Monday, December 31, 2012

Mississippi Roast

Put chuck roast in crock pot, Sprinkle with Hidden Valley ranch dressing, add McCormick Au Jus mix, a stick of butter, 5 pepperoncini peppers. DO NOT ADD WATER. Cook on low for 7-8 hrs

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Caramel Apple Cider Cookies (revised)


1 cup softened butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 box (7.4 oz) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink mix -not sugar free- all 10 packets (I found this in my grocery store near the hot chocolate mixes.)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cups all purpose flour

1 bag Caramels bits (14 oz) (I found them at Target)


  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment. (You really need the parchment!)
  • In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • With your mixer (or an energetic spoon) cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix powder, until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined.
  • Add Caramel bits and mix well
  • Spoon 1T  of dough on parchment covered cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. Please don't over-bake! Once the cookies are done, slide the parchment off of the baking sheet right out onto the counter. Allow cookies to partially cool on the parchment. When cookies are cool enough to be firm but still slightly warm, carefully twist off of parchment and allow to finish cooling upside down (either on the parchment or on a rack.) If you forget about them and they cool too much and stick to your parchment, put them into the freezer for a few minutes and they'll pop right off.
  • Yield: about 4 dozen, depending on how large you make your cookies (or how many caramels have been snitched out of your bag before you begin.) Store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hot Chocolate Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 packages (or 1/2 cup plus 3 Tablespoons) Hot Chocolate Mix 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then blend in the vanilla.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, hot chocolate mix, and baking soda and salt. Slowly add to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Drop dough balls onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 7 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven. Working quickly, carefully add about 5 to 7 miniature marshmallows to the top of each cookie, and gently press. Return to the oven and bake an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until the marshmallows start to puff. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheets for 10 minutes before removing. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

No Bean Chili


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef, or cubed lean stew beef
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (16 oz) can stewed tomatoes , optional
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or more


Brown beef in a large skillet; drain well. Combine with remaining ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. If you like beans in your chili, add a can of (drained) pinto beans or kidney beans.
Serves 4 to 6.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Country Gravy

4 ounces ground pork sausage, or pork sausage link with casing removed
3 green onions, light parts chopped, green parts sliced and reserved
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups cold milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne

Lightly brown the sausage in a medium saucepan over medium heat. As it cooks, break the meat up into very small pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the light parts of the green onion and the butter; saute for a few minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour and cook this pasty mixture for 3 minutes. Whisk in the cold milk gradually until combined. The gravy will thicken as it comes up to a simmer. When it simmers, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Before serving, season with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste.

Note: the thickness of this gravy is easily adjusted by adding another splash of milk towards the end of the cooking process. For an extra thick version, reduce the milk by 1/2 cup.

Chicken Fried Steak

4 (6-ounce) beef cube steaks
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
vegetable oil as needed

Season both sides of the cube steaks generously with salt and pepper.

Whisk together the eggs and milk in a pie pan and reserve. Add the flour, paprika, and white pepper into a second pie pan, and mix well to combine.

One at a time, dip the cube steaks into the egg mixture, turning to coat completely, and then dredge in the flour, coating both sides. Place the egged and floured steaks on a plate, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Add about a 1/4-inch of vegetable oil to a large skillet, and place over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the steaks and cook about 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through.

Remove and drain for a couple minutes on a wire rack set over some paper towels. If working in batches, keep the cooked steaks in a warm oven until the rest are done. Serve immediately topped with country gravy.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

White Chocolate Candy Cane Pudding Cookies

2-1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 (3.4 oz) package Candy Cane Pudding Mix

3/4 cup yellow, white or vanilla cake mix

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 package (12 oz) white chocolate chips

1/4 to 1/2 cup crushed candy canes, on top of cookies

Preheat oven to 350. Stir together flour, salt and baking soda and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together. Add in pudding package and cake mix and beat until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add flour mixture slowly until well incorporated. Add in the entire bag of white chocolate chips and mix. Scoop out 1" balls onto a greased baking sheet. Flatten and sprinkle with candy canes before baking. Bake at 350 for 10 - 12 minutes.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Candy Cane Meltaways

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup peppermint crunch chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup crushed candy canes

Preheat oven to 325F.

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together, about 3 minutes.
Add flour, salt and candy canes. Mix well.
Roll into balls about the size of a walnut.
Bake about 20 minutes, but do NOT brown.
Mix powdered sugar and 1/4 candy canes together.
Roll cookies into powdered sugar mixture when slightly cool.

Make 3 dozen.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Everthing but the.... Cookies!

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c shortening
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c white chocolate chunks (I just chopped up Hershey Bars, but you could also use chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 c chocolate covered almonds
  • 1/2 c heath bits
  • 1/2 c reese’s peanut butter cups (minis)
  1. Using a paddle attachment in a stand mixer, mix together the butter, shortening, brown sugar, sugar, baking soda, eggs, vanilla, and flour.
  2. Add in the white chocolate chunks, chocolate covered almonds, peanut butter cups, and heath bits.
  3. Scrape half the dough into a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. Add the cocoa powder to the dough left in the stand mixer bowl and mix well.
  5. Fill a cookie scoop halfway with the chocolate dough and halfway with the vanilla dough (the doughs will mix some, which is fine) and release the dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 375º for 9 minutes. Let cool on the pan.
- See more at:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Potato Chip Cookies


2 cups (4 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

3 ¼ cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups coarsely crushed potato chips


Preheat oven to 300 degrees

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and then the flour, mixing until well blended. Stir in the potato chips and mix well.

Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. (No need to grease it, but I used parchment, I always use parchment). Using a fork flatten each cookie a little. Bake 20 – 22 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let stand 5 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Rum Syrup


  • 10 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur*


Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat; stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring often; reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and cool 10 minutes.
*1/4 cup dark rum may be substituted for banana liqueur.

Rum Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur*
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Rum Syrup
  • Powdered sugar


Beat butter and granulated sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla, beating until blended. Add lemon rind, beating until blended. Gradually add rum and banana liqueur, beating until blended. (Batter will look curdled.)
Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients; add to batter alternately with whipping cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat batter at low speed just until blended after each addition. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch Bundt pan.
Bake at 350° for 55 to 60 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Pierce cake multiple times using a metal or wooden skewer. Pour Rum Syrup evenly over cake. Let stand 45 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar before serving.
*1/4 cup dark rum may be substituted.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lemon & Rosemary Shortbread Cookies


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon juice, peel and vanilla. Combine the flour, rosemary and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  • Shape into two 12-in. rolls; wrap each in plastic wrap. Freeze for 30 minutes or until firm. Cut into 1/4-in. slices. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 8 dozen.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Turkey Tortilla Soup


  • 2 tbs oil (light olive oil, peanut or sunflower oil)
  • 1 ½ cup diced white or yellow onion
  • 1 bunch of green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, seeds removed (or not if you want the wild stuff version), diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper, double for wild stuff version
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6 roma tomatoes, peeled and diced, about 2 cups
  • 2 cups of turkey or chicken stock
  • 2 cups of tomato juice
  • 4 cups of shredded turkey
  • ½ cup lime juice – from 2 large limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnishes: grated monterrey jack cheese, tortilla chips, avocado, cilantro, green onions and lime slices


  1. Heat the oil in large pot, add the onions, green onions, cilantro, jalapeños, crushed garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.
  3. Add the turkey or chicken stock, tomato juice and shredded turkey. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the lime juice and remove from the heat.
  5. Serve garnished with monterrey jack cheese, tortilla chips, avocado, cilantro, green onions and lime slices.