Thursday, February 28, 2013

Taco Soup

I was given this recipe by my friend, Debbie, and though I haven't yet tried it I cannot WAIT to do so! Looking over the ingredients I can see that this recipe is Weight Watchers-friendly, which isn't a bad thing. Although I intend to make it with lean ground beef, I am sure it would also be very delicious with ground chicken. You choose!

1 3/4 lb. ground chuck
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (14 1/2-oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 (16-oz.) can kidney beans
1 (16-oz.) can pinto beans
1 (16-oz.) jar salsa
1 (15 1/4-oz.) can whole kernel corn
1 (15-oz.) can black beans
1 (14 1/2-oz.) can chicken broth
1 (1 1/4-oz.) pkg. taco seasoning mix

In a Dutch oven, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium-high heat until browned; stir until meat crumbles, drain well.
Stir in tomatoes and remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken

I made this for a friend who hadn't been feeling well and needed some "comfort food." In spite of not feeling well he was willing to let me try out a new recipe and it was a success! Again, this one is so simple it's almost criminal but hey, simple is good, right? Enjoy!

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 bottle sweet barbecue sauce of your choice
1/4 c. vinegar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp. garlic powder

Mix sauce with vinegar, brown sugar and garlic powder.
Place chicken in slow cooker.
Pour sauce over chicken and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

I served this with green beans, corn casserole and of course chocolate cake for dessert and it made for a yummy meal!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Changing Things Up a Bit...

I have received so much positive feedback about this new blog venture. Thanks to everyone who reads it and takes the time to tell me how much they are enjoying it! I'm having an absolute blast and still have lots more yummy recipes to share!
In the beginning I wanted to post recipes every day in order to build up a nice collection, but now I think it's time to scale back just a bit and post new recipes a couple of times a week, most likely on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Mondays and Wednesdays I'd like to post helpful cooking hints, tips, kitchen decor ideas, pictures of dishes that you all have tried using recipes from the blog, etc. I am a musician by trade and LOVE being creative, however I have tried to come up with clever names for the non-recipe days and I've got nothin'. I know that was poor grammar but it's the truth! Manic Monday, Wacky Wednesday, yeah.... all pretty lame and all pretty over-used. That's where YOU all come in. I welcome ANY suggestions of fun names for those "non-recipe" days! The person who submits the winning name(s) will receive.... nothing. Well, they'll receive my utmost gratitude for their assistance AND they will receive proper credit when the new names are announced, but that's all I got. I know, poor grammar again, but it's getting late and I am seriously sleep-deprived at the moment!
You may email your suggestions to, or send me a message through my Facebook page,
I'll look forward to reading your suggestions! Look for a new recipe tomorrow, another one that was a huge hit when I made it for a friend who was willing to be a guinea pig while I tried a new recipe. I think you'll LOVE how simple it is... I know I do!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Aunt Lois' Strawberry Cake

Several years ago, I told Mama that the only thing I wanted for Christmas was for her to write out some of her favorite recipes and family recipes by hand for me to include in my cookbook. She fussed because she never liked her handwriting (though everyone who has seen it can't understand why) and I absolutely insisted that it was all I wanted. Thankfully, I won that battle and got those recipes for Christmas just as promised. Now that she has passed away I am even MORE thankful for these treasures. This recipe was one of those hand-written recipes from Mama, and although I haven't tried to MAKE this one just yet, I do remember having it at Aunt Lois' house and it is delicious! Hope you enjoy!

Duncan Hines Butter Recipe yellow cake mix (we are a Duncan Hines family and would never THINK of using another brand LOL)
8-oz. cream cheese, softened
8-oz. Cool Whip
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 can strawberry pie filling

Prepare cake mix according to package directions and bake in 9 thin layers (using 8" round pans).

While cake layers are cooling, mix cream cheese, Cool Whip and sugar together.
After layers have completely cooled, assemble cake by layering cake, a thin layer of cream cheese mixture, a thin layer of strawberry filling. Repeat, being sure to use a little extra cream cheese mixture and strawberry filling on the top of your cake.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rob's Green Beans for a Crowd

This is most definitely a Southern dish. As Mark Lowry says, "In the South we COOK our vegetables!" So, if you like your green beans crunchy and bright green, this recipe isn't for you. If you like them "cooked to death," as my Mama would say it, then you will love these!

Industrial-size can green beans
1 lb. bacon, NOT maple

Cut the raw bacon into 1/2-in. pieces and fry until nearly burnt in a large heavy pot.
You want all of the bacon to be really done.
Don't drain the bacon grease and add green beans, undrained, to the pot.
Boil until all of the water is gone and the green beans are frying in the grease, stirring occasionally.
As the water goes down you will have to stir more frequently.

That's it! Super-simple, right? I have had these several times and they are so yummy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Susanne's Raspberry White Chocolate Scones

I haven't tried these yet but the recipe came from my friend Susanne and they sound absolutely heavenly! I will definitely be making these VERY soon!

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 c. cold unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
2 large eggs
1/3 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. white chocolate chips
3/4 c. raspberries, cut in half or 1/2 c. frozen
optional: additional Tbsp. heavy cream and some coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
Cut in the butter using two knives or a pastry blender. (One trick Susanne learned after trying the recipe twice is to freeze the butter and then grate it into the dry ingredients.She said it worked very well and she will be doing that from now on.)
Stir in the chocolate chips and raspberries. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the heavy cream and whisk some more until fully combined.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the egg mixture in.
Use a rubber spatula to gently stir until just combined. It will be dry and crumbly and won't hold together well.
Turn out the dough onto a floured cutting board.
Using well-floured hands, pat the dough into an 8-in. circle, about 3/4-in. thick.
Use a pizza cutter to slice dough into 8 wedges. If some end up too large, cut them in half again.
The last time Susanne made them she wound up with 11 scones.
If desired, brush the tops of the scones with 1 Tbsp. heavy cream and sprinkle them with coarse sugar.
Transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned.
Serve immediately. These are also very good with fresh whipped or devonshire cream.

*These are best eaten within 2 days. Store leftovers in an airtight container.*

Raspberry Chicken

I love it when I find a recipe that calls for ingredients that I usually have on hand and this is one of those. If any of you follow the Weight Watchers plan this dish is only 4 points per serving (nice bonus, right?) Hope you enjoy!

2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 c. raspberry jam (seedless)
2 or 3 Tbsp. orange juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Season chicken with salt and black pepper; add to skillet.
Cook 10 to 12 minutes or until chicken is fork tender and juices run clear, turning once.
Remove chicken from skillet and set aside; cover with foil to keep warm.
Add raspberry jam and orange juice to skillet; stir until melted.
Bring to a boil. Boil 1 to 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Serve sauce over chicken.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bacon-Wrapped Little Smokies

I first tasted these when my cousin, Danielle, brought them to a family Christmas gathering a couple of years ago. They are SO delicious, SO addictive and beyond simple to make! These have become a staple of our Christmas meal along with several other standard dishes.

1 package Hillshire Farms Little Smokies (I prefer beef Smokies but whichever you use will be fine)
9-10 slices bacon
1 c. light brown sugar

Cut bacon slices into fourths. Wrap each piece of bacon around a sausage and secure with toothpick.
Place in 9x13-in. baking dish.
Sprinkle brown sugar over bacon-wrapped sausages, being sure to coat them evenly.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until bacon is crispy and sugar has melted.
Let sit for 10-15 minutes before removing to a paper towel-lined platter to drain.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Aunt Ann's Traditional Lasagna

This recipe comes from my friend Rob, who got it from Tina, who got it from her Aunt Ann (hence the title). Although I haven't made it myself yet, I HAVE tasted it when Rob made it (he even made a special version for me that had little cheese because I'm not a big fan of cheese) and it was so delicious! The sauce is simply amazing.... I know you'll enjoy this one.

For the sauce:
1 lb. lean ground beef
3/4 lb. bulk sausage
24-oz. canned tomato sauce
12-oz. canned tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

For the filling:
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
24-oz. cottage cheese
8-oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. grated Parmesan

For final assembly:
9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
6 slices provolone cheese
3 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided

In a skillet, cook the meat until brown. Add remaining sauce ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for one hour.
In a bowl, combine the filling ingredients.
To assemble, spread 1 cup of meat sauce in an ungreased 13x9x2-in. baking dish.
Layer: 3 noodles, provolone cheese, 2 cups filling mixture, 1 cup mozzarella
            3 noodles, 2 cups meat sauce, remaining filling, 1 cup mozzarella
            Top with remaining noodles, meat sauce and mozzarella
Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 minutes longer. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Miss Geneva's Oreo Truffles

Thanks to my BFF, Tina for making these and taking pics of them!
I'm beginning to notice an Oreo theme here.... I guess it just goes to show that if a recipe has Oreos in it, it's going to be a winner for this chick!  Here's a recipe that came from one of my favorite ladies. They are EXTREMELY addictive! Consider yourself warned.

1 pkg. Oreos, crushed
8-oz. cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. chocolate almond bark
*This is the original recipe I was given, however you can see in the pic that Tina also uses white almond bark when she makes them. Whichever you prefer will be simply delicious!

Melt almond bark in the microwave or using a double boiler (personally, I prefer the double boiler method after having a TERRIBLE experience with trying to melt chocolate in the microwave. I just put a bowl on top of a pot of boiling water and melt the chocolate that way.)
Combine crushed Oreos and cream cheese. Shape into 1-inch balls.
Using toothpicks, dip Oreo balls into melted chocolate.
Place on a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax paper.
Melt white almond bark and use a teaspoon to lightly drizzle it over Oreo balls after they have slightly cooled.
Refrigerate 2-4 hours or until firm.

Hashbrown Casserole

I don't have many recipes for breakfast/brunch items but this one is really delicious. Hope you enjoy!

2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 c. sour cream
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. dried minced onion flakes
2-lb. package frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
4-oz. shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/2 c. crushed corn flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix together soup, sour cream, butter and onion.
Stir in hash browns and half of the cheese.
Pour into baking dish; Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with corn flakes.
Bake 45 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Mama's Super-Simple Chicken Pot Pie

Here's another treasure from Mama's recipe tin. You won't believe how simple it is!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cans Veg-All mixed vegetables
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 c. chicken broth
1 c. self-rising flour
1 stick butter, softened
1 c. milk

Boil chicken. After it as cooled, tear into small pieces and place in the bottom of a 9x13-inch casserole dish.
Mix together vegetables, soups and chicken broth. Pour over chicken.
Combine butter, flour and milk. Mix well. Pour over chicken and vegetable mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

These are not low-cal, low-fat or low ANYTHING for that matter, but oh my lands are they ever delicious! I have made these several times now and every time they get rave reviews. Hope you enjoy!

22 Oreo cookies; 16 whole, 6 coarsely chopped
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1/2 c. sour cream
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Line 16 muffin tins with paper liners.
Place one whole Oreo in the bottom of each lined cup.
Beat the cream cheese on medium. Gradually mix in sugar and vanilla.
Pour in beaten eggs, a little at a time.
Beat in the sour cream and salt.
Stir in chopped Oreos by hand.
Pour batter into prepared tins, filling each almost to the top.
Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, 22-25 minutes.
Cool in pans on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then transfer to a plate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pecan-Crusted Chicken

Here's another no-fail, simple, yet YUMMY dish. My mouth is watering just typing it, guess that means it will be on my menu again very soon! Hope you enjoy.

1/2 c. finely chopped pecans
1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 c. butter, melted

1/4 c. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 c. butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

Stir together pecans, bread crumbs and half of melted butter.
Spread mixture on a plate. Press chicken breasts into mixture to coat on both sides.
Heat remaining melted butter in large skillet over medium heat.
Place coated chicken in pan; Fry on both sides until nicely browned and chicken is cooked through.
In a small saucepan whisk together all sauce ingredients except butter until smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then remove from burner and whisk in butter a few pieces at a time. Do not return to the heat.
Place chicken on a serving platter or in a serving bowl and pour sauce over chicken.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Kristen's Coconut Chocolate Chip Macaroons

Here's another recipe from Kristen. She says, "Make sure you let these brown on the top.... mmmmm!" Can't wait to try these myself!

3 egg whites
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
14-oz. pkg. sweetened flaked coconut
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whip together egg whites, sugar and salt and until frothy, then stir in the coconut with a fork. Add chocolate chips and combine.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop the mixture onto the sheet by heaping tablespoons, about 1 1/2 inches apart. (They don't spread out).

Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until they start to brown. Cool, then enjoy!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sassy Pork Chops

This is a recipe that I created this afternoon and it got rave reviews at dinner tonight so I figured I'd share it. Hope you enjoy!

1 lb. boneless pork chops
Seasoned salt
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
6 oz. apricot nectar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1-2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Heat olive oil in large skillet. Season both sides of pork chops with seasoned salt.
Brown pork chops at medium-high heat in olive oil, about 2 minutes on each side, but don't cook them all the way through.
Remove pork chops from skillet and set aside. Reduce heat to medium. Pour balsamic vinegar into skillet and then add apricot nectar and cornstarch. Stir until sauce begins to thicken slightly, then add garlic and Worcestershire.
Place pork chops back in skillet and spoon pan sauce over them. Cover skillet; reduce heat to low and cook pork chops for 15-20 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 150-160 degrees. Be sure to turn pork chops once during cook time.

Tina's 7-layer salad

I grew up singing in a Gospel group with my family. This meant that we sang for countless church homecoming services, which meant that we got to sample homemade treats by a lot of great home cooks (and a lot of not-so-great cooks, ha!) A standard dish that we saw at many of these feasts (keep in mind I grew up in the South,) was the classic 7-layer salad. Tina gave me this recipe and I have made it for family and gotten rave reviews. Hope you enjoy!

Chopped lettuce (approx. 1 extra-large head)
Red onion, chopped
Bell pepper, chopped (I like to use yellow peppers to add color)
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
1 pkg. frozen fancy peas
25-oz. jar Kraft mayonnaise
1/4 c. sugar or to taste
8-12 oz. fancy shredded cheddar cheese
Real bacon bits

In a trifle bowl or any clear, med.-to-large-sized bowl, layer the following:
Red onion
Bell pepper

Sprinkle an even layer of sugar over mayonnaise. Refrigerate overnight (very important).
Add cheese and bacon bits just before serving.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mama's Biscuits and Gravy

Everyone always thinks their mom or grandma makes the best biscuits. That is completely understandable. Well, this recipe has touches from my mom AND my granny, so you know it is bound to be good! I will give a disclaimer here, though: When Mom made biscuits they always turned out SO beautifully - they would have looked great on the cover of any cooking magazine. I haven't quite mastered the art of making them "pretty," in fact one of my favorite memories is Mom showing me how to make these and our laughing at my "ugly" biscuits! However, they do TASTE great and I guess that is what counts most, right?
Keep in mind that there are very few measurements here (again, that whole REAL chef thing), but I hope that doesn't discourage you from giving these a shot. Enjoy!

Slightly more than 1 c. buttermilk
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 pinches sugar
Self-rising flour

Combine first three ingredients, then add flour until desired consistency (should be fairly thick).

Spread more flour on a plate. Flour hands. Drop biscuit dough by tablespoonfuls onto flour, then roll dough in your hands to create biscuit. Place in small baking pan. Spread a little vegetable oil on top of each biscuit to make them brown nicely.

Bake at 475 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown on top.
Yield: 1 dozen

Vegetable oil
Whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Cover bottom of skillet with vegetable oil. Add enough flour to soak up oil (this makes your roux, which is the thickening agent for the gravy.) Brown roux on medium heat. Add milk until desired consistency. Add salt and pepper. Reduce heat.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Kristen's Zippy Egg Casserole

This recipe comes from my sweet friend and fellow domestic diva, Kristen. You can check her blog out at She says,
"This has been a hit everywhere I’ve taken it! I love it because you do all the prep the night before, and in the morning, you just pop it in the oven. Perfect!"

1 lb. pork sausage
1 (5.5 oz.) package seasoned croutons
1.5 cups shredded Cheddar
1 cup shredded Swiss
1 cup shredded Pepperjack
8 eggs
1 pint half-and-half cream
1.5 cups milk
1.5 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon minced onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.

In a lightly-greased 9X13 inch baking dish, arrange the croutons in a single layer. Layer with Cheddar, Swiss, and Pepperjack. Top with cooked sausage.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, half-and-half, milk, mustard, onion, salt and pepper. Pour into dish over the sausage. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. Let sit for 20 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dad's Chili

I am not normally a huge chili fan, but I absolutely LOVE Dad's chili. A lot of our friends and family love it as well. The slight problem is that he doesn't measure hardly anything (a sign of a REAL chef, right? LOL) Anyway, my sister-in-law asked him for his chili recipe once and he decided to give her the recipe in rhyme (he loves to write poetry.) He gave me permission to post his "recipe" here - hope you enjoy!

Well you take some ground beef, about three pounds worth,
And you put it in a pan and you cook it 'til it's brown.
You drain off all the fat and return the meat to the pan,
And add some tomato juice; one small can to the pound.

Stir it all up and add the specified spices,
And use your judgment, 'cause here there ain't no measure.
Put in some garlic salt and cumin and onion powder,
And Mexene chili powder, all in quantities to your pleasure.

Then comes the Worcestershire, and the Tabasco sauce,
If you desire, use come beef broth; just one can will do the trick.
Now comes the pinto beans, about two cans, and then the salt,
And those are all the ingredients that go into this mix.

Use medium high heat and bring this all to a boil,
Then cut the temperature down and let it simmer real slow.
When your bunch gets hungry and won't wait another minute,
Just holler, "Soup's on!", then stand back and watch it go!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Crumbled Burgers

This recipe was passed down from my grandmother to my mom and now to me. They're kind of like a sloppy joe, except Mom always served them open-faced. I have two different versions of this recipe, one that was Granny's and one that Mom wrote for me (she changed Granny's recipe very slightly), so I'll post both and you can see which one you like the best!

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onions
2 Tbsp. fat
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. prepared mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. ketchup
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 c. sour cream
8 hamburger buns

Brown onions in hot fat. Add beef and brown; drain.
Mix in the remaining ingredients except hamburger buns.
Simmer 5-10 minutes. Serve hot on toasted hamburger buns.

1 lb. ground beef
2 Tbsp. minced onions
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. prepared mustard
6 Tbsp. ketchup
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. milk

Brown ground beef and drain.
Mix flour, mustard, ketchup and salt together and stir in ground beef.
Add milk.
Simmer 5-10 minutes and spread over sliced bread.

Shepherd's Pie

This is a very hearty dish that is another favorite. Enjoy!

5 large potatoes – peeled and cubed
½ cup milk
1 stick butter
1 pound lean ground beef
1 med. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. ketchup
2 c. beef consommé
2 Tbsp. Kitchen Bouquet browning and seasoning sauce
1 can English peas, drained
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can baby carrots, drained
8 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese


Place potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and mash with milk and 1 stick of butter. Set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Then crumble the ground beef into a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until the meat is no longer pink.

Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a small pan. Stir in the flour. Cook and stir over medium heat until dark brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool off the heat and then gradually stir in the consommé, ketchup and browning sauce until smooth. Set over medium heat and simmer until thick.

Stir the sauce and the canned vegetables into the ground beef and transfer to a casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes, then sprinkle cheese over the potatoes.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are toasted and cheese is melted.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with gravy

Here's another favorite for a few reasons: 1) It's yummy, 2) It only has four ingredients, 3) It's SO easy to make, 4) Did I mention it's delicious? Trust me on this one... it will become a go-to recipe for you.

3-5-lb. boneless beef roast, whatever cut you prefer
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 packet Lipton onion soup mix

Place roast in your slow cooker. Pour cream of mushroom soup over roast, then sprinkle onion soup mix over that. Add 1-2 soup cans of water and then cook on low for 8-10 hours. That's it! Enjoy!

Brown Sugar-Glazed Pork

This recipe calls for red wine. I don't drink at all. Never have, really don't want to. My folks came to visit once and Mom saw the wine (I had made this recipe). She teasingly said to Dad, "Can you believe our daughter has wine in her house?" Dad, always the quick wit, said, "Are you sure it wasn't water first?" ;)

That being said, this really IS a great recipe! Enjoy.

3 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
2 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
2 Tbsp. butter, divided
1/4 c. red wine

Use a garlic press to crush garlic into a medium-sized bowl.
Stir in brown sugar and steak seasoning until well-blended.
Preheat large skillet on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Cut pork diagonally into about (8) 1"-thick slices. Place pork slices into bowl and press into garlic mixture. Turn and press again to lightly season both sides.
Place 1 Tbsp. butter in pan; swirl to coat. Add pork and cook 5-6 minutes on each side or until well-browned.
Remove pork from pan. Stir in wine and remaining 1 Tbsp. butter. Simmer 1 minute, stirring continually.
Serve wine sauce over pork.

Brenda's Banana Pudding

My friend Brenda has been making this for years and it is absolutely my favorite recipe for this Southern dish. If you like the old-fashioned cooked banana pudding with meringue on top, don't read any further. This is obviously NOT that recipe. If you are like me, though, and can hardly stand the thought of those blackened bananas, then this recipe is for you. Enjoy!

2 lg. boxes instant vanilla pudding
4 c. milk
2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
3-5 medium firm bananas
Vanilla wafers

Combine pudding, milk and cream cheese. Beat until as smooth as possible.
In a bowl layer vanilla wafers, sliced bananas and pudding mixture. Repeat layers.
Top with vanilla wafers.

Taco Salad

I'm not really sure why this recipe is called "Taco Salad," since there really aren't any taco seasonings in it. However, that is what it was called when my mom got this recipe from a lady at church years ago (church ladies ALWAYS have good recipes!) and so that's what we're going with. No matter the title, it really is a delicious salad that has always been a hit when I take it to potluck dinners.

1 head lettuce, shredded
2-3 tomatoes. diced
1 small onion, minced
1/4 c. shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 bag corn chips, broken
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 bottle Catalina salad dressing

Brown beef; drain well and cool.
Mix lettuce, tomatoes and onion; chill.
When all are cool, combine vegetables and beef, then add cheese and corn chips.
Just before serving, add salad dressing. Mix well.

Marvelous Meat Loaf

I know, I know... you either love meat loaf or hate meat loaf. This recipe has passed the test of "meat loaf connoisseurs" that I know and love dearly, so I will pass it on to you. It really is quite yummy!

2 lb. extra lean ground beef or ground chuck
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can Hunt's tomato sauce
1 medium onion, chopped 
1 bell pepper, chopped
18 Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients except ketchup and brown sugar together and place in a greased loaf pan.
Mix ketchup and brown sugar; spread on top of meat mixture.
Bake for approximately 2 hours.

*I have made this recipe without bell pepper for family members who don't like peppers and it came out just fine! I have also made this using a 9x13-in. casserole dish instead of a loaf pan.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Broccoli Casserole

This dish always makes me think of family. You know how some families get together for Christmas or Thanksgiving and there are certain dishes that each person is just expected to bring? Part of the tradition? Well, in our family I always bring broccoli casserole to our Christmas gathering (except for the one year when my baking dish exploded WITH the casserole in it... but I digress). I got this recipe from a lady in my church several years ago and it is a favorite not only with my family but with my friends' families as well!

4 pkg. frozen chopped broccoli
1 c. mayonnaise
4 whole eggs
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
6 Tbsp. chopped onion
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1 stick butter
2 c. bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Boil frozen broccoli for 5 minutes; drain well.
Beat eggs; stir in mayonnaise, mushroom soup, onions, cheese, salt and pepper.
Fold in broccoli.
Place entire mixture in a 9x13-in. casserole dish. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes; until slightly brown on top.

While casserole is baking, prepare topping by melting butter in a skillet. Add bread crumbs. Stir until golden brown.
After removing casserole from oven, cover with bread crumb topping and serve.

*If you prefer to make a smaller portion of this, you may cut the amounts of everything in half and use an 8x8-in. baking dish.

Jamaican Banana Cake

Here's another tasty sweet treat from my BFF, Tina. It is SO good!!!

2 c. white sugar
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans
3 c. self-rising flour
2 bananas, peeled and diced
3 eggs
20-oz. can crushed pineapple with juice
1 tsp. vanilla

Grease a 9x13-in. baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together sugar, oil, pecans, flour and bananas.
Stir in eggs, pineapple (with juice) and vanilla.
Mix well. Do not mash bananas.

Bake for 60 minutes or until cake tests done.

*Another friend of mine made cupcakes using this recipe and topped them with homemade cream cheese frosting. Plain or frosted, it is absolutely yummy!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mama's Goulash

This recipe takes me back to childhood. It isn't fancy at all but it was a favorite at our house. It is a great go-to dish on those nights when you need something super quick and simple.

8-oz. box elbow macaroni
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 small onion, minced
2 tsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
6-oz. tomato paste
14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
16-oz. tomato juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown beef; drain well and add onions.
Boil macaroni in salted water; drain and combine with beef.
Add remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Let set a few minutes before serving.

Pork Chops with Apple and Thyme

Here's another favorite that tastes like it is a very fancy, complicated dish but it is SO easy to prepare! Hope you enjoy.

3/4 c. chicken broth, divided
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. canola oil
4 4-oz. boneless pork chops, 1/2-inch thick, trimmed of fat
1 small onion, sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and sliced
1/4 c. apple cider
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. dried thyme

Mix cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. chicken broth in a small bowl.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pork chops and cook until browned, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium-high and add onion to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until onion starts to soften and brown, 2-3 minutes. Add apple and cook, stirring often, until tender, 3-5 minutes.
Stir in the remaining broth, apple cider, mustard, thyme and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring until thickened and glossy, about 1 minute.
Return pork chops to the pan and heat through. Serve immediately.

Low-Calorie Veggie Lasagna

I am not always a fan of veggie dishes, but I have to say this one surprised me. It is now one of my favorite recipes!

9 lasagna noodles
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 med. onion, chopped (3/4 c.)
24-oz. tomato basil marinara (I used Classico, but you can use whatever brand you prefer)
1 1/2-lb. carton cottage cheese
1 lb. fresh white button mushrooms, sliced (2 c.)
1 lb. zucchini, thinly sliced
6-oz. shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat olive oil in heavy skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion; cook 4 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add sauce, cottage cheese and mushrooms. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.
Spray a 9x13-in. baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Place 3 noodles on bottom of pan. Next, layer 1/3 of sauce mix, 1/3 of zucchini and then 1/3 of mozzarella. Repeat this twice using remaining noodles, sauce, zucchini and cheese.
Cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes.

* If you just can't bring yourself to serve a veggie dish, you can sprinkle mini turkey pepperoni on each layer. I have done this as well and it is delicious!