Archive for the ‘what’s cookin’?’ Category

November 14, 2016

Mulled Wine Recipe

Mulled wine, or cool weather sangria as I like to call it, is a festive, warm drink that is perfect to sip while sitting next to a warm fire. Below is a simple recipe that can be whipped up in a jiffy. However, it does take a couple hours for the flavors to steep in a crock pot. If you’re feeling creative, you can add cranberries, apples, and orange peels for extra garnish.

Mulled Wine

2 bottles Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup orange juice
2 oranges, quartered with peels left on
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves

Mix all ingredients in a crock pot and warm on high for 2 hours. Serve warm in mugs and garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired. Serves 6-8.

September 19, 2016

Karen’s Vegetarian Southwest Soup

Karen’s Vegetarian Southwest Soup

2 cans of low sodium vegetable broth (I use Swanson)
1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic (I use Hunt’s)
1 can of unsalted corn (drained) (I use Del Monte)
1 can of low sodium black beans (rinsed and drained) (I use Bush’s)
1 cup of salad macaroni (cooked according to pkg)
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
1/2 tsp of chili powder
1/8 tsp of black pepper
a sprig of fresh basil or cilantro

Add all ingredients (except cooked pasta) to a large soup pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Add warm pasta immediately before serving (if you add it too soon, it will soak up all your broth). Serve with cornbread.

My oldest has been a vegetarian for 5 years. Cooking dual meals isn’t always easy. I like this soup because it has a great homemade taste, is made with canned goods that I usually have on hand and cooks in minutes.

September 1, 2015

Easy Homemade Donuts Recipe

Homemade Donuts Recipe

The last recipe I posted caused such a controversy, I thought I’d share another sweet treat! Yeah, I know, I’m a troublemaker. 😉

I learned how to make these donuts in 8th grade Home Ec class. These days, the food police would probably arrest a teacher for having her class prepare such a nutritionally unsound creation.


1 roll of refrigerated biscuit dough (Store brand works great. Do not use Grands or flavored varieties.)
Vegetable Oil
1/3 cup of Powdered sugar


Pour powdered sugar into a brown lunch bag and set aside.

Heat about half a cup of vegetable oil in small frying pan. Oil level needs to be high enough to cover bottom half of donut.

Using your thumbs, poke a hole in the center of the biscuits and using your fingers, pinch the sides together to form a donut shape. Fry in hot oil over medium heat, flipping so both sides turn golden brown. Be careful not to have heat too high, as outside will be dark and inside will still be doughy. Cook no more than 2 at a time.

When donuts are done, set on a paper towel for 2 minutes to remove excess oil. Place donuts, one at a time, in the bag filled with powdered sugar and shake until well coated. Cool on a wire rack for no more than 5 minutes and eat right away. They are best warm!

August 27, 2015

Black Bean Salsa Recipe


Having a vegetarian in the house, I try to prepare things that can stand on their own without meat, but can be spiked with meat for the carnivores in the house. This dish is a perfect example of that and it eats like a meal. You can serve it like a salsa with chips, use it as a topping for burritos or fish tacos, or toss in some marinated, grilled shrimp for some fantastic tostadas!

Black Bean Salsa Recipe

2 cans of low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of yellow corn, no salt added, rinsed and drained
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup sweet yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 ripe avocados, peeled and diced
1 jalapeño, finely diced (less or none depending on your heat tolerance)
3 TBS lime juice
2 TBS white wine vinegar
Fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a non-metallic container and refrigerate 2-4 hours. Serve with chips or on tostadas, tacos, or burritos.

July 11, 2015

The Halo Quesadilla, Revisited

Halo Quesadilla

Still one of my favorite lunches of all time, for taste and prep time, the Halo Quesadilla deserves another mention (and photo) on my blog.

The version pictured above is filled with a mexican cheese blend, grilled chicken, chopped tomato and fresh cilantro.

Here are a few tricks to making the perfect halo quesadilla:

Don’t overfill with cheese or other ingredients. It’s better to make 2 than one big huge one.

Most of the cheese should be in direct contact with the pan, with just a little on the tortilla to keep it attached.

After flipping, seal it shut by pressing the outside cheese layers together.

Rotate the pan to concentrate the heat on the outside cheese. It’s best crunchy!

For more instructions, please view the original recipe here.

January 26, 2015

Crock-Pot Mac N’ Cheese Recipe


I love homemade Macaroni and Cheese. I’ve just never had a whole lot of success making it because I always seem to get the roux wrong and the sauce ends up with a grainy texture. I decided to take a stab at making mac n’ cheese without a roux and the recipe below is what I came up with.

It turned out much better than I expected. Even my son, who is a picky eater, asked for seconds. I used orecchiette pasta, which has a starchier consistency than elbow macaroni. I think it helped to thicken up the sauce so you don’t even miss the roux. This one is on my keeper list!

Crock-Pot Mac N’ Cheese Recipe

12 oz Bag of Orecchiette pasta (boiled for 10 minutes and drained)
2 Cups of Milk (heated to almost boiling)
12 oz Evaporated Milk
2 TSP Dijon Mustard
1/2 TSP Onion Powder
1/4 TSP Black Pepper
1/8 TSP Salt
6 OZ American Cheese, cubed
4 OZ Gouda Cheese (shredded)
Optional: 1 cup of Panko for sprinkling on top

Turn crock-pot on high. Lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray. Add hot milk, evaporated milk, mustard, onion powder, salt and pepper to crock-pot. Wisk well. Add pasta. Cover and cook for 90 minutes. Stir in cheese and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

If you’re like me and have an appreciation for mac n’ cheese with a dark, crunchy topping, after you cook the mac in the crock-pot, transfer it to a casserole dish or individual ramekins, sprinkle the top with a little bit of Panko, and bake in a 400 degree oven on a high rack for about 10 minutes or until the top is browned to your liking. Be sure and lighlty spray the casserole dish or ramekins with non-stick spray so you don’t have issues with getting the mac out.

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