats, cheeses, and vegetables . . . the main ingredient is usually rice or pasta. This is one of my favorite meals that is great with a salad.

My way of cooking has changed since becoming a widow and cooking for one. I always cooked as if I had a large family since my husband and I always had company just showing up and ended up eating dinner with us. That practice taught me how to cook using leftovers and has come in handy now that it is just me. Especially since I really don't want to eat the same meal night after night and hate to freeze food that I end up throwing away.

The frittata is one of those versatile meals you can throw together fast and vary the ingredients to what you have on hand. My cooking style does not take a recipe and follow it . . . I use it as a guide.

The frittata is perfect for my type of cooking. For instance, I've never used the frozen chopped broccoli . . . since I eat lots of fresh steamed broccoli or green beans, I use the left overs . . . whatever I have left. If I have leftover mushrooms, they go in too. You get the idea. You can also vary the type of rice or substitute rice with any type of pasta.

You can't really mess it up! Just experiment, try to keep the ratios balanced, using the basic ingredients and have fun with it!

Here is a recipe for a Broccoli Frittata that I use as a guide:

2 1/2 tbsp onion, chopped

1 pkg. frozen chopped broccoli (cooked and drained)

2 1/2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 tbsp. butter or margarine

1 small garlic clove, crushed

1 cup Rice, cooked

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 tsp. salt

dash of pepper . . . great with cayenne or red pepper if you like hot

Saute onion in butter until tender. Do not brown. Add broccoli, garlic, rice and Parmesan cheese, mix well. Combine eggs, milk and seasonings. Stir into rice mixture. Turn into well-buttered shallow 1 qt casserole dish. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until set. Makes 2 servings.

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