Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom

Here's the scoop (pun intended)! LOL! Just for today (from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.), Baskin-Robbins is having a 31 cent scoop night to raise money for the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) National Junior Firefighter Program.

To find more about this fundraiser and participating locations, go to:

God bless!

Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
A little humor for Monday! :o)

Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
I usually prepare just one chicken since that's enough for us but original recipe is for two. If you don't like this marinade, try creating your own and using the ginger-ale baking method... it creates a very moist chicken and is yummy!!

Ginger Ale Chicken

Prep: 10 min.; Chill: 8 hr.; Bake: 1 hr., 40 min.; Stand: 10 min.

Tips: Use oven mitts or a towel to hold and gently slide chickens off the hot cans. Buy reduced-sodium liquid steak seasoning if you are watching your salt in-take.

2 (3-lb.) whole chickens
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup liquid steak seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon pepper
2 (12-oz.) cans ginger ale

Remove giblets and necks, if necessary. Rinse chickens with cold water; pat dry. Place each chicken in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag.

Whisk together oil and next 5 ingredients. Pour evenly over chickens. Seal bags, and chill for 8 hours, turning occasionally. Remove chickens from marinade, discarding marinade.

Using a can opener, carefully remove lids from cans of ginger ale. Remove one-fourth ginger ale from each can, and reserve for another use, leaving remaining ginger ale in can. Place cans in a lightly greased large roasting pan. Place each chicken upright onto a ginger ale can, fitting can into cavity (like the chicken is sitting on the can--yes... it looks funny!). Pull legs forward to form a tripod, allowing chickens to stand upright.

Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thigh registers 170° and chickens are golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes; carefully remove cans before serving.

Apple Cobbler Cake

2 (21-oz.) cans apple pie filling
1 (18.25-oz.) pkg. Butter Recipe or Yellow Cake Mix
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
Vanilla ice cream

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, combine cake mix and butter; blend at low speed for 45 to 60 seconds or until crumbly. Place 1 1/2 cupscake mixture in medium bowl; stir in walnuts or pecans and cinnamon until well mixed and set aside.

Add milk to the remaining cake mixture in large bowl; stir until dry particles are moistened.

Spoon pie filling into ungreased 13x9-inch pan. Top with heaping spoonfuls of cake batter. Sprinkle with nut mixture.

Bake at 375°F. for 30 to 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and cracks appear dry. Cool 30 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
Memories of your mother or grandmother cooking with their pressure cookers probably bring to mind being told to "Stay out of the kitchen", "Don't touch the jiggy-thing" or you might even can tell a story or two of the time dinner exploded all over the kitchen! Today's pressure cookers are much safer and easier to use. I purchased an electric one and it's pretty much goof proof and a great way to get dinner on the table in no time at all without heating up the kitchen. Forget to take dinner out of the freezer? No, problem! With a pressure cooker, you can still have dinner done in just a short time.

Here's a pressure cooker recipe that is one of our favorites:

Barbecued Beef
Yield 6 to 8 servings

1 TBSP vegetable oil

3 to 4 pound boneless, trimmed chuck or rump roast

1 large onion

1 1/2 cup prepared BBQ sauce

1 can (12 oz.) beer --- If you are like me and don't drink... bum one off of your neighbor--or in my case, brother-in-law! They may give it to you with the understanding that they get some BBQ, of course! ;o) You could also probably use a dark cola.

1 1/2 teasp. chili powder

Heat the oil in the pressure cooker over med-high heat. Add the roast and brown evenly on all sides. Add the onion. Cook for 1 minute. Remove roast to a plate and add the BBQ sauce, beer and chili powder. Stir well. Place roast back in sauce. Cover and bring to high pressure over high heat. Lower the heat to stabilize the pressure. Cook for 60 minutes. Remove from heat. Release the pressure and when pressure has dropped, unlock and remove cover. Test with fork; the fork should penetrate easily. If not tender, cover and cook under pressure for an additional 10 minutes.
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
Serve with a salad and/or veggie and dinner is on the table in no time!

Zesty Italian Crescent Casserole

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup of your favorite tomato pasta sauce
6 oz. (1 1/2 cups) shredded mozzarella or monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (8-oz.) can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Heat oven to 375°F. In large skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain. Stir in pasta sauce; cook until thoroughly heated.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine mozzarella cheese and sour cream; mix well.

Pour hot beef mixture into ungreased 9 1/2 or 10-inch glass deep-dish pie pan or a 2-quart glass baking dish. Spoon cheese mixture over beef mixture.

Unroll dough over cheese mixture. (If using pie pan, separate dough into 8 triangles; arrange points toward center over cheese mixture,crimping outside edges if necessary.) In small bowl, mix Parmesan cheese and butter. Spread evenly over dough.

Bake at 375°F. for 18 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown.
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
Sometimes I'm at a loss at what to fix for dinner. Most times I can rely on my menu-planner, Zach, but even he will sometimes get stuck on the same dishes. He's pretty easy to cook for but sometimes I think he would be perfectly fine with chicken every night of the week so coming up with different ideas can be a challenge. If you are at a loss for what to have for dinner this week, here are a couple of our favorites:

Chicken Pot Pie (This Southern Living recipe can be made ahead of time and served with a salad)

1 (3 ½ pound) whole chicken*
5 cups water
2 celery ribs with leaves
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 to 4 bacon slices
3 green onions, sliced
2 large celery ribs, chopped
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 hard cooked eggs, sliced
3 carrots, cooked and diced
1 cup frozen peas or 1 8.5 oz can peas
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
½ (15 oz) pkg. refrigerated piecrust

Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in large Dutch oven; reduce heat and simmer 1 ½ hours or until chicken is done. (See note below* for short cut)

Remove chicken, reserving 3 ½ cups broth in Dutch oven; discard celery tops. Let chicken cool; skin, bone and cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 3 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon and set aside.

Saute green onions and chopped celery in hot drippings in skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender. Gradually whisk in flour until blended (it will look clumpy). Gradually add reserved broth; cook whisking constantly, 3-5 minutes or until thickened and bubbly (this will start out not looking like it is going to work, but keep stirring it will eventually mix well and thicken). Stir in chicken,
bacon, eggs and next 5 ingredients.

Spoon mixture into a greased 3-quart baking dish and top with refrigerated piecrust sealing crust to edge of dish. Cut slits in crust for steam to escape.

Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Yields 6 servings.

*You can save yourself some time and use 3 cups of cooked chicken
and 3 1/2 cups chicken broth. If you used store bought broth you may want to decrease or eliminate your salt.

Bacon Spinach Pizza


1 (13.8-oz.) can refrigerated pizza dough
1 (9-oz.) pkg. frozen spinach
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 (6-oz.) pkg. refrigerated cooked Italian-style chicken breast
strips, chopped
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (2.8 to 3-oz.) pkg. precooked bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch


1. Heat oven to 400°F. Grease 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Unroll dough; place in greased pan. Starting at center, press out dough to edge of pan. Bake at 400°F. for 9 to 13 minutes or until edges are light
golden brown.

2. Meanwhile, cook spinach as directed on package. Drain well;
squeeze to remove liquid. Heat oil in small skillet over medium-high
heat until hot. Add onion; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until
tender, stirring frequently.

3. Remove partially baked crust from oven. Top crust with spinach,
onion, chicken, cheese and bacon.

4. Return to oven; bake an additional 9 to 12 minutes or until cheese
is melted. Cut into squares.

I know this is probably a little strange, but this is yummy drizzled
with a little bit of ranch dressing on top!
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
Tip: Baking

For best results, ingredients for cakes, cookies, and breads should be at room temperature before mixing unless the recipe specifies otherwise. Most refrigerated ingredients will come to room temperature in about 20-30 minutes.

Eggs in their shells can be brought to room temp quickly by placing them in a cup or bowl of warm tap water for a few minutes while you are preparing your other ingredients!

Happy Baking!!!
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
My mom's church is having a bake/yard sale tomorrow and she's asked me to bake some goodies for her to take. I plan on making the French Breakfast Puffs in a mini muffin pan but here are some additional recipes that I'm thinking about and thought I'd share:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 C Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 C Softened Butter
1 1/2 C Sugar
1 C Canned Pumpkin (puree...not the pie filling)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
1 C Chocolate Chips

Cream butter and sugar together. Add pumpkin, vanilla and egg. Beat until the mixture is light and creamy. Mix all dry ingredients together well in a bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Fold or gently mix in chocolate chips. Drop by the rounded teaspoonful onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (until lightly browned).

S'mores Bars

8 to 10 whole graham crackers
1 package fudge brownie mix (13-inch x 9-inch pan size)
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped peanuts

Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in a greased 13-in. x 9-in.x 2-in. baking pan. Prepare the brownie batter according to package directions. Spread over crackers. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with marshmallows, chocolate chips and peanuts. Bake 5 minutes longer or until marshmallows are slightly puffed and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before cutting.

Yield: 2 dozen.
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
I've searched the WWW for a new blog layout and decided to go with this one for the time being. There's not a lot of "food" related themes to pick from and this was about the only one I could find. I tried a nice pretty design but my sister said it reminded her of bugs! Not the impression I want to give on my food blog... so I decided to stick with this one for now!
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
Here's a simple italian dish made with fresh ingredients. It's great by itself or a side dish to chicken piccata (the way we like to eat it)!

Vermicelli with Fresh Herbs
6 main course or 8 first course servings

1 pkg (16 oz) vermicelli
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts
1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
1 TBSP capers, chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tsp chopped fresh basil leaves
1 pint (2 cups) cherry tomatoes, cut into fourths
Freshly ground pepper

Cook and drain vermicelli as directed on package.

While vermicelli is cooking, mix oil, pine nuts, parsley, capers, rosemary, sage and basil in large bowl. Mix in tomatoes.

Add vermicelli to tomato mixture; toss gently until vermicelli is evenly coated. Serve with pepper.

1 Serving: Calories 415; fat 14g; cholesterol 0 mg; sodium 50 mg; carbohydrate 65g; protein 11g

Want to serve it with Chicken Piccata? Here's my sister's recipe...

Chicken Piccata (Serves 4)

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 1/2 pound total)
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup flour
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup brined capers
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

Cut the chicken breast halves horizontally, butterflying them open. If the breast pieces you are working with are large, you may want to cut them each into two pieces. If the pieces are still thick after butterflying, put them between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with a meat hammer to 1/4-inch thickness.

Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Rinse the chicken pieces in water. Dredge them thoroughly in the flour mixture, until well coated.

Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add half of the chicken pieces, but do not crowd the pan. Brown well on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve to a plate. Cook the other breasts in the same manner, remove from pan. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in the oven while you prepare the sauce.

Add the chicken stock (or white wine), lemon juice, and capers to the pan. Use a spatula to scrape up the browned bits. Reduce the sauce by half. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Plate the chicken and serve with the sauce poured over the chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
We like bananas at our house, but once they start turning a little brown...YUCK! Good thing that's the perfect ingredient for banana bread. Don't have time to make banana bread? Don't worry... just freeze the bananas till you are ready to bake. There are several ways you can freeze bananas:
  • Peel and place it whole in a freezer bag

  • Leave the peel on and freeze in a freezer bag (this is what I do)

  • Mash it and place in a sealed container to freeze

When you need bananas for baking, just thaw them and use. Here's a simple and easy banana bread recipe:

Banana Bread

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts, if desired***

Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2x4 1/2x2 1/2 inches, or 1 loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches.

Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Pour into pans.

Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour, 9-inch loaf about 1 1/4 hours, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top side up on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

*** If you want a new spin on banana bread, substitute 1 cup of one of the following instead of nuts:

  • blueberries

  • cranberries

  • strawberries

  • mini chocolate chips
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
There's nothing better on a damp and chilly day -- like today--- like a good 'ol pot of soup! Here's a favorite of Zach's... and a good way to use up that Easter ham!

Ham and Potato Soup

1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 cup chopped ham
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups unpeeled, chopped (cubed) potatoes
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp. freshed chopped thyme
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
Garnish: additional chopped ham

In a large stockpot, over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onion, garlic and ham; cook for approximately 4 minutes or until onion is soft and ham begins to brown. Add flour and stir for approximately 1 minute or until well blended. Add broth and stir; cook until thickened and bubbly. Add potatoes; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. With a potato masher, mash potatoes until only a few chucks remain. You can leave it as chunky as you like. Add cream, thyme, red pepper flakes, and black pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in cheese and sour cream until well blended.

When serving, garnish with additional chopped ham if desired. We like to eat this with some soft crusty bread so that we can dip it in the soup!
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
Here's a great recipe that you can put together the night before and put it in the fridge. The next morning, take it out and let it come to room temp and put it in the oven to bake.

Breakfast Casserole

2 ½ cups frozen shredded hash browns or tater tots
¾ cups shredded Monterey Jack or cheese of choice
1 pkg. Knorr’s Leek Soup mix
1 cup cooked chopped ham, Canadian bacon, bacon or sausage
¼ cup sliced green onion
4 beaten eggs
1 12-oz can of evaporated milk (or 1 ½ cup evaporated skim milk)

Spray 2-qt casserole square baking dish with Pam. Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle cheese, ham (or meat), green onions over potatoes. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk and soup mix. Pour over mixture in the dish. Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash or Crazy Salt.

Bake uncovered at 350° for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
Tried these this past weekend and they were so easy to make and so yummy!!! Make sure you eat these while they are still warm. And IF you have any leftovers, these can be frozen! (but I don't think you'll have that problem! *grin*)

French Breakfast Puffs

For the muffins:
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup milk

For the topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease 12 medium muffin cups or use muffin liners. (I got 16 muffins out of a standard size muffin tin)

2. Mix shortening, 1/2 cup sugar and the egg throughly in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg alternately with milk. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

4. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll hot muffins immediately in melted butter, then in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Serve hot.


Toss 2 tablespoons finely chopped nuts into the cinnamon-sugar mixture for Nutty French Breakfast Puffs.

Or make Baked Mini Donut Holes. Prepare the recipe as directed, except divide the dough among 24 greased mini muffin cups, and bake 11 to 13 minutes.

Patti, Zach, Molly and Maggie's mom
Okay... so here goes... my first blog post on my new blog!!! WOOHOO!!! You'd be surprised at how difficult it was to find a blog name that wasn't already out there on the WWW!!! But I finally found one!

On this blog, I plan to share recipes, cooking ideas, kitchen tips and whatever else I think of. So let's start this blogging experience....
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