Sunday, October 25, 2009

RECIPE - Homemade Mozzarella Sticks With Marinara

Who doesn't love mozzarella cheese sticks with a bowl of marinara dipping sauce?  Yummmmm   Been trying to watch what I eat...and this would definitely NOT be on the diet.  LOL  However, when I saw this recipe, it looked so good that I thought I should make a batch and sneak just one!


Oil for frying (any kind)
1 8-ounce package of mozzarella cheese (in the form of sticks)
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup italian seasoned bread crumbs (you can find these on the bread aisle)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese (you can use the kind in the shaker can)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Marinara sauce or other dipping sauce

Pour oil into a heavy saucepan or deep skillet to a depth of 1 inch.  It takes about 12 minutes for the oil to reach frying temperature, over medium heat.   

While the oil is heating, open your cheese and make sure the sticks are about 1/2 x 1/2 inch (in thickness...not length).  Line a baking sheet with paper towels for draining.  Place flour on a plate (this will be used to roll the cheese sticks in).

In a shallow bowl, combine the egg and water.  In another shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and garlic powder and mix well. 

One stick at a time, roll the cheese sticks in the flour, then dip them in the egg wash, then roll them in the bread crumb mixture.  

Once you have a few cheese sticks ready to fry, carefully put them in the hot oil (cook them in small batches).  Cook until golden brown, about 30 seconds.  Remove with a slotted spoon and let them drain on the paper towels.  

Let the fried cheese sticks sit for a few minutes before eating to make sure that all the cheese inside has completely melted.  Also, if your oil is too will end up with very brown cheese sticks that are not melte in the middle.  Oil should stay about 365 can use a cooking thermometer to test it if you have one. 

When you have taken one batch of cheese sticks out of the oil, give the oil a few minutes to heat back up before placing the next batch into the oil.

Serve with marinara sauce or any dipping sauce that you want.

Friday, October 23, 2009

RECIPE - Trisha Yearwood's No-Baste No-Bother Turkey

I had this recipe last year well before the holidays, but I just didn't have the nerve to try it.  It just seemed too easy, I was having a lot of people over, and I didnt want to end up with a turkey that didnt turn out well.  So, I just didn't mess with it.  But this year I thought I would try it out!  This is a recipe that Trisha Yearwood uses every year, and her husband Garth didn't think it would be good either, so he made her do a "trial run" before the actual holidays so he could try it out.  Apparently, he loved it!


1 (12-pound) turkey, completely thawed, all giblets removed
1/2 cup salted butter (not margarine), softened
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 stalks celery, cut in lengths to fit turkey cavity
1 medium onion, cut in half
1 large carrot
2 cups boiling water

Adjust oven racks so covered roasting pan fits easily inside oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees (yes I said FIVE HUNDRED degrees).

Rub butter on the outside and inside cavity of the turkey.   Sprinkle salt and pepper on the outside of the turkey. Put the celery, onion, and carrot in the cavity. Place the turkey, breast side up, in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the bottom of the pan. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and put the pan in preheated oven.

Start a timer as soon as you put the turkey into the 500 degree oven and bake EXACTLY ONE HOUR and then TURN OFF THE OVEN (I know...sounds crazy...but just DO IT).  Do NOT open the oven door...not even once.  You will lose your heat and the turkey will not cook.  Leave the turkey in the oven until the  oven cools completely.  This may take 4 to 6 hours. Reserve the pan juices  to make gravy or stuffing, and refrigerate the turkey if it will not be served immediately after roasting.  You can reheat (or brown it more if its not browned enough for your taste) the turkey in the oven just before serving.  It should be perfect and juicy. 

I'm gonna try it and see how it turns out!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Just about everyone loves hot cocoa, right?  Do you have an elderly neighbor or a coworker that you would like to give some sort of small gift to over the holiday season?   Decorate a jar and fill it with hot cocoa.  You could paint it like the ones above and tie a Christmas ribbon or bow to the top of it...but to make it even simpler, you can buy jars that are already decorated with holiday themes.  You can get them on the holiday isle at Walmart for one dollar!  Here's a GREAT recipe for hot cocoa.  Its sweet and creamy. 


4 cups instant nonfat dry milk powder
1-1/2 to 2 cups sugar (your preference on sweetness)
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 package of instant store-bought vanilla pudding mix
If you like a mocha flavor, you can also add 1/4 cup of instant coffee to the mix.
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, making sure you get all the lumps out of the unsweetened cocoa.  Once it is mixed well, store it in a jar or a coffee can with a lid...somewhere so it will stay very dry.  This will stay good for 6 months if kept dry.
To serve, use 1/3 cup of the mixture in a mug, and fill to the top with hot water. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Perfect Punch For Any Party Or Event

Ever needed a good punch recipe for an upcoming event?  Well here you go!  You could even use this for the upcoming holiday parties if you wanted too....its not just for baby and bridal showers!

Punch bowl
1   2 liter bottle of Sprite or 7-up
2   12 ounce cans of frozen cranberry juice
12 ounce can of frozen yellow lemonade

Take ONE can of cranberry juice, and mix it up per package instructions.  Pour it into a ring jello mold and freeze completely.  If you dont have a jello mold, you can just pour the juice into ice trays and freeze.   

Once your mold or ice trays are completely frozen, pour the bottle of Sprite or 7 up into the punch bowl.  Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop the frozen juice from the second can of cranberry juice and the can of lemonade into the punch bowl.  Then dump your ice mold or ice trays into the punch, so you have ice floating.  There you go....all done.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

RECIPE - Dark Chocolate Walnut Caramel Pie

Well, this is my final recipe for today, as I've got some studying to do this evening.  But, I've enjoyed pulling these recipes out and sharin them today.  As you can see, my collection of recipes does NOT contain very many low-calorie recipes! LOL  I might have to start getting some of that kind of recipe from some of you who might have them....cuz I have no clue on how to cook low calorie meals that are still satisfying.

Anyway, you might as well enjoy these recipes since I cant!  Actually posting these, while knowing I can't eat them myself once I make them, is sort of my way of preparing myself for NOT being able to endulge.  Well, I guess a bite or two at the holidays wont hurt....but normally....on Thanksgiving night after everyone was would be nothing for me to curl up on the couch and finish off whatever was left of the pie! LOL   No wonder my butt is getting big! LOL   This pie is to die for, but is very rich so you can only eat a small peice.  I also have a recipe for Chocolate Pecan Pie that is my husband's favorite, but I'll save that for another day.  Hope you try this!

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1-1/4 cups heavy or whipping cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut up
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1  9-inch Baked Pie Shell

Prepare 9-inch baked pie shell per package direction,  until deep golden. Cool pie shell on wire rack at least 15 minutes.

In a heavy saucepan, heat sugar and water on medium until sugar dissolves and turns amber in color, ab0ut 15 minutes, swirling pan occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat 3/4 cup of the heavy cream in the microwave, about 45 seconds, or until warm. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream in the refrigerator to keep cold for whipping later.

Remove the saucepan of sugar and water from the heat.  Stir in the warm cream until a smooth caramel forms (caramel will stiffen when cream is added). Stir in the chocolate and butter, stirring  until completely melted. Stir in the vanilla extract and 1-1/2 cups of the walnuts. Reserve the remaining 1/4 cup of walnuts to sprinkle on top of the pie later.

Pour the warm chocolate filling into the pie shell. Cool for 1 hour, then cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or until set.

When ready to serve, beat the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream with a mixer until soft peaks form. The cream is unsweetened, as the pie filling is VERY rich.  However, if you prefer the cream on top of the pie to be sweetened, you can add sugar to you own preference when whipping.  With a spatula, spread the whipped cream on top of the pie, leaving 1/2-inch border all around. Sprinkle with reserved walnuts.

RECIPE - Dried Beef and Green Onion Cheese Ball

I've been going through my recipes for several weeks now when I get a little free time.  I have had this project in mind for awhile to separate and organize my recipes, get them all in one container, and then make a recipe book for my daughter of all our family favorites.  She's a great cook and I know she would love to have all the recipes in one big book made especially for her, but  I just havent gotten around to it yet. 

But, I am finding some great recipes and am getting some ideas on different things I would like to have at the upcoming holiday meals!  I'm planning a "friends" get together sometime a few weeks before Christmas complete with dinner, dessert, holiday drinks, etc.  Who knows what else will be involved...I've just started planning it. 

I ran across this recipe, which is one that my grandmother makes EVERY year at Christmas, mostly because we beg her to make it! LOL  It's not a dieters recipe but a little wouldn't hurt anybody...the only problem is that once you get cant stop! LOL


2  8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
2 jars of dried beef (you can usually find this in the same area you find tuna,  Spam, etc.  Its in a small clear jar with a metal lid)
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
Garlic powder, a couple of good shakes
1 bunch of green onions
Chopped pecans or walnuts

Chop your dried beef into tiny peices.  Chop green onions and part of the onion tops.  Add the dried beef, onions, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce into a bowl and mix.  Add the softened cream cheese to the bowl and mix it very well.  Roll the mixture into  a ball and then roll it in chopped nuts.  Refrigerate overnight before serving.  I like to serve this on a tray with some crackers, summer sausage, and  raw veggies lik carrots, celery, cucumbers, etc.

If properly wrapped/sealed up, this will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.  If you have several holiday events to go can make several of these ahead of time and freeze them!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

APPETIZER RECIPE - Grape Jelly Meatballs

Okay, so here's my last blog for today...the other appetizer that I said I would post.  Again...this might sound awful to you...but just trust me because they are really good!  When I first tried these, if someone had told me they contained grape jelly, I never would have believed them.  I posted a picture of one of the ingredients, as maybe some of you just dont happen to have a bottle of chili sauce hanging around in your cabinet! LOL  You can find it at any grocery store.  Also, you can put as much or as little effort into these as you want...I like to make my own meatballs but you can buy the premade frozen meatballs if you want to.


Ingredients for the meatballs (if you're making your own):
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 envelope dry onion soup mix (I use Lipton)
2 eggs
1/2 cup cracker crumbs

1 bottle of Heinz chili sauce
1 10 ounce jar of grape jelly

Mix all ingredients for the meatballs well.  Form into bitesize meatballs.  If you are using the premade frozen meatballs, check to see if they have already been fully cooked.  If so, you will want to thaw them completely and then warm/brown them in a skillet.  If you're making your own meatballs, saute in a skillet until completely done. 

Mix the bottle of chili sauce and the jar of grape jelly together in a bowl, mixing thoroughly.  Pour the mixture into a crockpot.  Add the meatballs to the crockpot and simmer for 2 hours.  You can serve these right out of the crockpot....or you can take them out of the crockpot right before serving and stick toothpicks in them to serve.  They are messy...but they are GOOD! 

APPETIZER RECIPE - BBQ Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

A couple of the people who read my blogs emailed me and asked me if I had any good recipes for appetizers.  I DO!  I just hadn't gotten around to posting them yet, as I usually serve those closer to the holiday get togethers.

I love this recipe! I can make myself sick eating these things!  The ones in the picture above dont have BBQ sauce...but they are much better with the BBQ sauce!  Make some with and some without to see how you prefer them. 

I don't make these very often anymore because they take a little time to make AND I just don't entertain much anymore.  I used to...but I'm just to busy these days...and my kids have lives of their own and are never around to plan a family get together (thats' a whole different blog...LOL).   Anyway, I hope someone tries these.  They may not SOUND like they would be good...but they ARE.  Trust me!

1 pound of bacon, cut strips into thirds
3 cans of whole water chestnuts, drained and rinsed

You can either use your favorite BBQ sauce to dip these in or you can use the following:

1 cup ketchup
1 cup brown sugar

Drain and rinse water chestnuts.  Cut bacon strips, so that you get 3 peices out of each slice.  Wrap 1 peice of bacon snuggly around each chestnut and secure it with a toothpick.  Do not insert the toothpick all the way through or it will break the chestnut in half.   After all chestnuts have been wrapped with bacon, place them on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven UNCOVERED at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

After baking, mix the ketchup and the brown sugar together in a bowl (or you can just use your favorite BBQ sauce instead if you want) and then spoon the mixture over each chestnut, coating completely and thickly.  COVER with alluminum foil and bake in the oven for another 45 minutes.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

RECIPE - Hot Spiced Tea

The last few days have really turned off chilly.  I do believe that Fall is here...and Winter will soon follow.  This cool weather has put me in the mood of just curling up on the couch and hybernating with a cup of something hot.  So, here's a recipe for one of my favorite winter time drinks.  Way back when I was in junior high and high school, a good friend of mine (Diane) got me hooked on this! Her mother was the dietician at the college here in town and she could cook anything under the sun.  She always filled you up when you were at her house...with food AND drink.  I have had this recipe ever since! Hope you enjoy it...its good and its addictive.

1-1/3 cup TANG breakfast beverage powder
1/3 cup instant tea
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Just mix all ingredients well.  I like to put it in a pretty glass jar and set it out on my cabinet.  Use 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoon (to taste) of the powder to a cup of steaming hot water.  If you are serving it to guests, you can put a stick of cinnamon in the cup for garnish.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

RECIPE - Sweet Potato Casserole

Isn't it funny how our taste buds can be finicky sometimes....and also how they change as we get older?  I never liked sweet potatoes as a kid!  Just the mention of the dish made me feel like gagging.  Something about the texture of them just sent me over the edge! LOL  My grandmother would cook them at the holidays in this big baking dish with some butter, and covered with marshmallows...that ooey gooey topping still wasn't enough to get me to eat even one spoonful. 

But as I got older, I guess my taste buds changed.  I was at a company Christmas party one year...the food was catered and they had this sweet potato casserole.  Everyone carried on about how good it was, so after some persuasion, I tried it and I've loved it ever since. 

I did some research, tried a few recipes, and this is the one that seems to be everyone's favorite!  Feel free to use it for your holiday meals.  You can even make several of these ahead of time and freeze them!  If you do freeze your casserole ahead of time dont make the topping mix yet.  Skip making the topping mix until right before you plan to bake it.  For some reason, if the topping has been frozen too, it just doesnt turn out as well once baked, and it doesn't look as good on the casserole.  Hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter

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

Combine the first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned.  If you have made this ahead of time and froze it, thaw it out before you bake it.  Serves 6 to 8.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

RECIPE - Crockpot Corn

Can you believe that its already October? This year has just flown by for me.  It's a scary thought that in a little over two months it will be Christmas time...AGAIN!

Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays.  I love decorating my home, baking, cooking...and most of all eating! LOL

Since Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, I decided to flip through my recipes and see what I could find.  Found some great ones that I will be posting over the next couple of months...and feel free to use them for your holiday meals if you would like.

This recipe in particular is a recipe that my EX-mother-in-law gave me.  She is an excellent TRUE Southern cook! Southern cooking is so simple...yet so fulfilling when you eat it.  Just about the ONLY good thing that came from that relationship was her cooking....which packed about 25 pounds on me by the time the relationship ended.  LOL  I do have to say though that eating her food was probably worth the weight was so good....

I hope you enjoy the recipes that I post over the next couple of months.  This one in particular is so simple that you shouldnt even be able to call it cooking.  But it sure does taste like you put some effort into it!

2 10-0z bags of frozen corn
1 8-0z package of cream cheese
1 stick of butter
6 Tbs water
salt and pepper to taste

Spray your crockpot with Pam or some other non-stick spray.  Turn the crockpot to the low or medium setting.  Add your corn and water to the crockpot.  Melt cream cheese and butter together in the microwave or on the stove, and then add it to the crockpot.  Stir occasionally.  Let simmer in the crockpot for 3-4 hours.  If you want it creamier, you can add more cream cheese and butter...whatever your personal preference.  I usually add another half package of cream cheese and another half stick of butter.   For a sit down dinner, I like to put it in a pretty bowl and then garnish the top with some chives.