Sunday, December 30, 2007

Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

1 pkg. (2-layer size) devil's food cake mix
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place all ingredients except sugar and nuts in large bowl. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 2 min. Add nuts. Beat on medium speed an additional 2 min. or until well blended. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Flatten each ball, in criss-cross pattern, with tines of fork dipped in sugar. Bake for 8 min. or until edges of cookies are set. Cool 2 min. on baking sheets. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Snicker's Salad

Saturday, December 29, 2007

1, 2, 3 Cookies

These cookies are as easy as 1, 2, 3!

1 1/4 packages of Nabisco graham crackers (not the entire box)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (any kind or a combination of kinds)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Break the graham crackers into crumbs . Add sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, and nuts. Pour into a buttered, small oblong or 9x9 square pan or lined with waxed paper. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely before breaking or cutting.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Friday, December 28, 2007

Turkey and Rice

This is a great way to use up leftover Christmas turkey!

2 cans cream of mushroom soup
3 cups water
3 cups converted long-grain white rice (uncooked)
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 to 3 cups diced cooked turkey
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (peas & carrots, etc.)
1 t poultry seasoning
1 T dried minced onion

Combine soup and water in crock pot. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and cook 6 to 7 hours on low or about 3 to 3 1/2 hours on high, until rice is tender but not mushy.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: 1, 2, 3 Cookies

Thursday, December 27, 2007

White Bean Dip

This is a great change from traditional canned bean dip!

2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cloves garlic, crushed or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 lemons, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine the cannellini beans, cilantro, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Process until smooth, or to your desired consistency. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla chips!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Turkey and Rice

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fudge Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 T cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter

Combine sugar, milk, cocoa, and butter in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add nuts, vanilla, peanut butter and oatmeal. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper. Allow to set.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: White Bean Dip

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sweet Potato Casserole

4 1/2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1 cup white sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together mashed sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup butter, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs. Spread sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and flour. Cut in 1/3 cup butter until mixture is crumbly, then stir in pecans and coconut. Sprinkle pecan mixture over the sweet potatoes. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Fudge Oatmeal Cookies

Monday, December 24, 2007

Frito Candy

When I first saw this recipe, I thought........YUCK! But after reading so many raving reviews, I just had to try it! It's really yummy- you simply must try it to believe it!

2 cups pretzels
1 cup Fritos
10-12 mini peanut butter cups, cut into quarters
1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 ½- 2 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
chopped peanuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 13×9 inch pan with waxed paper sprayed with Pam. Place pretzels in food processor and pulse to break – but don’t pulverize. Add Fritos to processor and break them up with pretzels. Dump into prepared pan. Sprinkle peanut butter cups on top. Place butter in a non-stick saucepan and melt over medium heat. When butter is melted, stir in brown sugar. Bring mixture to a full boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring once or twice. Pour over Frito mixture and bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes.Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over hot candy. Return to oven for 1 minute to soften chips. Spread softened chocolate chips over bars. Cool at room temperature until you feel the pan is cool enough to be transferred to your refrigerator, then transfer to refrigerator to set the chocolate. When chocolate is set, lift from pan and break the candy up as you would almond toffee. You can eat it cold or let it come back down to room temp. This does not have to be refrigerated.

Tomorrow's Daily Special : Sweet Potato Casserole

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Snicker's Fudge

This is a time consuming candy but it is soooooo worth all the effort! It really does taste like a Snickers candy bar!

First Layer:

1 cup milk chocolate chips 1/4 cup butterscotch chips 1/4 cup peanut butter

Second Layer:

4 T butter1 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup evaporated milk 1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme 1/4 cup peanut butter 1 t vanilla 1 1/2 cups chopped salted peanuts

Third Layer:

14 ounce package caramel cubes 1/4 cup heavy cream

Fourth Layer:

1 cup milk chocolate chips 1/4 cup butterscotch chips 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

First Layer:In a small saucepan over low heat, add milk chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter. Stir often until completely melted and smooth. Pour mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13" baking pan lightly coated with nonstick spray or lined with non stick aluminum foil. Using a spatula spread the mixture to an even layer and place in the refrigerator until set.

Second Layer: In a medium heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Mix in sugar and evaporated milk. Once it comes to a boil, let cook 5 minutes while stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in marshmallow creme, peanut butter and vanilla. Stir in peanuts. Pour over the set chocolate layer and use a spatula to gently spread mixture in an even layer. Place in the refrigerator until set.

Third Layer: Place the unwrapped caramel cubes and heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Place over low heat and stir until the mixture has completely melted and is smooth. Pour in the pan and quickly spread to an even layer with a spatula. Place in the refrigerator until set.

Fourth Layer: In a small saucepan over low heat, add milk chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter. Stir often until completely melted and smooth. Pour over the third layer and use an off-set spatula to spread to an even layer. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Frito Candy

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Peanut Butter Cookie Truffles

Just about everyone in our family LOVES peanut butter so when I found this recipe, I knew they would become a family favorite!

1 (1 pound) package peanut butter sandwich cookies (like Nutter Butters)
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 T powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
2 (1 pound) packages of chocolate almond bark, melted

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper and set aside. In the work bowl of a food processor, process cookies until finely ground. Add cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla; process till combined. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes. Using 2 forks, dip balls in melted chocolate to cover. Placed coated balls on prepared baking sheet and let stand until chocolate sets. Store in refrigerator.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Snicker's Fudge

Friday, December 21, 2007

White Peppermint Snowballs

I love mint and couldn't resist trying these simple and festive cookies!

1 package (18 ounce) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, room temperature
1/3 cup peppermint candies or candy canes, crushed
1 to 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Peppermint candies, crushed for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut cookie dough into eight pieces. In bowl of electric mixer, thoroughly combine dough pieces, crushed peppermint candies, and ½ cup of powdered sugar. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until set. Cool slightly on cooling rack. While still warm, roll cookies in the remaining ½ powdered sugar. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Peanut Butter Cookie Truffles

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Oreo Truffles

Here's another EASY and YUMMY candy!

1 package regular size Oreo cookies, crushed
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 package white almond bark
1 package chocolate almond bark

Cover cookie sheets (with sides) with waxed paper. Set aside. In large bowl, mix Oreos and cream cheese together. Roll into walnut size balls. Chill or freeze for one hour. Melt approximately 3/4 package of white almond bark. Stick a toothpick in an Oreo ball and dip it in the melted white almond bark. Allow to harden on wax paper. While waiting, melt about 1/4 package of chocolate almond bark. When Oreo balls are no longer sticky to the touch, decorate with drizzles of chocolate and white almond bark.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: White Peppermint Snowballs

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Apple Pie Fudge

This is a yummy candy alternative for those in your family who do not love chocolate!

1 cup applesauce
3/4 cup margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
3 cups sugar
2 cups marshmallow cream
1 t vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1 t apple pie spice
nuts (optional)

Combine the first four ingredients, bring to a boil. Stir constantly because the mixture will burn easily. Remove from heat. Add marshmallow cream, vanilla, powedered sugar, and apple pie spice. Blend well. Pour into greased pan- either a 9 x 13 for thinner fudge or a 8 or 9 inch square for thicker fudge. Add nuts if desired. Cool, cut into squares.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Oreo Truffles

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mocha Frosting

This is wonderful when paired with a chocolate cake like the one I posted yesterday, cupcakes, or brownies!

1/4 cup butter, melted
2 1/2 T baking cocoa
1 box powdered sugar
1/4 cup strong black coffee

dash of vanilla

Mix melted butter and Baking Cocoa in a mixing bowl. Add the confectioners Sugar and the black Coffee. Mix well. Stir in vanilla.

TIP OF THE DAY: If frosting is too thin, put in fridge for a few minutes until it thickens.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Apple Pie Fudge

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chocolate Buttermilk Birthday Cake

This is a wonderful, classic chocolate cake that you can match with any kind of frosting from cream cheese, to chocolate, to mocha.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 sticks butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 t vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour two round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Beat butter on medium speed till soft and creamy. Add sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and yolks- one at a time- beating for one minute after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well, Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Alternate adding dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with dry ingredients. Mix only until each new batch is blended into the batter. Fold in melted chocolate. Divide batter between the cake pans. Bake for 26-30 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cake, unmold them and peel off the waxed paper. Invert and cool to room temperature. Frost with your favorite frosting.

TIP OF THE DAY: I think that the key to a moist cake is to add 1/2 to 1 cup of sour cream to every single cake recipe- boxed or from scratch. Even if it doesn't call for it- I add it to every cake I make- and it seems to make a really moist cake every single time!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Mocha Chocolate Frosting

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cake Mix Frosting

My daughter Madison LOVES Cold Stone Creameries Cake Batter ice cream- so when I saw this frosting recipe that said it tasted just like their ice cream, I knew I had to try it! Monday was her 1/2 Birthday so I thought that would be the perfect opportunity! She ABSOLUTELY loved it and asked to eat the frosting off of the cake (of course I said no to her request)! It seems odd, but is actually wonderful!

1-2 cup whipping cream
1 (18 ounce) package cake mix, any flavor (I used white)

Use 1/2 the cake mix. Pour into bowl and with electric beater, mix until most lumps are gone. Pour in whipping cream. Start with 1 cup, add more as needed. This can get very thick fast, so just add more whipping cream until you reach desired spreading consistency.

TIP OF THE DAY: For a great variation-- use chocolate cake mix, mix as directed, stir in mini marshmallows, slivered almonds and chocolate chips for a rocky road frosting.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Chocolate Buttermilk Birthday Cake

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Peanut Brittle Oatmeal Bars

Tony loves peanut brittle so when I saw this recipe, I knew I simply had to make it for him. I had high hopes for it and was NOT disappointed at ALL. What a great use for any peanut brittle you have lying around!

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
2 cups regular or quick cooking oats
1 1/4 cups crushed peanut brittle
8 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan; grease foil. Set baking pan aside. Beat butter and 1/2 cup of peanut butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium till well combined. Add sugars, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in oats and 1/2 cup of peanut brittle. Press dough on bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Center will not appear set; bars sink as they cool. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Heat and stir white baking chocolate and remaining 3/4 cup peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat until mixture is melted and smooth. Spread evenly over cooled mixture in pan. Sprinkle with remaining peanut brittle. Chill bars for about 30 minutes or until chocolate mixture is nearly set. Use foil to lift baked mixture from pan. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Cake Mix Frosting

Friday, December 14, 2007

Coconut Candy Bars

These are VERY similar to the Mounds Candy bars. YUMMY!

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup butter, melted
1 14-ounce package flaked coconut
1 14-ounce can (1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk
18 ounces dark chocolate pieces, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For crust place graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup of the almonds, and the brown sugar in a food processor. Cover and process till almonds are finely chopped. Add butter, cover and pulse until mixture is well combined. Press crumb mixture on bottom of
ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Combine coconut and sweetened condensed milk in a medium bowl. Spread mixture evenly over crust. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup almonds evenly over coconut layer. Bake for 10 minutes. Spread melted chocolate evenly over top of baked mixture. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Chill for 20 minutes. Cut into bars.

TIP OF THE DAY: Toast nuts in a shallow baking pan for 5 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees or until nuts are lightly brown.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Peanut Brittle Oatmeal Bars

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Butterscotch Eggnog Fudge

This time of year cookies and candy are my favorite type of sweet to make and share. This one combines three great flavors- eggnog, butterscotch, and cashew nuts!

1 cup eggnog
1/2 cup sugar
3 T butter
1 T light corn syrup
1/8 t salt
1 cup butterscotch morsels
1 cup chopped cashews

Butter an 8 x 8 inch cake pan and set aside. In a heavy saucepan combine eggnog, sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook until mixture registers 232 to 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Add butterscotch pieces and continue to cook until they are completely melted, stirring constantly. Add cashews, stirring to combine. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Cut into small squares.

TIP OF THE DAY: When making candy instead of buttering the pan, I line it with waxed paper- with several inches extra at each end. When the candy has cooled and set, I simply pick it up and set it on a cutting board. Once you peel off the paper, cutting is a snap!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Coconut Candy Bars

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Butterfinger Balls

These are an easy candy to make for the Butterfinger lovers in your life.

3 3/4 cups powdered sugar (1 pound)
2-3 cups Rice Krispies, crushed
1 18 ounce jar creamy peanut butter
4 regular sized Butterfinger bars, crushed
1 T vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted
Chocolate Almond bark

Combine first 6 ingredients in mixer and roll into balls. Melt almond bark and dip balls into chocolate and lay on wax paper lined cookie sheets.

TIP OF THE DAY: Drizzle the Butterfinger balls with white almond bark to make them look festive! Also be sure to hide the Butterfinger bars after you buy them or your husband might eat them and have to go to the store for more! :)

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Butterscotch Eggnog Fudge

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Cake

This is my version of a recipe in this year's Southern Living Christmas book. It is a little time consuming to make but it truly worth the effort. It's a HUGE, heavy cake that is truly amazing!

1 package devil's food cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) chocolate instant pudding mix
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup cooking oil
1 T vanilla extract
1 t almond extract
3 (1.55 ounce) Hershey's milk chocolate bars, chopped
3 batches of cream cheese frosting (recipe below)
1 small turtle cheesecake, chopped into small pieces
1 jar dulce de leche caramel sauce

Frosting: (to make 3 bathes of frosting)
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
3 boxes powdered sugar
milk, as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and dust with cocoa 2 round cake pans. Beat cake mix and next 7 ingredients at low speed with electric mixer for 1 minute, then beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. Fold in chopped Hershey bars. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely. Wrap and chill for at least one hour. Using a serrated knife, slice cake layers in half horizontally to make 4 layers. Place one cake layer on cake plate and spread with 1/2 cup cream cheese frosting. Spread with 2 T dulce de leche caramel. Sprinkle with one fourth of the cheesecake pieces. Press cheesecake pieces down into frosting. Repeat with other layers, omitting the cheesecake pieces and dulce de leche on top of last layer. Frost sides and top of cake with remaining frosting. Drizzle with dulce de leche and decorate top with remaining cheesecake pieces. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Frosting: Mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar.

TIP OF THE DAY: The original recipe called for Sara Lee cheesecake bites but since they do not sell them ANYWHERE in this town, I use a small turtle cheesecake. The recipe also called for canned frosting but I prefer to make my own. In order to spread the dulce de leche, I heated it in the microwave for about 10 seconds before spreading it.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Butterfinger Balls

Monday, December 10, 2007

Italian Coconut Cake

This is a recipe that I got from my sweet friend Lora. It's actually her husband's grandmother's recipe and is the BEST coconut cake I have ever tasted. It's a heavy, old fashioned YUMMY treat! I made it for an event at church this past Friday night and one sweet gentleman came back after eating a piece and told me it was the best cake he had ever eaten.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup Crisco
1 stick butter
5 eggs, divided
2 cups flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 t baking soda
1 t vanilla
1 pinch salt
2 cups coconut

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
2 boxes powdered sugar
1/2 cup coconut, optional
1/4 cup nuts, optional

Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together sugar, Crisco, and butter. Add 5 egg yolks, flour, buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla, and salt. In large mixing bowl, beat 5 egg whites and fold carefully into the batter. Stir in coconut. Pour into 3 greased and floured round cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly and turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Frosting: Mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Stir in coconut and nuts. Spread on cooled cake.

TIP OF THE DAY: I do not put coconut and nuts in my frosting but I'm sure it would be yummy. The frosting recipe makes alot of frosting, but if you half the recipe, you really don't have enough to completely cover the cake and make it pretty!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Cake

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Coconut Dream Dessert

This recipe is a variation of the fabulous and well loved Chocolate Delight dessert. It's a wonderful dessert- kind of like a coconut cream pie in a big pan.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans

Filling 1st Layer:
1 cup powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces Cool Whip

Filling 2nd Layer:
2 (3 ounce) packages cook and serve coconut pudding mix
4 cups milk

8 ounces Cool Whip
1/2 cup toasted coconut
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all crust ingredients together and press in bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 15 and set aside to cool. For first layer beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl till smooth. Fold in whipped cream and spread over cooled crust.
For 2nd layer, cook the pudding with the milk according to package directions and allow to cool completely. Spread over first layer. Cover with Cool Whip and sprinkle with coconut and pecans. Chill and serve.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Italian Coconut Cake

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Fruit Cocktail Cake

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 can fruit cocktail (including juice)
2 t baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix together flour, sugar, fruit cocktail, baking soda and eggs. Pour into greased and floured cake pan. Sprinkle brown sugar and pecans on top. Bake for 1 hour.

1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 can eagle brand milk

Mix together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil- stirring constantly. Pour over cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Coconut Dream Dessert

Friday, December 7, 2007

Buttermilk Candy

This is an OLD recipe that was in both my mother's and grandmother's recipe box. YUMMY!

2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 t baking soda
2 T white Karo syrup

Mix sugar, buttermilk, baking soda, and Karo and heat in large pot over medium heat till mixture boils and thickens. Set off of heat and add vanilla. When lukewarm, beat with mixer till thick like fudge. Pour into buttered square pan. Cool till set and cut into small squares.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Fruit Cocktail Cake

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Easy Caramel Apple Pie

This is a VERY easy, old fashioned pie. I found it in my grandmother's recipe box- clipped from an old Pet Ritz pie crust package.

10 caramel candies, each cut into 4 pieces
1/3 cup flour
3 cups chopped apples
2/3 cup caramel ice cream topping
2 t lemon juice
1 frozen 9 inch pie shell
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine caramel pieces, flour, apple pieces, caramel topping and lemon juice in large bowl. Mix well. Pour mixture into frozen pie shell and sprinkle with 1/2 cup pecan pieces. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

TIP OF THE DAY: To make this pie in a deep dish pie shell substitute 15 caramel candies, 1/2 cup flour, 5 cups apples, 1 cup caramel ice cream topping and 1 T lemon juice.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Buttermilk Candy

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Black Walnut Cake with White Fudge Frosting

Another wonderful cake recipe from my sweet mothers recipe box.

Black Walnut Cake:
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Sift dry ingredients together and stir into creamed mixture. Stir in vanilla and milk. Add nuts and then eggs- mix well. Pour into 3 greased and floured 9 inch round pans. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

White Fudge Frosting:
3 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 stick butter
1 t vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts

Combine sugar and milk - bring to a boil. Cover. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. Cool. Beat till thick. Frost cake.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Easy Caramel Apple Pie

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Quick Sticky Buns

I found this recipe in my Real Simple magazine last month. What a fabulous and EASY way to fix a yummy breakfast for your family!

1 1/2 T butter, sliced into 10 pieces
1 medium banana, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
3 T brown sugar
1 (7.5 ounce) tube buttermilk biscuits

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drop a piece of butter in the bottom of each of 10 compartments of a muffin tin. Arrange the banana slices on top. Sprinkle the pecans and brown sugar over the bananas. Top each compartment with a biscuit. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Place a baking sheet on top of the tin while the buns are still hot. Carefully flip the tin over, tapping the bottom to release the buns. Serve warm.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Black Walnut Cake

Monday, December 3, 2007

Garlic Pork Tenderloin

2-3 lb pork tenderloin
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 T oregano
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T thyme

With a sharp knife, make slits or pockets in the pork loin -- one for every whole garlic clove. Insert the whole cloves and pinch of oregano into each slit. Set aside. In medium bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Pour over pork loin and refrigerate 6-24 hours. Preheat oven to 350. Place pork in a foil lined baking dish. Bring foil up and tent. Bake for 1-1/2 hours, or until pork is tender and juices run clear. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes or so. Cut into slices and serve.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Quick Sticky Buns

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas Tea

This is a great Christmas time drink!

1 cup instant tea (or 1/2 cup instant tea with a 1 qt pkg lemonade mix)
2 cups Tang
1 cup sugar
1 t cloves
3/4 cup red cinnamon candies or 1 t ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together. To use, dissolve 2 t mix in one cup of hot water.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Garlic Pork Tenderloin

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ravioli Bites

This is a wonderful appetizer to take to a holiday gathering! A nice change from the traditional chips and dips!

1 cup fine soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 t garlic salt
1 t dried leaf oregano
16 ounces cheese-filled ravioli, cooked and drained
nonstick cooking spray
1 cup prepared spaghetti sauce, warmed

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray or use nonstick mats or foil to line baking sheets. In a pie plate combine the bread crumbs, cheese, garlic salt, and oregano. Roll each hot ravioli in the crumb mixture until coated. Place the ravioli, 1-inch apart, on baking sheets. Spray lightly with the nonstick spray. Bake 1 sheet of the ravioli until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, then bake the second sheet. Serve with the spaghetti sauce for dipping.

TIP OF THE DAY: Frozen ravioli works great for this recipe.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Christmas Tea

Friday, November 30, 2007

Eggnog Tea Bread

My dad loves eggnog so I am always on the lookout for recipes with eggnog. This
bread is a fabulous and easy bread that is great to give as a gift!

1 (16 oz) package Betty Crocker pound cake mix
¾ cup refrigerated eggnog
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon refrigerated eggnog

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Pour batter into 3 greased 6 x 3 x 2 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks. Combine powered sugar and 1 tablespoon eggnog, stirring well; drizzle over bread.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Ravioli Bites

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hershey Pound Cake

This is another of my mother's recipes. Her recipe actually calls for 8 five cent Hershey bars but since they don't sell those anymore, I figured out the equivalent for this recipe.

2 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks butter, softened
4 eggs
2 (5.5 ounce) cans chocolate syrup
7 (1.45 ounce) Hershey® bars, melted
1/4 t salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 t vanilla
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream sugar and butter; add eggs 1 at a time, beating well.
Add syrup and melted candy bars. Add salt to flour; stir baking soda into buttermilk and add to other ingredients alternately with flour, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla extract and pour into greased tube pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing. Sift confectioners' sugar over cooled cake.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Eggnog Tea Bread

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Coconut Sour Cream Cake

This is a recipe from my grandmother's recipe box and is labeled as her sister Fern's Favorite! It is a great and easy coconut cake!

1 box white cake mix
1/4 cup cooking oil
3 eggs
8 ounces sour cream
1 (8 ounce) can cream of coconut

8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 box powdered sugar
2 T milk
1 t coconut flavoring
1 can flake coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients at once in bowl of electric mixer. Bake in greased 9 x 13 or two 9 inch round pans sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool and ice.

Beat cream cheese in mixing bowl. Add milk and coconut flavoring. Work in powdered sugar. Spread over cooled cake and sprinkle with coconut.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Hershey Pound Cake

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Homemade Cocoa Mix

My mom made this every year and my sister and I so looked forward to it. It’s an easy and quick alternative to pre-packaged cocoa mixes.

6 ounces Coffemate creamer
1 lb 9 ounce box Carnation Dry Milk
2 lb box Nestlé’s Quick
1 box powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Store in airtight canister. Use 1/3 cup mix to 1 cup hot water.

TIP OF THE DAY: This is a great and easy gift idea. Package it with two cute coffee mugs, a big bag of marshmallows and some chocolate covered spoons and the recipient will love it!

Tomorrow’s Daily Special: Coconut Sour Cream Cake

Monday, November 26, 2007

Greek Pasta Shrimp

This is a quick and easy dinner to make if you like shrimp. The oregano, tarragon, and feta cheese are a great combination. It’s also a healthy dinner which is so great this time of year- with all of the fabulous holiday treats around!

12 shrimp
1 t oregano
½ t tarragon
2 t olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup chopped, diced tomatoes
1 ½ ounce feta cheese
Fettuccine – cooked and drained

Shell and devein shrimp. In large non stick skillet, heat olive oil. Add garlic and sauté till tender. Add shrimp, tomatoes, oregano, and tarragon. Sauté 5-6 minutes stirring till shrimp is pink and opaque. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in feta and spoon over pasta.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand, you can use canned petite diced tomatoes instead.

Tomorrow’s Daily Special: Homemade Cocoa Mix

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Apple Butter Scones

If you love apple butter, you are going to love these super easy scones!

2 1/4 cups flour
3 t baking powder
1 T packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup apple butter
1 t butter or margarine, melted
2 t cinnamon

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder and brown sugar in large bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup butter, the eggs, whipping cream and apple butter until soft dough forms. Place dough on lightly floured surface. Pat into an 8 inch round, about 3/4 inch thick. Brush with 1 t butter; sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Cut into 8 wedges. Place 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Serve these warm with additional apple butter.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you don't want to make these in traditional scone shapes, you can use a biscuit cutter (or a glass dipped in flour) to make round scones.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Greek Pasta Shrimp

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Caramel Brownies

These brownies are a great and easy treat for the caramel lovers in your life!

1 package German Chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup margarine, melted
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 package (14 ounces) caramels
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cake mix, 1/3 cup evaporated milk and butter. Spread half of this mixture on the bottom of a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray or has been lined with foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Melt caramels in remaining evaporated milk over very low heat or according to directions on package of caramels. Pour caramel mixture over cake and then pour chocolate chips over caramel layer. Pour pecans over chocolate chips. Press remaining cake mix on top. Bake for 18 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you are in a pinch for time, you can use either a jar of caramel topping or the new caramel bits instead of the traditional caramels.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Apple Butter Scones

Friday, November 23, 2007

Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Pie

This is a great variation on a traditional pumpkin pie! The bottom layer of brown sugar, pecans, and butter is a chewy, praline type layer.

1/2 cup brown sugar
4 T butter, melted
1/2 cup pecan pieces

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
Cool Whip (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl mix together melted butter, brown sugar, and pecan pieces. Pour into pie crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes. In mixing bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with Cool Whip.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you are baking a pie and the crust starts getting too dark, cover the edges with foil to prevent it from getting too dark.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Caramel Brownies

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hot Chocolate Cookies

I thought that these would be a fun holiday treat to make for Tony's kids who arrive on Friday afternoon for a week and a half visit! We CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup instant hot chocolate mix
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
12 T butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 t vanilla
24 large marshmallows, cut in half crosswise

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
6 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk
2 T cocoa powder

Cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa mix, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined after each. Mix in milk and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Using a small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop the dough onto cookie sheets. Bake until the cookies are set, about 8 minutes. Remove and carefully place a marshmallow, cut side down, in the center of each cookie. Place back in the oven and continue baking until the marshmallow begins to look puffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and let cookies sit on the baking sheet for 1 minute before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Glaze: Place powdered sugar in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, add butter, milk and cocoa. Cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil - let cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Pour mixture into the bowl of confectioners' sugar and beat until creamy. Immediately spoon a little of the glaze over each of the cooled cookies.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Pie

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mom's Cornbread Dressing

I think I am one of the only people that do NOT like dressing. The rest of my family LOVES it and thinks something must be seriously wrong with me since I don't. Growing up every Thanksgiving and Christmas the EXACT same thing would happen. My mother would always put some dressing on my plate, I would go and sit at the "kiddie" table and cry because I didn't want to eat it, and then my grandmother (who was the sweetest lady EVER), would come in and eat my dressing for me so I wouldn't get in trouble. Finally I think my grandmother got tired of eating both her dressing and mine, so she asked my mom why in the world she kept making me eat something year after year that I obviously did NOT like. My mom said that because she loved it so much, she just couldn't understand me not liking it and kept thinking that at some point, if I ate it enough, I too would grow to love it. That never happened but I do make it every year for my family. The first Thanksgiving after she died I was so nervous that I wouldn't make it correctly and would ruin the day for my entire family but thankfully I had watched her enough to recreate her recipe- even though she never wrote it down.

1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced white onion
1 double batch of Nana's Cornbread
10 eggs
turkey broth (I have no idea how much- I just pour until it looks right- but I promise to measure on Thursday and add it here)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. Crumble up cornbread in prepared pan. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Mix in diced celery and onion with hands. In large bowl beat 10 eggs. Pour over cornbread mixture. Carefully pour turkey stock into pan until all cornbread is well moistened. You do not want your cornbread mixture floating in the stock. Salt and pepper dressing and place on a cookie sheet and carefully place in oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until set.

TIP OF THE DAY: I really don't like dicing celery and onions and love this time of year when they sell containers of them pre-cut. The cost is about the same and it's a great time saver!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Hot Chocolate Cookies

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cream Cheese Brownie Pie

This is the perfect pie for any chocolate lover!

1 9 inch deep dish pie crust
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 T sugar
1 t vanilla
3 eggs
1 box brownie mix (not the family size)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 T water
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
chocolate sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and 1 of the eggs on medium speed until smooth; set aside. In large bowl, beat brownie mix, oil and remaining two eggs with a spoon till well mixed. Spread enough brownie mixture to cover the bottom of the pie crust- about 1 cup. Spoon and carefully spread cream cheese mixture over brownie layer. Top carefully with remaining brownie mixture and spread carefully. Sprinkle with pecans. Take a butter knife and twist to swirl the two batters. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until center is puffed and crust is lightly browned. Cool completely and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Serve with cool whip or ice cream.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Mom's Cornbread Dressing

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pumpkin Pie Dip

This is a great appetizer for Thanksgiving day or a fall party!

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
apples, sliced
gingersnaps (or Betty's Ginger Cookies)

Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add pie filling, cinnamon, and ginger, beating well. Cover and chill 8 hours. Serve with gingersnaps and apple slices.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Cream Cheese Brownie Pie

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pumpkin Fluff

This is a super easy and low calorie alternative to pumpkin pie!

1 (16 ounce) can pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 (1 1/2 ounce) box sugar free instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (8 ounce) container fat free cool whip
1 t pumpkin pie spice

Combine all ingredients in order. Chill for 2 hours.

TIP OF THE DAY: This could also be placed in a low fat graham cracker crust and turned into a pie for only a few additional calories!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Pumpkin Pie Dip

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Chocolate Pecan Pie

For pecan pie lovers, this is a new twist on an old favorite!

1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
4 eggs
1 cup pecans
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a heavy saucepan combine melted margarine, corn syrup, white sugar, and cocoa. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Add vanilla, salt, and eggs, stirring well. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans. Mix well. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell and top with remaining 1/2 cup pecans. Bake for 55 minutes. Cool before serving.

TIP OF THE DAY: In order to keep your eggs from cooking when added to the chocolate mixture, put a bit of the hot chocolate mixture in a separate bowl and whisk the eggs into the bowl of chocolate to prevent the eggs from cooking, pour the remaining hot chocolate mixture into the bowl of chocolate/egg mixture, whisking constantly, until thoroughly mixed. Then add the vanilla and salt and pecans.

Tomorrow's Daily Special :Pumpkin Fluff

Friday, November 16, 2007

Maple Walnut Pie

This pie is a great fall pie. Sweet and yummy!! It's a good alternative to the traditional pumpkin and pecan pies usually served for Thanksgiving.

1 1/4 cups maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 t flour
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 T butter, melted
1 9-inch frozen unbaked deep-dish pie shell
1 1/2 cups walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir maple syrup, sugar, eggs, egg yolk, flour, and vanilla in large bowl to blend.Whisk in melted butter (maple mixture will be very thin at this point). Stir in 1 cup of walnuts. Place frozen pie shell on heavy baking sheet. Carefully pour maple mixture into pie shell. Arrange remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts atop maple mixture, pressing into maple mixture to coat. Place baking sheet in center of oven.Bake pie for 50 minutes, or until crust edges are golden and filling is just set in center. Cool pie on cooling rack for 15 minutes.

TIP OF THE DAY: Serve this pie warm with cool whip or a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Chocolate Pecan Pie

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Almond Joy Bread

My sweet friends at work love Almond Joy candy bars so I am always looking for Almond Joy recipes to share with them. This yummy bread was a huge hit! It made two loaves and after Tony tasted it he said......."You aren't going to take all of that to work are you?".

Almond Joy Bread
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
¾ cup canola oil
¼ cup melted unsalted butter
1 t vanilla
1 t coconut extract
3 cups flour
½ t baking soda
½ t baking powder
½ t salt
2 T cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sweetened coconut
½ cup raw almonds, chopped
1 cup chocolate chips

Coconut Glaze
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 T butter
1 t coconut extract

Almond Joy Bread:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first 6 ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Beat ingredients on medium speed for 2 minutes.In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Starting with the flour mixture alternate flour, and then buttermilk till all is combined. Mix until just combined. Do NOT over mix. Fold in coconut, chocolate chips and almonds. Pour into two loaf pans or 8 mini loaf pans that have been greased and floured or sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove from oven and place on rack to dry. While cakes are still warm, poke several holes in the top of the cake with a fork. Drizzle Coconut Glaze into the holes.

Coconut Glaze:
Place ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil for about a minute. Turn heat off but leave saucepan on burner. Drizzle over bread. Cool.

TIP OF THE DAY: After the bread is cooled, you can drizzle this bread with a chocolate glaze made up of 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 2 T butter, and 1 T corn syrup melted in the microwave.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Maple Walnut Pie

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Betty's Ginger Cookies

This recipe is from my sweet friend Betty and is one of my all time favorites. Betty included this recipe in our church cookbook and the first time I made them, I knew exactly why. These cookies are soft and chewy and don't have an over powering ginger taste like gingersnaps do. Try them and I promise you will not be disappointed!

3/4 cup shortening (you can use butter but the cookies will be really flat and not nearly as good)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cup flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t ground ginger
1 t cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream shortening; gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine next 5 ingredients; add to mixture, mixing well. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in 1/3 cup sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE! Cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.

TIP OF THE DAY: To make the molasses come out of your measuring cup easily, before pouring it in the measuring cup, spray the cup with cooking spray. It will pour right out and make cleaning the measuring cup so much faster!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Almond Joy Bread

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

These are another fabulous fall cookie. They smell wonderful when they are baking and are a great oatmeal cookie variation. The cinnamon chips are so wonderful and are usually only found this time of year. I buy a bunch and throw them in the freezer so I'll have them year round.

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 2/3 cups HERSHEY'S Cinnamon Chips
3/4 cup raisins, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, brown sugar and sugar in large mixing bowl until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Combine flour and baking soda in small bowl and add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in oats, cinnamon chips and raisins. The batter is very stiff. Drop by heaping teaspoons (or use your cookie scoop) onto cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes on until lightly browned. Do NOT over bake. Cool 1 minute then remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

TIP OF THE DAY: To make bars instead of cookies, spread batter into lightly greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and cut into bars.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Betty's Ginger Cookies

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars

These bars are wonderful warm. It's like having a warm gingerbread cookie with pumpkin pie on top. YUMMY!

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t nutmeg
1/8 t ground cloves
2 sticks butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup rolled quick oats

6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 small can mashed pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/2 cup sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t nutmeg
1/8 t ground cloves
2 large eggs

1 cup powdered sugar
1 T butter or margarine, softened
1/4 t vanilla1 to 2 T milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar and molasses until creamy. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Reserve 3/4 cup of this mixture and place in a small bowl. Scoop the remaining mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray.Add the oats to the reserved mixture and mix until combined - set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves - mix until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing just until combined. Scoop the mixture over the uncooked base and evenly spread the mixture over the top. Crumble reserved oat mixture over filling.Bake until the topping is a golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

In a small bowl, mix together powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Mix in just enough milk until the mixture will easily flow from a spoon - drizzle over cooled bars.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Taco Casserole

This is quick weeknight meal that is yummy on a warm fall night!

1 lb ground beef or chicken
1/2 onion, diced
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 packet low sodium taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
1 can pinto beans
1 small package whole wheat penne pasta, cooked and drained
1 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese

Brown onion and ground beef in large saucepan after seasoning with salt and pepper. Add taco seasoning and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a low boil over medium heat. Add beans and simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn down heat to low and add drained pasta and cheese. Stir well and serve!

TIP OF THE DAY: This can be a super quick dinner if you cook your ground beef or chicken ahead of time. If I know that I am going to cook two different things in a week that require ground beef, I'll brown it all at once. I did that on this past Sunday when we had lasagna, and then was able to get this dinner made in a jiffy!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Maple Walnut Scones

The cinnamon scones were such a hit at work that I decided to try another kind of scone. The sweet technology ladies at work didn't get a chance to try the cinnamon ones, so I made these just for them. They smelled delcious while cooking and tasted even better!

2 T brown sugar
2 T walnuts- chopped and toasted
½ cup butter or margarine
2 T brown sugar
2 t baking powder
¼ t salt
½ cup walnuts - chopped and toasted
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 egg
2 T milk
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix 2 T brown sugar and 2 T finely chopped nuts in small bowl and set aside. Cut the margarine into flour, 2 T brown sugar, baking powder, and salt with a pastry blender or two large knives in a large bowl until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. (I used my Kitchen Aid mixer and it worked just fine and was much easier). Stir in a ½ cup of toasted nuts. Stir in maple syrup, egg, and just enough milk so that the dough leaves the side of the bowl and forms a ball. Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface; gently roll in flour to coat. Knead lightly 10 times to coat. Pat or roll into an 8-inch circle on a lightly greased cookie sheet or pizza pan. Brush with milk and sprinkle with brown sugar nut mixture. Cut into eight wedges but do not separate. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet; carefully separate the wedges. Serve warm and enjoy!

TIP OF THE DAY: This makes large scones. To make smaller ones pat into a rectangle and cut into small triangles.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Taco Casserole

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mom's Lasagna

My mom's lasagna was always one of my favorite meals growing up and her recipe is the one I always use. It is by no means low fat, so I don't make it often. But when I do, it is definitely a treat and so worth the extra calories!

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 t oregano
1 t basil
2 large cans tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
1 large can petite diced tomatoes
1 box lasagna noodles
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 lbs sliced mozzarella cheese

Saute onions and garlic in large pot over medium heat. Add ground beef and brown. Add spices (measurements of which are a guess b/c I never measure them). Drain meat. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and diced tomato. Mix well and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. While sauce is simmering, cook lasagna noodles according to package directions and drain. Spray 9 x 13 pan or deep dish lasagna pan with cooking spray. Spoon a small amount of meat sauce onto bottom of pan. Layer noodles, sauce, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers 2 times ending with cheese. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray so that the cheese won't stick to it and cover lasagna with foil. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

TIP OF THE DAY: Put a tiny bit of cooking oil in your water when boiling the noodles so that they don't stick together when you drain them.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Maple Walnut Scones

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cinnamon Scones

I LOVE scones but have only ever made them using a mix I purchased. I recently decided to try making some at home and am so glad I did. If you have never tried one- they are a sweet, but not too sweet, biscuit type of bread. Great with tea or coffee for breakfast. This recipe was my first attempt and I think they turned out great. As a bonus, all the cinnamon in the recipe made the house smell yummy too!

4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
¼ t cream of tartar
1 t salt
1 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1 egg
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Turn mixer on lowest speed and slowly drop in butter pieces. Mixture should be crumbly. Add in sour cream and egg and mix just till well combined. Turn dough out on to a floured surface and knead dough just until it comes together. The less you handle the dough, the lighter your scones will be. Pat out to about ¾ inch thickness. Either spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or cover with parchment paper. Cut dough into small triangles (traditional scone shape) or use a round glass or biscuit cutter and cut out small circles. Place on cookie sheet, sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Mom's Lasagna

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Meatball Pizza

This is a recipe that I adapted after watching Rachel Ray one Sat. afternoon with Madison. It's a nice switch from traditional pizza.

1 recipe homemade pizza dough or 1 container refrigerated pizza dough
1 T olive oil
2 T rosemary
1 t salt
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4-6 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 t pepper
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup parsley
1 t oregano
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a round pizza stone or pan or on a rectangular baking sheet, using flour or cornmeal to dust the dough, spread out the dough to form your crust. If you are using a baking sheet, drizzle pan with extra-virgin olive oil then set crust in place. Poke the pizza dough in several areas with the tines of a fork. Drizzle the dough with extra-virgin olive oil then season it with finely chopped rosemary and a little salt. Place in oven 10 minutes.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, then the meat. Brown and crumble meat a couple of minutes, then add onions and garlic. Season the meat with salt and pepper then work in the tomato paste using the back of a wooden spoon to combine. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, parsley and oregano. Remove pizza crust from oven and top with meat. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the pizza. Return the pizza to the oven and bake another 10 to 12 minutes.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Cinnamon Scones

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Maple Pecan Bread

This is a great fall recipe that only takes just a few minutes to mix up and get in the oven.

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup half and half
3 T vegetable oil
1 t maple extract
3 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Maple Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2-3 t half and half or milk
1 t maple extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of loaf pan. Mix all ingredients except pecans and Maple Glaze in large bowl with spoon; beat 30 seconds. Stir in pecans. Pour into pan. Bake 55-65 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaf from pan; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely, about an hour.

Stir together all ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over cooled bread.

TIP OF THE DAY: Sprinkle additional chopped pecans over the top of the maple glazed bread. For an additional pecan flavor, lightly toast your pecans before putting them in the batter.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Meatball Pizza

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pumpkin and Spiced Cider Pudding Cake

I always love to bake but when the weather starts to get colder and the holidays approach- I really get in the mood to bake! This is a fabulous dessert to make on a chilly fall evening!

1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 T vegetable oil
1/4 c milk
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 T butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/4 t pumpkin pie spice

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice and salt in medium bowl. Stir in pumpkin, oil, and milk just until moistened. Spread in ungreased 8 x8 square baking dish (or double and put in a 9 x 13 pan). Heat apple cider and butter to boiling in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Meanwhile mix brown sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 t pumpkin pie spice in small bowl. Sprinkle over pumpkin batter in baking dish. Pour boiling cider mixture over all. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and edges are bubbly. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm.

TIP OF THE DAY: Serve this warm with either Cool whip or fresh whipped cream.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Maple Pecan Bread

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Strawberry Cake

2 cups white sugar
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored jello
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs at room temperature
2 3/4 cups flour

2 1/2 t baking powder
1 cup milk, room temperature
1 T vanilla
1/2 cup strawberry puree made from frozen sweetened strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry jello until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. Blend in vanilla and strawberry puree. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow cakes to cool in their pans over a wire rack for at least 10 minutes, before tapping out to cool completely.
Frost cake with canned or home-made cream cheese or butter cream frosting.

TIP OF THE DAY: Decorate this cake with sliced fresh strawberries or drizzle with strawberry jam.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Pumpkin and Spiced Cider Pudding Cake

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Doodle's Funeral Salad

My aunt's name was LaWanda but her nickname was Tootsie so my sister and I called her Aunt Tootsie. Once we went to visit and she made the BEST fruit salad ever and so of course my mother and I asked for the recipe. She wrote it down and when we saw the name of the salad we were a bit perplexed. She had titled the recipe "Doodle's Funeral Salad". We asked her about it and she explained that her friend Doodle (of course someone named Tootsie would have a friend named Doodle :) had died and while at the luncheon following her funeral, my aunt tasted this salad and loved it. She found the recipe and it became forever known as Doodle's Funeral Salad. Since I got it from my aunt, to me it's Aunt Tootsie's Doodle's Funeral Salad. No matter what the name, trust me when I say it is the BEST fruit salad ever!

1 large can pineapple tidbits, drained- reserve the juice
1 can mandrian oranges, drained-reserve the juice
1 large jar maraschino cherries
1 (3 ounce) package Jello vanilla pudding, COOK AND SERVE
3-4 bananas
Fresh strawberries
Fresh blueberries

Mix drained pineapple and mandrian orange juice to make 1 cup. Discard extra juice. Add 1 cup juice to a small saucepan with pudding mix. Heat over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook till it turns clear (this will all of a sudden happen, trust me) and thickens, stirring all the time. Remove from heat and cool. Add all fruit. Chill and serve.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you are in a hurry you can chill the cooked pudding/juice mixture in the refrigerator for a few minutes.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Strawberry Cake

Friday, November 2, 2007

Smushy Cake

Growing up my mother made this cake and called it a Neiman-Marcus Cake. My sister and I renamed it Ooey Gooey Cake. Madison has now renamed it Smushy Cake and it is one of her favorites. It's a great cake to make with just a few ingredients. It's not very pretty- but it sure is yummy- especially fresh out of the oven!

1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 box powdered sugar

Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. Combine cake mix, 1 stick melted butter and 1 egg in mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Pat into the bottom of the 9 x 13 pan and set aside.

Filling: In another mixing bowl beat cream cheese until smooth then add eggs and vanilla. Add in powdered sugar and beat well. Pour over cake mixture and spread until smooth. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. This is NOT a cake that should look done- it's supposed to be gooey in the center so do NOT over bake it. Cut fairly small pieces because it is RICH. Serve warm.

TIP OF THE DAY: There are tons of variations for this recipe:

  • Banana: Add two ripe bananas to the filling mixture

  • Chocolate: Use a chocolate cake mix and sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts on the top before baking

  • Carrot: Use a spice cake mix and add nuts and 1 and 1/2 cups of shredded carrots to the filling mixture

  • Pumpkin: Add a 15 ounce can of pumpkin and an extra egg to the filling mixture

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Doodle's Funeral Salad

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Mama's Fajitas

Growing up my mother made the best fajitas- but they weren't like the fajitas that you get in restaurants today. She served them more like a steak, not in strips- with a yummy marinade that I was shocked to find the ingredients of. If you are looking for a new Tex-Mex recipe- this one is GREAT!

2 lb flank steak
1 bottle low sodium teriyaki sauce
1 t garlic powder
1 small lime , cut in half

Trim steaks and score diagonally. Combine teriyaki sauce and garlic powder in large freezer Ziploc bag. Add flank steak. Squeeze lime over steaks and drop lime into bag. Seal and shake to mix. Place in refrigerator for 24 hours. Preheat gas grill or gas broiler using medium flame. Drain steaks. Place on grill or broiler pan. Grill for about 6 minutes each side. Serve with Spanish rice and jalapeno pinto beans.

TIP OF THE DAY: Always keep bottled lemon and lime juice in your refrigerator for times that a recipe calls for it and you don't have fresh ones on hand.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Smushy Cake

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Breakfast Pizza

Growing up we used to go water skiing on summer weekends and take a bunch of our friends with us. This is one of the many great breakfasts my mom would prepare for us to eat before we left. It's easy and great for a crowd!

1 1/2 packages crescent dinner rolls
1 lb breakfast sausage, browned, broken up and drained
1 pkg frozen hash browns, thawed
1 1/2 c shredded cheese (mozzarella or cheddar)
6 eggs
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Layer crescent dinner rolls in pan, pressing together at perforations. Sprinkle sausage, hash browns, and cheese over crescent rolls. In small bowl mix together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour over pizza in pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

TIP OF THE DAY: To spice this dish up- you could add 1/2 cup of salsa to the egg mixture or serve with salsa on the side.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Mama's Fajitas

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Kindergarten Texas Chili

When I first started teaching I was teaching kindergarten in Waco. Each spring we had a TEXAS unit where we taught the kids about all things TEXAS. It was a week full of bluebonnets, yellow roses and mockingbirds. Of course no TEXAS week would be complete without a chili cook off so of course we had one- between the kindergarten classes! It was a hoot- the teachers really got into it, typed up lists of ingredients, and the kids brought them in. I taught with some highly competitive, experienced teachers so of course I was motivated to beat them, and did with the recipe below!

1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 small can tomato paste
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I love the petite diced)
1 t cumin
1 t paprika
2 t chili powder
1 t oregano
1 t salt
1/2 t red pepper
1 t pepper
1 can hot chili beans
shredded cheddar cheese

Brown meat, onions, and garlic in large cooking pot. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 2 hours. Serve over Frito's and top with cheese.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you like thicker chili, omit the can of tomato sauce. If you are in a pinch, instead of all of the seasonings, use a chili mix packet.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Breakfast Pizza

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pumpkin Crumb Cake

I got this recipe years ago when I lived in Waco from a sweet friend who was a fabulous cook. It's an easy pumpkin recipe that is just perfect for this time of year!

1 can pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t cloves
1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
2 sticks butter
1 yellow cake mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, spices, and vanilla together in large bowl. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle cake mix (dry) over the top of pumpkin mix. Drizzle melted butter over the top of the dry mix. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

TIP OF THE DAY: You can add 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans to the top to add a nutty flavor!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Kindergarten Texas Chili

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Grandma's Pound Cake

This is my grandmother pound cake recipe and is my absolute favorite. I don't use shortening much- but it is VITAL to this yummy cake! It's one of the few cakes I think is perfect without icing. It's a simple cake that almost everyone has the ingredients to make just about any time.

1 cup Crisco
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 cups flour
3 T COLD water
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a tube (aka angel food cake pan) pan well with cooking spray. Cream Crisco and sugar till light and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time. Mix in flour, COLD WATER, and vanilla till well combined. Your batter will fairly thick. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven to wire rack and cool for 20 minutes before turning out onto a cake plate to cool completely.

TIP OF THE DAY: The key in this cake is using COLD water. Do NOT omit this step!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Pumpkin Crumb Cake

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Chicken Parmesan

This is a great Italian meal that is a nice change from traditional lasagna and spaghetti. Because it takes awhile to bake I typically save it for a weekend meal or bake it the night before I want to serve it.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg or egg substitute
2 T butter
2 cups spaghetti sauce (canned or homemade)
shredded mozzarella cheese
spaghetti, cooked

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pound chicken to flatten. Mix breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and Italian seasoning together. Dip chicken in egg; then in bread crumb mixture. Fry in butter in hot skillet, turning and browning for 10 min or until chicken is done. Remove from skillet. Spray 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Pour spaghetti sauce in pan and lay chicken on top of sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and cover loosely with foil. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through. Serve over spaghetti noodles.

TIP OF THE DAY: When trying to pound chicken to flatten, place between two sheets of wax paper and use a meat mallet or rolling pin. It's a great way to get rid of any frustration you may have!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Grandma's Pound Cake

Friday, October 26, 2007

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

This is another great fall recipe that includes apples!

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 T sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla
3 apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or a fork) until the mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9 x 13 inch pan lined with foil. Bake 15 minutes. In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, and vanilla till smooth. Pour over warm crust. In a small bowl, stir together apples, 2 T sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. In small bowl stir together all streusel ingredients and mix just till crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over apple layer. Bake 30 minutes. Drizzle with caramel topping.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Chicken Parmesan

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hashbrown Casserole

If you like Cracker Barrel's hashbrown casserole then you are going to love this dish! It's a great alternative to baked potatoes and is ready in a flash.

2 lbs frozen hash browns, shredded or diced
1 (10 1/4 ounce) can low fat cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cups 2% shredded cheddar cheese
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 11 x 14 baking dish with cooking spray.
Mix the above ingredients together in large bowl and place in prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until brown on top- stirring about half way through cooking.

TIP OF THE DAY: To insure that your potatoes aren't too watery, thaw hash browns in microwave before making this dish. Dump them out on a paper towel and pat dry before putting them into bowl for this recipe. Also, to make this a complete meal, add a cup and a half of diced ham and you have a complete dinner!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes

To celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness this week, we had pink day this week. I decided that in honor of the day, I needed to bake something pink to take as a treat to school. These strawberry and cream cupcakes were just the pink yummy treat I chose!

1 box white cake mix (I prefer Pillsbury)
1 1/4 cups strawberry-flavored soda pop (Big Red)
Vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 box powdered sugar
1-2 T strawberry-flavored soda pop

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Make and cool cake as directed on box for 24 cupcakes-except substitute soda pop for the water.

Cream butter and cream cheese in large mixing bowl. Add 1 T of strawberry-flavored soda pop and then add sugar. Mix till well combined, adding additional strawberry soda pop if necessary. Add a tiny bit of red food coloring if frosting is not pink enough.

TIP OF THE DAY: To make this recipe even easier, use canned cream cheese frosting instead of making your own.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Hashbrown Casserole

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jeanie's Hamburger Casserole

Growing up we had some fabulous neighbors that lived across the street- Reagan and Jeanie. Jeanie made this casserole for us one time and it turned into a family favorite. I think of her every time I make this super simple but yummy recipe!

1 lb ground beef, turkey, or chicken
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 (8 ounce) package noodles
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 can corn (optional)
1 (10 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown onions and meat. Season meat mixture with salt, pepper and garlic salt. Boil the noodles in water for 6 minutes and drain. Drain corn. Mix all ingredients and turn into a two-quart greased casserole dish. Bake 30 minutes.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Strawberry and Cream Cupcakes

Monday, October 22, 2007

Apple Pie Bread

This is a sweet bread that smells as good as it tastes and is as simple as pie to make!

1 (21 ounce) can apple pie filling
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 T vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t apple pie spice
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, use a fork to break up apples in the filling; set aside. With mixer in large bowl cream together butter and sugars. Stir in eggs, apples, and vanilla until well blended. Sift together flour, baking soda, apple pie spice, cinnamon, and salt. Stir into apple mixture, then stir in raisins and walnuts. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

TIP OF THE DAY: Before using raisins in a recipe, soak them in a bowl of warm water to plump them up. By doing this the raisins won't have to try to soak up the liquid in the bread and your bread will be much moister.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Jeanie's Hamburger Casserole

Saturday, October 20, 2007

White Chicken Chili

Although I love to cook and make many things from scratch, I also use some ready made products to help me get good meals on the table fast. This white chicken chili starts with a mix made by McCormick that is spicy and absolutely wonderful! This is a meal that I can have on the table in less than 30 minutes and that my family adores!

1 T canola oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 package McCormick White Chicken Chili Seasoning Mix
1 cup water
1 can northern beans
1 can canelli beans

Heat oil in large skillet on medium high heat. Add chicken- cook and stir for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Stir in seasoning mix, water, and beans. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

TIP OF THE DAY: To make this super simple meal even more simple- use pre-cooked diced chicken that can be found near the deli meat at the grocery store.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Apple Pie Bread

Baked Potato Soup

Madison LOVES soup- specifically baked potato soup. Because every potato soup recipe that I have ever seen makes very large amounts of soup, I have adjusted this one to make a much smaller amount.

2-3 large baking potatoes
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup flour
4-6 cups milk
3/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
4 slices pepper bacon, cooked, crumbled
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

Bake potatoes in oven or microwave. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp. Throw away potato skins. Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add flour and stir until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly. Stir in potato, salt, pepper, bacon, green onions, and cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated but do not boil. Stir in sour cream and heat. Sprinkle top of soup with remaining bacon, onion, and cheese.

TIP OF THE DAY: To make the soup come together quickly, heat the milk in the microwave before adding it to the butter and flour mixture.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: White Chicken Chili

Friday, October 19, 2007

Crunch Top Apple Pie

Last year I tried making several versions of apple pies until I found one that I absolutely loved. I stumbled upon this one from Paula Deen (who I think is FABULOUS) and after trying it- declared it my favorite. I think the addition of applesauce is what makes it so great!

Dough for a double crust 9-inch pie (homemade or refrigerated)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash salt
3 1/2 cups peeled and chopped cooking apples
1 (16-ounce) jar cinnamon applesauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, chopped into small pieces

Crunch Topping:
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Dash salt
1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie pan with half of dough. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Stir in apples, applesauce, and lemon juice. Spoon apple mixture into pie pan and dot with butter. Cut remaining crust into strips; arrange in a lattice design over top of pie. For crunch topping, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Using a fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over top of crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for about 45 minutes, or until crust and topping are golden brown.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you use the refrigerated pie shells (in the section with biscuits and cinnamon rolls) this is truly an easy pie to make. Double the recipe and make one for a friend!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Baked Potato Soup

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rosemary Potatoes

I try to cook red potatoes fairly often as they are a healthier choice than white potatoes. This is a recipe I use often that goes great with a pork roast.

10 small red potatoes
cooking spray
1 T Parmesan cheese
1 T fresh rosemary, finely chopped (dried works fine too)
garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and quarter potatoes. Lay quartered potatoes large cookie sheet and spray well with cooking spray. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, rosemary, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Bake for 40 minutes or until potatoes are done.

TIP OF THE DAY: When making recipes like this one, I usually line my cookie sheet with foil for quick clean up. Anything to save a bit of precious time!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Crunch Top Apple Pie

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Lemon Lime Salmon

I absolutely ADORE salmon! It's so easy to prepare, so good for you, and so yummy! This is my favorite way to prepare it. When Kroger puts salmon steaks on sale, you can guarantee this is on our table!

olive oil
1 small lemon
1 small lime
4 salmon steaks
lemon pepper
garlic salt

Preheat oven to low broil. Spray broiling pan with cooking spray. Brush tops of salmon steaks with olive oil. Drizzle with lemon and lime juice. Sprinkle with lemon pepper and garlic salt. Carefully flip steaks over and repeat process. Place in oven and broil on low for approximately 10 minutes- flipping after 5 minutes. The salmon should be flaky inside. Watch the salmon carefully so that it does not over cook. I usually leave the oven door cracked a bit and the light on so I can see it.

TIP OF THE DAY: Fish should NOT smell super fishy. I cook all fish within 24 hours of purchasing it just to be on the safe side.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Rosemary Potatoes

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mini Meatloaves

Madison and Tony absolutely LOVE meatloaf so I make it fairly often. Although it's easy to make- it used to drive me crazy that it took so long to bake. So one day I decided to make it in a muffin tin instead of a loaf pan to cut down on the cooking time. It worked fabulously and in less than 30 minutes I had dinner on the table!

1 lb lean ground beef or chicken
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup herbed bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 can (15.25 oz ) Hunt's Family Favorites Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Meatloaf
1 T brown sugar
1 t oregano
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray. In large bowl mix ground beef, onion, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, 1/2 can tomato sauce, brown sugar, oregano, salt and pepper with hands. Form into large balls and place one in each muffin tin cup. Press down till flat. Spread remaining tomato sauce on top of each mini meatloaf. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve on top of brown rice for a yummy, quick dinner!

TIP OF THE DAY: You can adapt your favorite meatloaf recipe to be made into mini meatloaves. Just cut the cooking time by 2/3 and check to make sure the center of each one is cooked all the way through.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Lemon-lime Salmon

Monday, October 15, 2007

Banana Cream Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

By the number of banana recipes you can probably tell that I often buy bananas that go bad before they are all eaten. This is a great use of those bananas- a yummy banana treat for those you love! Edited to add: When Madison ate a piece of this cake tonight, she asked what the recipe was called. I told her it was Banana Cream Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and she replied that it should be called: The Most AWESOME Banana Cream Cake EVER!

3/4 cup butter
2 1/8 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 t vanilla
3 cups flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 t lemon juice
1 1/2cups mashed ripe bananas

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 box powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix mashed bananas with lemon juice and set aside. In another bowl, mix flour, soda, and salt. In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and then add vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture along with buttermilk- alternating between the two. Stir in banana mixture. Pour into prepared pan and bake for between one hour and one hour 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes.

Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add in vanilla and then powdered sugar. Mix on high speed until smooth. Spread on cooled cake.

TIP OF THE DAY: Do NOT skip the freezer step! It sounds strange but is what makes this cake so yummy and moist! I was skeptical at first but promise, you will be amazed!

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Mini Meatloaves

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Surprise

Trying to decide what recipe to post today, I had an idea. For the past several months I've been posting recipes for the things I have been baking and cooking, things that I or my family love. But today I want to hear from YOU! If there is something you would like me to post a recipe for or even if there is something you wish I would post more often (probably vegetable dishes :) this is your chance to tell me. Please leave a comment with what you would like for me to post and I promise to try my best to fulfill your requests!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cinnamon Almond Bars

One of my favorite things about fall is the ability to find my favorite type of chip- Hershey's CINNAMON chips- in the grocery store. I buy lots of them because they are so yummy in oatmeal cookies. I decided to try something new the other night and came up with this bar recipe. Not only do they taste great- they smell fabulous while they are cooking!

1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 cup white vanilla baking chips
1 cup cinnamon chips
1 cup slivered almonds
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. Unroll dough into 2 long rectangles. Place in pan; press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust.
Bake 5 minutes. Sprinkle chips and nuts evenly over crust. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over top. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen. Cool 1 hour. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is set before cutting into bars.

TIP OF THE DAY: To change up these bars, change the cinnamon chips to chocolate and the almonds to walnuts.

Tomorrow's Daily Special: Sunday Surprise