Archive of ‘My Recipes’ category

Easy Cranberry-Raisin Biscotti

Cranberry Biscotti1

There’s nothing I like more than stealing a few minutes of time for myself in the evening to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, and nibble on something sweet. And these cranberry-raisin biscotti are a real treat. The original recipe called only for cranberries but I added raisins for a touch more sweetness and a bit more chewiness. These biscuits are highly addictive so plan on making a double batch since they freeze well. I like to freeze them in individual bags of two cookies each; they make great grab-and-go treats and they thaw quickly.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make cranberry-raisin biscotti:

Cranberry Biscotti Ingredients1


2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
6 oz. white chocolate (optional)

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Beat the butter, eggs, and sugar in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, dry ingredients, cranberries, raisins, and pecans. Mix until blended.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each piece into a 2 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ x 1″ high log. Place logs on a cookie sheet covered with wax or parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely. Transfer logs to a cutting board. Slice logs on the diagonal into 1/2″ wide slices. Arrange the slices, cut side down, on the cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn biscotti and bake 5 minutes more or until slightly brown. Cool completely.

Optional: Melt the white chocolate and drizzle on top of the cookies (or dip if you prefer).

Creamy Corn Pudding

Corn Pudding2

This corn pudding recipe is unique because in addition to the typical ingredients of corn, butter, milk, eggs, and sugar it also includes cornmeal for a still creamy but hardier side dish. I often serve corn pudding at holiday meals and pot luck dinners because it’s easy to prepare, transports well, reheats fine in the microwave, and both children and adults love its slightly sweet, creamy goodness. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make corn pudding:

Corn Pudding Ingredients


1 can (15.25 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (14.25 oz.) cream-style corn
1 cup half and half (or milk)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center of the dish comes out clean.

Corn pudding makes a great side for chicken, turkey, or beef. This week I served it with barbecued beef brisket (recipe below) and green beans. It was a great combo.

Oven Baked BBQ Brisket2

Super Easy Barbecued Beef Brisket

Oven Baked BBQ Brisket1

This recipe for barbequed beef brisket is so simple and the results are so delicious that I reach for it again and again. It requires only a few ingredients, takes minutes to prepare, and cleanup is a breeze since its cooked in an oven roasting bag. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make barbequed beef brisket:

Oven Baked BBQ Brisket Ingredients


1 beef brisket (4-5 lbs.)
4-6 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bottle (12 oz.) chili sauce
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
2-3 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeded and finely chopped

Rub brisket with liquid smoke, celery seed, and pepper. Place in an oven roasting bag (or an aluminum foil pouch). Combine the chili sauce, barbeque sauce, and chipotle peppers; pour over roast and tightly seal the roasting bag (or foil pouch). Bake at 325 degrees for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until the meat is tender. Cool slightly then slice thinly against the grain.

I served this with creamy corn pudding (recipe coming up next) and green beans for a colorful presentation. Leftovers make great barbequed beef sandwiches; I like to top mine with coleslaw. Doesn’t this look good?

Oven Baked BBQ Brisket2

Hearty Winter Meals–Beef Stew

Beef Stew1

On cold winter days like yesterday nothing hits the spot more than a steamy bowl of soup or stew, and this hearty beef stew really hit the spot. This recipe is easy to prepare but requires a long cooking time to tenderize the meat and vegetables, so you’ll need to plan ahead. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make beef stew:

Beef Stew Ingredients


3-4 pounds of stew meat (or a 4-lb. boneless chuck roast, defatted and cut into cubes)
1 tablespoon oil
1 can (14 oz.) beef broth
2 cans (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup red wine (or cooking sherry)
1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 package fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces
6-8 fingerling potatoes, cubed
Seasoning salt and pepper to taste

Brown the beef in hot oil in a large pot over medium heat, stirring to ensure the meat browns on all sides. Add the beef broth, diced tomatoes, wine, soup mix, and onions. Cover and cook until the meat is tender (about 1.5 – 2 hours). Add additional beef broth or water if too much liquid evaporates during cooking. Add the mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes and cook until the vegetables are tender (about 1/2 hour). Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into bowls and serve with cornbread, butter, and honey.

Quick Holiday Meals–Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup1

When I was young my mother always prepared big pots of soup during winter storms. I could always count on a steaming bowl of soup to warm me when I came in from the cold on rainy, icy, or snowy days. So when the cold wind is blowing and sleet is falling like it did several times this week, I whip of a batch of chicken noodle soup for my family. I want to pass on the goodness that my mother shared with me onto my daughter. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make quick chicken noodle soup:

Chicken Noodle Soup Ingredients


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed, trimmed of fat, and cut into thirds
1 box (12 oz.) bow tie pasta
4 cans (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 can (15 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced into bite-size pieces
6-8 honey gold fingerling potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan cook the bow tie pasta in rapidly boiling water until its al dente (12-14 minutes). Drain and set aside. Meanwhile combine the chicken, chicken broth, bouillon cubes, corn, diced onion, carrots, and potatoes in a large soup pot over medium heat. Watch the chicken carefully and remove it to a platter when it’s no longer pink in the center; set aside, cool slightly, then cut into bite-sized pieces. Cook the vegetables until fork tender (about 30 minutes). Add the pasta and cubed chicken. Season with salt and pepper. I like to serve this soup with biscuits topped with butter and honey.

Chicken Noodle Soup2

Holiday Side Dish–Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Twice Baked Potatoes1

This year my mother hosted Christmas dinner. Since I come from a large family my mother cooked the main course and asked each of her children to bring a side dish. I brought this twice baked potato casserole; it’s always a hit, travels well, and heats up fine in the microwave (oven space is at a premium on holidays). I got the recipe from a coworker years ago but made some changes over the years. This dish is somewhat time consuming to assemble since you must bake the potatoes then peel them and fry and crumble the bacon, but it’s well worth the effort. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make twice baked potato casserole:

Twice Baked Potatoes Ingredients1


8-10 medium-sized Yukon gold potatoes, baked and peeled (about 5 lbs.)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 container (16 oz.) sour cream
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (I used minced garlic in water)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (don’t substitute dried chives)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 lb. bacon, fried and crumbled
4 green onions, sliced

Microwave the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork. Cool slightly, then peel with a knife (I find this faster than peeling raw potatoes). Cut the potatoes into chunks and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add the stick of butter on top of the hot potatoes and allow it to melt. Stir in two cups of cheese, the sour cream, garlic, chives, salt, and pepper. Spoon into a greased 13 x 9″ pan. Bake at 350 degrees or until thoroughly heated. Cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the top with alternating stripes (in a diagonal pattern) of crumbled bacon and cheese. Sprinkle green onions around the edges.

Serve this dish was baked ham or your favorite meat loaf and a green vegetable for a colorful presentation.

Twice Baked Potatoes2

Christmas Day Brunch–Eggs in Cream Sauce and Candied Bacon

Christmas Brunch Eggs and Candied Bacon

I’ve been preparing this super quick combination of Canadian bacon, eggs, and cheese in a rich cream sauce and candied bacon for Christmas brunch for several years now. Each dish takes less than five minutes to assemble, and the results are so impressive that it’s no wonder this breakfast combination has become a Christmas tradition in my house. If you can crack an egg and open a package of bacon, you can pull off an impressive breakfast that your family and friends will remember long after the holidays are over.

I found the recipe for Sunday Brunch eggs in one of my volumes of Taste of Home Annual Recipes, but I’ve substituted cheddar cheese for the Swiss cheese and added parsley flakes as a garnish. You can view the original recipe plus many other delicious offerings at

I found the recipe for Special Oven Bacon in Cooking with Heart and Hand by Suzanne Winningham Worsham. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make Sunday brunch eggs:

Christmas Brunch Eggs Ingredients

Ingredients for Sunday Brunch Eggs:

12 slices Canadian bacon
12 slices cheddar cheese
12 eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Parsley flakes for garnish (optional)
12 slices buttered toast

Place the Canadian bacon in a greased 13 x 9-in. baking dish; top with cheddar cheese. Carefully break an egg over each piece of cheese. Pour cream over eggs and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the sauce is lightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cut between each egg; sprinkle with minced parsley and serve on buttered toast.

The completed dish:

Christmas Brunch Eggs

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make candied bacon:

Candied Bacon Ingredients

Ingredients for Candied Bacon:

1 lb. thick-cut bacon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 heaping tablespoon flour
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Lay the bacon side by side on a broiler pan with a bottom (to catch the grease). Mix flour and brown sugar. Sprinkle on top of the bacon. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

The completed dish:

Candied Bacon1

Goodness, this was good! Give it a try when you need a quick holiday breakfast or have guests in town.

Christmas Brunch Eggs and Candied Bacon

Quick Holiday Meals–Chicken in Peanut Sauce

Chicken in Peanut Sauce

My daughter loves Asian food so I’ve served her a variety of Asian-inspired meals over the years. But this recipe for quick chicken in peanut sauce (it’s ready in just 30 minutes) is hands-down her favorite meal. She would eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if she could–and, in fact, she has! You can prepare this recipe the night before, take it to a work or holiday function, and warm it in the microwave. It’s just as delicious the next day and always receives rave reviews. I clipped the original recipe from a magazine (I believe it was Better Homes and Gardens) but made a few changes along the way. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make chicken in peanut sauce.

Chicken in Peanut Sauce Ingredients


1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cubed
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3-4 drops of sesame oil (use sparingly–a little goes a long way)
1 package Chineese noodles (I used Tyling)
1 bottle (11.5 oz) peanut sauce (I used House of Tsang)
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 package frozen Asian vegetables (I used Birds Eye Steam Fresh)
1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained
Salted peanuts and sliced green onions for garnish

In a large pot boil water for the noodles. Meanwhile, trim the fat from the chicken, dice it, and place it in a skillet with a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil and a few drops of sesame oil. Cook the chicken over medium heat until it’s lightly browned and no longer pink in the middle. While the chicken is cooking, combine the peanut sauce, honey, and lime juice in a small bowl then microwave the frozen Asian vegetables according to package directions. When the water is boiling, add the Chinese noodles and cook for 3 minutes (or until tender). Drain. In a large pot combine the cooked chicken, water chestnuts, noodles, vegetables, and peanut sauce. Stir to combine. Garnish with salted peanuts (the more the merrier) and sliced green onions.

I made this dish last night after a long painting session (new paintings coming up next), so I took the easy way out and purchased the egg rolls at a nearby Chinese restaurant. This dish is so colorful and delicious.

Chicken in Peanut Sauce Close Up

Holiday Appetizer–Maple-Mustard Barbequed Meatballs and Sausages

Maple-Mustard BBQ Meatballs & Sausages

As you can see from all my recent cooking posts, I’ve had to prepare a variety of food and appetizers to share with family, friends, and coworkers this holiday season. It took me a while to find holiday recipes that were fool-proof, quick, and delicious, so I thought I’d share the goodness with my readers. I found this recipe for maple-mustard barbequed meatballs and sausages in the book, “Betty Crocker’s More Slow Cooker Recipes.” The original recipe calls for frozen meatballs and is prepared in a slow cooker and then simmered for 2 hours. But I made homemade meatballs–which are far superior in flavor than frozen meatballs–and simmered the dish in a saucepan on top of the stove and it was ready to serve about 30 minutes. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make maple-mustard barbequed meatballs and sausages.

Maple-Mustard  BBQ Meatballs & Sausages Ingredients


1 pound of ground beef
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup minced onions
1 egg, beaten
1 package (16 oz.) cocktail sausages (I used Hillshire Farm Lil’ Smokies)
1 bottle (18 oz.) barbeque sauce (I used Jack Daniel’s)
1 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, milk, garlic salt, onions, and egg. Stir to combine. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls. Place on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil (to make clean-up easy); bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine the barbecue sauce, maple syrup, and mustard in a large saucepan. Add the cooked meatballs and sausages. Stir to combine. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the meat is well coated and sauce is warm.

Maple-Mustard BBQ Meatballs & Sausages

Quick Holiday Meals–Caesar Salad with Homemade Garlic Croutons

Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons

My sister found this Caesar salad recipe in the New York Times years ago and has been serving it on Christmas eve paired with homemade tomato bisque soup and marinated mini ham and cheese sandwiches (recipes provided below) ever since. I love the crisp romaine lettuce paired with the classic Caesar salad dressing and generous sprinkling of crisp, garlic croutons. Be sure to make plenty of croutons because they’re seriously delicious. The original recipe was called “Simple Scrumptious Caesar Salad with Quick Garlic Croutons,” but my sister has made a few changes to the original recipe over the years to speed preparation without sacrificing flavor. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this Caesar salad:

Caesar Salad Ingredients


2 cups of tightly packed bread cubes (use day-old French bread or a baguette)
4 cloves of garlic, minced (I used minced garlic in a jar)
1/2 cup olive oil
Pinch of salt
3 heads of romaine lettuce hearts, chopped (I used two bags of chopped romaine)
Olive oil cooking spray
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used bottled lemon juice but fresh is better)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

To make the croutons, combine the garlic, oil, and salt in a blender and pulse until creamy. Pour over bread crumbs and toss thoroughly. Brown the breadcrumbs in a skillet over low heat, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Set aside. Place the romaine lettuce in a large bowl, spray generously with olive oil cooking spray. Add the croutons plus all the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet (this is the best part) and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mayonnaise, and Worcestershire sauce; blend with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour on top of salad. Toss thoroughly. This salad is crispy, crunchy, and garlicky. Give it a try this holiday season.

Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons

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