Posted in appetizers/snacks, Desserts, Food, Kids in the Kitchen

4 Ingredient Fruit Pops

As the temperatures rise and children return to outdoor play, this simple recipe provides a healthy dose of potassium, vitamin C, folate, and dietary fiber. Adding a few tablespoons of local honey makes for a sweet and nutritious summertime treat.

If your family is anything like mine, these fruity popsicles won’t last long in the freezer!

4 Ingredient Fruit Pops

1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced (frozen bananas work best)

12 strawberries, cleaned, trimmed, and halved

1/2 cup pineapple chunks

2 tablespoons honey

Combine fruit and honey in the food processor. Purée until smooth and creamy. Fill and cap popsicle molds. Freeze for four hours. Loosen popsicle molds by briefly running under warm water. Serve immediately.

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Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Brunch

Cherry Jubilee Scones

I just love when the kids return home for the weekend. After graduating, they seem to have settled into different parts of the United States. This weekend, our town held their annual spring run making this a great kickoff to one of my favorite seasons.

Friday evening, after a long week of work, I was disappointed in myself as I hadn’t had the opportunity to plan a few meals and gather some groceries. This morning, as my pack of runners was out enjoying the spring race, I jumped into action and scoured the freezer, fridge, and pantry. To my surprise, I actually had the fixings for a great mid-morning breakfast. My pantry was chocked with items that I had unknowingly pushed to the back of the shelf over the course of many weeks. A tall container of old fashioned oats, an unopened package of dried “cherries jubilee” and some turbinado sugar sat on the shelf. I quickly opened my baker’s cabinet and scooped up the flour, sugar, almond extract, and leavenings. I remembered a blueberry scone recipe that I had so I rummaged through my blog of past posts and tweeted the recipe to make it work. To round out the breakfast, I found a bag of frozen hash browns, a pound of bacon, a carton of eggs. Opening the carton, there were only three… Grabbing my phone, I quickly sent a text to the group requesting they stop by a mini-mart to purchase two cartons of eggs. Scurrying around the kitchen, I completed each dish. I would then quickly cook the scrambled eggs as everyone showered after returning home. Laying everything out on the kitchen counter, plates were filled and tummies were satisfied.

What a delight… the scones were a hit… everyone enjoyed the meal as they slathered a good dose of butter on the warm scones and gobbled them up. Before they disappeared, I set aside a few for a Sunday visit with extended family. I’m sure I’ll be making these again.

…Great memories shared as we welcome the first days of spring!

Cherry Jubilee Scones

1 1/2 cups whole oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

6 tablespoons butter, cubed

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Combine oatmeal, flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Use a pastry cutter or two forks and cut in the butter with the flour mixture until crumbly and well blended. Stir milk and extract into the flour mixture until just combined. Lightly fold in the pecans and cherries. On a lightly floured surface, collect the dough into a ball and pat into a large circle about 1″ thick. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of turbinado sugar (optional). Cut into 8 wedges, and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

Posted in Baking, breakfast, Brunch, Desserts, Food

Puff Pastry Cups with Cherry Crumble

Cleaning out my freezer proved to be a positive experience this morning. In the far left corner of my freezer compartment, I found a box of puff pastry cups that I had purchased several weeks ago and completely forgot about them (as they slowly made their way to the back of the freezer). I’m sure many can relate to this. As we pack our freezers and pantries with new items, other items are slowly shuffled “out of sight, out of mind”. I’m thrilled that I was able to quickly assemble this easy recipe for a Sunday dessert. Use any fruit flavored filling for this delicious treat.

Puff Pastry Shells with Cherry Crumble

1 package (6) Puff Pastry Cups, prepared according to package directions

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling or your favorite flavor

Puff Pastry Cups with Cherry Crumble

Cool pastry shells on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove center tops. Do not turn off oven. Keep temperature at 400 degrees. In a small bowl, stir the flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter until crumbs form. Sprinkle evenly over pie filling within each pastry. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the crumb mixture is golden brown and filling begins to bubble. Remove from oven and let the pastries cool for 10 minutes. Return tops to the pastry. Sprinkle with powder sugar when completely cooled, if desired.

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Baked goods, Baking, Chicken, Dinner, Food

Spicy Chicken Roll

On Sunday afternoons, I often set up my crock pot to cook several pounds of chicken to be used for various meals during the work week. I load up my slow cooker to let the chicken simmer away for 8 hours and then chop or shred the poultry for chicken salad, chicken lasagna, spicy buffalo chicken sandwiches, or to be used as a green salad ingredient. This is a complete time saver when trying to juggle a full work day and a lengthy commute, while working to get a decent meal on the table in a timely manner.

I usually serve this Spicy Chicken Roll with a fresh green salad. My children will often take a slice for their lunch bag, to be eaten cold or heated. The mild spicy flavor is a family favorite.

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 1/2 cups chicken breast, shredded

1/2 cup hot sauce. (I use Franks brand)

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 cans crescent rolls

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In small saucepan, mix cream cheese, hot sauce, chicken and shredded cheese. Heat on medium-low until combined and cheese has melted. Cool.

Unroll both cans of dough; separate into 16 triangles. On cookie sheet, arrange triangles in ring so short sides of triangles form a circle in center. Use a small oven- safe bowl to guide and maintain a circle. Dough will overlap. Dough ring should look like a sun.

Spoon cream cheese mixture on the half of each triangle closest to center of ring. Bring each dough triangle up over filling, tucking dough under bottom layer of dough to secure it. Repeat around ring until entire filling is enclosed.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until dough is golden brown and thoroughly baked. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before slicing into serving sized pieces.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Brunch, Cake

Banana Crunch Cake

This semi-homemade recipe is a true winner. A few simple ingredients are combined with a basic cake mix for a light and lovely dessert. Oats, brown sugar, and walnuts are combined to make a tasty crumble. While, eggs, sour cream, bananas, and a few extracts are combined with a basic cake mix to form a simple batter. I stock overly ripe bananas in my freezer for just such an occasion. All of these ingredients are layered into a tube pan to make a beautifully textured cake.

Banana Crunch Cake

½ cup flour

1 cup rolled oats

¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup margarine or butter

1 ½ cups (2 large) very ripe bananas, mashed

½ cup sour cream

4 eggs

1 teaspoon butter extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 yellow or white cake mix

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10″ tube pan. In medium bowl, combine flour, rolled oats, brown sugar and pecans; mix well. With fork or pastry blender, cut in margarine until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine bananas, sour cream, extracts and eggs; beat at low speed until smooth. Add cake mix; beat until fully combined. Spread 1/3 of batter in prepared pan; sprinkle with 1/3 of brown sugar crumble mixture. Repeat layers 2 more times using remaining batter and brown sugar mixture, ending with brown sugar mixture.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool upright in pan 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan; place on serving plate, crumble side up. Cool completely before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Casserole, eggs

Sausage and Broccoli Quiche

I’m not sure how many of you use your library card on a regular basis, but if you do, your bound to find an endless array of options when borrowing items these days. One of my favorite library options is the online platform set up so that I can borrow books, movies, music, or magazines on my iPad. Recently, I borrowed the winter edition of the Taste of Home magazine (one of my all-time favorite magazines). One of the ads within the holiday edition depicted a festive page with a recipe for Sausage Quiche. I quickly bookmarked the page and added the required ingredients to my grocery list.

When I first made this simple recipe, I used a 2-quart, round baking dish that was quite deep. I followed the recipe exactly as written. When I served the quiche to my family, we thought the original recipe was a bit bland. When making another for a New Year’s breakfast, I added a bit of hot sauce and some broccoli. I also used my deep-dish pie pan.

This isn’t just for breakfast… I found my children grabbing a slice and munching on it cold. I also wrapped a wedge in cellophane and popped it into my husband’s lunch to be heated later. Served warm for brunch is also a great way to enjoy this dish. Happy New Year, Everyone.

Sausage and Broccoli Quiche

1 lb. package ground pork sausage, browned

½ cup onions, minced

1 cup broccoli, cooked and chopped

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

4 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup half and half

2 tablespoons hot sauce

1 cup all-purpose baking mix

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place sausage in lightly greased 9” round, deep-dish pie plate (2 qt. baking dish); top with broccoli, onions and cheese.

Beat eggs, milk, half-and-half, hot sauce and baking mix with wire whisk until well blended. Pour over cheese.

Bake 30-40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into wedges.

If you don’t have a 2-quart baking dish, you can substitute a 13×9” pan and bake for 20–25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

I’ve pasted the link for the original recipe below:

https://www.jimmydean.com/recipes/breakfast/sausage-quiche

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Canning, Crock pot, Gifts, holiday, slow cooking, Toppings

Slow-Cooker Bacon and Onion Jam

Every year, I try to identify a unique recipe to give to friends and relatives for the gift-giving season. I’m always looking for a recipe that highlights the deep rich flavor of our own homemade maple syrup. This year was no different… I found a great, sweet and savory recipe that sautés delicious ingredients that are eventually added to the slow-cooker, then left to reduce for several hours. Mix this delicious jam with a bit of cream cheese and spread on hearty crackers. Or, warm the jam to top a protein like a chicken breast or a beef burger for an extra boost of flavor. The bacon, grilled onions, maple syrup, and coffee combined together in the slow-cooker add a depth of delicious flavor. This is so good!

You can find this exceptional recipe here:

https://www.marthastewart.com/326881/slow-cooker-bacon-jam

Slow Cooker Bacon and Onion Jam

Adapted from the above recipe…

1 ½ pounds sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

2 medium yellow onions, diced small

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 heaping tablespoon pure maple syrup

3/4 cup brewed coffee

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet (reserve for another use); add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes. Add bacon and stir to combine.

Transfer mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker and cook on high, uncovered, until liquid is syrupy, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Transfer to a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped. Let cool, then refrigerate in airtight containers, up to 4 weeks.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, cookies, Desserts, Food, holiday, holidays

Easy Snickerdoodles

This is a crazy easy short-cut, if you’re looking for a last minute Christmas cookie recipe. A semi-homemade treat that combines a pouch of cookie mix with a little cinnamon and sugar makes these cookies taste honey bun yummy! I use turbinado sugar for a crunchier exterior, while the interior stays moist and flavorful.

Easy Snickerdoodles

1 pouch sugar cookie mix

2 tablespoons flour

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 egg

1/4 cup turbinado sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, flour, butter and egg until dough forms. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. In small bowl, mix turbinado sugar and cinnamon. Roll balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets; slightly flatten. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes. Cool slightly and remove to cooling racks.

Posted in Beef, Bread, Crock pot, Instant Pot

Instant Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches

I recently bought an Instant Pot as I had been hearing so many wonderful things about its quick cooking ability. I am a huge fan of the slow cooker so it’s taken me a while to accept this new appliance. I had a chuck roast in the freezer and felt trying my Italian Beef recipe using this new method. I usually cook the roast in the crock pot for several hours. The Instant Pot would allow me to have a meal on the table within 1 1/2 hours. I especially liked that I could sear the outside of the roast before adding the remaining ingredients to the same pot. This brings added flavor to the dish and is a step that can’t be accomplished in the slow cooker.

The sandwiches tasted great! I’ll be using this pressure cooker much more as I continue to experiment and discover new recipes.

Instant Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches

1 chuck roast (approximately 3 lb.)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup beef broth

8 oz. sliced pepperoncini peppers with juice

6 sandwich rolls

Slices provolone cheese

Season roast with salt and pepper. Drizzle one tablespoon canola oil in the Instant Pot. On sauté setting, sear roast on all sides. Remove roast, add beef broth. With a wooden spatula, scrape bits of beef from the bottom of the pot. Return beef roast to pot and top with pepperoncini peppers with juice.

Place lid on Instant Pot, turn vent to SEALING position, and hit PRESSURE COOK for 70 minutes. Pot will take a few minutes to come to pressure, then cook for 70 minutes; listening for final beep. Allow 10 to 15 minutes natural release, then do quick release to release remaining pressure

When pin drops, open lid, and shred or slice beef. Return meat to pot to soak up more juice, or spoon over sandwiches. Top beef with provolone cheese and mild Italian giardiniera mix.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, breakfast, Brunch, Casserole, Casseroles

Green Chili Bake

We had an office brunch this past week. Everyone was asked to contribute a dish. My secretary baked this simple, yet delicious casserole made with eggs, cheese and chilis. Everyone raved over the wonderful flavors so I immediately requested the recipe.

This weekend, all of our kids have come home for the holiday. Trains, planes, and automobiles have brought them in from other states. I am one proud Mama! I so enjoy having everyone back under one roof. My husband had been traveling in Germany for work all week; he too, flew home for the reunion.

This morning, I woke early to assemble a buffet of breakfast fare… sausage, bacon, pancakes, homemade maple syrup and a selection of fruit rounded out the menu. I also threw together the Chili Egg Bake to add to the mix. Once again, everyone loved the dish. Creamy, smooth and spicy… a great combination.

Happy holiday week to all. This girl is truly thankful for a simply wonderful life!

Green Chili Bake

3 eggs beaten

1 small can green chili’s (I use mild)

1 8 oz pepper jack cheese

1 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese

Shred cheeses. Mix with three beaten eggs and green chilis. Pour into a greased 9×9″ baking pan. Bake 30 minute at 350 degrees or until set. Cool slightly and cut into squares.

Here’s the original recipe…