Monday, December 5, 2011

Italian Love Cake

"All we need is love, love. Love is all you need." Couldn't we ALL use a little extra Love... Cake. :) I was looking for a yummy cake and this rich creamy, chocolaty cake was a big winner! *I have to say I was quite surprised because you pour the white ricotta mixture over the top of the chocolate cake mixture and you open the oven and it's gone. It just kind of gently sinks to the bottom. It's kind of magic. I felt like I was part of the magic somehow... maybe just because I got a nice big slice. Yep, that was it. :) Oh- and I baked it.

Italian Love Cake (

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
  • 2 pints part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed


  1. Prepare cake mix as directed on box. Pour batter into 9 x 13 x 2 inch greased baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Combine ricotta cheese, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Blend well. Spread mixture evenly over the top of the cake batter.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 75 minutes if using a glass baking dish, 90 minutes if using a metal pan.
  4. Blend pudding mix and milk until thickened. Blend in whipped topping. Spread over cooled cake.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stuffed Acorn Squash

It can't truly be autumn without some stuffed squash, right?! This was a yummy quick recipe that turned out lovely. I even sped thing up a bit by microwaving the squash to soften it up a bit.
Stuffed Squash (Kathy's Pumpkin Patch)
  • 1 medium acorn or 2 sweet dumpling squash
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 cup Stove Top Stuffing
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cut squash in half; discard seeds. Place squash cut side down in an 11 in. x 7 in. x 2 in. baking pan; add ½ inch hot water. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Drain water from pan; turn squash cut side up. Brush with butter; sprinkle with brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Bake 30-40 minutes longer or until squash is tender.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook the beef over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in flour and remaining salt. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in stuffing mix. Spoon into squash halves. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 2 servings if acorn (sweet dumpling squash will stuff 4)

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes

Who doesn't love a twice baked potato? It takes a little extra tender loving care and a lot of extra creamy stuff :) but in the end, it's all worth it, right?! This one pleased the whole family... and how could it not? We're kind of Idaho people.... it's in our blood. (But even for those of you not "Idaho born and bred", I think you'll love it. :)

Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes (
4 large baking potatoes
8 slices bacon
1 cup sour cream (I did my plain yogurt substitution of 50/50 and it eased my concience. :)
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
8 green onions, sliced, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; save skins. To the potato flesh add sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 the green onions. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese, green onions and bacon.
Bake for another 15 minutes.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Crescent Cristo Sandwich Loaf

This layered masterpiece is not only amazingly delicious, but it is packed with happy memories for me... every bite sends me into a fit of nostalgia. :)
When I was a young soon-to-be bride, and my soon-to-be hubby and I were needing some time together, my sweet new sister-in-law Chelsea offered to make us a picnic. I don't know why it just touches my heart to think of it even now- she spent all day putting together a special meal for us in the cute new picnic basket she had just received from her wedding and probably never used. She made us these heavenly sandwiches, and we could taste the love. :) I can remember how she carefully wrapped each one on foil so it would stay warm. It was one of our best dates and it made me love Chelsea- she has always been an amazing example of silent service and compassion. I think she gives up a lot for herself, and makes sure things are "just perfect" for others. She's just that kind of person- the kind that strengthens marriages. I'm lucky to have such a sweet sister!
Well, I couldn't help but think of her as I prepared these a few weeks ago for a little picnic date. Our schedules are busy, but we were able to meet for a picnic lunch on campus, and it was a fun walk down memory lane. BUT- my memories aside, you should try this one--delicious. The taste has stuck with me for over seven years and I finally just got around to recreating it. :) It's about time!!!

Crescent Cristo Sandwich Loaf (


2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations™ flaky dough sheet

2 tablespoons LAND O LAKES® Butter, melted

2 tablespoons honey

6 oz thinly sliced smoked cooked turkey breast

6 oz medium sliced muenster cheese

6 oz thinly sliced cooked ham

1/3 to 1/2 cup SMUCKER'S® Red Raspberry Preserves


2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon sesame seed

Heat oven to 375°F. Separate or cut dough into 4 long rectangles. Place rectangles crosswise on 1 large or 2 small ungreased cookie sheets (rectangles should not touch); if using crescent dough, firmly press perforations to seal. In small bowl, mix butter and 2 tablespoons honey. Brush over dough.

Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown; cool 15 minutes.

Grease 15x10x1-inch pan. Carefully place 1 crust on pan. Top evenly with turkey. Place second crust over turkey; top with cheese and ham. Place third crust over ham; spread evenly with preserves. Top with fourth crust; brush top with 2 tablespoons honey. Sprinkle honey with sesame seed.

Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and loaf is hot. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 slices.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We Make A Good Pear...

I guess I am too lazy to put up step by step instructions with picture tutorials; however, I'm not to lazy to put up the fruit. That's got to count for something, right? I bottled up 3 boxes of pears from the farmers market a couple weeks ago- a lot of peeling. Gave me some good time to ponder life's questions... in-between interruptions with little kiddos. Here is a link to the site I used. Happy canning!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cornmeal-Wheat Pancakes

I love pancakes! I never get tired of trying out a new recipe. I do get tired of mixing them up in the morning though. This took a little more work, but it was worth it. Made a great batch of pancakes with a nice texture from the cornmeal. I passed on the honeybutter for the homemade plum syrup I recently made. Delish! :)

Cornmeal-Wheat Pancakes (Taste of Home)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Combine the eggs, buttermilk and oil; add to dry ingredients just until moistened.
Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until the second side is golden brown.
In a small bowl, combine the butter, honey and cinnamon. Serve with pancakes. Yield: 12 pancakes (1/2 cup honey butter).
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Baked Cinnamon Chips

Am I on a cinnamon kick or what? :) This is a good thing. I promise.
So every once in a while, I accidentally skip over a gem- thank goodness I occasionally go back through. "Eureka!" This is a yummy one that my little sis made this summer. Can you tell those are sweet garden fresh strawberries- so cruel to post that now... mouths watering until next spring! Please forgive. :) Anyway, she said they were pretty simple to make and I can attest to them being a fabulous treat! They didn't last long. Thanks Pete!
Bake Cinnamon Chips (Our Best Bites)

Flour Tortillas (I like the little 6″ ones)
Melted Butter
Cinnamon Sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly brush one side of each tortilla with melted butter. You could use cooking spray instead of butter, buy why would you ever want to do that? Life Lesson from Sara: If ever given a chance to choose between butter or cooking spray, butter wins. Always.

Then sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar. A little or a lot. Since we’re doing life lessons today, here’s another: If ever faced with the decision to go with a little sugar or a lot of sugar, a lot wins. Always.

Use a pizza cutter to cut those tortillas into wedges. Last life lesson of the day: If you don’t own a pizza cutter go buy one. You will use it for all sorts of things you never knew you needed a pizza cutter for.

Place them on an ungreased baking sheet (sugar side up, incase you are visually impared and can’t tell by the picture) and bake them in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. You’ll see them crisp up. Watch for the edges to turn up.

Remove from oven and let cool. I usually place them on a cooling rack so I can fill up the pan with more, but they can just cool on the pan as well.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 31, 2011

Iced Cinnamon Chip Cookies

Happy Halloween! I wish you could come over to our house for some of my "Prize Winning Chili" and homemade donuts and rootbeer! But these yummy little cookies might make you feel better if you have other plans. :) They are good with or without the frosting. Happy Halloween!

Iced Cinnamon Chip Cookies (Taste of Home)

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (10 ounces) cinnamon baking chips (I actually used butterscotch chips and it was yummy.)

  • ICING:
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Fold in cinnamon chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients; beat on high speed for 1-2 minutes or until fluffy. Spread over cooled cookies. Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 158 calories, 8 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 23 mg cholesterol, 148 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 2 g protein.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chicken and Cheese Noodle Bake

I have WISHED for a mini-freezer for years, and this last Christmas, I was finally "good enough" to get one from Santa... although it came a bit late- as in, by my birthday a few month later--Santa got some serious millage off of this one. BUT that is ok with me, because I have a cute little freezer! It is pretty small, but it works perfectly for out little family, and I have really enjoyed finding freezer meals that give me a break every now and then on a busy night. I think my favorite is still the mini-cheddar loaves just because you can heat them up so fast in the microwave, but this noodle bake made a nice big batch! I was able to freeze 2 medium round and 1 large aluminum casserole pans, in addition to the large casserole dish we enjoyed for dinner that night. (I think I doubled and already "double-batch". :) It was a lot, but so nice for a busy night or if I ever need to take a meal to someone. (Plus, relatively inexpensive--always a bonus. :)

Chicken and Cheese Noodle Bake (Simple and Delicious, Taste of Home)

  • 1 package (16 ounces) spaghetti, broken
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 2% milk

  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken (I did it crockpot style and put it in that morning.)
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken and mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese


  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, saute the onions and green and red peppers in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the chicken, soups, sour cream, celery salt and pepper.

    Drain spaghetti; add to sauce mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to two greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dishes. Sprinkle with cheeses. Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly.
  • To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly. Yield: 2 casseroles (6 servings each).

Nutrition Facts: 1 cup equals 509 calories, 24 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 102 mg cholesterol, 691 mg sodium, 42 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 29 g protein.

Posted by Picasa