Sweet Bacon Chili...

  • 1 lb lean ground beef 
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
  • 4-5 slices bacon, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1 can mild chili beans (15 oz)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes, *chopped (15 oz)
  • 2/3 C ketchup 
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  1. Cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. 
  2. Remove from pan and set aside to drain on a paper towel lined plate. 
  3. Drain bacon grease from pan leaving about 1 Tbsp. 
  4. Add onion and jalapeño and cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  5. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. 
  6. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain excess grease from pan. 
  7. Add all remaining ingredients including bacon. 
  8. Stir all together then let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
  9. Add more cayenne and salt to taste if needed. Just a pinch at a time.


Best Apple Crisp

Recipe taken from: Tastes Better From Scratch

  • For Crumb Topping:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, diced into small chunks
  • For the Apple filling:
  • 3-4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a medium size bowl combine the crumb topping ingredients with a fork or pastry blender until it resembles small crumbs. Refrigerate while you prepare the apple filling.
  3. For the Apple Filling: In a small bowl, combine melted butter and flour until well blended. Add lemon juice, milk and vanilla and stir well. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour butter mixture over apples and toss to coat. Pour apple mixture into an 8x8-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over the apples. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and top is set. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.


Baked Southwest Egg Rolls

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons diced jalapeno peppers (you can take the seeds out for less spice!)
  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • egg roll wrappers
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet, saute green onion and bell pepper in olive oil, just until soft (this will take 3-5 minutes).
  3. Add the corn, black beans, spinach and peppers and cook until heated through.
  4. Add the chicken, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.
  5. Stir until well blended and tender.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
  7. Fill egg rolls.
  8. Start with a corner facing you, and add about 1/4 cup of filling to the center of the wrapper.
  9. Fold the corner facing you over the filling, tuck in the sides, and finish rolling.
  10. Place the rolls on a greased baking sheet.
  11. When finished, spray the rolls with cooking spray.
  12. Bake for about 20 minutes until they are golden brown, flipping them halfway through.
  13. We served them with different dipping sauces - chipotle sauce, salsa, ranch, and sour cream.

Just like Cafe Rio Chicken...

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • ½ cup zesty italian dressing
  • ¾ tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1 oz package dry ranch dressing mix
  • ½ cup water

Place chicken in crock pot with a little chicken broth until it is tender and you can shred it..  
Then take chicken out and dump liquid out of crock pot.  Shred chicken and place back in crock pot.  In a separate bowl, combine above ingredients and whisk together.  Then pour over your shredded chicken in your crockpot.  Cook for about 2 more hours.  Enjoy in a tortilla or on a salad with your favorite toppings.  


Flat Enchiladas

Brown 6 TBS. shortening and 5 rounded TBS. flour
Add 3-4 coups water.  Bring to a boil.
Add 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce.  Bring to a boil again

1 tsp. salt
2 TBS. sugar
2 TBS. chili powder
2 TBS. vinegar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2-1 tsp. cumin

Layer friend corn tortillas (just slightly fry the tortillas to make them soft) with sauce and cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Top with a fried egg.


Buttermilk Banana Bread

  • This is my favorite banana bread.  It comes out white, not brown-flecked.  Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.   

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (I use about 3 average sized bananas)
  • 4 tablespoons buttermilk (here is a guide for making your own buttermilk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

  1. Grease and flour 1 large loaf pan (9 1/4 X 5 1/4-inch) or whatever combination of pans you'd like (several commenters have said this recipe works great made into muffins or smaller loaf pans).
  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, bananas, buttermilk and vanilla until the batter is well mixed. Add in the flour, baking powder, salt and soda. Mix until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

NOTE:  I made this into muffins and then dipped them in melted butter and then cinnamon and sugar while they were still hot.  YUMMY!


Meyer Lemon Curd

3 to 4 medium Meyer Lemons (about 1 lb.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Finely grate enough zest from lemons to measure 2 teaspoons and squeeze enough juice to measure 1/2 cup. Whisk together zest, juice, sugar, and eggs in a metal bowl and add butter. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmer water and cook, whisking. Once mixture gets warm, add the butter in 4 additions, whisking well after each until incorporated. Continue whisking until thickened and smooth and an instant read thermometer registers 160 degrees F. This can take anywhere from 6 to 15 minutes (depending on how well your bowl is conducting heat). Force curd through a fine sieve set into another bowl. Serve warm or cover surface of curd with plastic wrap and cool completely.

*Of course you can make this recipe with regular lemons as well. In that case increase the sugar to 3/4 cup. This curd will keep well covered in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

Lemon Berry Tart

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed but still cold
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/3 cup lemon curd (recipe here or buy it in the store)
1 pint raspberries
1/4 cup good seedless raspberry jam, warmed
Powdered sugar for dusting

For the tart: Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat. Unfold the thawed out puff pastry on a lightly flour dusted area and gently roll into a 10x11 inch rectangle. Carefully transfer to your baking sheet.

Brush edges with a little bit of water and fold over all 4 sides to create a lip. Using a fork, poke holes all over the center of your tart. Gently brush the entire tart with an egg wash and sprinkle about 2 tsp. of sugar over the center. Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully with the back of a spoon press the center back down if it has puffed. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the filling: In a bowl combine softened cream cheese and powdered sugar. Mix with a hand-mixer or by hand until smooth and the sugar is well incorporated. Add the heavy cream and mix for about 1 minute. Fold in the lemon curd. 

To assemble the tart: Carefully spread your lemon cheesecake mixture over the center of your cooled tart crust. Arrange berries decoratively over the curd and drizzle with the warmed jam. Dust the tart with powdered sugar.

Notes: This tart is best made and eaten on the same day. You can prepare the tart along with the cheesecake filling ahead of time. Refrigerate the filling and assemble the tart right before eating.


Lime Cilantro Pork Tacos

1 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into thin strips
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly grounded black pepper
2 tsp. olive oil (or veg oil)
1 ½ cups thinly sliced onions
½ cup green pepper, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
½ cup fat free, less sodium chicken broth
½ cup chopped plum tomato
3 TBS. chopped cilantro
2 ½ TBS. fresh lime juice
8 (6 inch) flour tortillas

Heat in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.  Add oil to pan.  Add pork, and sauté 4 minutes or until browned.  Remove pork from pan, place in bowl.  Add onion and jalapeno to pan, sauté 5 minutes or until tender.  Add broth; reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Stir in tomato, and simmer 2 minutes.

Return pork and accumulated juices to pan.  Stir in cilantro and lime juice; cook 1 minute or until pork is done.

Heat tortillas according to package directions.  Spoon ½ cup pork mixture into each tortilla; roll up.

Browning the pork improves its color, and the browned bits enrich the sauce’s flavor, increase the amount of jalapeno pepper if you enjoy spicy foods.  Serve with lime wedges.
Total Time: 30 minutes
Quick Tip: To make the pork tenderloin easier to cut into thin strips, partially freeze it first.


Hot Corn Dip (or Casserole Main Dish)

1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
1/2 c. diced red pepper
1 T. minced jalapeño
2 T. sliced olives
1 c. mayonaise
1 c. grated Monterey or Pepperjack cheese
1/2 c. grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Mix corn, chilies, jalapeño, olives and  red pepper in a medium bowl.  Add  mayo and stir well.  Add cheeses and stir.  Pour/spoon mixture into small casserole dish and bake at 350 until hot.  Serve with corn chips.

You can add cooked, shredded chicken to this to make it a main dish.

Cranberry Fluff - a different version

2 c. raw cranberries, ground
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. diced apples
1/2-3/4 c. chopped pecans
3 c. heavy whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks and sweetened to taste with powdered sugar

Combine cranberries and sugar. Cover and chill overnight. Add apples and pecans.  Fold in whipping cream. Chill.


Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball

Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups slivered almonds or chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients, except nuts, thoroughly.  Form into one ball or two smaller balls.  Roll in nuts and refrigerate.  Serve with crackers.  This definitely tastes best when refrigerated overnight before serving.

Shelly's note:  Triple this recipe to make 9 one cup balls, although I didn't measure the nuts, just bought a huge bag and used what I needed.     


Christmas Crack

1 (12.8 oz.) box of rice chex cereal
1 (12 oz.) box golden graham cereal
1 (7 oz.) bag shredded coconut
1 (4 oz.) bag slivered almonds
1.5 cups butter (3 sticks)
2 cups sugar
2 cups corn syrup

Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl and mix well.  In large sauce pan, cook butter, sugar and corn syrup until it comes to a "soft ball" stage.  234 degrees on cookie thermometer.

Pour over cereal mixture and stir until well coated.
Pour onto 2 large cookie sheets to cool.  Stir occasionally to prevent clumping.  Store in air tight container.

Chocolate Mint Brownie Cookies


1 Devil's Food cake mix
2 eggs
3/4 cup shortening (I use 1/2 shortening and 1/2 coconut oil and it still turns out)
Combine and roll into balls, flatten slightly, bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

Frosting is the Wilton Class Buttercream Icing:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. clear vanilla extract

4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar 

2 TBS. milk

In large bowl, beat shortening and butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla.

Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.  Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.  When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.

Gradually add milk; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add meringue powder so the frosting stiffens up.

Take part of icing and add mint extract and green food coloring.  
Add cocoa powder and more water to the rest of the icing until it tastes good and is spreadable.

Frost the cooled cookies with the mint icing, let dry (meringue powder helps with this) then frost with chocolate icing.


Meatballs for Meatball Subs

From Shelly

1 lb. extra lean turkey
1 lb. mild italian sausage
2 eggs
1/4 cup  very small diced zucchini
1/4 cup very small diced carrots
1 cup panko
onion powder, garlic powder to taste

1 TBS. italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. salt
chicken broth (3/4 cup+ per pan)

Mix all ingredients except broth.  Form into small meatballs and brown on all sides in oil.  Add 3/4 cup broth.  Cover, reduce heat to low.  Cook about 7 minutes (5 for smaller meatballs.)