Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chewy Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies


Can you tell I have an abundance of oats on hand? I wanted to bake some chocolate cookies for a friend, but didn't want to make a trip in to the grocery store. So, searched online and found this recipe -
Hershey's Kitchens - Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Since this was a new recipe, I assembled all of my ingredients while my butter was softening. Ever done that? It makes you feel like a cook on the Food Network! I had some Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa on hand that needed to be used up, so this was a perfect recipe. I think you could add chocolate chips if you wanted, and I did not add any nuts to my version. I also didn't have quite enough Special Dark Cocoa, so I made up the difference with regular cocoa. Click the link above for the original recipe and here's how I tweaked it.
Chewy Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
3 cups old-fashioned oats
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl until creamy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Sift flour and cocoa together in a separate bowl to remove any lumps. Gradually add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in oats. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 11 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet 2-3 minutes. Then remove to a clean linen towel to cool completely. Be careful not to overcook the cookies as they will not look done when you pull them from the oven. This makes 4 dozen.

And the winner is...

And the winner is

Karin said...
The Crescent Bacon Cheese Tartlets is my choice of the three.

MMMMMM! Reubens! Love them. Had lunch with my mom last week and ordered a reuben. It was delicious.

Congratulations Karin! E-mail me at with your mailing address so I can have MyBlogSpark send you the Creative Creations gift pack from Pillsbury.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hash Brown Sausage Cups



By far the most popular recipe was the Crescent Bacon-Cheese Tartlets.  Though, I have to thank everyone that commented on my Reuben Rolls!  Thinking about how to tweak the Crescent Bacon-Cheese Tartlet recipe, I decided to go with sausage.  This is actually a mini version of a hash brown casserole.  I like the idea of using a little leftover sausage, peppers and potatoes to make a new breakfast treat.  Instead of making the mini-muffin cups, I made a larger version in a regular size muffin pan.  My version is meant more for breakfast rather than an appetizer.

After you look over the recipe, be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the Creative Creations Giveaway.  Thanks to Pillsbury for providing me with free crescent rolls to try out their recipe!  Now, we want to do the same for you.  Pillsbury is providing a Creative Creations gift pack through MyBlogSpark.  The gift includes 2 VIP coupons (valid in U.S. only) and some holiday serving platters.  If you left a comment on the last post, you’ll get an extra entry.  And, if you’re a follower of my blog, you’ll also get an extra entry there too!  Hurry though, all entries must be made by midnight, December 22, 2009. (This contest has ended - the winner was Karin!)

Hash Brown Sausage Cups

1 pkg Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Rolls

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons sour cream

1/2 cup sausage, browned & drained

1/4 cup chopped green & red peppers

1 tablespoon chopped onion

1/4 cup cooked, diced potatoes

salt & pepper to taste

1/4 cup cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Unroll crescent rolls.  Press two triangles together at the seams to form a square.  Press each square into the muffin pan.  Mix egg and sour cream together.  Spoon about two teaspoons of egg mixture into bottom of each roll.  Combine sausage, peppers, onion and potatoes.  Spoon a heaping tablespoon of sausage mixture into each roll.  Top with remaining egg mixture.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper, if desired.  Top with cheddar cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 4.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Reuben Rolls



Our Christmas tradition has always  been a huge breakfast on Christmas Day rather than a Christmas Dinner.  So, on Christmas Eve, we usually have a few appetizers.  I love Reuben sandwiches, and Pillsbury  Refrigerated Crescent Rolls are the perfect way to begin a recipe.  These Reuben Rolls are an easy creation and you can add your own favorite fillers by making substitutions.

How do you like my platters?  Pillsbury provided those to me along with free Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent  Rolls through MyBlogSpark!  If you’ve ever visited the Pillsbury website, you know they have an abundance of tried and true recipes.  There are three in particular made with crescent rolls that I love:

Crescent-Wrapped Brie

Crescent Bacon-Cheese Tartlets

Crescent Holiday Tree

Thanks to Pillsbury and MyBlogSpark, I have a Creative Creations prize pack to give away.  It includes 2 VIP coupons for Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent dough and great holiday platters.  But, first I need you to vote on which of the above recipe is your favorite.  Then I’ll re-create it with a few tweaks of my own.  You know how I love to change a recipe!  Just leave a comment on which recipe you like, and I’ll cook it up in a day or so. 

And, to get you started, here’s the recipe for my Rueben Rolls.

Reuben Rolls

1 pkg Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Rolls

8 slices of corned beef – sliced very thin

4 slices of Swiss cheese – sliced in 1-inch strips

1/4 cup Bavarian Sauerkraut

1 tablespoon brown deli mustard

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet.  Drain kraut well and set aside.  Separate and unroll Crescent rolls.  In each roll layer corned beef, cheese and kraut.  Squeeze a small amount of mustard onto kraut.  Roll up starting at the large end and rolling to smaller end – just like you are making crescent rolls.  Place on cookie sheet and bake 11-12 minutes or until golden brown.  If you use different fillers, top each roll with sesame seeds or cheese so you can tell the difference!

Clean Out the Fridge Soup



We’ve all been there.  A refrigerator full of leftovers that need to be used calls for a pot of soup!  I experimented with this soup by not adding any salt since I was using canned veggies.  Mix and match your favorite leftover vegetables.  You could also add a can of beef broth to make it heartier.  But, I was pleased with the flavor and it was the perfect meal for a Winter night.

Clean Out The Fridge Soup

a/k/a Cabbage Beef Soup

1\2 pound ground chuck

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 head green cabbage, chopped

1 pkg baby carrots (8 oz)

2 cups Shellie green beans

2 cups diced tomatoes

1 cup sliced celery

6-8 cups water

In a large skillet, brown beef, garlic and onion over medium heat.  Drain well.  In a large stock pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 1 to 2 hours or until carrots are tender.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Simple Iced Date Cookies


Simple Cookery Date Oatmeal Cookies Iced
I hope you noticed my recent posts of recipes for Date Cookies and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. These cookies taste great and are definitely different. However, they look very similar. While you can keep them separate during storage, it gets tricky when putting them on a serving platter.
I had a little leftover white chocolate almond bark and decided to experiment with it as an 'icing'. I melted the chocolate and dipped the bottom of the date cookies in it, just allowing it to cover the edges. Then I placed it on wax paper to cool. Not only were the results delicious, but the cookies were easily identified. This also works great to hide the bottom of the cookie if it gets a little overcooked!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Don't Make a Clean Spot

I made the mistake of making a clean spot on my kitchen counter this evening. From there it expanded, and I spent several hours working on the clutter that has accumulated since the Holiday's started. I'm very lucky to have a large country kitchen with lots of counter space. But, when I think of my 'dream kitchen', my vision includes a enclume pot rack.
I love the idea of enclume pot racks keeping everything within easy reach while cooking. Not only do they have a wide assortment of hanging pot racks, but they also have freestanding pot racks. Now, why didn't I think of this first? Freestanding enclume potracks can give you extra counter space along with the storage you need. And, this time of the year, we need all the extra space we can get!

Simple Date Cookies


Simple Cookery Date Oatmeal Cookies

I love using dates in cookies.   Somehow it makes the cookie healthier!

Simple Date Cookies

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup self-rising flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 and 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup chopped dates

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars together.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Gradually add flour and mix well.  Stir in oats, dates and nuts.  Drop by tablespoonful onto greased cookie sheet two inches apart.  Bake 11-12 minutes.  Cool at least 2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to finish cooling on a clean, dry linen towel.

Check out more great recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Simple Cabbage & Pepper Casserole


Simple Cookery Cabbage Casserole

Here’s a picture of the casserole I made with the leftover cabbage & pepper side dish from my last post.  I added shredded chicken breast and a can of cream of chicken soup.  Then I topped it with some cheddar cheese and French’s onions.  I baked it at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until   bubbly.  So, the  next time you have leftover veggies, consider making them into a casserole for dinner the next night.  With a little planning, you can stretch your meals and spend less time in the kitchen.

Speaking of planning, how often to you go strictly by a shopping list? I try very hard to keep a list posted on the refrigerator and add items as I run low.  Somehow, though, I end up leaving it at home a lot of the time.  Or, I decide to make a quick stop on the way home and don’t have my list with me.  How cool would it be to have your personal grocery shopping list online?  Then it would be available anywhere or anytime you needed it!

I found a great site while on facebook.  It has a free grocery shopping list.  You can customize it by store or by your own personal brands. does it all for you.  They already have popular products split into different categories.  All you have to do is add your own items and customize your favorites.  Best of all – it’s free! 

Simple Cabbage & Peppers


Simple Cookery

There’s something warm and comforting to me when I cook noodles and cabbage.  I used a package of creamy chicken and noodles to flavor this side dish.  Then I used the leftovers in a casserole later in the week.

Simple Cabbage & Peppers

1 large head of cabbage, sliced

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 each red, yellow and orange peppers, diced

1 pkg Creamy Chicken & Noodle Sides

1 cup water

Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder to taste

Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook one minute.  Add cabbage and peppers.  Continue to cook about 5 minutes until cabbage is partially tender.  Add water and noodle mix.  Simmer another 10 minutes.  Add salt, pepper or garlic powder if desired.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Simple Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


Simple Cookery Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I love the smell of cookies baking.  There’s just something about cinnamon, vanilla and sugar.  These cookies are chewy and delicious.  When you pull them from the oven, they won’t look done.  Letting them cool  on the cookie sheet finishes the job.  If you let them cook until they are brown, they will be overdone.  Try adding nuts or some other dried fruit for your own twist.

Simple Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3/4 cup self-rising flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 and 1/2 sticks butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1 and 1/2 cup raisins

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine flour and cinnamon.  Set aside.  Beat butter and sugars together until creamy.  Add egg, water and vanilla.  Beat well.  Gradually add flour mixture.  Blend at low speed.  Stir in oats and raisins until mixed.

Drop by tablespoonful onto buttered cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake 10-11 minutes.  The edges will have just turned brown.  Allow to cool on cookie sheets at least 2 minutes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dining Out

It's no secret that I have clipped coupons for years. I'm one of those people you don't want to find yourself behind in the grocery checkout. But, I'll just smile at the money that I'm saving. Often times I will clip the ones for products I already use. They also come in handy when I want to try something new. Lately, I've been searching online for great deals.
I've noticed a new trend in our local coupons and wonder if the same is happening in your corner of the world. There seem to be an increasing number of Restaurant Coupons. I'm used to seeing fast food coupons once in a while, but these new coupons are for more upscale restaurants. It's kind of fun to read Restaurant Reviews and pair up the coupons with a night out. Every little bit helps in today's economy so here are a few tips for dining out.
Go for quality. If you're only able to dine out a couple of times a month, you want the meal to be special.
Check out Restaurants online and review their menus. Most have their full menus and prices listed. Some even have nutrition information.
Speaking of calories, consider splitting a meal with a friend. Not only will you save money, but hundreds of calories.
Don't want to spend money on a full meal? Think about ordering an appetizer or dessert only. Some of the appetizers include more than enough food for two people to share as a meal.
Research coupons online for extra savings.

We all get tired of cooking sometimes and need a night out. With a little planning, you can afford to splurge.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

No Time For Baking?

I've been a Days of our Lives fan for years. If you've ever watched this show, you know Alice Horton. She is known for her homemade doughnuts. Though you don't see her much anymore, they still talk about her homemade goodies. I remember an episode years ago when one of the other characters was talking to her about her doughnut recipe. Alice had a confession. The doughnuts were store bought and she baked them at home! What a scandal!
The message was clear though. You may not have the time or the talent to make something from scratch, but don't let that stop you from baking! There are several good pre-packaged cookie doughs available. Just add some of your own ingredients - extra semi-sweet morsels, nuts, candies, etc. And, cake mixes are perfect for a 'no-fail' cake. Just top it with a homemade frosting like the one below. Alice and I will keep your secret!
Rich Chocolate Frosting
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1 and 1/2 cups boiling water
3 sq. (3 oz. ) chocolate, cut in pieces
1/8 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Mix sugar and cornstarch in a 2 quart saucepan. Stir in boiling water, chocolate and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens - about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Beat in butter and vanilla. Spread on cake while frosting is hot. This will make enough to frost sides and tops of two 8-in. round cake layers.

To make the cake extra festive, sprinkle crushed peppermint candy on sides of frosted cake.
Check out more great recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas in North Pole, Alaska

I can remember laughing when I first heard about the debut of The Food Network. A network dedicated to nothing but food; who would want to watch that? Ummm, well, me! I have especially enjoyed the cooking challenges. Who knew baking a cake could be so stressful? I have also enjoyed The Next Food Network Star, but unfortunately I missed the first season. Ever since though, Guy Fieri has become a mega star in the food world.
Diners, Drive-in & Dives is one of my favorites. If you've never watched this show, Monday, December 7th is a great time to start. Guy takes a trip to North Pole, Alaska where they are decorated for Christmas 365 days a year! The special is titled Christmas in the North Pole. Tune in to The Food Network at 10pm eastern (9pm central)and enjoy!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Susan's Pizza Cups

Here's a yummy recipe from Susan!
Susan's Pizza Cups
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup green pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup pepperoni slices
1/2 cup pasta sauce
Canned Biscuits (12)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine onion, pepper, pepperoni and sauce in a food processor. Chop slightly until mixture is just a little chunky. Press biscuits into muffin tins. Top with about two tablespoons of sauce mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 375 degrees until cheese is melted - about 10 to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mayan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I love to mix cinnamon and chocolate. I actually tried some premium chocolate ice cream that had cinnamon mixed in and thought it would be a great addition to chocolate chip cookies. I followed the basic Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe. And, if you want to cheat, buy the pre-packaged cookie dough and follow the rest of my directions. I won't tell!
Mayan Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chunk Cookies recipe
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (added to batter)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix cookie batter according to Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chunk Cookies recipe. Add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to batter and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix remaining cinnamon and sugar together. After you drop by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. After removing from the cookie sheet, I prefer to cool my cookies on a clean kitchen towel. This keeps them softer.

Check out more great recipes at the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Two kinds of Christmas cookies have been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. Rum Balls and Adventures were made every year. These recipes were handed down from my Grandmother who lived 'up north' so she was used to some very cold Winter weather. Both recipes invoke a little 'tropical' feel. I can't help but wonder if she dreamed of a vacation at Myrtle Beach Resorts on one of those long Winter nights.
The thought of trading snow for sandy beaches at a Oceanfront Myrtle Beach Resorts is a wonderfully tempting idea. I once drove there overnight with a group of friends and arrived just in time to see the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. We had breakfast on the beach. Doughnuts and milk; not the most elegant of meals, but the ocean view made it special.
Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I'll check out some Beach Resorts Myrtle Beach. Christmas on the beach! Now there's a new tradition in the making. But, I'll have to pack some Adventures first. I'm not sure where the name originated, but our family recipe goes back to the 1930's. The dates and coconut invoke thoughts of travel and adventures far away from cold Winter nights.
1 pound chopped dates
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1 cup coconut
In heavy saucepan, mix dates, sugar and butter over low heat. Cool mixture at room temperature. Add beaten egg, cream, salt, and vanilla. Stir well and cook over low heat until egg is cooked - about 2 minutes. Add Rice Krispies and nuts. Form into small balls and roll in coconut. Store in air tight container in refrigerator.