Thanksgiving Dressing

recipe from:  Epicurious


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter plus more for baking dish
1 pound good-quality day-old white bread, torn into 1" pieces (about 10 cups)
2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 1/2 cups 1/4" slices celery
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 250°F. Butter a 13x9x2" baking dish and set aside. Scatter bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until dried out, about 1 hour. Let cool; transfer to a very large bowl.

Meanwhile, melt 3/4 cup butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onions and celery. Stir often until just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add to bowl with bread; stir in herbs, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in 1 1/4 cups broth and toss gently. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk 1 1/4 cups broth and eggs in a small bowl. Add to bread mixture; fold gently until thoroughly combined. Transfer to prepared dish, cover with foil, and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of dressing registers 160°F, about 40 minutes. DO AHEAD: Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Uncover; let cool. Cover; chill.

Bake dressing, uncovered, until set and top is browned and crisp, 40-45 minutes longer (if chilled, add 10-15 minutes).

Makes 8-10 servings

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups cooked and mashed red sweet potatoes
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/3 cube of butter (softened)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together the above ingredients and place them in a greased baking dish.

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cube butter (softened)
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix together and sprinkle over the top of the casserole.  Bake 350 for 35-45 minutes.  I like to make 1 1/2 x the crumb topping.  I like a large nut to casserole ratio!

Notes:  I peeled and cut two very large sweet potatoes into about 2 inch chunks and cooked them in a mesh strainer/steam basket on high pressure in my Instant Pot for 5 mins, did a quick release, drained the water and used a hand mixer to mash them.  This ended up being almost exactly 3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes. 


Corn Chowder

1 Large Onion, chopped
1/2 lb. bacon, diced
3 cups chicken broth
1 17oz can creamed corn
1/4 tsp. marjoram
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 cups grated, raw potatoes
1/2 c. butter
1 can evaporated milk
parsley (optional)

In a heavy kettle, cook bacon on low heat, but do not brown.  Add the onion and celery and saute' until golden.  Add grated potatoes and chicken broth and simmer until potatoes are done, stirring constantly.  Add corn and butter.  Stir in the evaporated milk.  Heat until warm, but do NOT boil.  Add marjoram and parsley.


Crockpot Ham and Potato Soup...

8 cups potatoes (peeled and diced)
1/2 yellow onion chopped
2 large carrots (peeled and chopped)
1/2 cup chopped celery
16 ounce cubed ham
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 cups chicken broth
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
grated cheese to top each bowl of soup with

In crockpot add potatoes, onion, carrot, celery, ham, salt, pepper, and chicken broth.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.  15 minutes before eating, Take out 1/3 of the potatoes and put in a bowl.  Mash with a potato masher and then add back into the soup.  Add cream and sour cream and stir well.  In a separate cup put 3 tbsp cornstarch and a little bit of water to make a smooth mixture.  Add to crockpot.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Serve with a green salad and roll.


Egg Roll in A Bowl...

1 lb. ground turkey breast
1/4 onion
1 TBS. minced garlic
1 bag of coleslaw mix
3 TBS. soy sauce
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 TBS. sweet chili sauce
salt and pepper to taste


Brown ground turkey then drain and set aside
Brown onion and garlic for 3 minutes and then add coleslaw mix.  Cook on medium until coleslaw is tender.  Add back in ground turkey and add in the rest of the ingredients.  Cook for a few more minutes.  My kids like to drizzle more sweet chili sauce on their bowl of food before eating.  You can serve with rice and mixed vegetables.


Cafe Rio Pork...

3 lb. pork roast
1 small can diced green chilis
1 package Frontera Red Chile Enchilada Sauce with Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pouch
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup coke

Cook roast for 4 hours with just some water in the crockpot.  Drain the water out and cut off any fat off the roast.  Then combine green chilis, enchilada sauce packer, and brown sugar in a blender.  Blend ingredients together until smooth.  Add to crockpot.  Then add the coke.  Cook on low or high until roast is ready to shred.  Shred meat and then put back in the crockpot with liquid.  Serve over salad or make a taco.


Hawaiian Baked Beans....

2 (15 oz.) cans pork & beans, undrained
1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 (15 oz.) favorite white bean, drained & rinsed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese,
1 (15 oz.) can chunk pineapple, drained 
1/2 lb. bacon, crispy and crumbled
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Mix beans, cheese and pineapple in a 9x13" baking dish.

Cook bacon until crispy. Drain excess fat, leaving 1-2 tablespoons to cook the onions in. Once the bacon is cooled, crumble and set aside.

Add the onions to the skillet with the bacon grease. When the onions are soft, add the sugar, ketchup and Worcestershire. Heat until boiling. 

Add the hot onion mixture to the bean mixture. Mix in bacon crumbles. Cover with foil and bake covered for about 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the beans are set.

Instead of baking you can warm on a Treager Grill.

Crockpot Zuppa Toscana Soup...

1 lb. ground hot Italian sausage
1/2-1 onion
4-5 potatoes
2 tsp. minced garlic
32 oz. chicken stock
1/2 bunch kale (a couple handfuls)
1 cup whip cream
2 tbs. corn starch
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper flake (optional)

Brown sausage, onion, and garlic until sausage is cooked through.  Put into crockpot.  Peel potatoes and dice into bite size pieces.  Put into crockpot.  Add chicken stock and cook on low for 3 hours.  Check potatoes and if they are tender and ready to eat.  If potatoes are tender, put whip cream and 2 tbs. corn starch in a cup and stir really well.  Add to crockpot.  Add Kale and then cook on high for 30 minutes.
Serve when ready.


Simple Coleslaw

1/2 head green cabbage
1 carrot, finely chopped or grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar

Chop the cabbage and the carrot and place them in a bowl.  Make dressing by whisking together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and then pour it over the cabbage and carrot mix.  Stir and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.  I like to serve this with/on pulled pork sandwiches.  

Instant Pot Pulled Pork Sandwiches


2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3-4 pound boneless pork shoulder roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce, divided
1 cup chicken stock or water


Whisk together the smoked paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, black pepper, mustard and salt in a large ziplock until evenly combined.  Add the pork, then gently toss with the spice blend until it is evenly coated.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

When you’re ready to cook the pork, press “Sauté” on the Instant Pot.  Add the oil.  Then once it is hot (it will be shimmering), add a single layer of the pork pieces.  Brown the pork on all sides, then transfer the pork to a clean plate and set aside.  Repeat with the remaining pieces of pork.  (This may take you 2 or 3 batches.)  You can also brown the pork in a pan on the stove, which is what I prefer.  I feel like it takes longer in the Instant Pot and I don't mind washing an extra pan.

Once all of the pork has been browned, turn the Instant Pot off.  Then add the browned pork, chicken stock, and 1 cup of the BBQ sauce to the Instant Pot, and give the mixture a quick toss to combine everything.  Twist on the lid, turn the vent to “Sealing”, then set the pressure cooker to “Manual” for 60 minutes.  Once the time is up, let the vent naturally release.  (Don’t do the quick release option.)

Carefully open the lid.  Transfer the pork to a separate clean plate with a slotted spoon, leaving the juices behind.  Press the “Sauté” button once more, and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes or until it has thickened and reduced by more than half.  Meanwhile, shred the pork with two forks.  (if the roast doesn't shred easily, pop it back into the IP for another 10 minutes, but I haven't had to worry about that with this recipe.)

Once the sauce has reduced a bit, skim some of the fat off of the top with a spoon or use a fat separator to separate and discard it.  Then add the shredded pork back into the sauce, and give everything a good toss so that it can soak up those tasty juices.

Serve on toasted buns topped with an extra spoonful or two of the remaining BBQ sauce.

Cheesy Sausage and Croissant Breakfast Casserole

Cheesy Sausage and Croissant Casserole
adapted from Southern Living
serves 8 to 10

1 lb hot sausage (I used Jimmy Dean)
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 (10 to 13-oz) package mini croissants, chopped
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese

Cook sausage in skillet over medium-high heat until done. Remove from skillet and drain fat.

Toss together cooked sausage, Parmesan cheese, onion powder and chopped croissants. Pour into a lightly greased 9x13-inch pan.

Whisk together milk, heavy cream and eggs. Pour over sausage mixture. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover casserole and top with shredded Gruyere cheese. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Homemade Hot Fudge

This is great to serve on top of Texas sheet cake. Don't ice the cake if you are going to serve with hot fudge.

1 pkg. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup margarine
2 cups powered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 can evaporated milk
Place chocolate chips & butter in a glass measure. Microwave 1 1/2-2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir in remaining ingredients beat with mixer until smoothing microwave for 5 minutes or until bubbly.


Blackened Cajun Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa


  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined, remove tails if wanted
  • 1 Tablespoon cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Avocado salsa:
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (11 ounce) can yellow corn, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • juice of one lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crumbled feta for topping, optional
  • 4-6 flour tortillas for serving

  1. In a medium sized bowl add the shrimp and cajun seasoning. Toss until coated. In a medium sized skillet over medium high heat add olive oil and shrimp. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until no longer pink.
  2. To make the avocado salsa: Add the tomatoes, corn, black beans, red onion, avocado, and cilantro to a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Assemble the tacos dividing the avocado salsa and topping with shrimp. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and serve immediately.

Turkey Lettuce Wraps...

1 lb. Ground Turkey
1/2 diced Red Pepper
Handful of Matchstick Carrots
Soy Sauce
Sweet Chili Sauce

Brown Turkey, Red Pepper, and Carrots.  When done drain any liquid in the pan.  Add soy sauce and sweet chili sauce to taste and let simmer on low for 10 minutes.  Spoon meat into romaine or green leaf lettuce, wrap and eat.

Zesty Lime Chicken Tacos...

1/2 bottle Kraft Zesty Lime Vinaigrette Dressing
16 oz. jar Salsa Verde
1 can diced Green Chilies
1/2 can diced Jalapeños (optional)
Juice from 2 limes
4-5 Chicken Breast

Combine in crockpot and cook for 4-8 hours or until shreddable.  Shred chicken and then place back into the juice/liquid in the crockpot.  Serve in flour or corn tortillas with cheese, beans, lettuce, and avocado.  We also like to top them with sour cream or cafe rio ranch.  This chicken is also so good in a salad with black beans, tomatoes, and dressing.