Posted in Baked goods, Baking, cookies, Food

Ranger Cookies

This is a great alternative to the Cowboy Cookie recipe that I’ve made for years. The addition of coconut adds moisture and a unique flavor to the batter.

Ranger Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla paste
2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 cup Rice Krispies cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup nuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla; continue to mix until eggs are fully incorporated.
In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the mixer and blend until smooth.
Fold in oats, rice cereal, coconut, and chocolate chips. Use a round ice cream scoop to drop round mounds balls on a cookie sheet. Flatten each ball with clean, damp fingers. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Cool slightly and move to cookie rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Casserole, Casseroles, Dinner, Food

Spicy Cabbage Roll Casserole

Whenever I make traditional cabbage rolls, I feel that they are too bland. I changed up my original recipe by adding zesty bulk sausage and red pepper flakes. I especially like this deconstructed version as it’s so easy to pull together for a comforting meal.

Spicy Cabbage Roll Casserole with Rice

1 head cabbage, cut, cooked & drained
1 pound zesty bulk sausage, browned & drained
32 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar (or, sweetener)
1/2 crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together, except 1 cup of the cheese. Pour into a greased 13″x9″ baking dish. Top with the remaining cup of cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve over plain white or beef flavored rice.

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

Easy Maple Glazed Donuts

My daughter works in the healthcare industry and we all know how busy healthcare workers are right now. I thought it would be fun to bake up a batch of mini-donuts for the folks that work in her department. I’m told these were a big hit.

These couldn’t be any easier to make. The maple glaze is ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!

I found the recipe here:

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

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

I visited a local blueberry farm this weekend. The large, flavorful berries were so irresistible, I bought far more than I needed. I gave some to my girls and froze a bunch for blueberry pie. Using one of my favorite cookbooks, I’ve adapted a blueberry recipe that I found for a delicious breakfast casserole. Be sure to assemble the casserole base the night before your breakfast. When you wake in the morning, just add the toppings and pop in the oven. Delicious!

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

1 loaf stale bread or buns, sliced
2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
6 large eggs
4 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon butter extract


STREUSEL TOPPING
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Grease a 9×13 inch pan with nonstick spray. Line prepared baking pan with bread, filling all the cracks. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs, milk, sugar, and extracts together until well combined. Pour over the bread. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove pan from the refrigerator. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over the top.
Prepare the topping: Combine the brown sugar and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cubed butter with a pastry blender or your fingers. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the soaked bread. Top with walnuts.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until slightly firm and golden brown on top.

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Food, Gardening, Salad, salads

Fresh Broccoli Salad

Looking over the side items in the deli case this week, I spied a tasty looking broccoli salad that I’d never purchased before. Although, I had tasted a similar salad during the county fair a few years ago. I had judged the 4-H home food preservation project and a kind group of volunteers had brought lunch in for those of us judging throughout the day. I told one of the volunteers that the broccoli salad was delicious and she replied, “It’s from Walmart, the best!”
This Father’s Day, I’m making my own version of this salad as all of the kids are home to celebrate and the steamy hot temperatures remind me to fill the table with cold salads, fresh fruit, grilled chicken, and icy beverages.
Happy Father’s Day to my sweet hubby, J. A wonderful father to our 3 children…

Fresh Broccoli Salad

For the salad: 6 cups broccoli florets
⅔ cup raisins
½ cup cooked and crumbled bacon
½ cup sunflower seeds
⅓ cup onion, diced finely 1 cup bow tie pasta, cooked, rinsed and cooled 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded thick


For the dressing:
¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1 ½ Tablespoon vinegar
3 Tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper


In a large bowl, combine broccoli florets, raisins, bacon, sunflower seeds, onion, pasta, and shredded cheese. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper until well combined. Pour dressing over broccoli mixture and toss well. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Chicken, Dinner, Main Dish, Salad, salads, Uncategorized

Chili Lime Chicken Salad

There’s a wonderful Mexican restaurant that I often visit when I head down to Purdue University for a day on campus. This salad is meant to mimic the delicious chili lime salad that is offered on their daily menu. The flavors are amazing as the mixture of the sweet mango and the chili garlic sauce play with the acidity of the lime to combine for a burst of flavor. I often make this at home for a week night meal. While we enjoy this recipe, I sure wish I had the original … it’s just so good!

Chili Lime Chicken Salad

For the salad:

In a large bowl, mix together:
3-4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 large mango, diced
1 avocado, diced
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup English cucumber, diced
3 Roma tomatoes, diced and lightly salted

For the dressing:

Using an 8 ounce mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Add 1/3 cup light olive or canola oil and mix in the following items:

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 ½ teaspoons chili garlic sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine all dressing ingredients in the mason jar. Shake until completely combined; taste. If needed, add more of any ingredient to suit your tastebuds. Refrigerate before pouring over salad.

To add a bit of crunch, crush 1 cup of tortilla chips to sprinkle over the dressed salad. Serve cold.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Brunch, Cake, Chocolate, Desserts, Uncategorized

Hazelnut Dump Brownies

We had a very snowy 2021 Valentine’s Day. The light and fluffy flakes had been coming down for days and my yardstick inserted in the snow was clocking in at a whopping 17”. We had intended to go out for dinner but decided to settle in at home. I made a batch of these Hazelnut Dump Brownies to have with a scoop of ice cream for dessert.
Everything is basically dumped into a bowl, mixed together and tossed in a greased baking pan. Then, the mini chocolate chips are sprinkled over the top… easy enough! This is a super simple recipe with extraordinary results.
PS. It’s still snowing! ❄️❄️❄️

Hazelnut Dump Brownies

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix in the first 8 ingredients. Pour into a greased 13×9” baking pan. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
  2. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, Brunch, Cake, Uncategorized

Sausage and Apple Breakfast Bake

This one our most flavorful breakfast casseroles. The mixture of apples and breakfast sausage, teamed up with a light batter and homemade maple syrup make this a winner in our household.

Sausage and Apple Breakfast Bake


1 or 2 pounds bulk pork sausage
2 cups biscuit/baking mix
1-1/3 cups skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
2 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Maple syrup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9” baking pan; set aside. In a large skillet, cook and crumble breakfast sausage until no longer pink; drain. In a medium mixing bowl, combine biscuit mix, milk, extracts, eggs and oil until blended; stir in cooked sausage. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sugar. Transfer biscuit mixture to a greased 13×9” baking dish. Evenly top with apples; sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake until set, 30-40 minutes. Serve with syrup.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, cookies, Uncategorized

Apricot-Oatmeal Bars

I have a fabulous cookbook that highlights favorite recipes from bed and breakfast inns across the country. This week I found a recipe for apricot chicken breasts that called for a portion of a jar of apricot preserves to top the breasts while baking. I thumbed through the cookbook shortly thereafter and found a recipe for these apricot and oatmeal bars. What a great way to use up the balance of my preserves. This turned out to be a delicious treat as my family raved over these simple bars.

Apricot-Oatmeal Bars

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 – 12 ounce apricot jam/preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients to form a crumb mixture.
Pat 1/2 of crumbs into a greased 11x7x1 1/2” or a 9×9” pan.
Spread the entire surface with apricot jam. Top with remaining crumbs.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the surface is golden bown.
Cool before cutting.

Posted in Chicken, Dinner, Food, holiday, Soup, Uncategorized

Creamy Chicken Rice Soup

During the recent Thanksgiving holiday, the weather turned cold. I had an idea to cook up a large pot of hearty soup; a comfort food that is always a good idea during the Midwestern winter months. I had plenty of leftover vegetables that I’d purchased to make stuffing and to season other dishes. So, Friday morning I threw a few chicken breasts into a pot of simmering water and set out to make a soup for those looking for a comforting bowl of deliciousness during the weekend.

While I could have used my leftover turkey for this recipe, I chose to leave it for sandwiches as the family likes to pile turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce on a hearty wheat bread for traditional turkey leftover sandwiches. I did, however, toast some super thin Pepperidge Farm’s bread to act as a crispy accent to the smooth and creamy soup. I hope you try this delicious soup as this one warms the soul…

Note: I keep chicken stock base in my pantry for times when I don’t have chicken broth on the shelf. Follow the directions on the side of the container to substitute this base for the canned broth.

Creamy Chicken Rice Soup

1 tablespoon oil
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup long grain rice, uncooked
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
3 tablespoons flour
1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
2 cups chicken breast, cooked and cubed


In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; sauté carrot, celery and onion until tender. Add garlic; cook until vegetables are translucent. Stir in rice, seasonings and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered about 15 minutes, until the rice is tender. In a small bowl, mix flour and evaporated milk until smooth; stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken and heat through.