Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

I decided to make something different this year for Thanksgiving.  I absolutely loved these bars!  They are definitely a keeper.

1 cup flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (about 1/2 of a 15oz can)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
**1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
**1 cup mini chocolate chips

Combine flour, brown sugar, pumpkin, butter, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a bowl; mix well. Spoon into a 13x9-in baking pan. Bake for 20 min. Let stand and cool.

1 lb pkg confectioners sugar (I NEVER use this much)
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine sugar, butter, cream cheese, and vanilla in a mixer bowl; beat until blended, scraping bowl occasionally. Beating constantly, add enough milk to the frosting to achieve the desired consistency. Spread frosting over baked bars. Cut into bars.
**Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on frosting for garnish if desired

**optional...it's what I added to it first time around and it was awesomeness!
from the Junior League at Home Cookbook



For those of you who have heard of these cookies and love them I'm so happy to share this recipe with you. If you have no idea what these are... let me just say they are probably my most favorite cookie (next to PB) in the world! Probably because I have so many fond memories attached to them. In my teenage years I would make this cookie dough just to eat it raw. I was pretty obsessed! Enjoy. My sister just gave me my mom's recipe from an old cookbook I thought was gone forever. I'm so happy it wasn't!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1-1/2 cups plus 2 tbls sugar, divided
2 eggs
2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat butter, shortening, 1-1/2 cups sugar and eggs until well mixed. Blend in flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt.

Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into balls. Combine cinnamon and remaining 2 tbls of sugar. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mix. Place balls 2-in apart, on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven 8-10 min or until set. Let cool on wire racks.
Makes about 6 dozen cookies
from my Mom's old cookie cookbook


Pumpkin Bread {With Chocolate Chips!}

I made this last nice and it filled the house with the most refreshing aroma of fall. I can't say enough how much I love this season!

1 c butter, softened
3 c sugar
3 3ggs
3 c all purpose flour
1 tbls baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 ground cloves
1.5 tsp ground nutmeg
1 (16oz) can solid pack pumpkin

In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs; mix well. Combine dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture JUST until moistened. {Very important people} Stir in pumpkin. Pour into (2) greased 9x5x3 loaf pans. Bake 350 degrees for 1 hr or until bread tests done.
from AllRecipes.com~ Shirley Sober
***Jenn's variations*** {I read several comments before selecting this recipe and did some of what they suggested with my own mix of things}
*Reduce cloves 1 tsp, added 1 tsp allspice
*Reduce to 1 c butter, added 1 cup applesauce<- calorie friendly
*2 cup white sugar, 1.5 c brown sugar

Other suggestions from website:
*Walnuts are good
*Chocolate chips are good
*Add a dash of salt (forgot to try)
*Add vanilla extract (forgot to try)
*Some said to add ginger... that wasn't for me

Now on another side note (sick of these yet)
I didn't have 2 loaf pans. I put the rest of my batter in muffin stoneware and baked for 30 min. Perfect! Also Markus says he thought this was too pumpkiny. He doesn't care for it like I do. This doesn't have a strong pumpkin flavor. It could stand to have more in it for me. It's not made with oil so you don't have that oily moistness that comes. Markus likes that better (not me). So basically this is an awesome BREAD recipe. If you are looking more for an oily banana nutish kind of bread, don't try this one.

Love, Jenn


Pizza Dough {From Scratch}!

We had a sleepover last month with the youth girls from church and we made homemade pizzas.  This is the dough we used and it's amazing!  Enjoy!

1 cup water
1 tbls olive oil
2-1/2 bread flour
1 tbls sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast

Put all above ingredients in breadmaker (IN THE EXACT ORDER LISTED) and turn on dough cycle. Once dough has finished, some at this point would say punch down and let rise again, but I'm not so patient for that. Just saying!

Betty Crocker's Easy Red Velvet Cake

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® German chocolate cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 bottle (1 oz) red food color
1 tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa
2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons milk
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Print these coupons...

About Concordance™

  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Grease bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan or two 9-inch round cake pans and lightly flour, or spray with baking spray with flour.
  2. In large bowl, beat all cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan(s).
  3. Bake as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan or 9-inch rounds. Cool completely.
  4. In chilled large bowl, mix cream cheese and milk until smooth. Beat in whipping cream and powered sugar with electric mixer on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until soft peaks form. Frost top of 13x9-inch cake or fill and frost cake layers. Store in refrigerator.
SuperMoist® butter recipe chocolate cake mix can also be used for this recipe. Use 1/2 cup butter in place of oil. 
You will need the whole 1-ounce bottle of red food color to achieve the intense red color that is characteristic of this special cake.
For a classic red velvet cake, add 3/4 cup buttermilk, reduce water to 1/4 cup and reduce oil to 1/4 cup. All other ingredients remain the same. (Do not use dark or nonstick 13x9-inch pan.) 
Let me just say that this frosting is pure heaven.  I think it's my new favorite from scratch frosting.  Oh and I used more cream cheese for a more intense flavor and it was soooo... worth it.  

Potatoes Au Gratin

I made these for a friend we had over for dinner and they were awesome!  He didn't like the way they looked, but loved the way they tasted. 
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds new red potatoes cooked and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 3 ounces grated Cheddar cheese
  • 3 ounces grated Monterey cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 cup rectangular baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. In a nonreactive saucepan, over medium heat, melt the remaining butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook until the liquid is slightly thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 4 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. In a mixing bowl, toss the sliced new potatoes with salt and pepper. Fold in the cream sauce and pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top of the potatoes with the grated cheese. Place the pan in the oven and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for a couple of minutes before serving.
from Emeril Lagasse

Hurry Up Chicken Pot Pie!

I was craving some chicken pot pie (gotta love pregnancy hormones).  But I didn't have a lot of time to whip something up to satisfy the craving.  Well this is pretty close the "real" thing.  And best part, you don't have to babysit it either!  I do think that it was better the 2nd day (aka leftovers).
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced (I would say optional for me)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups instant biscuit mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 stick melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a greased 2-quart casserole, layer the chicken, eggs, carrots, and peas. Mix the soup, chicken broth, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Pour over the layers. Stir together the biscuit mix and milk, and pour this over the casserole. Drizzle butter over the topping. Bake until the topping is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
from Paula Deen

**When I made this it was kinda runny so I would suggest throwing some flour into the liquid just to thicken it up a bit.  I don't like runny though, so it depends on your preference.
**I also used LOW SODIUM chicken broth cause me and salt don't like ea. other.  I flavored mine with Paul Prudhomme's Salt free seasoning which is absolutely essential! 

Southwestern Chicken and Black Bean Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

I saw this recipe and thought, hmph this out to be a fun one to try.  And it was!!!  Hubby even liked it to so it is a keeper.

This creative combination of seasoned chicken, fresh oranges, and black beans tossed with a refreshing citrus vinaigrette makes an irresistible salad.  
6 servings/serving size: 1 cup chicken mixture, 3 1/3 tablespoons dressing
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch strips
2 cups fresh orange sections (about 2 oranges)
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
6 cups mixed greens
1. Combine cumin and chili powder in large zippered plastic bag.  Add chicken, seal bag, shake to coat.
2. In large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook chicken over medium heat until done, 10 minutes; let cool.
3. Transfer chicken into large bowl, add orange sections, cheese, onions, black beans, and cilantro, mixing gently but thoroughly.
4. In small bowl, whisk together lime juice, orange juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Pour over chicken mixture, tossing gently to coat.  Serve over mixed greens.
Note:  Cilantro has a distinct flavor and may be omitted if desired.
 from Holly Clegg Trim &TERRIFIC Diabetic Cookbook


Chopped Farmstand Salad

Lilly says Creativity is the keynote of this salad.  A trip to the farmer's market will reveal what's in season.  Just use this recipe as inspiration and buy whatever looks and tastes good!

1 med head romaine lettuce chopped into 1/2 in pieces
3 large ripe tomatoes, preferably a combo of different colors and varieties, seeded and cut into 1/2 dice
1-1/2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 med zucchini, cut into 1/4 in dice
1 med yellow squash, cut into 1/4 in dice
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4 in dice
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
3 tbls red wine vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix lettuce, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, squash, celery, and radishes in large bowl.

With food processor or blender running, drop garlic and basil through and pulse until finely chopped.  With machine running, add vinegar, then oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour over vegetables and toss well.
from Essentially Lilly a Colorful Guide to Entertaining

Frozen Sherbet Cake with Pecan Crust

You can substitute your fav Sherbet flavor if you would like.  Holy yummy for summer! 

2/3 cup vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (crushed
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
2 tbls granulated sugar
2 tbls butter


1 Qt lemon sherbet
1 Qt raspberry sherbet
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbls powder sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Fresh raspberries and mint sprigs for garnish
Raspberry Sauce

Position Rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter a 9x3 springform pan.

To make pecan crust, process cookie crumbs, pecans, and sugar in a food processor until pecans are very finely chopped.  Transfer to bowl, then add butter and stir until crumbs are evenly moistened.  Press evenly into bottom and 1/2 in up sides of pan.  Bake until lightly browned, about 10 min.  Cool COMPLETELY on a wire rack.

Soften lemon sherbet by placing in a bowl and mashing with large rubber spatula.  Spread evenly in cooled crust.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firmed, about 20 min.  Soften raspberry sherbet in the same manner and spread over lemon sherbet.  Cover with plastic wrap pressing wrap directly onto sherbet, and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.  (The cake can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead).

When ready to serve, whip heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a med bowl with an electric mixer on high until stiff.  Transfer to pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.  Remove plastic wrap from cake.  Pipe 12 rosettes around edge of cake, and garnish with raspberries and mint.  Slice with warm thin knife.  Serve frozen, with raspberry sauce.

Puree 1 pint raspberries, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 tsp fresh lemon juice in a food processor.  Taste.  Add sugar and lemon as needed, and blend again to dissolve sugar.  Strain through fine wire sieve into a bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.  (the sauce can be made 1 day ahead, and then covered and refrigerated)
from Essentially Lilly a Guide to Colorful Entertaining

Curried Chicken Salad on Endive

The endive leaves are just a pretty way to serve.  If you don't have any or can't get them,  just serve on whatever you like chicken salad on.  Croissant rolls would be a great choice too!

2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
2 cups water
3 boneless chicken breast halves (about 1.25 lbs)
1 mango or 2 peaches, peeled, pitted, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1/4 cup slivered toasted almonds
3/4 cup mayo
1 tbls fresh lime juice
1 tsp curry powder
30 endive leaves (from 5-6 large endives)

Bring chicken broth and 2 cups water to boil in large pot. Add chicken until completely cooked through, about 10 min.  Remove chicken from broth with slotted spoon, transfer to plate to cool.  Cool to room temp about 20 min. 
Chop chicken into 1/4 in pieces, transfer chicken to med bowl.  Add mango or peaches, green onions and 1/4 cup almonds. 
In small bowl, whisk mayo, lime juice, and curry powder to blend.  Pour dressing over chicken and other ingredients in med bowl.  Toss GENTLY to combine.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill until cold (least 3 hrs).
Place whole endive leaves on work surface.  Top each with 1 tbls chicken salad.  Top with chopped slivered almonds and arrange on plater.
from Essentially Lilly a Guide to Colorful Entertaining

Papaya-Banana-Orange Smoothie

One of the first things I bought as a pregnant person was a blender.  Boy I have been so happy ever since!

4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, or best you have
4 cups chopped fresh papaya, or frozen
2 med bananas, peeled
Sugar to taste, if necessary

Combine 2 cups orange juice and all fruit in blender.  Blend until mixture is pureed.  Pour in large pitcher.  Add remaining 2 cups orange juice to pitcher and whisk to blend.  Serve into pretty glasses ;)
from Essentially Lilly a Guide to Colorful Entertaining

Cucumber-Avocado with Cilantro Soup

Haven't tried this yet, but when I first found out I was pregnant and saw this I thought, this would be amazing!

1 Large English hot house cucumber or 3 small cucumbers, peeled, coarsely chopped (about 2-1/2 cups)
2 avocados, peeled, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 med sweet onion, peeled, coarsely chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 to 1 whole small jalapeno, seeded, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
Plain yogurt
Additional cilantro leaves for garnish

Combine first 9 ingredients in a blender, blend until pureed.  Thin soup with additional water, if desired.  Season to taste with additional salt, if desired.  Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 1 day.  Ladle scant 1 cup soup into each 5 shallow bowls or teacups.  Top each serving with a dollop of yogurt and float cilantro leaves atop soup as garnish.  Serve chilled.
from Essentially Lilly's Guide to Colorful Entertaining

Sweet & Spicy Meatballs

Let me just first say there is NOTHING like homemade meatballs!  But if you insist you just don't have time, lalalala then just go buy some premade.  But know you will be sorry!

3 lbs ground round (or whatever you like)
1 cup Italian bread crumbs (please don't use plain)
3 large eggs, beaten
1 large onion, minced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
4 garlic cloves, pushed through garlic press
1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Sweet & Spicy Sauce
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1 med onion, finely chopped
1 (8oz) jar jalapeno jelly
1 (12oz) bottle chili sauce (go easy if you don't like a lot of spice)
1/2 cup grape jelly
2 tbls soy sauce
1 tbls Dijon Mustard

To make meatballs, combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Roll into good size balls (approx 1 tbls ea) and put on baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 min or until browned. 
***The meatballs can be made and then cooled, stored in a plastic bags and refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.  If frozen, thaw before cooking in sauce)

To make sauce,  heat oil in large saucepan over med heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 min.  Stir in all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Stir in meatballs and cover.  Cook stirring often until meatballs are heated through, about 10 min or 20 if meatballs are chilled.

To serve transfer meatballs to chafing dish or crock pot.  Enjoy!
from Essentially Lilly Holidays

I'm Back!

First off I have an excuse.  A really good one.  I'm pregnant!  Food hasn't been my most favorite thing as it tastes different when you are pregnant.  So needless to say I haven't been doing a lot of cooking.  Poor hubby has had to fend for himself while I crash on the couch.  But I'm over the tiredness stage and have been more open to cooking.  Now all I need is a little motivation.  Sometimes I just don't want to eat.  Not a good motivation for cooking!  But I'm trying.  So enjoy!  Got some good stuff in store :)


Rainbow Cake!

I've made a plenty of cake in my day. Some amazing, some ok, some not so great. But I saw this Rainbow Cake @ "The Idea Room" and all I could say was WOW!  Want to know how to make it?  CLICK HERE :)


Pecan Pie Muffins

Looking through for Brunch ideas for Mother's Day and came across this one.  Sounds awesome and I can't wait to try it.  Just thought I'd share!

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs

Mix brown sugar, pecans and flour in a bowl. Whisk the butter and eggs in a separate bowl until blended. Pour the butter mixture into the brown sugar mixture and stir just until moistened.

Fill greased or paper lined mini muffin cus 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min or less. Serve warm.
from River Roads 4 Cookbook
Makes 2-2.5 dozen muffins


Cranberry-Orange Ginger Ale Punch

Awesome for a shower! or any get together really.

6 cups chilled cranberry-raspberry juice
6 cups chilled ginger ale
3 cups chilled freshly squeezed orange juice
Ice cubes or ring

Stir cranberry-raspberry juice, ginger ale and orange juice in punch bowl to blend. Add ice and serve.

***An ice ring with fresh mint or edible flowers or fruit frozen into it would make a pretty addition to the punch bowl. Stir the ingredients together just before serving so that the ginger ale won't lose it's fizz.
12 servings from Essentially Lilly (Pulitzer) a Guide to Colorful Entertaining

Watermelon-Strawberry Lemonade

Can't wait to serve this at a summer BBQ!

4 cups of 1-inch pieces seedless watermelon (ab. 1/4 small watermelon)
1 generous cup strawberries, hulled
2 cups water
1/2 of 12oz can lemonade concentrate

Combine watermelon, strawberries and 1 cup water in blender and puree. Pour mixture into large pitcher. Add remaining 1 cup water and lemonade concentrate to pitcher. Stir to combine well. Serve over ice.
6 Servings
From Essentially Lilly (Pulitzer) a Guide to Colorful Entertaining

Hot Cranberry-Apple Punch

For Halloween, how about this warm cran-apple drink? That's what Lilly says from her cookbook.

(4) 3-inch cinnamon sticks
(4) star anise
2 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole cloves
1-1/2 qts apple juice
1-1/2 qts cranberry juice
1 dozen lady apples, for garnish

Rinse and squeeze dry a piece of cheesecloth. Wrap cinnamon, star anise, allspice and cloves in cheesecloth and rice into a packet with kitchen string.

Bring apple juice, cranberry juice and spices to a simmer in a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Add apples. Transfer pot to a warming plate to keep warm. (Or reduce heat under pot to very low and serve punch from kitchen)

Serve hot.
16 Servings, from Essentially Lilly (Pulitzer) a Guide to Colorful Holidays


Frozen Sherbet Cake with Pecan Crust

This looks so incredibly amazing and I can't wait to make it. I think it will be on the menu for Mother's Day Lunch.

2/3 c vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (crushed)
1/3 c chopped pecans
2 tbls sugar
2 tbls unsalted butter, melted

1 Qt Lemon sherbet
1 Qt Raspberry sherbet
1/2 c heavy cream
2 tbs powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

*Fresh raspberries and Mint sprigs, for garnish
Raspberry sauce (Recipe follows)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9x3-in springform pan.

Pecan crust, process cookie crumbs, pecans and sugar in food processor or blender until pecans are very finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl, then add butter and stir until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press evenly into bottom and 1/2 in up sides of pan. Bake until lightly browned, ab 10 min. Cool completely on a wire cake rack.

Soften lemon sherbet by placing in a bowl and mashing with a large rubber spatula. Spread evenly in cooled crust. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firmed, ab 20 min. Soften raspberry sherbet same way and spread over lemon sherbet. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto sherbet, and freeze until firm. At least 4 hrs. (The cake can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead)

When ready to serve, whip heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in a med bowl with mixer on high speed until stif. Transfer to pastry bag fitted with large star tip. Remove plastic wrap from cake. Pipe 12 rosettes around edge of cake and garnish with raspberries and mint. Slice with a warm (dip in glass of hot water) think knife. Serve frozen with Raspberry Sauce.

Raspberry Sauce:
Puree 1 pint raspberries, 1/3 c sugar, and 1 tsp fresh lemon juice in a food processor. Taste. Add sugar and lemon juice as needed. and blend again to dissolve sugar. Strain through fine wire sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, ab 1 hr. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead, then covered and refrigerated)
From Essentially Lilly (Pulitzer) guide to colorful Holidays

Ginger Pineapple Glaze (for Baked Ham)

(1) 20-oz can crushed pineapple in juice, well drained, juices reserved
(2) 12 oz cans ginger ale, as needed
1 c packed light brown sugar
1 tbls dry mustard
*For an 8lb spiral sliced ham

Mix pineapple juice, 1 can (12oz) ginger ale, brown sugar and mustard in a blender to dissolve mustard. Set aside.

Place ham flat side down in pan. Pour pineapple juice mixture over ham. Pat the crushed pineapple onto the ham; if you press hard, it will stick nicely. Place pan with ham and pineapple juice on top of stove and bring to boil over 2 burners on high heat. Tent ham with foil and transfer to oven.
From Essentially Lilly (Pulitzer) Guide to Colorful Holidays

Bake 1 hr, checking to be sure juices aren't burning and adding a bit more ginger ale to pan if needed. Baste ham with juices occasionally. Ham should reach 140 degrees when done. Meanwhile, place roasting pan (without ham) over 2 burners on high heat and bring juices to boil. Cook until juices should get dark and syrupy. Pour juices over ham and serve.

Latino Shrimp & Corn Bisque

1-1/2 lbs med (26-30 count) shrimp
3 c bottled clam juice
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp whole black peppercorns
5 tsp (1/2 stick plus 1 tbls) unsalted butter
1 med onion, finely chopped
1 small celery rib with leaves, finely chopped
1/2 c diced (1/4 inch) chopped red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c flour
1/4 c dry sherry
1 tbls tomato paste
1-1/2 c fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 c heavy cream
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Peel and devein shrimp, reserving shells. Coarsely chop shrim, then cover and refrigerate. Bring shrimp shells, 1 qt water, clam juice, parsley, thyme and peppercorns to a boil in a med saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 min to blend flavors. Strain and reserve liquid.

Melt butter in large saucepan over med-low heat. Add onion, celery, red pepper, and garlic, then cover. Cook until vegetables soften, ab 3 min. Sprinkle with flour and stir well. Whisk in reserved cooking liquid, sherry and tomato paste. Bring to simmer over med heat. Reduce heat to low and cook until lightly thickened, ab 3 min. (The soup can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead, then cooled, covered and refrigerated. Reheat to simmering over low heat.) Stir in reserved shrimp, corn and heavy cream and cook just until the shrimp turn opaque, ab. 3 min. Season with salt and pepper. Top each serving with a drizzle of cream, if desired and sprinkle with cilantro.
Serves 8
From Essentially Lilly (Pulitzer) "Holidays" Cookbook


Crawfish Monica

This is one of the most popular dishes at the NOLA Jazz Fest. I knew I had to try it since I just had leftover crawfish tails from a crawfish boil.

1lb crawfish tails, boiled and peeled OR 1lb lump crabmeat OR 1lb oysters, drained and quartered (gross!)
1 stick butter (NO Margarine)
1 pint half and half
1 good sized bunch of green onions, chopped
3-10 cloves garlic, chopped (to your taste)
1-2 tbs Creole Seasoning
1lb. cooked pasta (use your fav)

In a large pot saute onions and garlic for about 3 min. Add seafood and saute for about 2 min. Add the half and half, then several big pinches of Creole Seasoning, (I used Louisiana Brand) tasting before the next pinch until you think it's just right. Cook for 5-10 min over med heat until the sauce thickens. (It was a LONG 10 min for me so finally I threw a tbls of flour in there to speed the process up). Let it sit for 10 min over very low heat, stirring often. (I omitted this part cause I was hungry, but I'm sure this is where the sauce gets thicker). Serve immediately, with lots of french bread.

**This recipe even says Look, relax! Just don't eat this everyday...!!! Thought that was hilarious :)

**The only thing I would really change is not adding the seafood so early. Since I had to cook my sauce for a little while, I would suggest adding it later on in the cooking process of the sauce**

**Oh and don't skimp on the garlic or onions. If you notice those are really the only key ingredients to add flavor... VERY important to not skimp**


Mike Anderson's Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Just had this last night at Markus' friend Blake's wedding. Their reception was on the side porch at Mike Anderson's Restaurant. I forgot how much I love their version. So here it is!

3 ½ tsp Fresh Minced Garlic
1 cup Half and Half

1 ¼ cup Olive Oil
1 cup Chopped Artichoke Hearts
6 slices Jalapeño Slices (Chopped), pickled
1 1/2 tbsp Jalapeño Juice
1 lb Velveeta Cheese (cubes)
1 and 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
2 ¾ tbsp Light Roux
¼ lb Spinach, frozen/chopped
½ lb Boiled Shrimp
3 ½ cups Yellow Onions (Chopped)


  • Sauté garlic in oil until golden brown.
  • Add onions. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes over low heat.
  • Add artichoke hearts, jalapenos, jalapeno juice and black pepper.
  • After the artichoke hearts start to break apart, add light roux. Stir well.
  • Add spinach.
  • Gradually stir in half-and-half. Slowly heat.
  • Add Velveeta cheese and stir until melted.
  • Add chopped shrimp and stir.
  • Serve with chips or toast points.


Louisiana Crawfish Pies

Photo from Louisiana Cookin Magazine
I was lucky enough to go to a crawfish boil on Thursday and brought some tails home :) Here's what I'll be fixin'!!! Nothing beats south La. in the spring... Crawfish boils are the best!

1 stick salted butter
1 c finely chopped onions
1 c finely chopped green bell peppers
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbls tomato paste
1 tsp paprika
1/2 c water
2 tbls cornstarch, dissolved in 1 cup water (a slurry)
1 lb peeled La. crawfish tails
1/4 c chopped green onions, green part only
2 tbls chopped fresh parsley leaves
6- 3inch pie shells or 1-9inch pie shell, prebaked according to pkg directions

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and bell peppers and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly golden, about 6 minutes.

Add salt, cayenne, black pepper, tomato paste, paprika and 1/2 cup water. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

Add cornstarch and water. Cook mixture, stirring often, until it is smooth and slightly thick. Add crawfish and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add green onions and parsley and adjust seasoning to taste.

Remove mixture from heat and cool. Spoon mixture into the pre-baked pie shells. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F until the mixture is bubbly, 8 to 10 minutes for small pie shells or 15 to 18 minutes for a 9-inch shell.

from Louisiana Cookin Magazine February 2010


Spicy Fried Shrimp /AKA: Bang Bang Shrimp

This is almost verbatim to the Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill which I so dearly love!

1/2 cup mayo
1 tbls plus 1 tsp Asian chili sauce
2 tsp honey

Vegetable oil, for frying
2 Large eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Salt & pepper
1-3/4 lb small shrimp, peeled and deveined
Green onions for garnish

Make sauce, mix mayo, chili sauce, honey, 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsls water in a large bowl; set aside.

Prepare shirmp. Heat 2-in oil in a dutch oven (or heavy pot) on med heat until deep fry thermometer registers 350 degrees. Meanwhile, whisk eggs in shallow bowl. Whisk the flour, cornstarch and 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper in another shallow bowl.

Working in batches, dredge the shrimp in flour mixture, shake off excess, dip in the beaten eggs, then return to flour mixture, turning to form a thick crust. Fry the shrimp in hot oil until lightly golden (1-2 min) adjusting the heat to maintain needed oil temp. Put on paper-towel- lined plate.

Toss shrimp with the prepared sauce. Top shrimp with green onions for garnish.
from Food Network Magazine April 2010

**I tried this (without frying the shrimp) and it tastes JUST like the Bang Bang Shrimp. Great either fried or plain with sauce!!


Chewy Praline Bars

I have an A+ by this recipe.  I stumbled across this as I was digging through my "Sweets" recipe box.  It's so incredibly amazing!  If you LOVE pralines, you will enjoy this chewy version :)

1-3/4 c unsifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c unsalted butter, room temp
1/3 c solid vegetable shortening
1-1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
1 c white vanilla-flavored baking chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat 15x10x1 jelly roll pan w/ cooking spray.

Combine flour and salt in small bowl.
Beat butter, shortening and brown sugar in large bowl until smooth and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture an pecans. Spread in prepared pan. Bake at 375 degrees oven 15-20 min, until lightly browned and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Meanwhile,, heat the baking chips in the top of a double boiler over hot, NOT BOILING, water, stirring until chips are melted and smooth. Drizzle cookie with melted chips. Cut into bars.
Makes 50 bars! 
From Family Circle Magazine



Markus' Aunt from Switzerland makes this when she comes in the wintertime and he loves it. So
finally I asked her for it! It's long overdue to post it on the blog being that I got it in Apr 2009, but nonetheless it's pretty good. It's kinda like a beef stew, but not really. So in Ursula's own words:
"I send you the recipe I promised to give you"
2 persons
1 pound of beef ragout (stew meat)
2 carrots
2 celleries
2 onions
2 or 3 potatoes
garlic as much as you like or don't like
1 can tomatoes
Chop the veggies the same size as the ragout pieces are. stir fry the beef then add 1 spoon of flour salt pepper and 1 spoon of paprika and stir well. add 1 glass of redwine (you don't want to add wine ? no problem just add a little water) and 1 can of tomatoes then add all the veggies. it takes about 1 hour to simmer, you can always add some more gravy or water.
let simmer for 30-40 min, depends how tender the meat already is.
slice 2 or 3 potatoes the same size as the ragout pieces and add abt 30 min before the meat is ready and tender.
any questions ?? if not bon apetit
P.S. I really do think this serves more than 2 people just for the record.
from Aunt Ursula, Lugano, Swizterland

Broccoli and Cheese Calzone

I decided to try something different for dinner last night and stumbled across this recipe I had printed out from a Food Network Show I used to watch. I'm so glad I tried it. It was AWESOME!
  • 1 (15-ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) package broccoli florets, thawed and drained
  • salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 pound bread or pizza dough, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella and broccoli. Mix well. Season with salt and black pepper.

Roll dough out to a 12-inch circle. Spread cheese filling over 1 side of circle, to within 1-inch of the edge. Lift 1 side of dough and fold over so that it meets the other side, forming a half moon, and pinch the edges together to seal.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Transfer calzone to a large baking sheet sprinkle the top with cheese. Bake 15 minutes, until puffed up golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

**The only thing I added is italian sausage and some italian seasonings I just got from Paul Prudhomme (my fav).**

Robin Miller of Food Network


Oh My Sweetness!

As if I couldn't get enough sugar and cuteness as it is!!!! I stumbled across this website while blog-hopping. I love love love it and the name of course is probably my new favorite! So you have to check out Bakerella! You WILL NOT be disappointed!

P.S. I have to try these PB Balls


Fruit Cake Mini Bites

I love these things. And more than my love for fruit cake... is my love for the lady who gave me the recipe. She is an angel. She can bake and cook out of this world and I'm so happy she sees fit to share this love with her family. She is amazing and I only hope I can one day be as good of a cook and baker as my Aunt Linda.

1/2 cup flour
1 can condensed milk
2 cups chopped pecans
16 oz. fruit cake mix
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup cooked fig preserves

Mix fruit cake mix & flour until all the fruit becomes loose. Combine all other ingredients together & mix well.

Spray mini muffin pans w/ cooking spray. Fill pan with mixture (2 mini muffin pans). Bake @ 350 degrees for 12-15 min.

Let set after baking & run a knife around them to lift them up.
Makes about 50
From Linda Pizzolato...
by memory!


Fiesta chicken bake

I found this while blog hopping today on "Harrington House". It was pretty good a defintely a keeper for weeknight cooking.

3 chicken breasts or 1lb of chicken
Taco seasoning
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cram of celery soup
1 can of rotel
1 small onion
Tostitos chips
shredded cheddar cheese or taco blend cheese

Season chicken with taco seasoning. Bake chicken or brown chicken in skillet. Sauté onion in skillet. Mix chicken and all ingredients except chips and cheese. In a 9x13 baking dish crush chips and place in bottom of dish. Reserve half for repeat layer. Then place half of the chicken mixture over the chips. Then a layer of cheese. Repeat layers one more time. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until bubbly.


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