Sunday, November 6, 2011

Two Needle Slippers

Two Needle Slippers

These slippers have been around in one form or another for decades, and there is a reason why - they are fast (takes an hour per slipper!), use little yarn (less than a skein!), worked on 2 straight needles (no double points needed), and they fit any size foot (even my hubby's!)

There are a bizzilion and one patterns out there for these slippers, and here's our take (because you can never have enough free patterns!)

About 150 yards of Worsted or Aran yarn
Size 5 needles for kids, size 6 needles for adults

Directions are for Children, with Adult sizing in parenthesis - ( and )

Notes - SSP is a slip as if to knit, slip as if to knit, purl the two slipped stitches together decrease. If this is too much for you, simply purl these two together through the back loops, without twisting or slipping.

Cast on 76 (86)
Knit 14 rows of garter stitch.

Decrease row 1 - K 35 (40), K2tog, P2, SSK, K 35 (40)
Decrease row 2 - P 34 (39), SSP, K2, P2tog, P 34 (39)

Continue working these two decrease rows, keeping the decreases on either side of the center 2 stitches, until there are 40 (50) stitches left.

Work 7 rows of garter stitch. For a fold down cuff, work additional rows. Bind off with a size 8 or 9 needle (keeps the cuff from being too tight) and seam back and sole.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mom's Fruit Crumble

Fruit Crumble

Fruit of any kind
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter or marg.
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Cover bottom of 8-inch square baking dish with 1-inch layer of any prepared fruit (recipe below). Cream butter; add brown sugar gradually, creaming well. Add flour and spices and mix to crumbly consistency. Crumble topping over fruit and bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F) 40 to 45 minutes or until fruit is cooked. Serve plain or with ice cream or whipped cream.

Fruit Preparation
8 or more apples, peeled and sliced thinly (any fruit can be used)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon or to taste
1/4 tsp. salt

Core. peel, and slice apples.combine the rest of the ingredients and mix with apples. If you want to double the topping recipe , which I do since we love that topping, adjust your amount of apples but don't add too much more sugar than up to 3/4 cup each or it will be way too sweet.. I always put more cinnamon as I love it

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cowboy Booties

Cowboy Booties

Materials: Size F or G crochet hook
Worsted weight yarn 1 oz. brown, 40 yds Gold

Sizes: Directions are given for small size with changes for large size in ( ).

Small size: Use small directions and F hook for 3 1/2" finished sole.

Medium side: Use small directions and G hook for 4 1/2" finished sole.

Large size: Use large directions and G hook for 5" finished sole.

Rnd 1: With brown, ch 12 (14), sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 7 (9), hdc in next, 2 hdc in next, 5 hdc in end ch. Now working down opposite side of starting ch, 2 hdc in next, hdc in next, sc in next 7 (9), 2 sc in next.

Rnd 2: 2 sc in first sc of last rnd, sc in next 10 (12) sts, (2 sc in next, sc in next) 3 times, sc in next 9 (11), 2 sc in next, sc in next.

Rnd 3: 2 sc in next, sc in next 11 (13), (2 sc in next, sc in next) twice, (sc in next, 2 sc in next) twice, sc in next 11 (13), 2 sc in next, sc in next, sl st in first sc of rnd, ch 1, turn.

Rnd 4: Working in Back Loops only for this rnd, sc in each st around, sl st in first sc. 39 (43) sts. Fasten off.

Rnd 5: Working on heel of sole, center 13 sts. Working in front loops of rnd 3, with brown, join with sl st in first of 13 centered sts, sc in 11, sl st in next. Fasten off.

Rnd 6: With gold yarn, join with a sc in middle st of last round at center back, sc in each st around. 39 (43) sts.

Rnd 7: Sc in next 14 (16) sts, skip next, hdc in next, skip next, dc in next 2, dc next 2 sts together, dc in next 2, skip next, hdc in next, skip next, sc in next 13 (15).

Rnd 8: Sc in next 13 (15), skip next, sc in next, skip next, sc in next 3, skip next, sc in next, skip next, sc in next 12 (14).

Rnd 9: Sc in next 12 (14), (skip next, sc in next) 4 times, sc in next 10 (12).

Rnd 10: Sc in next 6 (7), sl st in next 5 (6), skip next, sc in next 3, skip next, sl st in next 5 (6), sc in next 5 (6), sc in first sc of round, sl st in next. Fasten off.

Rnd 11: With brown and working in Back Loops only for this rnd, join with a sc in sc before sl st of last rnd, sc in next 10 (12), skip next, sc in next 2, skip next, sc in next 9 (11).

Rnd 12: Sc in next 22. (for large size, skip 2 sts somewhere at toe and you will have 24 sc.)

Rnd 13: Sc in each sc around. 22 (24) sc.

Rnd 14: Repeat rnd 13.

Rnd 15: 2 sc in next, sc in next 11 (12), 2 sc in next, sc in 9 (10), sc in first sc of rnd.

Rnd 16: Sc in next 24 (26).

Rnd 17-18: Repeat rnd 16.

Rnd 19: Sc in next 4 (5), hdc in next, skip next, dc in next, 4 dc in next, dc in next, skip next, hdc in next, sc in next 5 (6), hdc in next, skip next, dc in next, 4 dc in next, dc in next, skip next, hdc in next, sc in next, sl st in first sc of rnd. Fasten off.

Gold Edge
Rnd 1: With gold yarn, join with a sc in center back, sc in each st around with 2 sc in 2nd dc of each 4 dc group of last rnd.

Rnd 2: Skip first sc of last rnd, sc in each sc around with 2 sc in 2nd sc of 2 sc group of last rnd, sl st in first sc. Fasten off.

Decoration on Front
Row 1: Going back to the front loops of rnd 11 and working in the 3 center front loops, with gold yarn, sc in each of 3 center loops, ch 1, turn.

Row 2-3: Sc in 3 sc, ch 1, turn.

Row 4: (sc, hdc) in first sc, 3 dc in next, (hdc, sc) in last sc. Fasten off. Tack top of emblem to boot.

Decoration on Sides
With single strand of gold, ch 25 (30). Arrange in design (look at pic) and tack in place.

Found here

Sunday, October 16, 2011


2 lbs chicken breasts
1 packet zesty Italian dressing mix
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1/2 Tbsp. paprika
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder

Place all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on High 3-4 hours OR on Low 5-6 hours. Shred with fork and serve in salads, burritos, tacos...etc. You can also double or triple this to make extras for freezing. Then simply thaw and reheat for a fast and delicious meal.


Modified from recipe found here

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Charlene's Beans √

Use a LARGE pot!

1 1/2 lb ground meat - cooked and drained
6 cans pinto beans
1 can peeled tomatoes, cut
1 lg green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbl ground chili powder
1/2 Tbl salt
1/2 Tbl pepper
dashes Tobasco Sauce

Bring to boil and simmer 20-30 minutes.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Brown Bag Burritos

Brown Bag Burritos

  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 2 cans refried beans (I make my own)
  • 1 1/3 c. enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/3 c. minced onion (I use dried)
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3 c. shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend, whatever)
  • 20 flour tortillas (burrito-size)

Brown ground beef; drain. Add remaining ingredients (except tortillas). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Heat 3-4 tortillas at a time. Spoon 1/4 c. beef mixture down the side of each tortilla. (I like to use my cookie scoop for this. Helps me keep everything uniform without any mess.)

Roll up. Wrap each burrito in a paper towel, then wrap in foil.

Refrigerate or freeze. I like to pack them in the tortilla ziplock bag. I can usually fit 10 per bag. Oh, by the way, sure wish I would have looked at the corner of this bag before I bought them. See where it says “Thins?” Not such a good thing for burritos. These tortillas tore too easily. I know I should practice making my own…

When ready to eat, remove foil and microwave for about a minute. The paper towel keeps the burritos moist. If you don’t use a microwave, skip the paper towel and just wrap in foil. Then heat burritos in the oven with foil. For a sit down meal they are nice topped with lettuce, cheese, salsa, and sour cream. If you’re eating on the run, though, just grab and go!

Coconut Chicken

Coconut Chicken

4 chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper
Canola Oil
1/3 cup fine dry plain breadcrumbs
1/3 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup butter, melted

Sprinkle the chicken with salt & pepper. Rub oil on the chicken.

Mix the breadcrumbs and coconut together. Roll the chicken in the coconut mixture.

Place your chicken in a lightly sprayed baking plan and drizzle it with the butter.

Bake at 350 for 40 - 50 minutes...until your chicken is done.

I often place a sheet of foil over my pan for the first half of the baking so the coconut doesn't get too brown. Just watch it and do what you want. You might like brown coconut.

Crockpot Chicken Thighs

1 package (about 6-8 Pieces) Chicken Thighs, Bone In
1-½ cup Apple Juice Or Apple Cider
1 cup Barbecue Sauce
1 Tablespoon Dried Mustard
1 pinch Spices To Taste

Lay the chicken on the bottom of the crockpot, skin side up. Pour enough apple juice to come just below covering the chicken. Add the bbq sauce, dried mustard, and whatever spices you want depending on your taste preference. Rosemary, thyme and oregano all work well. Some of the blended spices are nice also. Experiment.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and be certain to pull out the bones and skin. The meat will fall apart as it’s removed. Serve over rice or on rolls for ‘pulled chicken’ sandwiches.

Crockpot 40 Clove Garlic Chicken


-1 large broiler/fryer whole chicken (as big as your crock will fit)
-thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley
-fresh ground pepper
-40 cloves UNPEELED garlic
-2 stalks celery, washed and cut into 3 inch pieces
-baguette or french bread slices, toasted (optional)

Place the celery slices on the bottom of the crock. Season the chicken in and out with salt, pepper, and generously with the herbs. Place on top of the celery. Place the cloves all around and on top of the chicken. Cover and cook on low 8 hours.

Remove chicken and celery to serving platter. Remove garlic to small bowl.


-1/4 cup cream
-2 - 3 tablespoons cornstarch
-salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Skim the fat off the liquid in the crockpot. Turn to high. Add the cream. Mix cornstarch with a small amount of water until smooth and add to liquid. Stir, cover and heat until thickened. You can pour some on the chicken and put the rest in a gravy boat.
Serve with noodles or garlic mashed potatoes made from some of that wonderful roasted garlic in the pot.

The roasted garlic can also be squished out of it's skins onto the toasted bread.

Hoisin & Honey Pork Tenderloin √


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time-to-table: 40 minutes
Serves 4
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • Salt & pepper

  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 2 – 3 green onions, chopped
Preheat oven to 375F.
Spray a large, oven-proof skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium high. When the pan is hot, add the meat (it should sizzle) and sear the bottom side. Season the top with salt and pepper, then turn the meat to sear the other side and season the new top side. Move the skillet to the oven for about 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 150F or the color is ‘just barely past pink’.
While the meat cooks, mix the sauce ingredients in a small pan and bring to a boil. Let it cook down just slightly, then keep warm on low heat.
Slice the meat and transfer to plates. Drizzle with hot hoisin-honey sauce and sprinkle with green onion. Serve immediately.

Crockpot Teryiaki Ribs

6 lbs pork spareribs, cut to fit crock pot
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon molasses
2 teaspoons garlic, minced


Put ribs in the slow cooker.
Mix in a bowl the rest of the ingredients. And pour over the meat.
Cover, and cook on low for 6 hours.
Take the meat out of the crock.
Pour the juices into a sauce pan. Boil until reduced. pour over ribs. Serve.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Roasted Potatoes

Cook a pierced potato in the microwave until it’s soft all the way through – about 6-7 minutes total, flipping over every 1-2 minutes. Cut the potato in half, then cut each half into squares. Don’t cut all the way through, just down to the skin. Season with butter, Parmesan cheese and Lowry’s seasoning salt, then pop them into the middle rack of your oven set to broil for 10-15 minutes.

Recipe found here

Grilled Balsamic-Garlic Crusted Pork Tenderloins

  • 4-5 garlic cloves, finely minced or crushed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 1¼ pounds each)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (if preparing in oven)

Stir together garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a small bowl. Rub the paste all over pork. If you like or have the time, marinate overnight. If not, no worries, it will still be great!

Grill preparation:

Sear the tenderloins on all sides, then grill for about 20-30 minutes, rotating every 10 minutes, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees. Try to let it rest before slicing.

Oven preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat canola oil in a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add pork, and brown all over, about 4 minutes.

Transfer pan to oven. Roast pork, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees, about 20 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board, and try to let it rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Recipe found here

Monday, July 4, 2011

Chili Pasta Bake

10 oz penne pasta
1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp chili powder
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 cup salsa
1 7oz can diced green chilies, drained
2 cups shredded mexican cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain

Cook meat and onion in large skillet; drain. Add chili powder, undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, salsa and chilies. Cook 5 minutes.

Toss pasta and sauce. Spoon into 13x9 baking dish. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire Pudding
4 eggs
2 cups milk
2 cups flour
Roast Drippings

Mix all ingredients together and put in a bowl to chill in the fridge while your roast is cooking.
After you take out your roast from the oven to rest, this is when you want to cook your yorkshire.

In a 9x13 pan place about 3 tablespoons of roast drippings in the bottom. Take your batter out of the fridge and stir it before pouring it in your pan. Pour mixture in your pan and then bake at 425* for 30 minutes or until it starts to brown on top.

Found here

Mashed Potatoes with a twist

Mashed Potatoes with a twist

8 large potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1 package of cream cheese
1 cube of butter
1 cup of sour cream
Salt and Pepper to taste

Peel and chop your potatoes and bring them to a boil in a large pot. Boil until fork tender. Drain your potatoes. Add in the pot cream cheese, butter and sour cream. Blend until creamy and add salt and pepper to taste.

Found here

Roast Beef

1 3lb chuck roast
1 onion chopped
1 T of garlic chopped
6 beef bouillon cubes

In your roasting pan, place your roast in the middle and add your chopped onion, garlic, bouillon cubes, lots of salt and pepper, and then fill it up with water so that the water covers the roast by about 1 inch.

Place in a preheated 325* oven and cook for 6-7 hours...depending on how big your roast is. Remove roast from pan and cover with foil! Don't throw away the juices, you need these to make your yorkshire and your gravy!!!

Quick and Easy Kielbasa

  • 1 whole Onion
  • 1 whole Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 whole Tomato
  • 1 package Kielbasa Sausage (or Smoked Sausage)
  • 1 bottle Barbecue Sauce
  • 3 dashes Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cut up onion, green bell pepper, tomato and sausage into bite sized pieces and put in a bowl.

Add enough barbecue sauce to completely cover.

Put in refrigerator for at least 2 hours in advance for best taste.

When done marinating, put a few dashes of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet.

Add in sausage and vegetable mixture, set burner on Medium and simmer until meat is cooked through, and vegetables are to your liking.

Crockpot Tortilla Chicken

Crockpot Tortilla Chicken

1 dozen corn tortillas
3 cans cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup
1 (8oz) pkg. Jack cheese, grated
1 (8oz) pkg. Cheddar cheese, grated
2 cans (4oz each) chopped chiles
1 boiled deboned chicken (3 to 4 cups chopped)
1/2 med. onion, diced

Layer in a crockpot: Soup, tortillas, cheese, chicken, chiles, onion, soup; repeat, etc. until ingredients are used up. Start on high for 1/2 hour. Reduce temperature to low and cook for 6 hours.

Chicken Crescent Rolls

Chicken Crescent Rolls
2 packages crescent rolls (reg or reduced fat)
2 chicken breasts, roasted, broiled, or boiled
1 can cream of chicken soup (reg or reduced fat)
1 cup shredded cheddar
3/4 cup milk

Cook and shred chicken. Unroll the crescent rolls. Place a little bit of chicken onto the wide end of the crescent roll triangle and then roll them up like a normal crescent roll. 2 packages of crescent rolls rolled up with chicken fit nicely in one layer in a 9x13 Pyrex dish.

Mix up the soup, cheddar and milk in a bowl. If you have leftover shredded chicken, you can mix that in as well. Spoon over the crescent rolls, covering them all completely.

Bake at 325 for 50 minutes. The tops of the crescent rolls will be browned.

Dish up and enjoy!

Ravioli Casserole √

Ravioli Casserole
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 package (25oz) frozen cheese ravioli-cooked and drained
2 C (16oz) small curd cottage cheese
4 C (16 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 C grated Parmesan Cheese
Spread 1/2 C of spaghetti sauce in an ungreased 13inx9in baking dish. Layer with half of the ravioli, 1 1/4C sauce, 1C cottage cheese and 2 Cof mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30-40 min. let stand 5-10 min. serves 6-8

Monday, June 13, 2011

Homemade Saltine Crackers


Makes about 60 2”x2” crackers but may vary based on how thinly rolled and size cut

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

¼ cup water

½ teaspoon kosher salt

water for brushing

kosher or sea salt for sprinkling

  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and salt to combine.
  2. Add the melted butter and process until a coarse meal – less than a minute.
  3. Add the water and process until a dough is formed – about 1-2 minutes. It may not come together and look sort of crumbly. Turn out on the work surface and knead until it forms a moist dough.
  4. Let rest 30-60 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
  6. Divide the dough into quarters and roll thin. You have two ways to do this, I much prefer the pasta machine method but you can do it by hand.
  7. By hand – lightly flour the work surface and the top of the dough and using a heavy rolling pin, roll as thinly as possible.
  8. With a pasta machine – Roll ¼ of dough through twice on settings 1-6 then once on setting 7. You’ll have a long very thin sheet. Cut in half if it’s too long to handle easily.
  9. Cut into squares – I like about 2”x2” – brush lightly with water, sprinkle with salt.
  10. Bake 400°F for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden. Keep and eye on them as they brown quickly and rotate the pans halfway through baking.
  11. These will crisp up as they sit out of the oven and will keep, tightly wrapped, for a few days. Though if you live in a humid climate they may soften. If so, recrisp in a 350°F oven for a few minutes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chicken Satay √

Chicken Satay
serves 4

For Chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into thick strips
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
wooden skewers
fresh cilantro for garnish

For Sauce:
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce, preferably low sodium
2 teaspoons red chili paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup water

To prepare chicken:
In a shallow bowl or baking dish mix together the yogurt through chili powder. Place chicken strips into marinade and stir to coat well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
At the same time place wooden skewers into water to soak to help prevent burning.

Spray grill rack with cooking spray or brush with vegetable oil. Preheat grill. Thread each chicken strip onto skewer. Place onto grill and cover. Cook 2-3 minutes on first side, turn over, and cook 2-3 minutes on second side, or until chicken is cooked through.
Place onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

To prepare sauce:
In a medium sized microwave safe bowl, stir together peanut butter and remaining ingredients. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir. Microwave another 30 seconds and stir. If the sauce still seems too thick you can microwave it one more time. It took mine a total of 60 seconds to combine perfectly.

Serve chicken skewers with dipping sauce.

Recipe found here

The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds chocolate chips

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.

Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Add eggs. Stir in vanilla. Reduce to low speed and add dry ingredients slowly, mixing until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Refrigerate dough for 24-36 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350.
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Recipe found here and here and here

Monday, April 25, 2011

Best Mac 'n' Cheese Ever

Best Mac 'n' Cheese Ever from Laura Macek


1 head of garlic, roasted
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound Cavatappi pasta
½ pound sliced Applewood smoked bacon
1 ½ cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
8 tablespoons butter
¼ cup minced shallots
½ cup flour
1 quart whole milk
6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350°.

To roast garlic: Slice ½ inch off the top of the entire head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap garlic head tightly in a square of heavy foil and roast until tender — about 45 minutes. Remove garlic pulp by squeezing garlic head. Smash cloves with a fork to form a paste.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Cook bacon completely. Drain on paper towels. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Crumble bacon when cool.

To make topping: Combine breadcrumbs, crumbled bacon, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Sauté shallots over low heat in reserved bacon fat for one minute. Add remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and continue to sauté shallots in butter and bacon fat until translucent.

Add flour and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Increase heat to medium. Stirring constantly with a whisk, add milk and roasted garlic paste.

Cook until sauce is thickened (coats the back of a spoon). Remove sauce from heat then add salt, pepper, nutmeg, Gruyere and Cheddar cheeses. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.

Stir in cooked pasta. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle topping to cover entire top. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until sauce is bubbly and topping is browned. Enjoy!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Oreo Cheesecake Bars


For the crust:
23 Oreo cookies
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. sugar
6 tbsp. sour cream, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
12 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 325˚ F. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with foil. To make the crust, place the Oreos in the bowl of a food processor. Process, pulsing, until the cookies are finely ground. Add in the melted butter and pulse until the cookie crumbs are moistened. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan. Press the crumbs into an even layer over the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside and prepare the filling while maintaining the oven temperature.

To make the filling, add the cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in the sugar until well combined. Blend in the sour cream, vanilla and salt. Beat in the egg and egg yolk on medium-high speed until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed. Stir in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula.

Pour the cheesecake batter over the prepared crust, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cheesecake is set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool about 1 hour to room temperature. Cover the pan and refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.

To cut the bars, pull the cake from the pan by lifting the foil up out of the pan. Place on a cutting board, peel away the foil, and slice into bars. Clean the knife blade between each slice to keep the edges neat. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Makes 2-3 dozen

½ cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoons baking soda
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

*If using a non-stick darker baking tray, reduce baking time by about 2 minutes.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Waffle Iron Cookies

We saw this tip at Fine Cooking and were immediately intrigued. Crispy, chewy, thick oatmeal chocolate chip cookies baked in 90 seconds, just like a waffle.

Baked Hasselback Potatoes

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 medium potatoes, scrubbed (leave skin on)
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
3 tbsp of olive oil
pinch of smoked paprika
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
chopped chives for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425˚F (220ºC).
Slice each potato crosswise at 1/8-inch intervals, cutting to within 1/4 inch of the bottom.

Be careful not to slice all the way through. The potato will fan out a bit as it bakes.
Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, smoked paprika and parmesan cheese in a small bowl.

Lay the potatoes on a baking sheet. Carefully insert pinches of this mixture in between the slits of the potatoes. Rub the outsides of the potatoes with residual oil.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes. The inside should be cooked through and the outside of the potato should be a bit crispy.

Garnish with additional parmesan and chives!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Crispy Potato Roast

Crispy Potato Roast

Serves 8

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
4 shallots, thickly sliced lengthwise
Coarse salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
8 sprigs thyme

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine butter and oil. Brush bottom of a round 9-inch baking dish with some butter mixture. With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice potatoes very thinly crosswise.

2. Arrange potato slices vertically in dish. Wedge shallots throughout. Sprinkle with salt and red-pepper flakes (if using); brush with remaining butter mixture. Bake 1 1/4 hours. Add thyme and bake until potatoes are cooked through with a crisp top, about 35 minutes more.

*Please note that the recipe is the photo is doubled.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Kiss Pies

1 refrigerated pie crust, thawed

14 Hershey Kisses of choice

1 egg white whisked with 1 Tbsp water

Powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out pie dough onto a lightly floured counter top. Place 10 kisses around the edges of pie dough, about 2 1/2 inches apart (as in the photo above). Take a knife and cut a 2 1/2-3 inch circle around kiss. Fold half of pie dough around top of dough and pinch edge around top of kiss. (See Photo, step 1). Now, fold up both sides of remaining dough up to the tip of the kiss pinching edge. (See Photo, step 2). Now press together edges and form criss cross as shown in photo, step 3. * *Continue cutting dough around kisses until all dough is used up. I got about 14 rounds cut when I re-rolled my scraps **

2. Brush all little pies with an egg white wash then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 20-28 minutes or until little pies are golden. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Dust each with powdered sugar and serve.

about 14 little pies.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Butternut Squash Fries

Baked Butternut Squash Fries

one 2lb butternut squash

2 tablespoons canola oil


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel and cut the squash into long, thin french fry shapes (roughly 1/3″ thick). In a large bowl, toss the squash with oil, using your hands to evenly coat each one. Lay them on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet and salt them generously. Bake for about 40 minutes, flipping halfway for even crispness. Serve immediately with extra salt and ketchup.

Nutrition info for 1/4 of the entire recipe:

Calories: 151.9, Fat: 7.2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Carb: 23.6g, Fiber: 6.6g, Protein: 2.0g

Petite Lasagnas

recipe slightly adapted from Hungry Girl

(makes 12)

12 oz raw ground turkey

¼ tsp salt, divided

¼ tsp pepper

1 cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped mushrooms

14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tsp dried oregano, divided

½ tsp dried basil

1 ½ cups part skim ricotta cheese

24 small square wonton wrappers (the kind near the tofu in the refrigerated section of the produce dept)

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey, onions, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Crumble the meat and saute the mixture for about 10 minutes, or until the turkey is cooked through. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds.

Add the crushed tomatoes and 2 tsp of oregano. Bring the pan to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, a pinch of salt and pepper, the remaining teaspoon of oregano, and the basil. Stir to mix well. Set aside.

Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 wonton wrapper into each of the 12 cups, pressing firmly in the bottom of the cup and up the sides.

Using half of the ricotta mixture, divide it among the 12 muffin cups. Next, using half of the turkey tomato sauce, spoon it evenly over each of the ricotta filled cups. Sprinkle with 2 tsp of mozzarella.

Gently press another wonton wrapper on top of the mozzarella layer.

Repeat the process by distributing the remaining ricotta, then the remaining tomato sauce, and finally the rest of the shredded mozzarella.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Let the cups cool, remove them from the pan, and serve!

Nutrition Info for 1 petite lasagna:

Calories: 181.2, Total Fat: 7.9g, Cholesterol: 41.9mg, Sodium: 389.5mg, Total Carb: 13.6g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 1.6g, Protein 14.1g

Friday, April 8, 2011

Samoa Popcorn or German Chocolate Popcorn

Samoa Popcorn or German Chocolate make the call :)
2 bags of Light microwave popcorn popped with the unpopped kernels removed.
2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
12 tablespoon butter, cubed
4 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 package Samoa Cookies (optional)

After your popcorn is popped according to the package instructions set it aside in a large bowl.
Put coconut in cold skillet and heat to medium low.
It will take 10-15 minutes or so for it to toast up, but please watch it carefully because once it starts to brown it will go fast.
Once it is a light golden color remove from heat and set aside.
Now, if you are adding the Samoas, chop your cookies into small bit-sized pieces.
Set aside.
On your counter or a nearby table line a few sheets of wax paper so you can spread you popcorn onto it when mixing the caramel. You don't have to do this, but it makes it easier.
To make the caramel combine the butter, brown sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium saucepan.
Whisk ingredients to together and bring to a boil.
Preheat your oven to 200°
Boil without stirring for approx 5 minutes until candy thermometer reads 250°. If you don't have a candy thermometer, 5 minutes is just about the right amount of time, don't worry too much.
Remove from heat and immediately whisk in your baking soda and vanilla.
Now watch as your caramel does all sorts of sciencey things...gets lighter and bubbles/foams up a bit.
It's cool!
Pour your caramel over your popcorn and stir until it's all coated.
Now pour you popcorn on you waxed paper and sprinkle your toasted coconut on top of popcorn evenly.
Leave your wax paper out, you will need it again!
In a large roasting pan or baking sheet bake your popcorn in oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
Now spread you popcorn back onto the wax paper and sprinkle your chopped cookies evenly on top.
Melt your semi-sweet chocolate in microwave on 50% power in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring each time.
Drizzle your melted chocolate on top of cookies and popcorn. Let the chocolate set and break apart.
Store in airtight container for 3-4 days.

Found on Cookies and Cups

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No Bake Cookies

* 2 cups sugar
* 1 stick butter
* 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
* 1 tsp. vanilla extract
* 3 cups oatmeal (old fashioned rolled oats, not instant)

Mix the sugar, butter, cocoa, and milk in a medium saucepan.* Boil for 1 minute.

Add the peanut butter and vanilla. Mix quickly until peanut butter melts, then add the oatmeal and mix til well blended.

Drop spoonfuls on tin foil, wax paper or parchment. Allow to set and cool completely.

Makes 2 dozen 3 inch cookies.

From Lick the Bowl Good

Monday, January 31, 2011

Meatloaf Sliders


* Cooking spray
* 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten
* 1/2 cup ketchup
* 1/4 cup grated onion
* 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
* 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
* 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* Mayonnaise, for serving
* 24 slider-size hamburger buns, split


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a cooling rack on top. Mist the rack lightly with cooking spray.

Combine the beef, egg, 1/4 cup ketchup, the onion, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and the garlic powder in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix everything together.

Shape tablespoonfuls of the meat into small, thin patties, about 2 inches in diameter. Place on the prepared rack on the baking sheet. Brush the patties with the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup and bake about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, spread mayonnaise on one side of each bun. Serve each meatloaf slider on a prepared bun.

From Food Network

Pork Chops with Beer and Bacon Gravy


* 4 bone-in pork chops, just over 1-inch thick
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus a drizzle
* 2 thick slices smoky bacon from deli counter, diced 1/4-inch
* 1 medium onion, diced 1/4-inch
* 1 rounded tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 1 bottle amber to dark German beer
* 1/2 cup stock
* Chopped parsley, for garnish


Season the chops liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil smokes, add the chops and cook, turning once, until caramelized and the meat is just turning firm, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to a platter and cover with foil, reserve.

Add a drizzle more oil to the pan, add bacon and brown for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the onions and saute over medium heat with the bacon until soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle in flour, stir for 1 minute, then add the beer. Cook until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes more, then whisk in the stock. Remove from the heat and season with pepper. Pour the gravy over the chops, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

From Food Network

Homemade Pop Tarts

Homemade Pop Tarts
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

1 additional large egg (to brush on pastry)

Cinnamon Filling (enough for 9 tarts)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg, to brush on pastry before filling

Jam Filling
3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

Alternate fillings: 9 tablespoons chocolate chips, 9 tablespoons Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut paste or 9 tablespoons of a delight of your choice, such as salted caramel or a nut paste

To make cinnamon filling: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour.

To make jam filling: Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.

Make the dough: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. If you’ve used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Whisk the first egg and milk together and stir them into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive, kneading briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.

Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches. You can roll this out immediately (see Warm Kitchen note below) or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Assemble the tarts: If the dough has been chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9″ x 12″. [You can use a 9" x 13" pan, laid on top, as guidance.] Repeat with the second piece of dough. Set trimmings aside. Cut each piece of dough into thirds – you’ll form nine 3″ x 4″ rectangles.

Beat the additional egg and brush it over the entire surface of the first dough. This will be the “inside” of the tart; the egg is to help glue the lid on. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each rectangle, keeping a bare 1/2-inch perimeter around it. Place a second rectangle of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides. Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Repeat with remaining tarts.

Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.

Charming tip from King Arthur: Sprinkle the dough trimmings with cinnamon-sugar; these have nothing to do with your toaster pastries, but it’s a shame to discard them, and they make a wonderful snack. While the tarts are chilling, bake these trimmings for 13 to 15 minutes, till they’re golden brown.

Bake the tarts: Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Cool in pan on rack.

Whole Wheat Variation: I was itching to swap out 1/2 cup of the flour with whole wheat flour. I am sure it would make it more deliciously breakfast.

Pop Tart Minis: The biggest struggle I had with these was the size. I actually like my baked goods on the tiny size, thus I think this could make an adorable batch of 16 2 1/4″ x 3″ rectangles.

Savory Pop Tarts: Nix the sugar in the dough and halve the salt. Fill with pesto, cheese, ground nuts or olives, or any combination thereof. Brush the tops with additional egg wash and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Please invite me over.

Do ahead: The sweet versions should keep at room temperature in an airtight container for a week. If you’d like to make them further in advance, I vote for freezing them unbaked between layers of waxed paper, and baking them as you need.

From Smitten Kitchen

Notes from a Friend to Knit With:

I rolled them super thin. Seriously. Almost paper like. 3" x 4". Then, we put a B I G spoonful of the filling (Triple the recipe for the filling. You won't be sorry.) along one side and fold the piece in half. And then, after they cooled, drizzled brown sugar icing on top. Now THAT was the perfect little pop tart. Small, cinnamony and delicious.
{For the icing we melted 2 TBLS of butter and added 4 TBLS of milk and 1/3 cup of brown sugar. Mix well. Add 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Mix until smooth.}

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oven-Baked Bacon √

Sonya's Note: PERFECT way to prepare bacon! I'll be doing it this way from now on!

Time Required: 20 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Line a baking sheet with foil. This will make cleanup easier later.
  2. Arrange bacon slices on the foil and place the baking sheet on the center rack of a cold oven. Close oven door. Turn oven on to 400°F. Walk away.
  3. Come back 17 to 20 minutes later. As soon as the bacon is golden brown, but not excessively crisp, it's done. The exact time will depend on the thickness of the bacon slices, and also on how quickly your oven reaches the target temperature.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the bacon to another sheet pan lined with paper towels to absorb the fat. You can pour the liquid fat into a heat-resistant container to save for other uses.


  1. Don't pre-heat the oven! Make sure the oven is cold when you put the bacon in.
  2. Keep your eye on the bacon during the final few minutes of cooking to make sure that it doesn't burn. Also, remove the cooked bacon from the hot pan right away. The heat from the pan and the hot bacon fat will continue cooking the bacon.
  3. You can slightly undercook the bacon, then cool it and freeze it in a zipper bag. Then, to reheat, cook two slices in the microwave on medium power for 30 seconds or so.
  4. Variation: Dredge bacon in flour or corn meal before baking.
  5. Variation: Sprinkle bacon with brown sugar or freshly ground black pepper before baking.

What You Need:

  • 1 lb package of bacon
  • Oven
  • Shallow baking sheet
  • Aluminum foil and paper towels
  • Heat-resistant container for collecting drippings