Saturday, December 31


Serves: 10
  • 5 1/2 - 7 1/2 cups (~225 g) 1-inch bread cubes (depending on type of bread)*
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2 cups (480 ml) milk (any kind)*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup (87 g) pumpkin butter (or 1/2 cup pumpkin puree)*
  • 3-4 tablespoons (41-55 g) brown sugar for topping
  • optional: Nuts, like pecan or walnuts
  1. Cut any kind of bread into 1-inch cubes - I recommend a crusty, whole grain variety, but sandwich bread will work, too. Just use enough slice to fill a lightly greased 9x13-inch baking dish quite full.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, pumpkin butter and pie spice until well combined. Pour over bread and push down with a spoon or your hands until it's all soaked and mostly covered. Cover with saran wrap or lid and refrigerate overnight.
  3. In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C), uncover and top with brown sugar, additional pumpkin pie spice and nuts (optional). Bake for 35-45 minutes or golden brown and no longer wet.
  4. Serve immediately with maple syrup, honey or agave nectar. Store leftovers in the refrigerator covered for up to a couple days.
* For the bread cubes, just use as much bread as it takes to fill the bottom of your dish generously, plus up about 1 to 1.5 inches. If you've added too much to soak up the liquid, just remove some. And if it looks too wet, add some more bread.
* I HIGHLY recommend using pumpkin butter as it has a concentrated pumpkin flavor and is much sweeter than puree. But if using puree instead of butter, it's important to compensate the flavor by adding a bit more puree, pumpkin pie spice, and a little agave nectar, brown sugar or maple syrup to the batter. Otherwise, it will lack that delicious fall, pumpkin flavor you're going for.
* I used 2%, but use skim or low-fat for a lighter recipe. Alternatively, use non-dairy such as soy or almond.

Photo and recipe from The Minimalist Baker!!!

Crockpot Butternut Squash, Chicken, and Quinoa Soup

Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 6 -8


  • 1 and 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 (4 cups) small butternut squash
  • 1 can (15.25 ounces) kidney beans
  • 1 can (15 ounces) corn
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 packet (1.12 ounces) fajita seasoning mix
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: fresh parsley, sour cream, cheddar cheese


  1. Remove the fat from the chicken. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve to remove the bitter saponin coating.
  2. Peel, seed, and chop the butternut squash into small bite-sized pieces (or buy pre-chopped butternut squash for an even faster prep).
  3. Rinse and drain the kidney beans and corn.
  4. Lightly grease your slow cooker with nonstick spray (I use a 6-quart crockpot). Add in the chicken, quinoa, chopped squash, kidney beans, corn, undrained tomatoes, garlic, and fajita seasoning packet. (OR try a chili seasoning packet if you enjoy those flavors better).
  5. Pour in the chicken broth and give everything a good stir.
  6. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or until the quinoa is cooked through and the squash is very tender.
  7. At this point you can remove some of the squash and mash it with a potato masher and then put it back in the soup. This is totally optional, but makes it a bit heartier.
  8. Add some salt and pepper to taste and any other seasonings desired. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
  9. If desired, stir in some sour cream (we use and love reduced fat or fat free) and some freshly grated cheddar cheese.
  10. NOTE: slow cookers are known for cooking at different speeds - if yours tends to cook faster your chicken and squash could be done even earlier than 3 hours and alternatively everything may take longer to cook in a cooler slow cooker. The longer this cooks the more liquid the quinoa absorbs - if you don't mind that's fine, otherwise you can always add some more chicken broth and seasoning.

Recipe and photo from

Friday, December 30

One-Pan BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowls

Serves 4
For the chicken and rice:
8 ounces Roma tomatoes (about 2 or 3), cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/4 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, or mixture of both
To finish:
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
Optional toppings: Shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, sour cream, diced avocado, salsa, hot sauce, diced green onions, shredded lettuce, crushed tortilla chips
For the chicken and rice: Place the tomatoes, broth, garlic, onion, 1/4 teaspoon of the cumin, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Measure the amount of purée; you should have 2 cups. If you don't have enough, add more chicken broth or water.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is fragrant and starts to crackle, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato purée and bay leaf, stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any stuck grains of rice, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin on both sides.
Add the chicken to the pan, nestling it into the rice. Make sure all the rice around the edges is submerged in purée. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer undisturbed until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, use a rubber spatula to push the rice at the edges of the pan into the simmering liquid so that it cooks evenly.
To finish: Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board, scraping off any stuck grains of rice back into the pan. Stir the rice, sprinkle the corn over it, then add the black beans over the corn in an even layer. Cover again and let sit undisturbed for 10 minutes for the corn and beans to heat through and the rice to finish steaming.
Meanwhile, when the chicken is cool enough to handle but still warm, cut it into bite-sized pieces. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the barbecue sauce, and toss to combine.
Stir the rice mixture to incorporate the beans and corn and remove the bay leaf. Taste and season with salt as needed. Serve with the chicken and toppings.

No-Boil Chicken & Tomato Pasta Bake

Serves 4 to 6
8 ounces dried rigatoni pasta
2 cups (about 8 ounces) chopped cooked chicken breast meat (omit to make vegetarian)
4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups shredded cheese, such as mozzarella or a mix of mozzarella and provolone
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups milk (see Recipe Note)
For the cheesy basil topping:
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, and sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Heat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease a 3-quart casserole dish, Dutch oven, or 9x13 casserole pan with olive oil.
In a large bowl, mix the dried pasta, chicken, garlic, and tomatoes (with their juices). Stir in the salt and a healthy quantity of black pepper. (If the tomatoes you are using have no salt in them, add an additional 1/2 teaspoon salt.) Stir in the shredded cheese and the Parmesan. Spread this mixture in the prepared baking dish or pot and pour the milk over top.
Cover the dish or pot tightly with a lid or a double layer of aluminum foil. Bake until the pasta is tender, about 50 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and turn the oven up to broil.
Meanwhile, prepare the herb topping. In a small food processor or chopper, whiz the breadcrumbs, cheese, herbs, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, blending until the texture resembles wet sand.
Slowly remove the lid (or foil) from the casserole dish. Be careful, as steam will billow out. Spread the herbed breadcrumbs over the bubbling pasta and return the uncovered dish to the oven. Broil for 5 minutes or until the topping is toasted and crispy on top.
Take the casserole out of the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Recipes Notes:

  • Milk: The more fat in your milk, the thicker and more luxurious this dish will be. I have only made this with whole milk, which worked very well. I see no reason why lower-fat milks would not work as well, but they may be soupier, with a thinner sauce, when you first remove them from the oven.

Tuesday, November 15

Smore Cookie Bars


1/2 Cup butter, soft
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup sugar

1 egg room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 Cups flour
3/4 Cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp salt

2 King size bars of Hershey Chocolate (8.5 oz) (Celia said she used the smaller bars)
1 1/2 Cup marshmallow fluff

1.  Grease 8 x 8 pan/preheat oven to 350.
2.  Cream butter and sugars; beat in egg and vanilla.
3.  Combine dry ingredients and add slowly to wet.  BEAT A LITTLE.  Divide in half, press 1/2 into bottom of 8 x 8  pan.  Reserve the rest for the top.
4.  Lay chocolate out side by side on the dough.  Spread fluff on top of chocolate.
5. Flatten bits of remaining dough with hands and lay on top of the fluff to generally cover top.  Gaps are fine.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes til lightly browned.  Cool several hours before cutting.  I waited 8 hours

This recipe is from Ginger Daines.  I tasted them at Celia Reeds.  FANTASTIC.  They were cut into 1" squares.  Beautiful to look at and delicious.

Monday, October 17

Black Bean Salsa

2-3 avocados (diced
1 Can corn drained
1 Can black beans drained
1 pkg zesty Italian dressing made per package
Juice from one line
4-5 Roma tomatoes diced
1/2 Bunch green onion chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro chopped
1 red pepper chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and serve with chips

Thursday, September 22

Creamy Crockpot Tortellini Soup

24 oz jar of spaghetti sauce
2 Cups water
1/4 Cup diced onion
3-4 garlic cloves minced
1/2 Cup diced carrots
1 lb ground beef browned
4 Cups loosely packed fresh spinach leaves
4 Cups beef broth
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
16 oz cheese tortellini

1.  Combine spaghetti sauce, water, meat, onion, garlic, carrots, spinach, cream cheese, beef broth, and mushrooms in a slow-cooker.  Cook on low for 7 hours or 5 hours on high.
2.  Before adding tortellini, take a whisk to your soup to break up any chunks of cream cheese.  Stir in frozen tortellini.  Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender and hot.

Tuesday, September 13

Killer Cupcakes

 4 - one ounce squares semisweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
2 sticks butter
4 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup flour

8 oz cream cheese softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg beaten
dash of salt
3/4 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips - and thought they were so cute.)

Makes about 20-22 cupcakes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. In top of a double boiler over simmering water, (I just put the chocolate and butter and vanilla in a regular pan right on the heat - but watched it really closely).  Melt chocolate with vanilla, butter.  In large bowl beat the eggs until thick and add the sugar.  Beat in the flour.  Fold in the butter chocolate mixture.  Spoon into tins filling the cups 2/3 full.

Filling - Mix the cream cheese, sugar, egg and salt until just blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Drop a rounded teaspoon of filling onto the top of each cupcake.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Photo cred

Saturday, August 27

My Perfect Rice Krispie Treat

In a large pot add 2 cubes butter melted until hot and bubbly.  Turn off heat and stir in 1 bag of mini marshmallows until smooth.  Blend in 8 cups of Rice Krispies and put into a greased casserole dish.  Let cool before cutting into the treats. (Fun variation.  After putting them into the pan. pour crushed butterfinger bits on top.  Pat in to make sure the candy sticks.)  Yes add that much butter - these are fantastic. 

Wednesday, July 13

Lemon Pepper Chicken Kabobs with Soda Pop Marinade

Serves: 4-6 servings
  • for sauce:
  • 1 cup (not can) of Sprite or other Lemon Lime soda, not sugar free
  • ½ cup soy sauce*
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper, plus additional for sprinkling on kabobs before grilling
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • kabobs:
  • 3 large chicken breast halves or about 2¼ lbs chicken, cut into 1½ inch cubes**
  • suggested vegetables:
  • 3 large bell peppers, assorted colors, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 regular size onion, cut into chunks, mushrooms, about 1 lb, halved, cherry or grape tomatoes, cut up fresh pineapple chunks, f1-2 small zucchini, green or yellow
  • wood skewers
  1. Mix together all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.
  2. Cut up the chicken and place in bowl of marinade.
  3. Place in refrigerator for 1-4 hours.
  4. Run the skewers under cold water, shake off excess water.
  5. When ready to thread the skewers, drain the marinade off the chicken and discard. Carefully thread the meat and vegetable onto the skewers, alternating meat and vegetables, fruit may also be added, see notes about vegetable choices.
  6. Turn on grill to medium heat or about 400 degrees about 15 minutes before cooking kabobs.
  7. When ready to cook, place kabobs on hot grill. Barbecue for about 6-8 minutes then carefully turn so opposite side of kabob is exposed to grill. Cook for additional 6-8 minutes.
  8. Remove and check one of the thicker pieces of meat to make sure it is cooked thru.
  9. Place on platter and cover with foil until ready to serve.

Monday, June 13

Texas Sheet Cake

3/4 lb butter (3 sticks)
4 TBS cocoa
1 Cup water
2 Cups flour
2 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 Cup butter
4 TBS cocoa
6 TBS milk
1 pound powdered sugar
1-1 1/2 Cups pecan chopped
1 tsp vanilla

Melt and bring to boil butter, cocoa and water.  Sift together flour and sugar.  Pour hot mixture into sugar mixture then add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla.  mix well.  Prepare pan by spraying with PAM.  Pour into long cookie sheet with sides and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.  Prepare icing while cake bakes.  In sauce pan bring to boil butter, cocoa, and milk; add powdered sugar and beat in; add pecans and vanilla.  Pour over cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.  Let cook and serve.

Sour Cream Enchiladas

1 pkg flour tortillas (corn size)
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 pound yellow cheese grated
2 cans cream of chicken soup - undiluted
1/2 pint sour cream
1 can sliced olives
1 7 oz can diced green chilies

Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.  Mix together green onion, cheese and chicken.  In a different bowl make a sauce of soup, green chilies and sour cream.  Spread small amount of sauce down tortillas, then onion, cheese chicken mixture.  Put seam side down in prepared pan.  Pour remaining sauce over top.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, May 24

Chicken Pillows

1 1/4 Cup diced chicken
1 - 3 oz cream cheese
1 TBS chives - freeze dried
1/4 tsp salt
1 Can crescent rolls
melted butter
crushed herb seasoned croutons

Mix cream cheese, chives, salt and chicken.  Put teaspoon of chicken mix in center of crescent roll and roll up.  Dip filled rolls in melted butter and then into crushed croutons.  Bake according to package directions.  Top with gravy made of 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 Cup chicken broth and 4 TBS sour cream whisked together and brought to near boil.
Photo cred Tasty Sensation

Monday, May 9

German Pancake

1/4 Cup butter
1 Cup flour
1 Cup milk
6 Eggs, lightly beaten
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a medium baking dish.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, milk, eggs, and salt.  Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Bake on center rack in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.  Dust with powdered sugar and serve with fruit toppings and syrup.


Image courtesy of the Crepe Factory
2 Eggs
1 Cup milk
2/3 Cup flour
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil

 In a blender combine eggs, milk, flour, salt and oil. Process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and brush with oil or butter. Pour 1/4 cup of crepe batter into pan, tilting to completely coat the surface of the pan. Cook 2 to 5 minutes, turning once, until golden. Repeat with remaining batter.  (Slam dunk recipe!!!)

Saturday, January 23

Chicken Tortilla Soup


  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • 1/4 cup Diced Green Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
  • 32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa
  • 5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches
  • _____
  • Sour Cream
  • Diced Avocado
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
  • Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Cilantro


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed---add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.

Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it! (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)

Recipe and picture courtesy of The Pioneer Woman (instead of the cornmeal I added crushed tortilla chips - SO GOOD!!!)