Quick Cinnamon Rolls

3 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup oil
6 TBS. yeast
1 TBS. salt
3 eggs
10 1/2 cups flour
2 sticks butter-melted
1-2 cups brown sugar
Cinnamon as needed

1.  Mix water, sugar, oil, and yeast. Let sit for 15 mins.
2.  Add salt, eggs and flour. Mix well. Roll and spread with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
3.  Cut and let rise for 10 mins. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes on a greased baking sheet. Glaze while warm (cream cheese frosting)

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Lemon Coconut Gooey Butter Bars

These are so very divine!

1 yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 cube butter, melted

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp coconut extract
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
2 c. powdered sugar
1 cube butter, melted

1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sweetened coconut flakes
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/3 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350 and spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, egg, and melted butter.  Press this mixture evenly into the bottom of the 9x13 pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese.  Add one egg at a time, mixing well between each addition.  Add the vanilla and coconut extract, lemon juice, powdered sugar, and melted butter.  Pour the filling over the crust.

Mix the topping ingredients until crumbly and sprinkle over the filling.  Bake 35-40 mins.  Do not over bake, you want the middle to still be jiggly when you take it out!  Cool completely and cut into squares.    

Lasagna Soup

Recipe adapted from Paul Dean

***Note: This soup is best served right after it’s prepared. The lasagna noodles will start to soak up the broth the longer it sits. If it gets thicker than you like, you can always add a bit more water or broth. If you have leftovers, store them in the fridge (of course!) and then add a bit of water to your container before you heat it up and serve. ***

1 pound ground sausage, or ground beef (I used sausage)
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (I used some mini red and yellow bell peppers)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t thyme
1 T brown sugar
4 C chicken broth
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced stewed tomatoes
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 t italian seasoning
1/2 t salt
7 lasagna noodles, broken up
1 C parmesan cheese, grated
1-2 C mozzarella cheese, grated

1. Into a large soup pot place 1 pound ground sausage, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped bell pepper, and 3 cloves minced garlic. Cook the mixture over medium high heat until the sausage is browned and the onions are translucent.
2. Add 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 2 cans stewed tomatoes, 2 cans tomato sauce, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 4 cups of chicken broth. Bring the soup to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat and let the old girl simmer for about 20 minutes.

3. Find yourself 7 lasagna noodles. Break them up into large chunks and add them to the soup pot. Let the noodles simmer in the pot until they are tender. Should take about 10 minutes.

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
5 jalapeno peppers diced, seeds removed (leave some seeds for extra heat)
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 + 1/4 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 (10 oz) can dice tomatoes with green chiles
1 + 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can cannelloni or navy beans, drained
1 (14 oz) can corn, drained
8 ounces cream cheese
1 pound bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled, divided

In a large saucepan (deep enough for soup) heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion, jalepeno, and garlic until tender.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then add to the saucepan adding another tablespoon of olive oil as well. Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Toss chicken and seasonings together and lightly brown chicken on all sides.
Stir in can of diced tomatoes, chicken broth, corn, and cannelloni beans and increase heat to bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes.
Stir in cream cheese and stir until completely melted. Stir in 1/2 of the crumbled bacon. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper as needed. **Add more chicken broth if too thick.

Serve and garnish with cheddar cheese and the rest of the crumbled bacon.

Green Chile Chicken Soup

1 c butter
1 c flour
8 c chicken broth
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp seasoned salt
½ tsp pepper
2 can green chilies
1 ½ c cubed cooked chicken
2 c sour cream
Diced cooked potatoes

Melt butter in pan; add flour. Cook over low heat 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add chicken broth. Blend until thick and smooth. Add seasonings and simmer a few minutes. Add green chilies and juices.  Add chicken and potatoes. Mix in sour cream. Heat thoroughly.

*I usually reduce the butter by almost half and then thicken at the end with potato flakes

Four Ingredient Porcupine Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1 (6.8 ounce) box Beef Rice A Roni
1 egg
2 1/4 C water

1. Grab 1 pound of ground beef and toss it into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
2. Pour 1 box of Beef Rice A Roni into the bowl. Be sure to only use the rice and pasta that are inside the box. Save the seasoning packet for later on.
3. Add an egg to the bowl and mix everything together with your pretty little hands. Just mix it all in now, no need to be shy. Make sure everything gets well combined.
4. Shape the mixture into 25 golf ball sized meatballs.
5. Heat up a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Carefully place the meatballs in the pan. Allow them to get browned along the top and bottom.
6. Pour 2 1/4 cups of water into a large liquid measuring cup. Add the seasoning packet from the Rice A Roni box to the water and stir it in to combine.
7. Pour the liquid over the top of the browned meatballs. Reduce the heat to heat to medium low and allow the liquid to come to a simmer. Cover the pan and let the meatballs simmer away for 30-40 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice and pasta in the meatballs are cooked through.
Serve and enjoy!

Firecracker Chicken

*Note: This dish packs a bit of a kick and depends mightily on what type of hot sauce you buy. Apparently (thought I haven’t tried it), if you buy the buffalo flavor it’s a bit more mild and less spicy. Also, I cut down on the sugar by 1/2 cup from the original recipe. If you really want to minimize the spiciness, you can consider adding that extra 1/2 cup back in (I just had trouble bringing myself to use 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a dinner recipe). Either way, the spicy/sweet combo is delicious!
*Serves 4-6


2-4 tablespoons canola oil
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs, beaten

1/3 cup hot sauce (like Frank’s brand for hot wings, for instance)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Place the cornstarch in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Put the chicken into the bag with the cornstarch and seal, tossing to coat the chicken. Whisk the eggs together in a shallow pie plate. Dip the cornstarch-coated chicken pieces in the egg and place them carefully in a single layer in the hot skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then flip each piece over to cook on the other side until nicely golden but not all the way cooked through. Place in a single layer in a 9X13-inch baking dish and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour over the chicken in the baking dish. Bake for one hour, turning the chicken once or twice while cooking to coat evenly with sauce. Serve over hot, steamed rice.

Creamy Sausage Casserole with Biscuits

1 (12-oz.) pkg. HORMEL® Little Sizzlers® Pork Sausage Links
8 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 (4.5-oz.) jar Green Giant® Sliced Mushrooms, drained
1 (2-oz.) jar HORMEL® Bacon Pieces
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 eggs
1 (5-oz.) can evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (12-oz.) can Pillsbury® Grands!® Jr. Golden Layers® refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1 Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish. Crumble sausage into large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until sausage is browned and thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Remove sausage from saucepan; drain. Set aside.
  • 2 In same large saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter. Add flour; stir with wire whisk until smooth. Cook over low heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk. Cook, stirring constantly until bubbly and thickened. Add cooked sausage, mushrooms, bacon pieces and pepper; mix well. Set aside.
  • 3 In large bowl, beat eggs, evaporated milk and salt with wire whisk until well blended. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add egg mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, until firm but still moist. 4. Pour 1/3 of sauce into greased baking dish. Top with half of egg mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining sauce.
  • 4 Separate dough into 10 biscuits. Cut each into quarters. Place biscuit pieces, points up, over sauce.
  • 5 Bake at 350°F. for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated and biscuits are golden brown.

Chicken-Stuffed Shells with Two Sauces

Fragrant fresh basil makes these stuffed shells special; prepared sauces save time.
Prep Time 20 Minutes
Total Time 1:05 Hr:Mins

18 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
3/4 cup lightly packed chopped fresh basil leaves
3 cups diced cooked chicken breast (about 1 lb)
1 cup small-curd cottage cheese
1 egg
2 cups tomato pasta sauce
1 container (10 oz) refrigerated Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta shells as directed on package.
  2. In medium bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the basil leaves, the chicken, cottage cheese and egg. Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon mixture into each cooked pasta shell.
  3. Pour pasta sauce into baking dish; spread to evenly coat bottom of dish. Place filled shells over sauce, filled sides up. Drizzle Alfredo sauce over shells. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover tightly with foil.
  4. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and shells are hot. Sprinkle with remaining basil.
Makes 6 servings


Crispy Peanut Butter Treats

Peanut Butter Balls:
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1lb. box of powdered sugar
2 cups crunchy peanut butter
3 cups rice crispies
Mix with hands (or I just put it in my Kitchen Aid Mixer) and mix until crumbly and well incorporated.  Pack into 1" balls.  Roll in powdered sugar and chill until ready to serve.  These are great to serve as a dipper for a chocolate fountain, or dip them in chocolate and serve them as a cookie.

No Knead Bread

Here's a video on You Tube in case you want to see how it's done. 


No-Knead Bread
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (I used 1 1/4...my first batch came out too soupy with 1 1/2)
3 cups all-purpose flour (I used bread flour), plus more for dusting. You may use white, whole wheat or a combination of the two.
1 1/2 tsp salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting (I just used extra flour)

Combine yeast, flour and salt, stirring until blended. Add water. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.
Preheat oven to 475 with the dutch oven in it for at least 20 minutes.  Add enough flour to form the dough into a loose ball then put into dutch oven.
Remove dutch oven and sprinkle a little flour or corn meal on the bottom and put the dough in the dutch oven with the lid.  
Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 5-10  minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack before slicing. 

Summer Squash Lemon Thyme Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large sweet onions, chopped
1 leek, chopped
6 garlic cloves chopped
6 yellow summer squash (about 3 lbs.), trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme
4 cups chicken stock (just enough to cover vegetables)
2-4 tbsp lemon juice (to taste)
1/2 c to 1 c cream
Parmesan cheese
1/2 c pine nuts, toasted in butter
Hot pepper sauce to taste-like Louisiana hot sauce

Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, leek and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until onions are soft.  Add the squash, potatoes, thyme and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low and let simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.  Puree the soup.  Add the lemon juice, cream, hot pepper sauce, parmesan cheese and pine nuts.  Salt and pepper to taste.  

Stuffed Pepper Soup

From cookingclassy.com


1 lb lean ground beef
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small yellow onion chopped (1 cup)
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper (a little over 1/2 of a medium)
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5) can beef broth
2 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 cup uncooked white rice
Mozzarella cheese, for serving (optional)


In a large pot heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, once hot add beef to pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally while breaking up beef, until browned. Drain beef and pour onto a plate lined with paper towels, set aside.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in pot then add onions, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and saute 3 minutes, then add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer. Pour in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth and add parsley, basil, oregano and cooked beef, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring just to a light boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.

While soup simmers, prepare rice according to directions listed on package, then once soup is done simmering stir in desired amount of cooked rice into soup*. Serve warm topped with optional mozzarella cheese (I tried it with and without it and liked both ways) and garnish with fresh parsley.

*For a thinner soup don't add all of the rice and for a thicker heartier soup add it all. Also, if you plan on having it for leftovers the next day then don't add the rice to the pot of soup, just add it to each individual bowl, then reserve the rice in a separate container in refrigerator to add to the soup the next day (otherwise it would turn into mush)


Cookie Jar Gingersnaps

2 cups flour
1 TBS. ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

Sift together first 5 ingredients.  Cream shortening and one cup of sugar gradually, until well blended.  Beat in egg and molasses; form into small balls and roll in remaining sugar.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until tops are rounded, cracked and lightly brown.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake...

Put in a bowl:
2 c flour
2 c sugar
¼ c cocoa

Bring to a boil and add to the first mixture:
1 c butter
1 c water

1 tsp soda
2 eggs
½ c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix well and put in a 10x15” greased pan.  Bake at 385* for 15-16 minutes.  Five minutes before the cake is done make the frosting;


½ c butter, melted
1 lb powdered sugar (about 3 cups)
¼ c cocoa
5 TBS buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla.  

Mix well and pour over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.