Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
These crisp, spicy cookies with their cracked, sugary tops are delicious dunked in tea, coffee, or milk and will be a favorite treat enjoyed during the holiday season.



3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 large egg
1/3 cup molasses
2 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

Beat together the shortening, sugar, salt, and baking soda.

Beat in the egg, then the molasses.

Add the flour and spices, beating to make a smooth, fairly stiff dough.

To make the coating, combine the sugar and cinnamon, and place in a shallow pan or dish.

Drop the dough in 1" balls into the cinnamon-sugar mixture; a teaspoon cookie scoop works great.

Roll the balls in the sugar to coat, then transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 1/2" between them; they'll spread as they bake.

Bake the cookies for 11 minutes, for cookies that are crisp around the edges, and "bendy" in the center. Bake for 13 minutes, for cookies that are crisp/crunchy all the way through.

Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool right on the pan, or on a rack. Cool completely, then store tightly wrapped, at room temperature.

Yield: about 5 dozen cookies.

God bless,

For more recipes, visit my blog at:
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Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
Brown Sugar Snowflake Cookies

Just in time for the holidays, these festive cookies will be a hit at your cookie swap, Christmas parties, church activities etc. You might want to make extra so you can keep some for yourself!

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons meringue powder
1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Granulated sugar or decorating pearls, if desired

In large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until blended. On low speed, beat in flour, baking soda and salt.

Divide dough into 4 parts; shape each part into a flat disk. Wrap each disk separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until completely chilled.

Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with cooking parchment paper. On floured surface, roll 1 disk at a time to 1/4-inch thickness (keep remaining dough refrigerated). Cut with snowflake cutters; place on cookie sheets. Reroll scraps once, chilling dough again before cutting.

Bake 8 to 11 minutes or until light golden. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In medium bowl, beat meringue powder and cold water with electric mixer on medium speed until peaks form. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Spoon frosting into decorating bag fitted with medium round tip; pipe frosting on cookies. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Let stand about 5 minutes or until frosting is set.

God bless,

For more recipes, visit my blog at:
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
This super simple yummy dessert is light and delicious!

Hidden Tunnel Cake

1 store-bought angel food cake

1/2 cup boiling water

1 small jell-o (4 serving size)

8 oz. cool whip

1 cup strawberries, chopped

Place cake on serving plate. Cut 3/4-inch-thick horizontal slice from top of cake using a serrated knife; set aside. With small knife, cut 1-inch wide and 1-inch deep tunnel inside center of cake; being careful not to cut through. Remove and save cutout for snack.

Stir boiling water into 1 package (4-serving size) dry Jell-O Brand Gelatin in bowl 2 min. until dissolved. Add enough cold water to 1/2 cup ice to measure 3/4 cup; stir into gelatin until completely melted. Remove 1/2 cup of the gelatin mixture and place in separate medium bowl. Add whipped topping ; stir with wire whisk until well blended. Refrigerate 10 to 15 min. or until thick enough to spread.

Meanwhile, refrigerate remaining gelatin 5 to 10 min. or until thickened. Stir in 3/4 cup of the fruit; spoon into tunnel of cake. Replace top of cake. Frost cake with the whipped topping and gelatin mixture. Garnish top with remaining fruit.

God bless,

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Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
If you pick up any southern cookbook, you'll likely find this recipe. This cake (which is not really a 'cake' but more like a pudding) is a southern favorite.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

1 box graham crackers
2 (3 1/4-ounce) boxes instant French vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

(Tip: For an even quicker frosting, use 1 can of chocolate frosting (found near the cake mixes at your grocery store). Remove lid and foil from the icing. Microwave for a minute or so till the icing is melted and stir. Then cover top layer with melted icing and refrigerate until frosting has hardened again.)

Butter the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan. Line with whole graham crackers. In bowl of an electric mixer, mix pudding with milk; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Pour half the pudding mixture over graham crackers. Place another layer of whole graham crackers on top of pudding layer. Pour over remaining half of pudding mixture and cover with another layer of graham crackers.

For frosting, blend together sugar and cocoa. Add butter and milk, mixing well. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Stir until creamy. Cover cake with frosting and refrigerate for 24 hours.

God bless,

For more recipes, visit my blog at:
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
I know I've been neglecting my blog but I have been super busy and blogging hasn't even been on my "to do" list I'm afraid. Hopefully things will slow down a bit and I can get back to sharing some of my families favorite recipes. Here's one that we made this weekend. I knew the first time I made this dish, several months ago, that it was one I wanted to share. It's smoked mac-n-cheese... yes... you read that right... smoked!!! If you haven't ever tried smoked mac-n-cheese you absolutely must try it. Don't have a smoker? This recipe can also be baked in the oven but if you have a smoker you MUST try this recipe!! :oP

Smoked Mac-n-Cheese

8 oz. package small pasta shells

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

2-3 pinches of garlic powder

3 TBSP butter or margarine

1 can condensed cream of cheddar cheese soup

2 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (reserve 1/2 cup to put on top) (tip: buy block of cheese and shred it yourself... it really does taste better than pre-shredded cheese!)

1/2 cup milk (more or less... if you like creamy mac-n-cheese add more milk. If you like drier mac-n-cheese use a little less)

If you are baking this, preheat oven to 350. Bring a large pot of lightly-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes, then drain. Put pasta back in the pot you cooked it in... why dirty another dish right? Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir the butter, cheese soup and cheese into the pasta mixture until it all melts. Add milk to get the consistency you like. Stir well. Transfer the pasta to a casserole dish. Top with reserved cheese. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until cheese melts. If you are smoking it, place it in the smoker for at least an hour for a light smoky flavor or longer if you prefer a stronger smoke flavor. Enjoy!

God Bless,

For more recipes, visit my blog at:
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
This recipe makes ALOT of soup so you'll need a really big pot... at least 8 Qt. or more would be better!! This soup is packed with carrots, onions, spinach and meatballs and is a delicious comfort meal served with warm crusty bread.

Italian Wedding Soup

For the meatballs:

2 hamburger rolls or 4 slices white bread
2/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 pounds ground beef or meatloaf mix
1 medium onion, grated or very finely diced
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley

For the soup:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, diced; about 2 cups
2 cups finely diced carrots, about 3 large carrots
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 to 4 1/2 quarts (16 to 18 cups) chicken broth, homemade or purchased
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs or 3/4 teaspoon each dried oregano and dried basil
10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
2 2/3 cups uncooked orzo, ditalini, or other small, roundish pasta

To make the meatballs, combine the bread, egg, milk, and salt, stirring till everything is well moistened. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes to soften.

Add the ground meat, onion, cheese, and herbs. Mix gently till thoroughly combined.

Shape tiny meatballs, (about 1" diameter or less). Using a level teaspoon scoop (which volume-wise is actually 2 level measuring teaspoons) makes about the right size. Place the meatballs on a parchment-lined or lightly greased cookie sheet, and refrigerate them while you prepare the soup.

Get out a large pot, at least 8-quart capacity. Pour the olive oil into the bottom of the pot, and add the onions and carrots. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the broth and herbs, bring to a simmer, and cook gently for 10 minutes.

Add the frozen chopped spinach, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, total; the soup will take awhile to come back to a simmer, due to the frozen spinach. Help it along by breaking it up with a fork as it cooks.

Gently drop the meatballs into the soup. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes or so, then stir in the pasta, cooking till it's al dente. For orzo, this will take about 8 minutes or so.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the soup garnished with freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese.

Yield: 29 cups, about sixteen 12-ounce servings.

God bless,

For more recipes, visit my blog at:
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
Ever since watching Bobby Flay's program, Throwdown, the other night where he challenged Clinton Street Baking Company in NY to a Blueberry Pancake battle, I have had a hankerin' for blueberry pancakes. This morning for breakfast we tried this buttermilk pancake recipe and I added 2 cups of blueberries and whipped up some cinnamon honey syrup. Zach had his pancakes just about finished before I could sit down and eat mine. Even Molly had a little taste (minus the syrup... she's watching her figure) and she thought these were scrumptious too!

Buttermilk Pancakes (makes about 6 pancakes)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons butter, melted
2 cups blueberries, if you like

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, egg and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.

Heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. You can flick water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it's ready!

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it's just blended together. Do not over stir! Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle. Sprinkle blueberries on top of pancake if you like. I don't add to them to the batter because if the berries burst, you'll get blue pancakes. If you don't mind blue pancakes, then by all means, toss them in the batter. Pancake will be ready to flip when the batter starts to look dry around the edges and gets little bubbles. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Cinnamon Honey Syrup

1/2 cup honey
1 stick of butter
1/4 cinnamon

While pancakes are cooking, place all ingredients into a saucepan and heat until butter is melted and honey is warmed. Serve warm over pancakes.

God bless,

For more recipes, visit my blog at:

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