December 23, 2009

All My Bags Are Packed

I'm ready to go...hopefully this snow/rain mixture doesn't stick so our family can head to Tulsa for Christmas with my grandma tomorrow and then onto Florida on Friday morning. I am trying to pack in a carry on bag for a whole week to save $25...its not an easy task let me tell you.

Also, the fabulous Amy K got me some reading material for the plane rides...thanks AK!

December 13, 2009

Drumroll please

I decided to draw for the winner and post it early. And obviously I chose to draw out of a measuring cup.

Mixing up the names with my man hand so its fair of course

And the winner is...

Congratulations Summer! Email me at baileybakes at gmail dot com and let me know when you want the muffins and where you want them delivered. Also let me know if you want a gift tag on it, or if you just want to keep them to yourself!

Thanks to everyone for entering the contest

December 11, 2009


As I mentioned in my last post, I am hosting a giveaway in honor of my 50th post (yes, it took me this long to get to 50). I am giving away an order of Mini Pecan Pie Muffins for you to enjoy, or to give to someone else to enjoy!

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment in the comment section, even if you've never commented before! The contest is open until midnight on Saturday, December 12 and the winner will be announced on Monday.

Good Luck!

December 9, 2009

Christmas Treats

Do you need teacher gifts for Christmas? Coming up short on ideas for friends? Look no further, I have your treats right here. Get your orders in now and I will get them to you ASAP.

Bailey Bakes Holiday Treats

Puppy Chow $6
Cinnamon Candy $4
Chocolate Fudge $6
Peanut Brittle $5
Divinity $8
Chocolate Turtles $6/dozen
Chocolate Fudge Pie $9
Apple Pie $12
Pecan Pie Mini Muffins $10/2 dozen

Buy 2 items; get the third item of equal or lesser value half off!

Please send orders to All orders should be placed no later than Friday December 18. Deliveries can be made Wednesday December 23, or before if needed.
Also, be looking for my next post, it will be a giveaway in honor of my 50th post.

December 8, 2009

6 Days of Basketball

It's kind of like the 12 days of Christmas, only not at all. Starting last Wednesday and ending last night I went to at least one basketball game every day. It all started when I won some OKC Thunder and OU men's basketball tickets last week via Twitter (@baileybakes). So Wednesday night I headed to the Thunder game with friend Ryan. The following night was an OC double header, women's game at 6 and men's at 8. As long as I can remember my family has been going to the OC games and sitting in the same area, even when we didn't live in the city. So its just kind of natural that we have continued to go to the games.

Friday night the Thunder were playing the Celtics which was going to be a huge game, and some friends decided we should try and get tickets. They found some online on Friday afternoon and we headed downtown that night for the game. To say parking was a hassle is putting it lightly, we were 40 minutes late for the game, but we still had a good time.
Did I mention we were on the top row? Oh yeah we were, I think I got altitude sickness from being that high, but the jury's still out on that one.

A picture of friend Matt, friend Pip and friend Ryan at the game. Matt, why do you look so creepy?

Saturday I was invited to watch some of said friend's church league basketball game at 10am. I set my alarm and showed up at the church at 10 only to find out that their game wasn't until 11, awesome! I was able to kill some time at a Gotcha Party down the hall for precious baby Mariah Kingcade, then made it back to the game at 11.

Later that day I went to some more OC men's and women's games and got to see the cute cheer clinic girls perform their cheers and dances.
As mentioned before, I won tickets to an OU men's basketball game along with the Thunder tickets and that game just happened to be on Sunday vs. Arizona. My brother-in-law had been wanting to go to an OU game, so he and my sister came up from Tulsa and we headed south to Norman along with my dad, to watch the Sooners duke it out with Arizona. We ate at my favorite BBQ place, JR's in Norman on the way, and it was delish as always.

We didn't know how stinking great the seats were going to be until we got there, this picture is not zoomed in at all folks!

Bro-in-Law Kendall got up close and personal with Sooner

We saw Toby Keith across the court at the game

And Sherri Coale was there too

I finished out my 6th day of basketball at yet another OC game. Or two. They both won their games, but the men's game was certainly a close one!
The Lady Eagles in action

Baby M (my foster sister) and cousin Nora playing during the OC Men's game

Jason Taylor at the free throw line during the last minute or so of the game, and what an intense minute it was!
And there we have it folks, lots of basketball and lots of good times with friends and family.

December 6, 2009


I just saw the weather forecast for the next week and can I just say that I am so not ready for this weather yet? Fall is my favorite time of year weather-wise and I don't feel like I got enough of it this year. what happened to it being in the mid to upper 60s? This forecast makes me even more excited than I already was for my upcoming trip to Florida. I am heading down to Orlando on Christmas day with my parents and little sister, that is just what I need since I'm sitting in my apartment freezing right now. I've been down to Orlando once before during December and the weather is PERFECT at that time. Here's an example of what you can wear in Florida during December

Yep, tank tops, skirts and flip flops all around! And yes, that is a ginormous Christmas tree we are sitting by, we look miniature.

So while I'm here in Oklahoma wearing this

I will be counting down the days until I can wear this instead

November 15, 2009

Thanksgiving Goodies

This holiday season I am going to be selling Thanksgiving and Christmas desserts. Here's the list of things for thanksgiving and information on ordering.

Bailey Bakes Holiday Treats

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting $15/dozen
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting $15/dozen
Pecan Pie $14
Pumpkin Pie $12
Buttermilk Pie $10
Apple Pie $12
Pumpkin Scones $8/doz
Pecan Pie Mini Muffins $10/2 dozen

Buy 2 items, get the third item of equal or lesser value half off!

Please send orders to All orders should be placed no later than Friday November 20.
Deliveries can be made Wednesday November 25, or before if needed.
*Additional items will be available to order for Christmas*

November 11, 2009

White Chicken Enchiladas

This is one of my favorite recipes I've gotten from my grandma, so so good! It's just a basic enchilada recipe, but so easy, you should give it a try. Here's what you need:

1 large chicken, cooked and boned
1 pkg 10" flour tortillas
8-10oz Monterrey Jack cheese
2-3 cans cream of chicken soup
1 Cup chicken broth
1/2 Cup chopped onion, sauteed
1 Cup sour cream
4oz can green chilies

Make a sauce of soup, broth and sauteed onion. Lay tortillas flat and put chicken, sauce and cheese on tortilla and roll up. Put a small amount of sauce in the bottom of a greased 9x13 inch pan. Put enchiladas in pan, seam side down and pour rest of the sauce over the top. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

*Tip of the day: For an easy Sunday lunch or weeknight dinner you can layer the ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for a few hours. Try this out with any enchilada recipe!

November 9, 2009

Nutella Swirl Pound Cake

This past weekend was my Vienna group's 5 year reunion and I was trying to think of something Vienna-ish to make for the party and here's what I found. I remembered my mom emailing me this recipe from Food and Wine a while back. Here's what you need:

1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

4 large eggs, at room temperature

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 Cups sugar

1 13oz jar Nutella

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan, tapping out an excess flour. In a glass measuring cup, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer at medium-low speed, gradually beat in the egg mixture until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating at low speed between additions until just incorporated. Continue to beat for 30 seconds longer. Spread one-third of the batter in the prepared pan, then spread half of the Nutella on top. Repeat with another third of the batter and the remaining Nutella. Top with the remaining batter. Lightly swirl the Nutella into the batter with a butter knife. Do not over mix. Bake the cake for about an hour and 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, turn it right side up and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut the cake into slices and serve.

*Instead of baking my cake in one 9 by 5 loaf pan I made in 3 small loaf pans. Because the pans were smaller I only cooked them for an hour.

The pound cake was a big hit at the party, I hope you enjoy it!

November 2, 2009

Brazilian Black Beans and Rice

That's right folks, I still do cook sometimes...I have had red beans and rice before, and I really like them, so when I saw this recipe I knew I needed to try it out. Black beans are by far my favorite bean, and this recipe did not disappoint. Here's what you need:

White Minute Rice, as desired
2 cans black beans
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 package smoked sausage (I used the turkey kind)

Using the instructions on the box, measure how much rice you want for your family. In a saute pan melt 2 Tbsp butter (more if you are doing a lot of rice). Add garlic and dry white rice. Saute until rice is golden brown, this gives the rice a nutty flavor. Cook the rice according to the package directions.

Cut up the sausage into whatever size pieces you like. In another sauce pan, brown and render the fat from the sausage you are using. You may want to add butter or oil to the pan to help it cook up faster and stick less. When the sausage is nice and browned, developing a sweet flavor, and there is a good amount of fat in the pan add the black beans (don't drain them).

Heat the meat/bean mixture thoroughly. Add salt to taste and add more garlic if you'd like.

Serve beans over rice with a nice piece of crusty bread!

October 30, 2009

PW+MM=A great night

These shoes might not have been the best idea for standing in line, but how was I to know that I was going to be in said line for 4 1/2 hours.

I really thing The Pioneer Woman would have liked them, if I had remembered to put them back on before meeting her. Yeah they only made it through about hour 2 of the wait before I had to take them off and walk barefoot through 50 Penn Place and Full Circle Books. But don't worry, I wasn't ashamed, not one bit!
So yeah, my mom and I waited for over four and a half hours last night to meet the one and only Pioneer Woman! Was it worth it? I think this picture speaks for itself.
Oh, what was that, you wanted a closer look at that fine derriere? Well okay, I guess I can do that

Oh and don't worry, we also got to meet the punks and get their autographs too! They were all so cute and sweet. When my mom asked the youngest boy if he would sign his book he said no, so his brother signed his name for him, so cute.

They also got put to work bringing in more books for their mom to sign.
And at the end of those 4 and a half hours we finally got to the prize! The one and only Pioneer Woman! She was so sweet, especially since her hand had to be close to falling off after signing over 500 books! I can't even imagine...
All in all, it was a great night. We were going to go to the 'after party' dinner thing at Rococo which was supposed to start at 8:30. But since we didn't even leave the bookstore until 10:40 and there was at least another hours worth of books for her to sign, we decided to skip out on that.

October 25, 2009

Let me know what you think...

I am thinking about baking homemade pies to sell for the holiday season. Let me know if you would be interested in buying one (or more!) and also what kinds you would like to see...

October 19, 2009

I do, times 2

This weekend was a pretty busy one for me. Not only was it OU/tx weekend, but I also had two great friends weddings to go to.
Friday night one of my best friends from college, Jessica Nelson, got married at the Tulsa Garden Center. It was a beautiful wedding and a great reception with a whole dessert room.

The wedding party, it was a little on the chilly side!

The second wedding of the weekend was in Fort Worth on Sunday afternoon. It was the wedding of John Whitaker and Rachel Burgess, some great friends. A group of us road tripped down on Sunday afternoon for the festivities, and of course road trips are always fun!
I got to see Rev. Matt Johns perform his second wedding ceremony

The beautiful bride walking down the aisle

My great friends, with the groom

October 7, 2009

Feels Like Home To Me....

A few weeks ago I decided it was time for me to take a trip back "home". I have lived in several places in my 25 years. I was born in Tulsa and lived in Broken Arrow until I was almost 13, then we moved to Plano, TX. We only lived there about a year and moved just up the highway to Allen. Almost two years into college at OC my parents moved up to Edmond to ruin my life, or so I thought at the time (love you guys!). Although at the time I wasn't crazy about the idea, it's been more than wonderful living in the same town as them, I don't know what I'd do without them! Anyway, enough of the mushy stuff...I haven't made enough trips back "home" to Allen as I'd like since my parents don't live there anymore. Pretty much all my friends from high school, well actually I think pretty much everyone from my high school, still live in or around Allen. I had a weekend open and decided to go back down there to visit, and shop of course. My mom decided to tag along so we could do a little shopping together. We headed down on Friday afternoon and hit up IKEA. I got some great kitchen stuff for cheap! I love that place. We had dinner at Buca di Beppo, if you haven't been there, you need to try it. It is a family style Italian restaurant, so you have to order your food for the whole table. We had a yummy salad with Granny Smith apples, dried cranberries, spiced walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese. Then we had the most amazing pasta dish, it had chicken and broccoli in a pesto cream sauce. I am not kidding when I say it was the best pasta I have ever had!
That night we went to watch my Alma Mater (and reigning state champs) the Allen Eagles take on Plano West. We got there in the middle of the 1st quarter and the score was already 14-o Allen. We got to watch at least 2 more TDs in the 1st quarter and the amazing Allen Eagle Escadrille during halftime. Here is a picture of the band performing, they are one of the biggest marching bands in the world!

We went to the Allen Outlet Mall on Saturday and got some goodies there too. I also got to try on my first pair of Manolo Blahniks...they weren't even that cute, but I just had to have them on my feet.

The original price on these babies was over $800, but don't worry the outlet price was only $280. Maybe someday when I win the lottery I will buy myself a pair and pretend I'm Carrie Bradshaw. Until then, I will just have to stare longingly at these pictures...
Saturday night before we headed home I got to meet up with my best friends from high school for dinner. It was so great to see them and catch up, it seems like the only time we've been able to do that in the last 7 years is at weddings and showers. I'm hoping it can become a more regular event...I sure do miss them!

October 1, 2009


I have always had trouble with pancakes. I either flip them too soon and splatter batter all over the place or I wait too long until they are rubbery, ick. I finally found the perfect pancake batter that has, so far, worked every time. Here is what you need:

1 1/2 Cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/4-1/2 tsp salt (or more depending on your taste)
1 egg
4 Tbsp butter, melted or shortening
1 1/4 Cups milk

Sift the dry ingredients together twice into a large bowl. Beat the egg with the milk and butter, beating to combine. Using a wooden spoon, fold the egg mixture into the dry ingredients to make a smooth batter without over mixing. Heat a heavy griddle or frying pan greased with butter. The pan is hot enough when a drop of water breaks into several smaller drops which 'dance' around the pan. Pour a small amount of batter (approx. 1/4 cup) into a pan and tip to spread out or spread with spoon. When bubbles appear on surface and begin to break, turn over and cook the other side. If you like chocolate chips or blueberries add those right before flipping the pancakes over. Serve with lemon juice and powdered sugar or your favorite syrup. Enjoy!

September 30, 2009

The Great State Fair

A lot has gone on since I last posted, I'll just give a brief overview.
Went to Mexico with friends - fabulous
Got a nasty virus from family when I got home from Mexico - not so fabulous
Went to Disneyworld with family 6 days after I got home from Mexico - fabulous again
OU Football season started - always fabulous, even though they lost the season opener
Oh and my mom started a blog somewhere in there, visit her here.

So back to the here and now. The state fair of Oklahoma was in town for about a week and of course I paid a visit. Well make that 3 visits. I can't help myself, there's just something about the fair that I LOVE. Maybe its all the random fried foods, or it could be the freak shows that come out of the woodwork to visit the fair, but I just love it. I went with friends on the first Friday night and I ate a corndog (always the first thing I eat), a jug of rootbeer and fried garlic mashed potatoes. That's right, I said fried mashed potatoes, and they were delish despite the fact that they used instant mashed potatoes. I went back to the fair on Saturday night with my sister and bro-in-law to see Chuck Wicks in concert. That night I just had some ribbon potatoes and a cherry limeade, and they were great. So I decided to take a few days off from the fair, actually I wasn't going to go again at all, all that stuff really adds up. But my good friend Matt Johns was performing with the Rodeo Opry on Thursday night and he had some extra free tickets, so obviously I said yes! I decided not to eat at the fair that night because I couldn't make myself spend any more money there!

I don't have any pictures of the food (what was I thinking) but here are a few pics from the fair.
Chuck Wicks singing to me...

Matt singing with the Rodeo Opry

September 18, 2009

I did it

I've become one of "those" bloggers again, the ones who never update so no one ever even looks at my blog anymore. Well I'm going to try to get back into the blogging game, but I need some encouragement. If you read my blog please comment...I dont want to blog for no one!
Oh and sometimes I just need the validation...

August 27, 2009

Awesome Photographer

You need to check out Lesley's picture blog! She took my sister's wedding pics and she was so great to work with!

Plus she's having a that doesn't hurt either!

July 27, 2009

A Little Bit of This...

A little bit of that! The wedding reception went GREAT on Saturday, thanks to all who came out and made it such a special day for Avery and Kendall.

I am heading to bed early tonight due to the fact that I have to wake up at 3am and be out the door and heading to the airport by 3:30 for my 6:01am connecting flight to Chicago, then I'm off to CANCUN for 5 glorious days. Can I just tell you that all-inclusive resorts were one of the best ideas anyone has ever had? I'm so excited to just go chill on the beach/by the pool for 5 whole days and not worry about a thing!

So I'm signing off until next week...hopefully I'll come back with a tan and some great stories to tell!

In other unrelated news, my mom started a blog last week. I don't think she's made her first post yet, but be looking for it here. Welcome to the blogosphere mom!

July 22, 2009

I can't sleep

So why not blog? Monday I took my first trip to Midwest Baking Supply...a bakers mecca if you will. I blame Bakerella for my desire to visit this wonderful world of baking goodies. But there was a reason for the visit; get chocolate for the chocolate covered strawberries we're making for my sister and bro-in-law's wedding reception on Saturday (side note: come on out to the Summit at MRCC Saturday from 2-5 to enjoy some wedding cake and choc. covered strawberries and of course celebrate the marriage of Avery and Kendall). Let's just say its a good thing I had a mission when I went in there, otherwise I could have spent the credit limit on my MasterCard. I glanced at the cake baking supplies; every shape and size of pan you could imagine, sprinkles in every color, all kinds of gel food coloring for icing and edible ink pens. You name it, they had it, it just may take you a while to find it! Someday, hopefully sooner than later, I'll go back and spend some more time and more money buying supplies to make cakes, cupcakes, pies and all kinds of other sweets to my hearts content! Maybe I have an addiction...I just like to bake, ok?

In the next few weeks I'll be earning my frequent flier miles. Next Tuesday I'm off to the Mayan Riviera for a few days of relaxation on the beach. Six days after I get back from Mexico I'm off to The Happiest Place on Earth to celebrate my dad's 50th birthday! Maybe I'll get some good blog material to share with you all!

July 11, 2009

What a week!

This past week has been quite an eventful and busy one for me. It all started early Monday morning, I woke up and went to Sam's with my sister, Avery, to pick out the flowers for her wedding! Tuesday is a day I won't forget for a long time...While I was getting a mani/pedi with my mom and sisters in preparation for the wedding we also got to witness the hours long Michael Jackson memorial service. And what a memorial it was! I didn't actually watch the whole thing because I had a (long overdue) hair appointment that afternoon. I can proudly say that my hair is now all one shade of least for now...which is a nice change. Tuesday night we (my family: Parents and sisters and I) went out to dinner with my sister's fiance's family (him, his parents and sisters) and Matt Johns tagged along as well (since he was set to perform the wedding ceremony).
Wednesday was wedding day! The date was 07-08-09, what an easy day to remember! We started out the day with a nice lunch for all the girls at Inspirations Tea Room.

Then we were off to hair appointments

After that we headed down to the Skirvin hotel to finish getting ready and get Avery into her dress. The wedding was at the State Capitol building in the 2nd floor rotunda. Apparently the air conditioners had been broken in the building for 2 days so it was extra hot. We were expecting the normal heat from no air conditioning in the rotunda, but I'm thinking that the outage didn't help matters. The ceremony was short and sweet, then Avery and Kendall headed to NYC and Boston for their honeymoon. I can't believe my little sister is married! Congrats to the happy couple...

July 2, 2009

The 4th of July is by far my absolute favorite holiday. I love everything about it, the fireworks, the lazy summer day, everything in red, white and blue; I mean, what's not to love about it. Growing up I always spent my 4th of July at lake Eufaula with the whole family, usually both my parents families actually. Both sets of grandparents had houses at the lake, right around the corner from each other. Its holiday weekends like these that I miss that the most. But the one thing that I love about the 4th of July just as much as the rest is the food! The hot dogs with all the fixins, a burger bar, barbecue ribs, brisket, pulled pork. And then there are the sides, oh the sides, fried okra, pasta salad, grilled corn on the cob. There is always the best spread at each and every party you attend. I have decided that this year I'm going to attempt this.

So, what is your favorite thing to eat on the 4th of July? I need some ideas for other things to make.

June 29, 2009

This is what I'm working with...

The kitchen in my apartment is TINY to put it lightly. I haven't really ventured into the wonderful world of cooking in it yet. I have made a few easy lunches, spaghetti with tomato sauce and quesadillas. I also made my favorite dessert (I might post it one day, but for now its my little secret) the other day for my sister's bachelorette party. To be honest, I'm a little bit uneasy about attempting something real in this tiny little kitchen. I did buy a tall table that fits right up next to the sink to give me some extra counter space, which should help me out a lot. For now, I just have to talk myself into taking on the tiny kitchen!

Here it is

Did I mention the low ceilings?

This is my "pantry"

June 17, 2009

Grilled Veggie Pizza

Wow, it has been forever and a day since I posted. I moved out of my parents house and into an apartment on my own, so I don't have anyone to cook for anymore! I will have to make a conscious effort to invite people over to I can try out new recipes! I went over to my parents house last night for my favorite summertime meal, grilled veggie pizza. Its so easy and lite, perfect for a sunny summer evening. Go out to your local farmers market to get the freshest ingredients for this pizza! Here's what you'll need:

Your favorite summertime veggies, some of my favorites are
yellow squash
onion, white or red
bell peppers, red or yellow
whatever else you can think of!
Mozzarella cheese, fresh melts best
Parmesan cheese
roasted garlic
olive oil

Here's the recipe for the best homemade pizza crust
To roast the garlic you will need to slice the top off the whole head of garlic so that all the cloves are exposed. Place in a pie pan, or other small dish, drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes. It will create a delicious smell throughout your house! You can roast as many heads of garlic at a time as you want, as long as they fit into your pan. You can use the garlic for lots of things like this pizza, or in mashed potatoes (yum-o) whatever floats your boat.

Now onto the veggies, its best to cut them into large-ish pieces so they don't fall through the grill, unless you have one of those fancy schmancy veggie trays for your grill. Slice the zucchini and squash long ways, the onions into fairly large slices and you might want to make an aluminum foil basket for the smaller things like mushrooms and bell peppers. toss all the veggies in olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper and throw them onto the grill. Cook to desired doneness, about 8-10 minutes usually. Remove the veggies from the grill, but keep it on.

With the dough we usually cut the dough into two pieces to make it easier to handle and make 2 pizzas. Once the dough is rolled out, take it to the grill and place it carefully on the grill, shut the cover and let cook for 5 minutes. While the dough is cooking on the grill squeeze 5 or 6 of the garlic cloves out of the head of garlic and smoosh them up in a bowl to make a paste. After 5 minutes on the grill flip the pizza dough over and spread the garlic paste evenly over both pizzas. Drizzle them with olive oil and place the Mozzarella cheese on the crust. Toss the veggies onto the pizza and arrange them how you want then sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Cover the grill for just about a minute, you don't want the crust to burn! Taking the pizzas off the grill can be a 2 person job, using big spatulas remove them to a large serving platter or cookie sheet. Slice and enjoy!

April 30, 2009

It's been a while...

But I'm back with a new recipe for you! It's another pasta one, they're so easy and cheap, so give it a try! Here's what you need

16oz pasta (ziti, penne, any tube pasta will do)
28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Cook the pasta as directed on the package, drain and drizzle a little EVOO on it, just to keep it from sticking. While pasta is cooking brown the ground beef, drain and add crushed tomatoes. Add about 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper, then add 1 tsp Italian seasoning. Stir the sauce and let simmer for 20 minutes. Combine cooked pasta, sauce and 1 1/2 cups cheese and pour into greased baking dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining cheese and cook at 375 for 40 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling.
This recipe would also be great if you used half sausage and half ground beef to add some extra flavor. Enjoy!

March 27, 2009

Dinner for a cold day...Stew

Since we're expecting snow tonight (ridiculous, I know!) I just put stew in the crockpot so we can stay warm tonight. Its so easy and so delish, you have to try it! Here's what you need:

Mix in a crockpot or 5-6 quart dutch oven
1 (16oz) can crushed tomatoes
2/3 Cup dry red wine or water
1/2 Cup beef broth
1/4 Cup quick cooking tapioca
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp salt
2 small bay leaves

Stir in:
3 lbs cubed stew meat

1 lb carrots, scrubbed and cut into bite sized pieces
3 medium size onions, peeled an quartered
3-4 medium sized potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

Crockpot instructions:
Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or on high 2-3 hours, or until meat is tender and sauce thickened.

Dutch Oven instructions:
Cover and bake about 3 hours in 350 degree oven, stirring twice, until meat is tender and sauce thickened.

You can add 1/2 bag frozen corn 1-2 hours before serving. Be sure to discard the bay leaves before serving. Enjoy!

March 12, 2009

Black Bean Dip

This recipe is so easy and delicious, way better than the stuff you get in a can! Here's what you need:

1 can black beans, undrained
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 small white onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp of the already minced stuff)
1 4oz can chopped mild green chiles, drained

Drain beans, reserving 2 Tbsp liquid. Combine drained beans, reserve liquid and spices in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Sautee onion and garlic in a nonstick skillet until onion is soft and lightly browned. Add chiles and cook about 3 minutes, then add in the bean mixture and mix well.
This dip can be served warm or cold, its great either way. Enjoy!

March 9, 2009

Aunt Rose's Beef Enchiladas

This is my great aunt Rose's recipe for beef enchiladas, they are so yummy and easy to make! Here's what you need:

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 sm can tomato sauce
12 corn tortillas (I always seem to need more)
2 Cups grated cheese (Mexican blend is best)

Brown meat and onions, drain, cool. Mix enchilada sauce and tomato sauce. Add 1 1/2 Cups cheese and 1/4 Cup sauce. Toss lightly. Dip each tortilla in hot oil til soft, stack on paper towels, let cool slightly. Fill tortilla with 2 Tbsp meat mixture. Roll up, put in greased casserole dish, repeat until all filling is gone. Pour remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes.
You can make these ahead of time and freeze them if you like, just leave the sauce and cheese off the top, add them after they are thawed.

March 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

This 4 layer dessert is so yummy and I made it for my mom's birthday celebration tonight. Here's what you need:

1 Cup flour
1/4 Cup butter, melted
2 oz chopped pecans
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 Cup confectioners sugar
2 80z pkgs cool whip
2 small pkgs chocolate pudding mix
cold milk
chocolate candy bar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, butter and pecans in a small bowl and press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Place in the oven for 15 minutes and remove, allow to cool completely. Combine cream cheese, confectioners sugar and 1 pkg of cool whip with a mixer until no longer lumpy. Spread over the crust. Mix pudding according to package directions and spread over cream cheese layer once thickened. Spread remaining package of cool whip over the top. Using a vegetable peeler, peel chocolate shavings over the top. Refrigerate over night and enjoy!

February 23, 2009

Italian Style Pork Chops

This is a crock-pot meal that takes a little more effort that just throwing everything in and turning it on, but it is definitely worth it. Here's what you'll need:

6 lean pork chops, 1 inch thick
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Cup flour
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
8oz sliced mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
26oz can/jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 Cup dry red wine or dry sherry
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 Cups Mozzarella cheese

I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but a lot of those are spices, don't be intimidated!
Wash pork chops and pat dry with paper towels. Trim any excess fat from chops. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Mix flour, salt, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese in a shallow dish. Coat the pork chops with the flour mixture and lightly brown on both sides in the heated oil (the pork chops should not be completely cooked); drain the chops on paper towels. Place the mushrooms, onions and garlic in the bottom of the crock pot; add the chops to the top of the veggies. In a large mixing bowl combine spaghetti sauce, wine or sherry, lemon juice and spices (minus the bay leaves). Pour over the pork chops, add the bay leaves to the top. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Thirty minutes before the cooking time is up remove the bay leaves and add the Mozzarella cheese. Serve with your favorite pasta and bread to soak up the yummy sauce!

February 13, 2009

A Gourmet Dinner at home

In honor of tomorrow being Valentines day I thought I would share some quick and fairly easy recipes for a gourmet dinner at home. I'll start out with Roasted Asparagus, then move on to Potatoes Gratin and finish if off with Ribs. Here's what you'll need:

1 lb. asparagus, depending on how much you'll eat
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take on piece of the asparagus and hold it on both ends then bend it until it breaks. Use that piece of asparagus as a guide to cut the rest of the ends off. Place the asparagus stalks on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with EVOO. Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Stick in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.

For the Potatoes Gratin here's what you'll need:

3-4 medium potatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
8oz Cheddar cheese, give or take
black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8x8 (or whatever you have) casserole dish and set aside. Using a mandolin, slice the potatoes and cheese very thin. Begin by layering the potatoes in the bottom of the dish, 2-3 potatoes deep, salt and pepper the potatoes then place a layer of cheese. Repeat layering until you've used all the ingredients. Mix cream of mushroom soup and milk and pour over the top of the dish. Place in oven and cook for 90 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Here's a rub recipe for the ribs:

1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup paprika
1/3 Cup garlic salt
2 Tbsp onion salt
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp cumin

Mix all ingredients well and store in an airtight container.
This rub can be used on all kinds of meats. I have used it on ribs and brisket, I think it would also be great on chicken. Just massage the rub into whatever meat you are using and cook as usual.
Ribs need to be grilled about an hour, turning every 10 minutes, on low. Baby back pork ribs are my personal favorite.

January 17, 2009

French Onion Soup - Crockpot Style

This recipe is so so so easy. I threw the ingredients in the crockpot during my lunch break on Thursday and came home to find yummy French onion soup ready and waiting. Here's what you need:

4 cups beef broth
3-4 medium onions, sliced
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 slices of cheese, Parmesan, Swiss, whatever floats your boat

Add first 4 ingredients to the crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours. I served the soup in bread bowls (you can get them at Wal-Mart) and placed the cheese in the bowl before pouring in the soup. This doesn't taste just like what you would get at Jason's Deli or Panera, but it is still good. Give it a try!

January 14, 2009

Easy Cheesy Mexican Casserole

Last night for dinner we had hamburger meat set out, but weren't sure what to do with it so we pulled out some cookbooks and searched for something tasty. I found a recipe and decided to tweak it a little bit and this is what I came up with. Here's what you need

1 lb hamburger meat, cooked and drained
14 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
10oz can Rotel
16oz can refried beans
10 3/4oz can cream of chicken soup
10 3/4oz can cream of mushroom soup
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 lb shredded cheese, you can use less if you like

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch casserole dish. In a large bowl mix soups, onion and Rotel. Once hamburger meat is cooked and drained mix with refried beans. Place half the meat/bean mixture in the bottom of the pan, spreading out evenly. Then place half the quartered tortillas on top, making sure to cover entire pan. Pour half of soup mixture into pan and spread evenly, top with half the shredded cheese. Repeat layers ending with cheese. Bake, uncovered for 30-45 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like the onions to be. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream and salsa.

January 2, 2009

Cashew Chicken Stir Fry

Tonight I made Cashew Chicken Stir Fry and it tasted just like take out! So here's the super simple recipe, give it a try! Here's what you need:

2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/4 Cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
3 Tbsp oil, divided
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
2-3 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
4 green onions, sliced
1 (8oz) can water chestnuts, drained
3/4 Cup salted cashews

Start by slicing all your veggies and chicken, I sliced the zucchini into about 1/2 inch slices, then quartered them to make a nice bite sized piece. Combine cornstarch, brown sugar, chicken broth and soy sauce in a small bowl and stir until thoroughly combined, set aside. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet or wok and stir fry chicken until no longer pink in the center, I added a little garlic salt to the chicken while it was cooking for more flavor. Remove and keep warm. Remove any remaining liquid from the pan and add 1 Tbsp oil. Stir fry the mushrooms, zucchini and green onions for about 5 minutes, until the zucchini and mushrooms start to soften. Stir in the chicken, water chestnuts and cashews. Stir the broth mixture and add to the pan, bring to a boil and let cook for 1-2 minutes, or until thickened. Serve with rice.