Thursday, December 31, 2009

From Me to you...

Today we begin the final countdown... 2009 is almost over .

I plan on enjoying a quiet evening inside with my main squeeze while enjoying delicious food and music and some good movies!

I've been treating the entire month of December like FAT TUESDAY before the Mardi Gras! Eating like there will be no tomorrow, knowing that when January rolls around, I must demonstrate some self-control once again!

For those of you needing some quick party foods to prepare a your New Year's Eve Party, Click on the photos on my side-bar for some last minute recipes that are sure to please.

May your 2010 be your best year yet.
Start it off on the right foot right- you can read TAKING A STEP BACKWARD AFTER TAKING A STEP FORWARD IS NOT A DISASTER, IT'S A CHA_CHA! over at my other blog and then
the best advice I could ever give for making this new year the best yet is....forgive someone. Hug the neck of those you love. See the value of the People that have been placed in your life. Never value things, or position or opinions over precious creations- your family and friends.

GO into this new year with a smile...a hopeful one remembering "In the long run the pessimist may be proved right, but the optimist has a better time on the trip. ~Daniel L. Reardon

Love and hugs to all of you!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cucumber Party Sandwiches

Here's a nice addition to your New Year's Eve buffet....easy to prepare, wonderful to taste. Perfect way to put a finishing touch on 2009 and welcome in the New Year.

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. GOOD SEASON'S Zesty Italian seasoning mix (dry)
1/4 cup Miracle Whip
1 loaf Party Rye bread
sliced cucumbers
(you may garnish with dill)

Mix together first 3 ingredients. Spread mixture on bread. Place sliced cucumbers on top. Chill.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Peg's Cheesy Potato Soup

My sister-in-law Peggy made a delicious pot of this soup to add to our Christmas feast and it was WONDERFUL! I even added some of my leftover ham to it the next day and that was great too.

You must give it a try. This is comfort food at its best!

3 c. water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 1/2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup sliced celery
1 c. minced onion
1 cup diced carrot

Boil all together until veggies are tender.

Then add:

8 oz. cubed Velveeta cheese.

Let melt and remove from heat.

2 cups milk
2 cans cream of chicken soup

Heat through until warm.

*I also added leftover ham, cubed, and some frozen (thawed brocoli) when I served it the second time.

Serve with crusty bread...and loosen your belt buckle. You're gonna' want seconds!

Monday, December 28, 2009

(Leftover) Ham Casserole

I have a large amount of ham leftover for Christmas, and I've done everything with it. Fried in up in an omelet for Breakfast, cut chunks of it for a Chef salad, added it to my sister-in-law's leftover cheesy potato soup (I'll share the recipe later on) and made this casserole I found From Taste of Home.

My guys enjoyed this very simple throw together casserole. Each of them asked for seconds. (Well, they didn't really ASK, they just took an extra heaping helping!)

Makes 8-10 Servings


* 1 package (12 ounces) wide egg noodles
* 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
* 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of broccoli soup, undiluted
* 1-1/2 cups milk
* 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
* 1-1/2 cups frozen California-blend vegetables, thawed
* 1-1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
* 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided


* Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a large bowl, combine soups and milk; stir in the noodles, corn, vegetables, ham, parsley, pepper, salt and 3/4 cup of cheese.
* Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly and cheese is melted.


I'd love to hear your ideas for ham leftovers- I still have A LOT!

Super Moist Meatballs- Tyler Florence Style

I made these meatballs on Christmas Eve and served them with pasta for my family and all of them agreed that these were THE best meatballs I've made. My oldest son, who travels all over the country told me they tasted just like the meatballs served in the Fine Italian Restaurants he has frequented during his travels.

The secret to the moistness? Soaking the bread in milk!
The only thing I changed about this recipe, is Tyler makes 10 large meatballs, and I made many small ones.

You must give them a try.


* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, smashed
* 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
* 1 cup milk
* 4 thick slices firm white bread, crust removed
* 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
* 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
* 1 large egg
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 4 cups heated Pomodoro Sauce, recipe follows, or good quality jarred tomato sauce
* 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
* Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh basil
* 1 pound spaghetti


Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but still translucent, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.

Pour enough milk over the bread in a bowl to moisten and let it soak while the onions are cooling.

Combine the meats in a large bowl. Add the egg and Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. (Hang onto the pan - you'll need it to cook the meatballs.) Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together. Don't overwork or the meatballs will be tough. Divide into equal pieces and shape them into nice looking meatballs.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a 3-count of oil in the frying pan over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes. Put them into a baking dish and spoon about half of the tomato sauce over. Shower with the mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil. Put the meatballs in the oven and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and put it onto a large serving platter. Pour on the rest of the sauce and mix well. Spoon the meatballs on top of the spaghetti and garnish with basil leaves. Serve immediately along with extra cheese.
Pomodoro Sauce:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand, liquid reserved

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes) and about 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring for a few minutes with a wooden spoon to further break up the tomatoes. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil and season again.

Yield: 4 cups


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from my house to yours

May you all have a wonderful Christmas!
Enjoy your family and friends.
Hug em-forgive em- listen to their hearts- encourage them- value these wonderful gifts you have been given.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Elsie's Amish Friendship Bread-a wonderful Christmas gift to give your friends

I'm one of the lucky ones. I can actually call my Mother-in-law Elsie, my friend! She is a precious, simple, gentle soul who has been a fantastic MIL and raised a wonderful man who I married 27 years ago.

Elsie is known for her great baking skills, and a staple at her house and at every family gathering is her homemade bread.
We enjoy it fresh from the oven, but if there should happen to be any leftover (which is rare), we will use it for the best ever French Toast, or even grilled cheese sandwiches! YUMMMMMM! We also chunk it up to enjoy with dill dips and cheese fondues.

You can bake loaf for Christmas and share the starter with friends and family members as little gifts. Placing the bread in a beautiful bread basket (like this one from Longaberger) would just be over the top!

The sweet sourdough flavor is unmatched !

You will need:

* 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
* 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
* 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
* 3 cups white sugar, divided
* 3 cups milk


In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.

On days 2 thru 4; stir starter with a spoon.
Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk.
Days 6 thru 9; stir only.
Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread, give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with day 2).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chery'ls Secret recipe Cheese Soup

My wonderful friend Cheryl served this soup to me awhile back and I was SHOCKED when she gave me the list of ingredients. It tasted wonderful and had a "from scratch" taste that I just had to share.

This is her recipe that she just sent to me- photos are mine from our little luncheon awhile ago.



1 can cheddar cheese soup,
1 can any other kind of cream soup you like (I use cream of mushroom)
2 soup cans filled with beer,
Shredded cheese, any kind as much as you want,
couple of dashes worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke,
pepper to taste.

Heat on top of stove until cheese melts or cook in crock pot on high for a few hours. Add REAL bacon bits and croutons before serving. DELISH and SOOO EASY".

*For this serving, Cheryl cut up day old baked french bread, placed them on top of cooked soup in bowl, sprinkled with cheese and microwaved till cheese melted.