Sunday, May 24, 2009

God Bless America

Memorial Day Weekend is not just a three day weekend. I think often times, people look forward to long weekends because it's an extra day off. In turn, they forget why mail isn't delivered or banks are closed and might even think of that as an inconvenience.

In Elementary School, every morning after the Pledge of Allegiance, our teacher would let a fellow student pick a Patriotic song to sing in the morning. I have never forgotten this chorus and I think of it often.

And I'm proud to be an American ...where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died...who gave that right to me.
And I'd gladly stand up; next to you...and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land...God bless the USA!
Chorus from

God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood.

Men and Women serve our great Country. They make personal sacrifices to serve and protect America's Freedom. Some even make the ultimate sacrifice. This Memorial Day weekend take time and reflect. Whether you agree with the current wars being fought overseas, Respect and Remember what these brave Men and Women have done for our Country.

Red, White and Blue Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter room temp
3/4 cup firm packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 packet Maple and Brown sugar Oatmeal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a mixing bowl combine butter and sugars. Mix well until fluffy. Add the egg and mix. Add extracts and mix again. In a seperate bowl combine dry ingredients (not chips or dried fruit) and stir. Add 1/2 cup of the dry ingredients at a time and mix after each addition. Do this until all dry ingredients are used up. Fold in the chips and dried fruit.

On a cookie sheet using a tablespoon drop rounds of dough approxiamaately 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are set. When done, remove from oven and transfer from baking sheet to a cooling rack. Eat one when it is still warm.

Friday, May 22, 2009

What To Do With Leftover Taco Meat???

I cook for two most of the time. When it is just the two of us there is always leftover taco meat. I find I can get two meals out of one by doing this. I save a little money and have variety for meals. Below you find my recipe for Crockpot taco meat that is out of this world. One of my boyfriends friends LOVES the taco meat and is so happy when he happens to stop by and I offer him Tacos. Every time he asks for the recipe and he cannot believe it was made in the Crockpot.

Taco Meat 28413

One pound lean ground beef or turkey
1- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 4 oz can green chiles
1 packet taco seasoning (we use PACE)

Brown the ground meat halfway in a fry pan. Drain fat. Set aside. In your Crockpot, dump in tomatoes and chilies and stir. Add meat and stir. Add seasoning and stir again. Put the top on the Crockpot and cook on low for 6-10 hours.

When you are ready to assemble tacos you can serve them in fresh fried tortillas in canola oil. You can use corn tortillas or taco size flour tortillas. Top your tacos with cheese, sour cream, salsa, shredded lettuce... whatever you heart desires.

Now what to do with the leftovers...

Turn leftover meat into Taco Salad

Use the leftover meat for Crockpot Meat Sauce for Pasta by adding one 28 oz can of diced tomatoes and one 28 oz can Marinara Sauce. Doctor that up with some Italian seasonings and a bay leaf. Cook on low for 6-10 hours. It makes the best meat sauce.

Freeze the leftover meat for later use for tacos or your meat sauce

Turn your leftover meat into Sloppy Joe's. Add a can of tomato soup, heat it up and serve on hamburger buns.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Spicy Cheesey Cornbread

There is something so comforting about Cornbread. You can serve it with chili or soup. You can serve it alongside Barbecue. Whichever way you do, it is delicous. Serve it with a barbecue Chicken chopped salad. Just make it and enjoy it.

Spicy Cheesey Cornbread

One 8.5 oz package Betty Crocker Cornbread mix
1/3 cup milk
3 Tbs melted butter
One egg
Lawry's Garlic Salt
1 Tablespoon Grated Parmesan and Romano Cheese blend
2 slices Jalapeno Jack cheese chopped or cheddar if you prefer
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl, combine mix, milk and butter. Stir in the egg. Add a few shakes garlic salt. Stir in cheese and corn. Spray the bottom of a small pie pan with cooking spray. Pour mixture and spread evenly into pie pan. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Check for doneness with toothpick after 20 minutes. When cornbread is done, remove from oven and spread a little butter on top. Allow butter to melt and seep in. Serve warm with whatever you made for dinner. Sit back and savor every bite.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Roasted Zucchini and Carrots

Trader Joe's had Zucchini Squash. I couldn't resist. I know in just a few short months, my Dad's garden will have an abundance of the green gems, but I needed a zucchini fix. So I bought some. Here is what I did with it.

Roasted Zucchini and Carrots

Olive oil
Lawry's Garlic Salt
Onion Powder
Celery Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Clean the zucchini and slice into 1/2 inch slices. Slice carrots. Spray the bottom of a casserole dish with cooking oil spray. Arrange a layer of zucchini and carrot rounds on the bottom. Season with the seasonings. Drizzle a little olive oil over the vegetables. Arrange another layer and do the same. Pop in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Check on it at the 30 minute mark to see how the cooking process is going. You want them to be fork soft. Remove from oven when the are cooked to your liking. Serve them up with whatever you'd like.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Crockpot Barbecue Chicken

A long long time ago on the other side of Bouquet Canyon lived one of my friends. Her Mom was always going the extra mile for her only daughter, Kimberly. One day after softball practice, I was lucky enough to be invited to have dinner at Kim's house. I had never had barbecued chicken with barbecue sauce. We would barbecue but rarely were things basted with BBQ sauce. It just wasn't something my Dad did. Kim's Mom served the Sweet and Savory Barbecue Chicken over rice. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted. Kim did not like it. I was in heaven and begged her Mom for the recipe. She said it was really easy.

Bernie's Barbecue Chicken on Nicki Lane

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 bottle of your favorite Barbecue sauce
salt and pepper

In the bottom of your Crockpot place 2 chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper. Pour barbecue sauce over breasts. Add the other two on top of that, season and pour more sauce on top. Place the lid on Crockpot and cook on low for most of the day. Easy enough?

Shred chicken a bit and stir so BBQ sauce covers. Serve Barbecue Chicken over a bed of rice.

Thanks Bernie!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Chewy Cookies

Chocolate chewy goodness. That is what these decadent chocolate concoctions are. A simple recipe with only a few ingredients. Quick to whip up and not too long in the oven and wha-la, instant YUM.

Chocolate Chewy Cookies

One Box Devil's Food cakemix
one packet Maple and Brown sugar oatmeal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup milk
1/2 stick melted butter (1/4 cup)
1 tsp Kahlua
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
2 or 3 rolls of Rolo candies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine cakemix, oatmeal and cinnamon, stir a bit. Add liquids. Mix slowly. It will start out crumbly add egg and mix until well combined. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips. Unwrap the Rolos and set aside. Spray cookie sheet lighty with cooking spray. Using a small gravy ladel, scoop up some dough. Round it off a bit and place on the cookie sheet. Take a Rolo and place it in the middle of the cookie. Do this until you run out of dough. Approxiamately 18 cookies. You can use a tablespoon if you would prefer smaller cookies. Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes or until edges are set.

Remove from cookie sheet and cool. Store cookies lined on wax paper in an air tight container.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Brown Bananas Make...

I had some leftover bananas from the Fishing Snacks. They were nice and ripe on the verge of too ripe. So, in honor of the bananas and not wanting to be wasteful these muffins have been created. I'm not a fan of the banana. But, I can't let these go to waste. Check out's new blog, Good Cheap Eats. She has great ideas for just about everything. I went to the new blog the other day to see her post about bananas.

Chocolate Cinnamon Oat Banana Muffins
Makes 18 muffins

4 Ripe medium bananas
1/3 cup melted buttah (butter)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 packet Maple and Brown Sugar Oats
1 tsp baking soda
a shake or two salt
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup Hershey's cinnamon chips
1/8 cup chopped pecans

Turn the oven to 350 degrees F. In your mixing bowl combine bananas and butter and mix. Add sugar and mix. Add the egg and mix. Add the vanilla and cinnamon. Mix. Add Oat packet and mix. Add b. soda and salt. Add 1/2 cup of the whole wheat flour at a time and mix after each addition. Fold in the chips and pecans.

Line with muffin papers or spray your muffin tin. Spoon mixture until each cup is half full. Pop in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven. Allow to cool a bit and serve with a little buttah!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Jello Dessert

So many types of Jello. So little time. The varieties are unbelievable. Amazing how the flavors of Jello can change in the last few decades. There are many types of Jello Desserts. You can go to for her families favorite Pretzel Jello Dessert concoction.

Here is my Jello Dessert. I made it last night so it would have plenty of set up time. If you are daring, give it a try.

No Cook Jello Creamy Graham Dessert

For the crust

1 1/2 cups crushed Graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup fine grated coconut
1/8 cup ground pecans
1 Tbs Hersheys Cocoa powder
1/3 cup melted butter

Creamy Layer

12 oz Neufectel Cream Cheese softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs milk
1 cup Low fat Cool Whip

Jello Layer

Cherry Jello
2 cups hot water
1 1/2 cup cold water
2 cups cleaned and cut strawberries

In a bowl mix the crust ingredients. Pat into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Set aside. In a mixing bowl whip cream cheese until fluffy. Add sugar and mix. Add vanilla and milk. Whip again until combined. Fold in the Cool Whip. Spoon Creamy mix onto crust layer evenly. Cover the 9 x 13 with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. Put hot water in a large bowl. Add jello and stir. Let cool a bit. Add cold water and stir. Put the jello bowl in the refrigerator too it needs to set a bit. In one to two hours remove jello and the 9 x 13 from the 'frige. Spoon half of the jello mixture on top of the creamy layer. Artistically place strawberry pieces on jello layer. Pour remaining Jello on top of the berries making sure they are covered. Cover dessert and put it back in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to serve top with a little Cool Whip. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wedge Salad

What is a Wedge Salad? Crisp cool lettuce wedged and topped with yummy things. The first time I was presented a wedge salad my eyebrows got a little bent and eyeballs did a double take. I wasn't sure if the wedge of iceberg bothered me or what. I had never seen, nor heard of a wedge salad. But I tried it. It was fantastic! The vinaigrette dripped down into the wedge. The toppings just perfect and the crispness of the iceberg was amazing. To be quite honest, eating a wedge salad is easy. Date friendly. You don't have to worry about the size of lettuce. You have control of the amount of lettuce that makes it to your fork as you get to cut it.

Simple Wedge Salad
Serves 4-6 depending on appetites

One head of iceberg, root area removed. Rinsed and cleaned.
4 pieces cooked bacon crumbled
1 cup Kraft Natural Three Cheese crumbles
Mustard Vinaigrette
Fresh cracked pepper

Cut iceberg into 4 to six wedges. Rinse each wedge and dry with a paper towel. Place wedges onto their own salad plate. Pour dressing over wedge. Top with equal amounts of toppings. Crack pepper on top of each wedge before serving.

Bleu Wedge Salad
Serves 4-6 depending on appetites

One Head of Iceberg, root area removed. Rinsed and cleaned.
One cooked and cooled spicy sausage sliced and chopped in pie pieces
Bleu Cheese crumbles
Bleu Cheese dressing
Fresh cracked pepper

Cut iceberg into 4 to six wedges. Rinse each wedge and dry with a paper towel. Place wedges onto their own salad plate. Pour dressing over wedge. Top with equal amounts of toppings. Crack pepper on top of each wedge before serving.

Fancy Strawberry Wedge Salad

One Head of Iceberg, root area removed. Rinsed and cleaned,
1/2 cup strawberries (quartered)
1/2 cup feta crumbles
1/2 cup candied pecans or walnuts
White Wine Vinaigrette

Cut iceberg into 4 to six wedges. Rinse each wedge and dry with a paper towel. Place wedges onto their own salad plate. Pour dressing over wedge. Top with equal amounts of toppings.

Serve these tasty, crisp unique salads and watch your guests faces. It will be rather entertaining.