Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Cranberry Jalapeno Dip- A Holiday Favorite

There's an old saying, "We eat with our eyes first."

I agree.  When I first saw this colorful appetizer, my eyes became hungry for it.

I love the festive red and green colors for the holidays. Just imagining the interesting flavor combos from the cranberries, jalapenos and green onions caused me to look up the recipe.

When I read the recipe and saw that sugar, lemon juice, and cilantro were also in this dip that was served over cream cheese, it piqued my interest even more.

I read many reviews before making it, and nearly every review stated that it was one of the best appetizers they had tried, and many had asked for the recipe when it was taken to parties.

So I decided to give it a try myself. 

I'm so glad I did!

It has a hint of sweetness, but only enough to balance the kick from the jalapenos and onion. The freshness of the cranberries, cilantro, green onions and the jalapenos is a nice contrast to the heavier dips and overly-processed seasonal treats.

This is not difficult to make, but the cranberries pretty much need to be  hand-chopped because a food processor will cause them to become too liquified. My nut chopper did not do a good job either, so I sat at my kitchen island and hand-chopped them, one by one while having a nice conversation with my husband.

The other point to remember is once it is prepared,  IT MUST SIT OVERNIGHT IN THE FRIDGE so all the tastes mix and mingle well. So  be sure to allow for that time.

To make this awesome dip, you will need: 
  • 2 tbsp  chopped Cilantro
  • 12 oz bag Cranberries, fresh
  • 1/4 cup Green onion, sliced
  • 1 fresh Jalapeno pepper, sliced 
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Sugar

  • *16 oz. WHIPPED cream cheese
  • *Crackers for dipping

Mix everything together EXCEPT cream cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge overnight.

When ready to serve, drain in a colander. Spread over WHIPPED cream cheese.

Enjoy~ Everything in Moderation

Monday, November 12, 2018

Corn Dog Muffins (a re-post- popular recipe)

I have seen this recipe EVERYWHERE! I remember making a casserole similar to this when my sons were young, and they loved it. So I thought I'd give this version a try.

Guess what? It takes exactly like a corndog. Exactly. So if you (and especially your kids) like corndogs, these little muffins would make a great treat for lunch.

They also go well with chili too, as a side dish.

I guess, they could also be an appetizer.

The kids (of all ages) will love these. This would also be a good beginner recipe for kids to help make.
Corn Dog Muffins (24)

You will need:

* 2 (8.5 ounce) packages cornbread mix
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 1/2 cups milk
* 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
* 9 hot dogs (*I cut mine in small rings)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease muffin tins.*I used cupcake liners instead.

2. Stir together the cornbread mix and the brown sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Fold the eggs and cheese into the dry mixture until moistened; then add the hotdogs. Spoon mixture into muffin tins until 2/3 full.

3. Bake in a preheated oven 14 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve with mustard and ketchup.

This made about 24 muffins. Sounds like a large amount, but they were gobbled up quickly. None were leftover!

NOTE: The average person will eat two of these. I, however, ate THREE, because I'm above average. 😊

Enjoy~ Everything in Moderation

A Turkey Two-fer (Two for one special)

Photo is from our classroom last year- our oven-roasted turkey, prepared by Mrs. Anita.

I love Thanksgiving turkey! I like it roasted, but I surprised myself when I prepared a turkey breast in the crockpot (for extra white meat for our large family) and it turned out so juicy and made the best gravy!

The crock pot version is  NOT pretty, so it is served sliced on a nice platter for best presentation.

I prepared them both using the same 2 special ingredients...BUTTER (never margarine) and a package of Good Season's Italian Seasoning Dressing Mix. It will not taste like "Italian turkey". Just trust me on this one.

Rub the butter on the skin of the turkey. Go ahead and put some pats under the skin, as well.  Next, rub with the dressing mix.

For the 3-4 lb. turkey breast in the crockpot:

 Place a stick of butter on bottom. Add 1/4 cup water, then the turkey. Cook on low about 3-4 hours for boneless, and 5-6 hours for a bone-in. (Meat thermometer should read 165 degrees internally when the meat is ready). If left in crockpot too long, it can fall apart when trying to serve, but the taste and juiciness is still wonderful. So check every hour if not ready at first temp. reading.

For the Oven-roasted version, (14-16 lb.)

 Be certain to thaw bird if frozen, according to package directions.  After properly preparing the bird, butter it all over and rub with dressing mix . Place in turkey bag and secure per bag directions. Cook about 3 1/2 hours in a pre-heated 325 degrees oven. Bake until a thermometer placed in the thickest part of chicken reads 170 degrees. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

With both styles of cooking, save juices to make the best gravy! For a good, basic gravy recipe, here's a link to follow from Betty Crocker.

You can do this!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Easy Italian Salad ( Popular recipe request)

I love salads. I do. I love healthy ones and also salads that have more fat and calories than a juicy cheeseburger. I don't judge them. I enjoy them.

I'll eat one as an appetizer before my meal.
I'll enjoy one as a side dish with my meal.
I'll devour one as the main entree when the mood strikes.

Salads are so versatile. They are also EASY to prepare--especially since you can purchase bags of pre-washed, ready-to-eat greens- even the organic varieties. I call it"lazy lettuce" since no washing, drying or chopping is necessary.

I also love the fact that you don't have to be very skilled in the kitchen to pull off a great salad recipe.
So, I want to give you a tip on a special salad I make that everyone always asks me for the recipe--and especially the dressing recipe. And it's a cheater version. Very simple. NOT from scratch, but who cares?

This salad can be served as a main entree for lunch (since it does have meat) or serve it as an appetizer or a side dish. Of course, it goes very well with any Italian main dish.

First, save yourself some time and purchase the bagged Italian blend. Then add your favorite vegetables. I won't pretend this salad is a healthy one, but you can omit the cheese and pepperoni and it would have less fat...but it won't taste as good. How you build your own salad is none of my business. No judgment here.

1 -2 bags Italian blend salad mix in a bag
1/2 can black olives, drained and sliced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup pepperoncini, drained and sliced
1 small pkg. pepperoni slices
1 red/green pepper, chopped
1-2 T. dried onion flakes (or use  rings of a sliced onion)
1-2 cloves minced garlic (or 1 tsp. of minced garlic in a jar)
chopped basil leaves or parsley--just a bit if dried (1 tsp.-1T.)
1/2 cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup or more-shredded Parmesan cheese
*Other veggies of your choice
Artichokes hearts would also be very good

Empty bag of lettuce blend into a large bowl. Add your favorite veggies. Toss. Cover with plastic wrap till ready to serve.


Prepare one pkg. of Good Season's Italian Dressing mix according to pkg. directions (which includes vinegar-I use apple cider vinegar- and oil -I use olive oil).

Add about 1 T. white sugar (or a little more) and 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese. (This was a wonderful tip from my friend Gail who is a fabulous cook with all sorts of great ideas in the kitchen.) This tastes like a signature or House Salad at many fine dining restaurants. You can also add the sugar and Parmesan cheese to a bottle of prepared Italian dressing, like Wishbone.

Mix very well.

Right before serving, toss well with the salad. Sprinkle with more grated Parmesan on top. Serve with croutons or crusty bread.

You're welcome!

Enjoy! Everything in Moderation

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Sopranos Soup

I let my husband name this one because he went on and on about how good it was and he said no one would want to try something called, "Spinach Tortellini Soup". He said that name didn't do it justice.
He thought it needed a good Italian name...like, The Sopranos.

The soup was very good and filling, but not in the "Uh-oh, I just clogged another artery" sort of way. :)

Serve it with a nice salad and some breadsticks for a satisfying meal.

If you want to give it a whirl,


1 box tri-color cheese tortellini (or frozen tortellini)
1 bag (9-10 oz.) pre-washed leaf spinach
4 cans chicken broth
2 bouillon cubes (or  2 tsp. chicken granules)
1-2 carrots (thin slices)
5 pinches Good Season's Italian Seasoning mix
*Boiled chicken pieces (optional)-I added chicken because my husband wouldn't consider it a main dish without meat in it. But it can stand on its own without meat.)

Parmesan cheese and/or shredded mozzarella for topping off each serving


 Heat broth and bouillon and add spinach, carrots, boiled chicken and seasonings and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add tortellini and boil for 7 minutes, Serve with sprinkled Parmesan cheese and /or mozzarella on top.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Restaurant Review: FLAME Grill--Bar, Carbondale, Il.

My husband and I were looking for a  place to enjoy a nice dinner in celebration of our 36th wedding anniversary. We live in southern Illinois which has many places to choose from, but we tend to go to the same places every year and chose instead to try a place we had yet to visit.

I put out a request for suggestions from locals on my EVERYTHING IN MODERATION facebook page as well as my husband's personal page, and we found many great reviews/suggestions on many places we have yet to try.

So, I decided to begin reviewing some new places as well as places we already love.

I'm starting with our dining experience at Flame.

Flame Grill-Bar  located  at 501 E. Walnut St. in Carbondale, Il., opened in 2012 and has quickly become one of the most popular fine dining places in our area. It is easy to find and there is plenty of parking.

*Photo from Trip Advisor

Upon entrance, we were greeted by our server who led us to a comfortable booth in an artsy, eclectic, yet classy dining room. Dim lighting and light music playing in the background created the perfect backdrop for a romantic dinner.

The dining area was very clean, and patrons were dressed nicely, but casually.

*Photo from Trip Advisor

Our server wasn't the friendliest- not very engaging- but was efficient. I do try to keep in mind that servers are individuals with unique personalities and also I have no idea what they are going through personally at the time we chose to come and dine, so with that in mind, our service was fine. She promptly took our orders and returned routinely for refills and to meet any other needs we had.

We did not have to wait long for any courses of our meal.

Our appetizer choice was the Classic Bruschetta and it was just delicious! The presentation was beautiful and unique. The price was $7.99 and there was plenty for both of us to enjoy.

*Photo from Trip Advisor

The perfect blend of flavors-- tomatoes, gorgonzola cheese crumbles, garlic, and balsamic vinegar to spoon onto the warm, crusty bread.

The entrees we chose were both steaks, but prepared differently. I  ordered the 12 oz. Grand Steer Top Sirloin.

 It was perfectly grilled with a crunchy outer sear while remaining tender and juicy inside--medium rare, just the way I  like it. I enjoyed the salty, but delicious seasoning and a generous serving size. My entree came with choice of potato and choice of salad or soup. I chose a Caesar Salad which was very good. Homemade croutons were a nice addition. The dressing was tasty and bold, so little was needed. I chose mashed potatoes as my side and was surprisingly disappointed. I LOVE mashed potatoes and just assumed they would also be great. I only ate a few bites of them. Something was off. Something more butter or salt couldn't remedy. My husband felt the same about his. I would recommend ordering the baked potato instead. My entree was $20.99 which included my steak, potatoes, and salad. It would have also included bread/butter (which I hear is delicious) but you must ask for it on the side-- no extra charge.

My husband ordered the Sirloin and Shrimp Asiago Steak. It was a 12 oz. grilled steak topped with grilled shrimp covered in a creamy Asiago cream sauce with grated Parmesan. He did not care for it. But I think it is just a taste preference, and no reflection on the chef. He took a chance on an unfamiliar combination of Asiago and seafood, and it so happened he didn't like that combo. He felt the cheese overpowered the dish. But again, just his preference, someone else may love that combination. His entree was $27.99 and also included a salad and potatoes. Bread would have also been included.

We were both too full for dessert and drank water and tea, so I can't review desserts or drink choices.

We visited on a Tuesday evening and it was busy enough for a weeknight. Reservations are not required, but I would suggest making them on a weekend or with larger parties. There is ample seating, however, always best to be prepared.

Dress was casual. You could come dressed up or casually dressed and would fit in nicely. This is a nice place to dine for a special occasion. Hours of operation are 11am-9pm Monday-Thursday. Friday and Saturday hours are 11am-10 pm. Closed on Sundays.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Atmosphere and bruschetta are worth a re-visit. Great steak. Good menu selections. Also different specials throughout the week.

Check out their website, or find them on facebook here.

Enjoy! ~Everything in Moderation.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Chicago-Style Hotdogs for Father's Day

This is another simple recipe that the kids can help put together for Dad--especially if he is a baseball fan. This little lunch consisted of the hotdogs, and peanuts (needed to get some Cracker Jacks), some chips, POWERADE for the beverage and a baseball cupcake and Baby Ruth candybar for dessert. I purchased the little picnic set at Wal-Mart, complete with condiment dispenser, hotdog basket and liners.

 Except for the cooking of the hotdog, the kids could help put this all together for Dad...and a great gift idea would be to throw in some tickets for a ballgame or purchase a t-shirt of his favorite team as I did. GO CARDINALS!

 I'm really not a hotdog lover, mainly because they are not healthy at all, so again, enjoy  in MODERATION. But trust me--you'll never eat a hotdog any other way again, once you taste this one!

The secret begins in the hotdog itself. DON'T be tempted to save a little $$ and buy the cheapest ones out there...BIG MISTAKE! Also, ALL-BEEF wieners are the way to go.  My favorite brand is this one:

Costs a bit more, but so worth it!

Boil water and then reduce heat and place dogs in to cook for 5 minutes, until done and remove.
Or go ahead and grill em up!

You begin building  with a poppyseed bun (for the traditional recipe--but I could not get my hands on a bag, here, so I had to go with the plain)

Add 1 T. yellow mustard.
1 T. sweet green relish (the brighter green , the better)
1 T. chopped onion
4 Tomato wedges
1 dill pickle spear
2 sport peppers *I didn't add them for my Dad
1 dash celery salt

You'll notice that no ketchup is on this dog...you won't miss it!



Happy Father's Day treat! Double Your Pleasure: A&W Root Beer Float & Root Beer Float cake

I put this together for one of my cooking segments I did on our local morning news shows last year.

I shared simple ideas that kids could make for Father's Day. I found the free printable tags online (sorry, I no longer have the link), but I think kids could make it themselves.

I added a previous post about root beer.....that includes a ROOT BEER FLOAT CAKE.

 If Dad loves root beer, this would be a great treat for him!  ENJOY!

Unlike the majority of society, I'm neither a Coke or Pepsi girl. I prefer Sprite or Root Beer. But actually, I prefer a Root Beer Float if I'm gonna' bother drinking soda!

For many decades in my small town, we've had an A&W drive-up restaurant, complete with car hops. Mike's Drive-In is a southern illinois landmark, located in West Frankfort, Il. They still serve the beloved A&W Root Beer and the RB Floats in a frosty mug! People travel for miles to enjoy this treat that takes us all back to a simpler time.

Several years ag my husband and I went for a little getaway to celebrate our  anniversary and part of our trip included "Antiquing" In Historic Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I found an old A&W mug to serve my float and I couldn't wait to bring it home, wash it up and enjoy my float in a frosty mug-all proper-like.

I made it, took the photo, and then before I could lick my lips, Big AL took it and woofed it all down!

His response when he laid the empty mug back on the counter? "Man, that was good!"

For the root beer lover in your family, especially DAD on Father's Day, double his pleasure with the cake and a frosty mugged-float!

(You'll be the favorite child ;) )

All you need is:

1 A&W mug (yeah, it makes ALL the difference)
2 scoops FRENCH VANILLA Ice Cream (I used Blue Bunny)
And enough A&W Root Beer to spill over the top of the mug so you can lick it off the side when no one is watching!

Rinse mug and freeze till frosted!
Put in ice cream.
Pour on Root Beer.
Serve with a spoon and a straw.
Hide it in another room till you're ready to share!

And now for the cake:

Root Beer Float Cake

You will need:

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) white cake mix
1-3/4 cups cold root beer, divided
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 envelope whipped topping mix


In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix, 1-1/4 cups root beer, oil and eggs; beat on low speed for 30 minutes. Beat on medium for 2 minutes.
Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, combine the whipped topping mix and remaining root beer. Beat until soft peaks form. Frost cake. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 12-16 servings.

*I found this recipe in my Taste of Home Cookbook.

*This cake has a mild root beer flavor, not at all overwhelming.
You can also use your own icing recipe and add a little root beer to it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Chocolate Chip Bananas Foster Cheesecake Triple- Layer Cake

SO today my co-workers and I were able to enjoy this delicious concoction that Mr. Wright, my boss/co-worker/friend asked me to make after he found the recipe online on TASTY's facebook page.

It was a bit challenging, time-consuming and rather expensive, but he purchased the ingredients so I was up for the challenge.

The ingredient list was filled with a few of my favorite things that all put together basically made a cheesecake, banana cake and bananas foster altogether in one dessert. How can you go wrong with that?

I made the recipe exactly as written so I will link to the site for the instructions. My only suggestions would be to cut thinner slices (it is rich!) so rather than serving 8, it could serve at least 10-12.

Also, the recipe did not clarify that one of the layers of banana cake should go into a SPRINGFORM 9" pan because one will  have a cheesecake baked on top.

My only other note would be to say that the chocolate chips are not  necessary. They are good but almost competed with the banana and cheesecake flavors which in my opinion,  those flavors should keep the spotlight. I didn't think I would EVER say this but, next time I make it, I will omit the chocolate chips. (gasp!)

Also, this takes a LONG time from start to finish, so bake the day before you plan to serve it, or REALLY early the day of.

Here's my pics of the finished product (which were taken by Mr. Wright and another co-worker, Abbey.)

Enjoy~Everything in Moderation


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Raspberry (Shortcut) Shortcake

 This is a re-post from many years back. A very simple dessert.

This recipe saves a few steps by using BISQUICK. Still delicious, just without much fuss.

You will need:
1 container raspberries
3 T. white sugar
2 1/3 cup Bisquick +3 T. sugar
1/2 cup milk
3 T. melted butter
Whipped cream (or Cool Whip)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse/drain a container of raspberries and sprinkle with about 3 T. of white sugar and let sit  for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, Combine Bisquick, 3 T. sugar. Add milk and butter. Stir with a fork till soft dough forms. Stir vigorously 20 strokes. Spread into a greased 8" round pan. Bake 15-17 minutes or until done. Cut into individual wedges and split in half. Place berries on bottom half and replace top and add whipped cream over it.

Best served warm.

Enjoy~ Everything in Moderation

30- minute Valentine's Day Meal: Bow Tie Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Chicken

"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating." ~Luciano Pavarotti

I can put an entire meal on the table is less than 30 minutes! You can do it too, and even for Valentine's Day!

Here's my Italian Cuisine menu:

Appetizer:Toasted Ravioli with sauce
Entree:Bow Tie Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Chicken
Side Dish:Buttered peas
Salad:Italian Salad
Bread:Garlic bread
Dessert: Angel Food Cake drizzled with Strawberry Sauce

Hungry yet?

Here we go!

Bow Tie Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Chicken

*1 pkg. skinless, boneless chicken strips
*1 bag Bow-tie Pasta
*3 T. butter
*1 tsp. minced garlic (you can buy it already minced in a small jar)
*1 jar vodka Sauce
*grated Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta according to pkg. directions.
While it boils...

Saute meat in butter and garlic till all pink is gone and meat is just a bit golden. Set aside.
When pasta is done, drain and add cooked chicken . Pour jar of sauce over and stir so heat from pasta warms the sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan!


There's your main course. Now, the other dishes are what I call "cheater dishes".

Toasted Ravioli

Purchase a box of frozen ravioli and cook according to pkg. directions.
Serve with a jar of PIZZA sauce for dipping .(I like it better than Marinara for these.)

Sweet Peas with Butter

Drain 1 can sweet peas, put 1/4 stick butter on top and microwave for 3 minutes. Stir.

Garlic Bread
Purchase frozen garlic Texas toast. Add your own grated mozzarella if you like. Bake according to pkg. directions.

Purchase a bag of pre-made Italian salad. Add chopped black olives from the can, drained, add a few cherry tomatoes,add some sliced pepperoni and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Angel Food Cake with strawberry Sauce

1 store-bought angel food cake.
1 container frozen strawberries, thawed.

Add sugar to taste to the berries, then drizzle over top of cake. The longer the berries in sauce sit on the cake, you'll get the effect like mine in this pic.

There you have it!

A delicious "optical illusion" of a nice dinner that didn't knock you out, but will knock the socks off your guests when they realize it only took a few minutes to prepare.

If they ask for the recipe, just tell them it's a secret. Then make your family swear to secrecy!

Enjoy~ Everything in Moderation

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Special Chicken Piccata DInner

Chicken Piccata is a classic Italian recipe that is both elegant and very simple at the same time.
The tangy sauce over the chicken is just the right balance of flavors to tantalize your taste buds without overwhelming your belly as there is nothing heavy about this delicious dish.

It takes under 30 minutes to prepare, but has such impressive results, that it is worthy of serving for special occasions or a very romantic dinner for just the two of you.

It is one of my husband's favoritse, and he's more of a beef guy, so I take it as a great compliment.

This particular recipe is from GIADA De LAURENTIS from the Food Network.


2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped


Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley and a lemon slice.

Delicious served with steamed broccoli, tomato bruschetta and a Ceasar salad.

Have you made this dish before? What were the reactions to those you served it to?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


UPDATE: JOELYN RABY, you are the winner! Congratualtions!

On VALENTINE'S DAY, I will announce the winner of a FREE one-year subscription to THE FOOD NETWORK'S cooking magazine (10 issues).

It's easy to enter:

1. LIKE my page on facebook (click here)

2. LIKE and SHARE the link to the giveaway facebook post on your facebook page

3. Leave a comment on any of my recipes on this blog.

Your name will be automatically entered and we will do a drawing on Valentine's Day!

Easy Individual Baked Ravioli (Beginner level recipe)

What a simple, fun way to serve Ravioli! Wouldn't this be great for an easy, but romantic dinner for two on Valentine's Day?

Whether or not you think can cook, THIS dish will make a believer out of you and your guests.

You will need:

1 package frozen meat or cheese filled ravioli (boiled according to package directions and drained)
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

In individual baking dishes, layer in this order: Sauce on bottom (just enough to coat) then ravioli, more sauce to cover, mozzarella to cover,a sprinkle of Parmesan. Repeat, 2-3 times depending on height of dish.

*For a larger serving, use a 8x11 baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes for individual servings,30 minutes for larger baking dish or until cheese on top is melted and lightly browned.

Serve with garlic bread  and a nice Italian salad.

Enjoy~ Everything in moderation

How to make a simple Valentine's meal special.... (a repost)

Several years ago, I came up with one of my favorite Valentine's Day memories with my husband. (We've celebrated over 3 decades of them together!)

I decided to make him a Chinese meal at home --so much more romantic than sharing dinner with 50 of our "closest friends" in a restaurant.

My menu was simple: Homemade Egg Drop Soup, Egg Rolls (purchased), Chicken and Veggies with Fried Rice, some Chai Tea and a Chocolate Heart Brownie (from a box mix cut into a heart shape with caramel and chocolate sauce drizzled on top with ice cream and a chocolate dipped strawberry.

What really made it special was the presentation.

A friend I met on facebook, allowed me to borrow her Kimono that she had used for a Halloween costume. It came complete with matching shoes!

I went to a local thrift store in town and purchased an oriental fan to complete the ensemble.

The thrift store also had some unique serving dishes with an oriental flair that I used along with the serving pieces I already had.

I even found a red book of LOVE with Chinese symbols in it!

I had a CD of oriental instrumental music playing in the background. We sat on the floor in my living room at the coffee table and enjoyed this wonderful dinner.

It was a wonderful evening. :)

My husband's gift to me was his own dinner a couple of nights before. HE IS NOT A COOK (he has honestly told me before, "Sher, I would starve without you." And he would be right!

He made a simple tortellini dish. (My request)

He purchased a bag of frozen tortellini and I told him that all he had to do was boil the pasta, and add Parmesan cheese and butter....and that's EXACTLY what he did. It was SWIMMING in water because he didn't DRAIN the pasta (because I didn't tell him to do that one very important step!) WHO woulda' thought someone wouldn't know to do that?

We laughed...drained the pasta...added more butter and Parmesan and it was delicious! He also purchased some good cheeses and crackers, and had fresh fruit for me.

Did I mention I love him?

Make it a wonderful day for whomever you love. A spouse, a child, grandchild, friend, neighbor....CELEBRATE the love for the people in your life!

Here's to a Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Scroll down my sidebar for more dinner recipes or desserts that would be perfect for your Valentine!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Honeyed Soy Pork Chops


 SO when your youngest son grows up into a fine man, and you have a special dinner for his birthday and ask him what he wants served, if he answers, "Pork chops", then go ahead and make these. They were a big hit to the pork loving people at the table. A little different than regular ole pork chops. Easy to  prepare, too.

You will brown them in the skillet, then bake in the oven, They are very juicy! People will smile.

You will need:


* 1/2 cup honey                               


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Mary D.'s Triple-Layer Italian Cream Cake

I'm Italian. I love cream. I love cake. And I love Mary Darnell for sharing this recipe with me nearly 30  years ago.

 This lady can bake! I was in my late twenties when I first tasted her recipe and I was blown away by the taste and the beauty of this layer cake. I remember Mary telling me that she mastered this one because she felt that her meals might only be considered "Okay..." but by the time they ate her dessert they would forget about an average meal and all they would remember was the wonderful ending. Smart lady!

Obviously, if you're watching your fat and calories, you MUST practice moderation with this recipe. EAT A SMALL PIECE only! Hide the rest! Lock it up! Give it away! Actually, I only make desserts when I'm having company over (or taking it to someone) because they will also be enjoyed by others and not me alone-- that's how I practice moderation. If I'm left with a cake like this one in the house, I'm eating it for dessert first...then a late-night snack, then a cold morning breakfast, a midday snack, lunch dessert....you get the idea.

So, don't say I didn't warn you. This has cream cheese, butter, buttermilk, shortening, powdered sugar, white sugar.....I think the only "innocent" ingredients would be eggs and baking soda." Vanilla and coconut aren't so bad either. :)

To make this classic and scrumptious cake, you will need:

1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
1 stick butter
1/2 cup shortening
*I'm not a fan of shortening either, but there are a few old recipes I have that call for it and I still use it in those because overall, it is a small amount and I rarely eat those recipes. I'm afraid to mess with a perfect recipe.
5 eggs, separate yolks from whites
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 box powdered sugar
1 stick butter
1 (8oz.) cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix buttermilk and baking soda. Set aside. Cream butter and shortening; add sugar. Add egg YOLKS, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add milk and flour alternately, beating after addition until all is well blended. Beat egg white separately, then add to mixture, along with coconut, nuts, and vanilla.Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes in THREE nine-inch layer pans that have been well-greased and floured.

While baking, mix butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat till smooth.

When cakes are finished baking and have cooled completely, spread icing between each layer and then on top and down sides of cake.

Serve at room temp, but store leftovers(if any) in the refrigerator.

Find someone to share this cake with. It's perfect for Easter-- you can add some coconut with green food coloring and sprinkle around the top edge for a "spring grass" look.
The cake top trimmed in pecans around the edges is another nice touch.

Enjoy~Everything in Moderation

Monday, January 22, 2018

Southpoint's New York Style Cheesecake

There's cheesecake.  And then there's THIS cheesecake!

*My friend , Joelyn, sent these pics when she made the recipe for her Dad's birthday. She did an amazing job!

Sorry about the timing of this recipe as it may be a deal-breaker for your new year's diet resolution. So just try to un-see this photo and come back in June when you celebrate your weight loss.

If you're still with me, let me give you a little background on this recipe.

I first enjoyed it at a fellowship dinner at Southpoint Church of God. And it stood out among all the rest! And that's really saying something because all of these dear saints could COOK!

Usually, it was made by someone in the Darnell family, and it became an oft-requested, signature dessert at church socials, potlucks, get-togethers, etc.

I was in my twenties when I attended this church and was not a very good cook at all. I was also too intimidated to attempt a dessert like this. I didn't own a spring-form pan or a stand mixer. So I never made it until many years later.

 Everything these ladies would make was absolutely scrumptious and always displayed so beautifully. They taught me much of what I know about pretty food displays and decorating and planning nice dinners and large get-togethers.

This cheesecake takes a bit of prep, and a stand mixer is a must for this one. But I'm here to tell you that it is worth every ounce of labor involved!

It is rich, it is creamy, it is versatile as you can leave it plain and enjoy this deliciously smooth sour cream topping as is, or top it with strawberries,blueberries, cherries or your favorite topping flavor.

I made this recipe for a Christmas gift (topped it with strawberries), and the recipient sent me a thank- you telling me that he considered himself a "cheesecake connoisseur" and this was one of the best cheesecakes he had ever eaten! That pretty much is the same reviews this receives whenever it is served. I love when people enjoy  it as much as I do. :)

Suggestions: Make this the day before (or early morning of the same day you are serving) as it requires a lot of time to cool properly. LEAVE IN PAN till you are ready to serve!
BE SURE EGGS and CREAM CHEESE are at room temp. before you begin. This helps to avoid cracking.

Although cheesecakes are pretty sensitive and cracking often occurs, this sour cream topping as well as extra toppings of your choice would camouflage mistakes.

DON'T WAIT to make this dessert! It is AMAZING!!!
Be sure to have all cold ingredients ( butter, eggs, cream cheese and sour cream) at room temp. (This will help prevent cracking.)

To begin this recipe, you will need:


1 3/4 cups graham crackers crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar


3 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese (at room temp.)
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs (room temp.)
1 T. vanilla extract


1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

CRUST: Blend all together and press on bottom and up sides of a well-greased, 10" spring-form pan.

FILLING: Mix cream cheese and sugar for 3-5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat altogether for 30 minutes, using a stand mixer . Pour into spring-form pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 60-70 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on counter for about 20 minutes.

TOPPING: Blend sour cream with sugar and vanilla together. Pour on top of cooled cake and return to oven for 10 more minutes.

Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. LEAVE IN PAN and put in fridge AT LEAST 4 hours, but preferably overnight before trying to remove from pan to serve.

Top with your favorite topping or leave as is.

--CLICK HERE! for best tips on removing the cake from pan to avoid damaging the delicate cake.

ENJOY ~Everything in Moderation

Crust: 1 3/4 graham crackers crumbs 1/3 c. butter, melted 1/4 c. sugar Filling: 3 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, room temp. 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar 4 eggs 1 T. vanilla Topping: 1 1/2 c. sour cream 1/4 c. sugar 1 tsp. vanilla DIRECTIONS:

Crust: Blend graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter together. Press crumbs on sides and bottom of a well-greased 10-inch spring-form pan. Filling: Mix tpgeth the cream cheese and sugar for 3-5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat the u for 30 minutes in a stand mixer. Bake at 300 degrees- 325 degrees for 60-70 minutes. Remove from oven and cool at room temp. for 20 minutes. Topping: Blend sour cream, sugar and vanilla together. Pour on top of cooled cheesecake. Return to oven for 10 more minutes. Remove. Let set till it cools to room temperature. Place in fridge at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight while STILL IN spring pan.* For proper removal from pan, see link be

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

One of my favorite simple casseroles is Poppy Seed Chicken.  This is an easy weeknight or weekend recipe that is popular at potlucks, and a good one to serve when company's coming.

Its texture is both creamy and crunchy and that wonderful butter flavor is just perfect!

Give it a try.


 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1 (8oz.) sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Boil chicken over high heat about 20 minutes.
Remove chicken and let cool, then shred. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the butter, crackers, and poppy seeds in a bowl; set aside.

Blend sour cream and soup in a bowl. Pour half of soup mixture into a 9x9-inch baking dish. Add the shredded chicken. Then add remaining half of soup mixture on top. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese then top with the cracker mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes , till bubbly.

Serve with/over rice or noodles with a green vegetable on the side.

Enjoy ~Everything in Moderation

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Chicken Enchiladas

My friend Tracy made this recipe at a party I attended  several years ago, and it was delicious! She was kind enough to share it with me so I could pass it along.

This is not an authentic Mexican recipe, but a delicious Tex-Mex style dish.

And isn't this baking dish gorgeous? Well, I miss it. My wonderful hubs put it on the stove (which had a hot burner going) and it cracked in two- right down the middle.  😔I miss this dish! 

Give this recipe a  try and put some smiles on some hungry faces.


4 cups chicken (cooked and diced)
1 small red onion, chopped (optional)
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
3/4 can enchilada sauce

Mix altogether and fill 8 lg. tortillas and roll up.

Put in a 13X9 baking dish.

Pour another 1 1/4 cup enchilada sauce over top. Sprinkle with mixture of

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. Cajun spices

Top with 1 cup of cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 min.

Serve warm with sour cream.

Enjoy~Everything in Moderation