Friday, March 30, 2012

March Foodie Penpal Reveal Day

The Lean Green Bean

This is my second post as today is the day that we reveal what we received from our Foodie Penpals for March.  This month I received a package from Christy Dean who blogs at Chocolate Covered Diamonds.

It was a wonderful package filled with all kinds of delicious goodies.


Just opening the box was a treat.  I was greeted with all this pretty tissue paper.  (Warning, I am a recycler, so this may show up in the box sent to my Foodie Penpal next month).


Christy sent her card and a little note detailing the contents of the box.  She said that many of the items were her “go to" sweet snacks.  Well, she has some mighty nice ones.


These are called “Heavenly Caramels”, and. believe me, they were.  I could actually taste the smoothness of the cream and butter in them.  So good.


A selection of candy and a Nugo Chocolate Bar that Christy says is her favorite.  I have been very good and am still working on these.


Some fortified water and Wild Blueberry Acai Tea.  I was a little unsure about the tea as I am not a fan of blueberries.  However, I was pleasantly surprised about how much I like it.  I would even purchase it myself.  Thanks, Christy, for opening me up to something I would not ordinarily drink.

More to drink.  Three flavors of cocoa: caramel, butterscotch and French Vanilla.  All wonderful.  I love a hot cup of good cocoa.


Two Bumble Bars.  These are sesame bars made right here in Washington State, yet I have never purchased them.  I will on the look out for them now.  Last month I also was sent something made here that I did not know about.  It is so interesting when that happens.


Last, but certainly not least, Christy sent this little Piggy personal fry pan and spatula.  I think these are beyond cute.  I so love looking at them that I must confess that I have not actually used them yet.  I keep them on my counter for decoration.  They fit right in with the chicken measuring spoons that I received last month.

Christy, thank you so much again for sending such a great box.

My package for March went to Caitlin Croswell at Cait Plus Ate.  She will be posting about what I sent her.

This is just like having Christmas every month.  You get to play Santa and get something from Santa.  If you are missing out on all the fun and want to join in, here is the info straight from Lindsay:

In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I'm going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!
If you’re interested in participating for April, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 
You must submit your information by April 4th as pairings will be emailed on April 5th!

For a link up party to see the contents of all the packages exchanged head on over to the Lean Green Bean.

Friday Finds

I need to use my slow cookers more.  I have them in several sizes, and I am not using them as much as I should.  We have not been fond of many things I have cooked in the slow cooker, but here are some recipes I still would like to try:

Beyer Beware

Pork is one meat that we have liked when it is done in a crockpot.  This looks so good, and who can resist a one-dish meal.

Six Sisters Stuff

Since I am drawn to things with oriental flavor, this one looks really yummy, and chicken is something that we have liked cooked in a slow cooker.  The blogger said that her family really loved it.

Pinke Post

The ingredients used in this recipe sound really good.  I think I would agree with the blogger that additional barbecue sauce is not necessary.

Mom's Crazy Cooking

What could be easier than this.  Cook up some lasagna noodles, layer them in a crockpot with spaghetti sauce and lots of cheese and cook for 4 to 5 hours.  This one is meatless, but you could add browned ground beef or Italian sausage to the sauce if you want to.

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy and Low Calorie

This recipe is another one-dish meal.  It has lots of seasonings that should help to flavor up the beef.

The Better Baker

Of course, I have to include at least one dessert, and what's not to love about these.  Easy, quick, delicious and only 4 WW points.  This is truly "Having your cake and eating it, too!"

The photos here were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

I am linking up to Friday Favorite Finds at Finding Joy in My Kitchen and am anxious to see what other bloggers have found in their travels around the net this week.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Herb Rubbed Sirloin Tip Roast


I make sirloin tip roasts a lot.  I can still purchased a sirloin tip roast on sale here for $2.49 a lb. which is much less than chuck or similar cuts.  I also like that a sirloin tip roast can actually be roasted instead of pot roasted if that is what I want to do with it.

Recently I was looking for a new recipe and found Herb Rubbed Sirloin Tip Roast over at allrecipes.  I changed the ingredients some and gave the recipe a try.  I liked that the seasonings were mixed with the olive oil which made a nice paste that was easy to apply with a pastry brush. This is a method that I am going to adopt for other rubbed meats.   We liked it a lot, and I will be making this roast often.  The rub has a bit of a kick to it, so omit the chipotle and reduce the cayenne pepper if it is too much.
I do like to stud my roasts with garlic which gives the meat a subtle garlic flavor.,  You can see the pieces of garlic in the slices in the photo.   My hubby likes his meat well done, and I like medium rare.  To compromise when making a roast, I usually cook the meat until it is medium, than he takes his slices from the outside, and I take mine from the middle.

Herb Rubbed Sirloin Tip Roast
adapted from allrecipes

2 t. regular paprika
1 t. smoked paprika
1 T. kosher salt (1 t. if using regular table salt)
1 t. dried dill weed crushed
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. freshly ground chipotle chili  seasoning (This is a Spice Island Grinder product), optional
1/4 t. cayenne pepper (increase to 1/2 t. if not using the chipotle)
1/2 t. dried thyme, crushed
1/2 t. ground oregano
2 T. olive oil
1 (3 lb.) sirloin tip roast
1 to 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Combine seasoning ingredients and olive oil.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile poke slits in the meat with a knife and insert the garlic slices into the slits.  Cut the garlic slices in half if necessary.  Place the roast on a foil-lined roasting pan.  Spread the seasoning paste on all surfaces of the meat.  Place in a 350 degree oven and roast to at least a temperature of 145 degrees for rare.  This will take at least one hour, longer for beef that is more well done.  Let stand 15 minutes before serving.  Serves 8 or more.

Linking to Hunk of Meat Monday

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cooking from the Blogs-What I Made


I have just one recipe that I have cooked from the blogs recently that I was able to get a picture of, but what a good recipe it is.  If you did not check out the link to Three Cheese and Onion Stacked Roasted Potatoes in my post for the Improv Cooking Challenge you must click on over to Little Mama Big Appetite blog and get it now.  Go on.  Go get it.  Your won’t be sorry.

Little Mommy was a genius to think up this idea of stacked, roasted potatoes.  I posted here about making her original recipe.  They were so good that when she revised the recipe to include onion and cheese, I knew I had to make them again.  They were absolutely wonderful.

I have found that 3 T. of the olive oil is enough for me.  I have also used melted butter so either can be used.  Of course, the olive oil is healthier.  I used dried minced onion instead of the grated onion called for.  I mixed the onion with the olive oil and seasoning and let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes.  I also did not have any pepper jack cheese so used cheddar and an Italian cheese blend.

The potatoes are crispy on the bottom like fried potatoes without all the work.  This is such a versatile recipe, I will be making it a lot by varying  the seasonings and cheese      Thank you, Little Mama, for a wonderful recipe.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Finds

After the sugar coma I put everyone in last week, I though that I should be good this week.  We like pork a lot; and every few weeks, I am able to get Hormel Pork Tenderloins for $5.00 each.  These weigh about 1 1/2 lbs. and normally cost $10.99 each!  You can see why I snap them up when they go on sale.

Because I usually have a few pork tenderloins on hand, I am always looking for new recipes.  This week I went looking to see what I could find and found some great blogs in the process.  Here are a few that caught my eye.

The Cooking Frog Blog

With pork wrapped in bacon and cooked with carrots, potatoes, onions and apples, this looks as though it would be a great one-dish meal.

The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Rhubarb season is just around the corner.  I am going to try this recipe when it finally gets here.  We like rhubarb so I think this will be a good one.

Healthy and Gourmet

Apples always go well with pork.  The spices used here sound wonderful and should make my kitchen smell really good.

Delicious Dishes

Asian inspired dishes are among my favorites so I think that I will love this one.  I may even serve it with asparagus like shown in the photo.

Raising Chaos

Another Asian inspired recipe with a different set of ingredients.  I am very anxious to try this one, too.

Noble Pig

Honey mustard is one of my husband's favorite flavors.  This is a recipe that should really please him.

I consider this recipe a real find.  This is a one-dish meal cooked in a slow cooker.  I have never cooked pork tenderloin this way, but I certainly am going to give it a try.  As a bonus Andrea gives recipes for Cajun, Creole, Mexican, Moroccan, and Indian spice rubs to use on the pork so it can have a different flavor every time it is made.

Kitchen Confidante

Another Asian inspired recipe.  This one has soy sauce, peanut butter, garlic, red pepper and mango chutney. This combination sounds wonderful.

All of these recipes will keep me making new pork tenderloin recipes for quite awhile.

Now I was going to stick with just meat dishes this week, but then I came across this:  

Monster Pecan Shortbread Bars at Dwell on Joy.  This is a jazzed up version of a Ina Garten recipe.  With shortbread, pecans, caramel and M& M's, this is decadent enough to serve for several desserts.

All photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

I am linking up to Friday Favorite Finds at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  Hop on over to find out what other bloggers have found in their travels around the web this week.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ingredient Spotlight-Pina Colada Macadamia Oatmeal Cookies

Recently I was looking through my mother’s handwritten recipe cards, and I came across a barely legible recipe for Pineapple Cookies.  I don’t remember eating these as a child so I believe that the recipe is something that she found after I was grown.  Mom did not handwrite recipes unless she thought they were very good so I decided to give the cookie a try.

I liked the fact that the recipe used all of a small can of crushed pineapple so there would be no leftovers to deal with.  It called for nuts but did not specify what kind.  I decided to add some additions to the recipe and made pina colada cookies.  These have all the good things from Hawaii with the added crunch from the nuts.   If the macadamia nuts seem a bit pricey, almonds can be used instead.

The recipe does use shortening, and I have not yet attempted to make them with butter so don’t know how that would turn out.

These are small, cake-like cookies with bits of pineapple and  nuts in them.  They are dainty and perfect for a party.

Pina Colada Cookies 1

Pina Colada Macadamia Oatmeal Cookies
2/3 cup shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. coconut extract (opt.)
1/2 t. rum extract (opt.)
1 c. (8 oz. can) crushed pineapple, undrained
2 c. flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. quick oats
1/2 c. flaked coconut, toasted
3/4 c. chopped macadamia nuts

Beat shortening and sugar together until creamy.  Add egg, vanilla, coconut and rum extract.  Beat well.  Stir in pineapple.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to liquid ingredients and mix until well blended.  Mix in oats until well blended.  Stir in coconut and nuts.  Drop by teaspoonsful onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees 10-12 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown and tops are set.  Make 6 dozen small cookies.

Pina Colada Cookies 2

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Finds

I warned you last week that I felt I had a "sweets" Friday Finds coming on.  Well, here it is.  If I make one of these a week, I will be good for several weeks.

Six Sisters Stuff

Oh I am in trouble finding this one.  All the ooey-gooeyness of cinnamon rolls without all the effort.  I would make this weekly if it didn't contribute to an ever-expanding waist.  Fortunately I do have coworkers that I can foist sweets on (share sweets with).

Shaken Together

A no-bake cheesecake atop a shortbread cookie crust served up in little nut cups.  What a great idea for a party and a great summer dessert.  These use Girl Scout cookies, but any shortbread cookie or even vanilla wafers could be used.

Raising 4 Princesses

With this recipe I can have my Cadbury fix all year long.  This is a new-to-me blog from a mother raising 4 little girls in Jamaica.  Can't wait to get back to look around some more.

Somewhere in the Middle

I really like making bar cookies, and here are snickerdoodles in bar form.  What a great idea. The blogger says she's pretty much in love.  I think I will be too.

Vanessa's Values

This is a granola bar with basic, everyday ingredients that I have on hand all the time.  This makes 10 to 12 bars, and the ingredients can be varied according to individual tastes.


Peanut butter and jam nestled between layers of oatmeal cookie dough.  This could be made with any jam or jelly and probably with other nut butters also.  I would be doubling the recipe.

Jamie Cooks It Up

A white cake with a topping similar to that found on German Chocolate Cake.  This is a nice departure from the norm.

Making Memories with Your Kids

This is your basic cream cheese/powdered sugar cream candy recipe, but what a great idea to use raspberry extract as the flavoring.  I must find me some raspberry extract.

Well, I found many more sweets that I could include here.  However, I have probably put you all in a sugar coma so will save some to sprinkle throughout future Friday Finds.  I am linking up to Friday Favorite Finds at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  Hop on over to see what other bloggers have found this week.  I am sure that there will be posts with much healthier recipes than you found here.

As always the photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Eating the Alphabet-Carrot Cake Carrots

This is my second post today as this is the second month of Eating the Alphabet which is being hosted by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic and posts on the 15th of the month.  This month we are doing C and D.  Help me out here, is there a "D" vegetable.  I like many "C" vegetables:  celery, cabbage, corn, cauliflower, and carrots so It was difficult for me to choose which veggie I would post about today.  I finally decided to make a dish with carrots.

I love cooked carrots if cooked properly.  I think most people who do not like cooked carrots have been subjected to too many overcooked ones.   Carrots should be cooked just until crisp, tender.  This doesn’t take as long as one would think.

Cooked carrots are naturally sweet, and I can eat them with just a little salt and pepper.  Most people, I think, like a little sweetness added to their carrots.  Today I am sharing a recipe that just , maybe, maybe, will be something even a non-carrot-eating person might try.

The addition of the coconut may be a bit of overkill, but I think it adds a touch of fun to the dish; and couldn’t we all use a little extra fun when we eat.

The original recipe has been in my computer recipe files for many years, and I have adapted it to take less butter and sugar to more carrots so I don’t feel so bad about taking a perfectly healthy vegetable and making it not quite so healthy.

The carrots can be cooked ahead, refrigerated overnight, the butter, brown sugar, and spices added and baked the next day.

Carrot Cake Carrots
1 1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into about 2 1/2-inch long sticks
3 T. butter or margarine (butter is best)
2 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 c. chopped toasted pecans
3 T. toasted coconut

Place carrots in a saucepan and add water until it just barely comes above the carrots.  Add a pinch of salt.   Bring carrots to a boil and cook 3-4 minutes until just crisp tender.  Drain carrots.  Melt butter in same saucepan, add brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Transfer carrots to a ovenproof casserole dish.  Add pecans and mix well.  Sprinkle the coconut over the top.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Makes 6 servings. 

CCCarrots 2

If you would like to expand your vegetable recipe repertoire, check out the links below to see what others have made this month.  It is not too late to join in the fun. The information for joining is here.  Your are free to sit out any month if necessary.

Improv Cooking Challenge-Boursin Smashed Red Potatoes

Improv Challenge

There will be two posts from this Grandma today.  I am also participating in Eating the Alphabet and that gets posted on the 15th this month also.  Look for a second post.  Hint:  It involves carrots.

When I started thinking about a potato and cheese dish, I could not get Boursin cheese out of my mind.  I just was not sure what type of potato dish I would use it in.

Well, a funny thing happened.  We get America’s Test Kitchen on Saturdays here.  My husband happened to be in the house when they were making Smashed Potatoes.  He thought they looked good.  I said I hadn’t made them because he doesn’t usually eat potato skins.  Well he said that the potatoes looked good enough that he would be willing to try them.  I thought, OK, how about smashed potatoes with Boursin topping; and so an idea was born.

I make my own Boursin, but it certainly can be purchased at most grocery stores.  It is fairly expensive to buy and easy to make at home, so give it a try.

It turned out that the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen was for very small potatoes not more than 2-inches across they said.  I went on a hunt for other smashed potato recipes.  I liked the method that Simply Recipes used to cook her Smashed Potatoes.  That involved baking them in the oven with some butter.  I adapted her method, but added some additional baking time.  I also want the potatoes topped with the Boursin, Cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onion so they would be more like a thick potato skin.

The potatoes can be baked ahead and refrigerated.  The toppings can be added and the potatoes baked some more to serve them.

Pototoes 1

This is very flexible recipe.  The amount of potatoes used  is determined by the size of the potato, the number of people being served, and the appetite of those people.  I am, therefore, going to list the ingredients by what is needed for the number of potatoes used.

Boursin Smashed  Red Potatoes
1 or 2 red potatoes per person depending on size of potatoes used
1 T. butter cut from cube of butter for each four potatoes
1 T. melted butter for each four potatoes
1 T. Boursin cheese for each potato
1 T. grated sharp Cheddar cheese for each potato
1/2 slice bacon cooked and crumbled for each potato
chopped green onions as desired

Place washed and dried potatoes in a baking dish or pan that can be covered.  Slice a tablespoon of butter from a cube for each 4 potatoes, cut into 4 pieces and place a piece of butter on each potato.  Cover and bake potatoes at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove potatoes from oven and roll around so that all surfaces of each potato is covered in butter.  Cover potatoes, return to oven and bake until tender, abut 45 minutes.  Remove potatoes from oven and smash with a potatoes mashed until they are about half their original size.  Brush 1 tablespoon of butter on every four potatoes.  Return to oven for 15 minutes. (This crisps up the skin and makes the potatoes more like potato skins.)  Top each potato with 1 T. Boursin cheese.  Return to oven for 10 minutes to allow cheese to soften.  Spread cheese over the top of each potato.  Sprinkle each potato with 1 T. grated Cheddar cheese and 1/2 slice cooked, crumbled bacon.  Return to oven 5 to 10 minutes until Cheddar cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped green onions if desired.  Serve with sour cream if desired.

Potatoes 2

If you haven't joined in the fun and would like to be part of  Improv Cooking Challenge, you can find all the information right here.  In April we will be doing peanut butter and jelly.  Now that should be a fun one.

Visit the links below to what other bloggers made with the ingredients of potato and cheese.

Linking to Ingredient Spotlight

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ingredient Spotlight-Chex Croutons-GF

A slightly different way to use any of the Chex Cereals is to make croutons with them to serve with soup or salad.  If you use Rice or Corn Chex, the crouton will be gluten free.

The croutons are very easy to make and almost don’t require a recipe.  Mix 5 cups Chex cereal with 1/4 c. melted butter and 1 t. seasoning of your choice.  I am giving a recipe below for Garlic and Parmesan Croutons.  You may use almost any seasoning of your choice either individually or mixed.  I have made these with garlic powder, onion powder, curry powder, Italian seasonings, taco seasoning mix, lemon/pepper mix.  You name it I have probably used it to make these.

Leftover croutons can be crushed and used over casseroles or vegetables.

Chex Croutons 1

Garlic and Parmesan Chex Croutons
5 cups Corn or Rice Chex cereal or a mix of the two
1/4 c. butter
1 t. garlic powder
3 T. grated 100% Parmesan cheese (shelf stable kind)

Measure Chex cereal into a large mixing bowl.  Melt butter in a glass measuring cup in microwave or in small saucepan on stove top.  Stir in garlic powder until well blended.  Drizzle butter mixture over cereal.  Toss until cereal is well coated.  Sprinkle cheese over cereal and toss again until well coated with cheese.  Turn cereal out onto a baking sheet or jelly roll pan.  Bake at 325 degrees 10 to 15 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Make 5 cups croutons.

Chex Croutons 2

Linking to:  Ingredient Spotlight

Monday, March 12, 2012

DIY Groceries-Homemade Boursin Cheese

Good Monday.  Welcome to my new followers.  Thank you for following and thanks to all who take the time out of their busy lives to read my posts.  I hope that what you find here is useful.

Later this week I will be posting a recipe which uses Boursin Cheese.  So today I thought I would post a recipe for homemade Boursin Cheese.  You can, of course, purchase this at the grocery store; but homemade is fresher and is less expensive.

If you grow your own herbs, I would highly recommend using them in this recipe.  Just double the amounts given.  I, myself, can barely grow my perpetual onions.

This is a compilation of several recipes, and I have adjusted the seasonings to fit my tastes.

I don’t make this often since having it around causes fights between my mouth and hand.  You know the one, I am walking by the fridge, and mouth says, “Let’s have some of that cheese.” Hand says “No, we don’t need it.”  Mouth say, “Yes, we do.”  Hand says, “No, we don’t.”  On it goes until one or the other wins.  Most of the time that is the mouth, and the cheese is soon gone.


Boursin Cheese
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened (may use low fat)
2 oz. (1.2 stick) butter, softened
2 T. grated parmesan cheese (the real stuff)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 t. dried dill weed, crushed
1/4 t. dried marjoram
1/4 t. dried basil
1/4 t. dried chives
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 t. dried thyme, crushed
1 T. dried parsley

Place cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl.  Add minced garlic and parmesan cheese.  Mix well.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended.  Pack into an airtight container and refrigerate several hours before using.  Makes 1 1/2 cups.  Keeps about a week.  This is good with crackers and also apple  slices.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Finds

Both ground beef and ground turkey are on sale here this week.  Lately I have been mixing an equal amount of ground beef and ground turkey when I make ground beef dishes.  So far I haven't been able to tell the difference.  I have many "tried and true" ground beef recipes that I have collected over the years, but I am always looking for more.

Here are some I found on the web this week:

Life with Lissy

Making individual servings of a dish is always fun.  These look so cute and the recipe sounds delicious.

Shine Your Light

This recipe has mozzarella and Parmesan cheese as part of the ingredients.  I do not care for hamburgers unless they have cheese on them.  I bet I will love this one.

Good Life Eats

Meatballs with an Asian influence.  This looks like a great one-dish meal, and a very tasty and healthy one.  She gives tips on making meatballs in her post.

South Your Mouth

There is both a "regular" meatball and an Italian meatball recipe in this post.  She shares her secret for making meatballs easy and baking them in the oven.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

This is one of the first blogs I ran across when I started following food blogs.  I am a regular reader.  Lynn is doing a series called "Ground Beef Thursdays" so she has a number of ground beef recipes on her blog.  I love the flavor of taco seasoning so this quick and easy dish will become a favorite I am sure.

Just in case you have been living under a rock this week or been to busy to check it out, the Crazy Cooking Challenge posted this week and the ingredients were spaghetti and red sauce.  The photo above is my post for Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti.  If you click on the link and scroll to the bottom of the post you will find links to 84 wonderful recipe using spaghetti; and many of them also use ground beef.

That is my roundup for this week  I have resisted the urge to include some sweets recipes in the post, but let me warn you, I feel a sweets Friday Finds coming on soon.  

I am linking up to Favorite Friday Finds at Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  As always I am most anxious to see what other bloggers have found in their travels around the web this week.

All photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Crazy Cooking Challenge-Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti


This month's assignment for the Crazy Cooking Challenge was to find  and make a dish that contained spaghetti and a red sauce.  We prefer baked spaghetti, and I found Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti at  Plain Chicken.  She has another one called Baked Spasagna (love the name) that I considered also, but I had all the ingredients to make the first one so decided that it would be a good one to go with.  Update:  Just yesterday she posted a recipe for Easy Spasagna which is a simplified version of the Baked Spasagna.  Since they all sound delicious, I will be making all three of them at some point.

Of course, I can never leave well enough alone so I did make some changes.  I like to add additional vegetables to dishes like this so I added chopped onion, celery, carrots, red and yellow peppers.  I am also a cheesehead so had to add some additional cheese.   I would love sliced black olives added to this, but hubby doesn’t like them, so I will have to save that for when I make this for a church potluck.

I broke the spaghetti in half before I cooked it, but had some trouble when mixing in the cream cheese.  I may not have let the cream cheese soften enough.  Next time I will break the spaghetti into thirds.

I used Ragu Sauce 4 Cheese flavor.  I use 1/3 c. water to rinse out the sauce jar.  This little bit of water, put in the empty sauce jar and shaken, gets all the sauce out of the jar and doesn't affect the flavor of the sauce.  I have included that 1/3 c. water in the recipe.

I liked this dish a lot and will be making it again.


Baked Cream Cheese Spaghetti
adapted from Plain Chicken
12 oz. spaghetti
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 c. chopped onion
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/3 c. chopped carrot
1/3 c. chopped yellow pepper
1/3 c. chopped red pepper
1 (28 oz.) jar prepared spaghetti sauce
1/3 c. water
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese (low-fat is OK)
1 t. Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (8 oz.) pkg. shredded Italian cheese or mozzarella, divided
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, grated (the refrigerated kind)

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  While water is heating and spaghetti is cooking, brown ground beef, onion, celery, carrots, red and yellow peppers until brown.  Add spaghetti sauce.  Rinse out sauce jar with measured out water and add to skillet.  Drain cooked spaghetti.  Put spaghetti back in pan and mix in cream cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic.  Mix until spaghetti is thoroughly coated.  Place a layer of sauce/ground beef mixture in bottom of a greased 9x13-inch baking pan.  Cover with spaghetti mixture.  Sprinkle 1 c. of cheese over the spaghetti.  Spread remaining sauce mixture over spaghetti.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove cover and sprinkle remaining cup of cheese and parmesan cheese over the top.  Return to oven for 10 minutes until cheese is melted.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Makes at least 8 servings.


Participating in this challenge is great fun.  One can easily sit out any month if one is too busy or not interested in the subject.  For information about participating in the challenge just click on over to Tina's blog.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cheesy Garlic Biscuit Swirls

Good Monday to all.  Hope that your week goes great.  Thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to read my blog.  I hope that you find the information here useful.

On Wednesday, I will be posting the recipe that I made for March’s Crazy Cooking Challenge.  This month’s assignment is for spaghetti.  Today I am going to share a recipe that I often serve with Italian type dishes.

This is similar to the crescent post from last week but uses the large, canned biscuits such as Pillsbury Grands.  I still am not sure that I can even call either a recipe.  I usually buy the store brand of these unless the Grands are on sale.  For best flavor use refrigerated Parmesan or Romano cheese.  Those cheeses are much better than the shelf-stable kind.

These are very hearty, and one or two per person is usually plenty.  Since there are eight biscuits in a can, this recipe will make 4 servings.  The photos will show that I used the flakey type biscuit because I  that is what I had on hand.  Any type large biscuit can be used.


Cheese Garlic Biscuit Swirls
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 can large refrigerated biscuits such as Pillsbury Grands
1/4 c. grated Parmesan or Romano, the refrigerated kind

Combine melted butter, garlic powder and garlic.  Open can of biscuits.  Pat and stretch out one biscuit until it is about 4-5 inches in diameter.  Lay biscuit on a greased jelly-roll pan.  Brush biscuit with the melted butter.  Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon cheese on top of the butter.  Roll biscuit up jelly-roll style.  Move biscuit out of the way and repeat the process with remaining biscuits.  Brush the rolled up biscuits with more of the melted butter.  Bake at  350 degrees 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.  Brush again with any melted butter that is left.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Finds

Life or something like it has been going on so I have been MIA from Friday Favorite Finds for a couple of weeks.  I did not have a lot of time to surf the internet this week either, but I did link up a couple of soup recipes to SoupaPalooza II over at Dine and Dish and Tidy Mom.  While I was there I checked out some of the links that caught my eye, so this week's Friday Finds is all about soup.


I still have a round steak or two in the freezer that I purchased before meat prices went crazy.  I think that I will use one of them to make this.  It looks like a nice departure from ground beef based soup.


I love chili and cornbread together and thought that this was a very fun way to serve it.  I have not seen these little wide-mouth jars, but she give a link to good ole Amazon to purchase them.  Both recipes are included, but one could use their own favorites.

Brown Acres

This is a favorite combination of mine.  I am anxious to try this version which has sort of rolled dumplings.

Relishing It

I have heard of this but never made it.  I will now.  This picture makes me want to jump right into the bowl.

Mom on Timeout

Broccoli and Cheese Soup is a favorite of mine, and I will eat almost anything if it has bacon in it. Maybe that addition would get this past hubby.  If not, I will just have to make it for myself.

Mrs. Yellow Hat

Made with canned, stewed tomatoes and chicken broth, this is one that could be whipped up in a hurry if the ingredients were on hand.  Seems like a good recipe to know about.

Happier than a Pig in Mud

This is from one of my favorite blogs.  Another quick-to-make soup if one has the ingredients on hand; and, of course, there is that bacon again.

Chasing Delicious

This recipe cooks the rice right in the soup which saves a step, I think.  The blogger wrote this post about making soup when she was sick.  It is a good read.

Moving Mommy

This would be a great inexpensive gift idea and gets away from the sweets people usually get.  This and the rest of the ingredients could be taken to a new mother or someone recovering from being in the hospital and would be most welcome I am sure.

Well, that is 10 recipes so I am going to stop here, but with 220 recipes in SoupaPalooza I and 238, and counting, recipes in SoupaPalooza II, I don't think that I will have to go far to find a new soup recipe to try.

SoupaPalooza II is open until March 5 so if you have a great soup recipe to share, you can find the details here.

As always the photos were taken by and are the property of the owners of the respective blogs represented.

I am linking to Friday Favorite Finds at Finding Joy in My Kitchen and am looking forward to seeing what other bloggers have found this week, too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Package Pal Reveal

I have mentioned that although this blog is about food,  I do have other interests and visit craft, home dec, sewing and quilting blogs.

Earlier, I was reading the blog C.R.A.F.T. and found she was hosting an exchange for February.  I decided to join in and was accepted.

My exchange partner was Lauren at Concrete Jungle Crafts.  One of my granddaughters is named Lauren, so that was a nice coincidence.  She lives and crafts in New Jersey.

I read Lauren’s blog and found that she like birds.  I had some fabric called Bird Song that I thought would be perfect for her.  This is what I sent:

Mug Rugs/Coasters
Tea Towels
Hot Pads/Pot Holders
Eco Tote for Grocery Shopping
Lauren does paper crafts and has an esty shop.  This is what she sent me:



I am going to hang this in my sewing studio.  It will make me smile when I see it. 

This was a fun exchange.  I hope that I am one of the 100 people that get to do it again when sign ups come around again in March.

Linking to Package Pal Reveal
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