Yummy Yeast Rolls

I cut this recipe out of a Taste of Home magazine several years ago. I placed it in my 'recipes to try' file where it has been sitting ever since. A few months ago, I needed rolls for dinner but was pressed for time. As I was looking through my recipes I came across it and decided to try it. I was pleasantly surprised. The sugar adds a bit of sweetness that makes these rolls irresistable.
Last time, Shawnna and Jhon came to visit, I made these rolls. Jhon loved them so much he couldn't stop talking about them. I had to make another batch after the first was gone! : )
They are so good and easy to make. I promise you wont be disappointed!

Fast, Easy & Yummy Yeast Rolls
2 - 2 1/2 cups flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup water (120-130 degrees)
2 Tbsp butter, melted

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
2. Add water and butter; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes or until smooth.
3. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
4. Turn onto a well-floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. (I knead the dough in my mixer for 4-6 minutes.)
5. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. (I let the dough 'rest' in the mixer with the lid placed on the mixer.)
6. Roll dough to 3/8-in thickness; cut with a floured 2 1/2 in biscuit cutter. (I dont have a biscuit cutter; I use a drinking glass.)
7. Place 2-in apart on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

At the end of the 30 minute rise just before placing them in the oven.
8. Bake at 375 for 11-14 minutes or until lightly browned.
Makes 1 dozen. I usually double or triple the recipe because 1 dozen is not enough.


Yummy Sweet Rice

I mentioned to Sheena a few weeks ago that I love the sweet rice from Bajio. The great sister she is..she found a recipe online for me to try. It is very good & easy! Thanks Sheena!

1/2 - 1 Tbsp oil
1/2 white onion, chopped (add more or less to taste)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1 1/3 cups white rice
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 - 1/2 cup white sugar

Put a little oil (1/2 -1 Tbsp) in the bottom of the pan.
Saute chopped onions until translucent.
Add the chopped cilantro (no big stems) and saute a minute more.
Add the rice, cooking until it is light brown. (Be careful not to burn.)
Combine the chicken broth and sugar, letting sugar dissolve. Then stir into rice until combined. Bring to a boil.
Cover and let cook on low or med low until rice is done, about 25 - 30 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Original recipe from Apron Girls. I used only 1/4 cup of sugar because others commented that the rice was really sweet.


The Best Whole Wheat Bread Ever

**Updated 4/16/11**
I have been searching for years for a good wheat bread recipe that passes my husband's taste test! I have tried so many recipes--I have lost count! Last fall, my mother gave me a bread recipe that she had found and liked. I tried and it and was pleasantly surprised. This bread is light and fluffy and not heavy or crumbly like many. It stores well and is great for sandwiches, toast, or eaten with honey.
Since mid-January, I have not purchased store bought bread--I have been making this bread recipe twice a week. It may sound like a lot of work but over time I have gotten faster and have learned a few tricks.
I hope you will give this recipe a try. You may not be able to go back to store bought bread.

The original recipe was for one loaf of bread. I found that the one loaf rose quite high so I always double the recipe and then divide it so that it makes 3 loaves not 2.  So the recipe below will make 3 loaves.
Recipe with my tips and tricks included:
Best Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
2 1/2 cups warm water
1-2 Tbsp yeast*
1-2 Tbsp vinegar*
1/2 cup honey (can use sugar but I only use honey)
5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (approx 4 cups of wheat)
1/2 cup wheat gluten
2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp powdered milk
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 - 1 cup potato flakes

I have a bosch mixer and that is all I use to make bread. It makes bread making so much easier.

1. Grind your wheat. I have found that in my grinder 4 cups of wheat will make the 5 1/2 cups of flour that the recipe calls for. I like to use half white wheat and half red hard wheat so I grind 2 cups of white wheat and 2 cups of red wheat. 

2. Place warm water in your mixer. [The temperature of your water is very important. If it is too hot it will kill the yeast but if it is too cool the yeast wont rise properly. Someone once taught me how to get your water the right temperature when making bread. I dont even worry with thermometers anymore. Turn your tap on and let the warm water run over the inside of your wrist. The water should feel neither too warm or too cool but it almost feels as if there is nothing there. It is hard to explain but it works everytime.]
3. Add yeast and vinegar. *Use 1 Tbsp of each if at high altitude and 2 Tbsp of each if at lower altitude.

4. Add honey. Stir together.

5. My mixer has a splash ring so I usually place that on the mixer at this point. I then turn the mixer on to the lowest setting and add the flour by cupfuls while the mixer is running.

6.Add wheat gluten and mix. I usually leave the mixer on and add the gluten and the following ingredients while it is mixing.
7. Add salt and mix.
8. Add powdered milk and mix.
9. Add oil and mix.
10. Add potato flakes. 
11. Knead for approx 12 minutes. I usually place the lid on the mixer and let it knead (mix) for about 12 minutes. The dough may be very sticky-don't add more flour. The stickier the dough the lighter the bread.
12. Once the 12 minutes is up, I turn the mixer off and let the dough sit in the mixer for half an hour or until doubled. Be sure to leave the lid on. If you do not have a mixer with a lid, you will need to cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray while it rises. Allow to rise in a warm place that is free from drafts.

13. Once the dough has doubled in size, divide the dough into 3 pieces. Shape and place in greased bread pans. Cover. Rise in a warm place until doubled. [The original recipe was for 1 loaf. I doubled the recipe which is the amounts shown; however, the doubled recipe produced rather large loaves. I then tried dividing the doubled amount into 3 loaves instead of 2 and the loaves were the perfect size for my family. If you would like to try just 2 loaves or 1/2 the ingredients and make just one loaf that is fine.]

14. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until the top is browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
15. Once done, remove bread from the oven and immediately (or within 2-3 minutes) remove the bread from the pan and place in plastic food/bread bags. This is important--you will see moisture form inside the bag, but don't worry, the bread will not be soggy. Within 24 hours, the bread absorbs the moisture back into the loaf and you will be left with a light, fluffy loaf of bread.

Recipe without my tips and tricks:
Best Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
2 1/2 cups warm water
1-2 Tbsp yeast*
1-2 Tbsp vinegar*
1/2 cup honey (can use sugar but I only use honey)
5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat gluten
2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp powdered milk
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 - 1 cup potato flakes

  • Place warm water in your mixer.
  • Add yeast and vinegar.
  • Add honey. Stir together.
  • Add the flour and mix.
  • Add the remaining ingredients in order listed; mixing well after each addition
  • Knead for approx 12-15 minutes.
  • Cover the dough & let rise in warm place until doubled.
  • Once doubled, divide the dough into 3 pieces. Shape and place in greased bread pans. Cover and let rise until doubled in a warm place.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until the top is browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Remove bread from the oven and immediately (or within 2-3 minutes) remove the bread from the pan and place in plastic food/bread bags.
*Use 1 Tbsp if at high altitude and 2 Tbsp if at lower altitude.

Original recipe by Crystal Godfrey.


"AIR WICK® i motion Freshmatic Ultra Automatic Spray" & "Glade Sense & Spray" Side to side Product Review

Product info:
Air Wick i-motion sensor is an automatic spray with a time released fragrance and/or a movement sensor as well. When the Air Wick sees movement it will spray an extra spray. Or you can set the unit to a 9, 18, or 36 min. spray.

I like the ability to have an automatic spraying unit!

I don't like that it sprays out the front, it has sprayed me in the face a couple times. I don't like how it just continues to spray until turned off. The motion sensor doesn't have a lock out mode so it can spray tons of times in a min. if you keep walking in front of it. I think it is too big and bulky.

Will I buy this product again?
If it were free, sure otherwise no!

Star Rating:
Product Info:
Glade Sense & Spray is a motion sensored air freshener. The unit automatically detects motion and releases a concentrated burst of fresh fragrance but also has a 30 min lock out mode.

Likes:I like that the unit sprays out the top. I like that it is motion sensored and has a lock out mode of 30 min. So like me I have it in my bedroom and it won't keep spraying all night long like other products. I like the compactness of the unit.

I only have 1 and that is I wish it had a turn off switch just in case!

Will I buy this product again?

Star Rating:


Toilet Cleaning Gel Review!!

Product info:
Scubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning gel is suppose to be a step up from those toilet clips that you can hang on the toilet. So you have a dispenser that has gel inside and you pop the cap off and you press a button and you place the dispenser under your toilet rim and you push against the toilet and viola a gel is pressed onto the side under the rim and it lasts for up to a week and dissolves with every flush.

I like how you don't have to get your hands dirty. I like the simplicity of the product and the cleaning power.

You still have to clean your toilet every week as soon as it falls off. After 8-9 days my toilet started getting the yellow rim it gets but my other toilet is still white after 10+ days so it depends on the toilet. The one that lasted longer is a newer toilet and at the back of my house and never gets used, I am waiting for it to fall off to clean because I am afraid i will knock it off and have to replace it!

Will I buy this product again?

Star Rating:
* * * *

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Alright...you may be thinking Spaghetti is a recipe to make when you have nothing else to fix. So, you get your jar of Spaghetti sauce and your noodles and ta-da Spaghetti dinner. Oh, but you are so wrong. Spaghetti can be so much more than just a jar of sauce and noodles.
I remember the first time I went with my Mom to Olive Garden and I ordered Spaghetti and Meatballs. They brought out my plate and on top of the spaghetti were these huge meatballs...so good!  I love a good meatball, but I have never tried making them. I usually just buy them from Costco (which btw are very very good). But I came across this recipe and had to try it.
I found this recipe on Our Family Treat (another Must Look At Blog!). A cute blog that a husband (Brooks) and wife (Lindsay) share. Brooks actually spent time in Italy, so when I read that, I knew that they definitely knew how to make a good Spaghetti and Meatballs.

mmmmmm......doesn't that look yummy?
I love meatballs with flavor and these definitely had them. They also had a little kick to them too, which my hubby appreciated. Now, I know this is more work than just opening up a jar, but it is so worth it. And honestly, it wasn't that bad at all. I made up a batch of meatballs and cooked them, and the ones I didn't use I put in the freezer to use later. And homemade sauce is so much better than the jar.
So, if you're looking for a good Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe give this one a try. I promise your tummy and family will be happy!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

From http://cucinafamiglia.blogspot.com

1 lb Italian Sausage
1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, until completely incorporated (use your hands, but don't smash meat between fingers).
In a pan preheat 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil on medium high heat. Roll the meat mixture into golf ball sized balls and brown in Olive Oil until all sides are brown. Remove from heat and strain on paper towel.

For the Sauce:
To the oil and meat drippings add 1 clove minced garlic and one half of an onion chopped. Cook until onion is translucent. Make sure to not burn the garlic. Add two cans of crushed tomatoes, and 1 can of tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, and put meatballs back in the sauce. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
(I added some fresh parsley and Italian Seasoning to the sauce. I think I may have also added a bay leaf).
While simmering, follow directions on your spaghetti pasta box, and serve with sauce and meatballs, top with Parmesan cheese.

*hint* For perfect al dente pasta, remove pasta from water 1 minute shy of what instructions on pasta box gives. Add pasta to the hot marinara sauce and let stand for another minute before serving, so the sauce finishes cooking the pasta.


One Touch Can Opener (Review)

Product Info:
A battery powered can opener

I like that I can get it started and don't have to fight a can opener to open my cans. I like how i can get it started and leave it running on it's own and it will stop when it is done.

I wish it could open all cans but it won't open the smaller cans. I tried to open a small can of tomato sauce and I had to hold down the button that makes it go and the sensor that senses the can and let it run until it unlocked itself. It is also a little too bulky I wish they could figure out how to make the device smaller.

Will I buy this product again?
Yes if mine breaks down I most definately will but it was a little pricey!!
Star rating:
* * * *

How fast does your surface cleaner disinfect!!

How many of us fall into the trap of something saying antibacterial and thinking it is going to disinfect or sanitize quickly!! Well I challenge you to take a look at your cleaners and read how long it takes!! Did you know the average wipes take 4-6 min. to disinfect, and if you read it right it says must stay wet for that long to disinfect!! Yeah!! Well Shannon discovered one that doesn't take longer than 10 seconds to disinfect and I am waiting for it to go on sale!! Until then you guys need to read the back of the products you buy and know how long it takes. Sometimes you don't need all that sanitizing power but just a surface cleaner or a glass cleaner but sometimes when you have young children like I do I want something that will disinfect or sanitize fast before someone puts a hand or drops food on it!! The product Shannon found is Fantastik and it is a Scrubbing Bubbles product are you surprised no I wasn't either!!

Mr. Clean® with Febreze® Freshness Antibacterial liquid cleaner

Product Info:
Clean and freshen your home at the same time! As you are cleaning where ever you want because this is an all-purpose cleaner it is also freshening the air around you by leaving the nice febreeze scent.

I love how my floor didn't streak and it kept up to the promise of smelling nice and ultimate cleaning power!!


Will I buy this product again?
Already have so yes!

Star Rating:
* * * * *
that's the power of Mr. Clean!

Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean Review!!

Product info:
Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean is a one touch continuous spray that claims to last for up to 4 days to help keep your bathroom clean longer.

I love the one touch continuous spray, hello why did they not come up with this sooner!! I love that you don't really even need to scrub your shower with this product, but that could be because I am a clean freak and I scrubbed anyways. I like how the product kept up to it's promise of keeping my bathroom clean for up to 4 days. My faucets looked amazing even past the 4 days that is promised. My husband and I shower hours apart from each other and I bath my kids at night so I was worried it wouldn't keep up with us but it did amazing!

The only complaint I have is it should state on the bottle that a lot goes a long way. I think I used too much.

Will I buy this product again?
Most definately I will!! I would even pay full price for this item it is well worth it!!

Star Rating:
* * * * *

Matt's Yummy Tomato Lime Rice & Chicken Azteca

ckLast year Josh's cousin, Matt, stayed with us for a few months. So, one day he told my Mother-in-law and I that he wanted to cook for everyone. We were a little hesitant...wondering if he really knew how to cook, hahaha, but he showed us! He made us Pork Carnitas and this delicious rice. Thank you Matt for showing us you do know how to cook and for sharing this wonderful recipe with us.

This rice is great to serve with any Mexican Meal like: enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, or the recipe that I'm also going to share with you today.

I love this rice because it is seriously sooo easy and really really flavorful and tasty. There's only 4 ingredients for this rice, so there's really no excuse not to make it. You have your rice, water, Caldo de Tomate (Tomato Bouillon), and limes. How easy is that? 
So, next time you make Mexican you will definitely have to try Matt's Yummy Tomato Lime Rice. Enjoy!!

Matt's Yummy Tomato Lime Rice
from Matt Perron

1 C. Long Grain White Rice
2 Cups of water
2 tsp. of Tomato Bouillon
1 Lime; quartered

In a medium pot combine the water and Tomato bouillon, bring to a boil. Stir in your rice. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add your limes and let stand covered for 5 more minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Serve.
Makes 4 servings.
If you would like to increase your recipe here is the ratio for Water to Bouillon- 1 Cup Water: 1tsp Tomato Bouillon. 
I just made this and only used 1 lime, but you can use as much or as little as you like. Enjoy!!

Chicken Azteca
Alright, now for the second recipe.
I love new recipes, and am always on the search for new and tasty dishes. So, when I found Erica's website( Favorite Family Recipes) I was in Heaven. There were so many delicious looking meals, that I was going to have to try. That day I printed out so many of her recipes, and I've been slowly trying them all. (BTW- there Cafe Rio Copycat recipes are to die for!!). One day while searching their site, I came across this recipe. It looked really good, so I decided to try it.

I know...you're probably thinking what is that??? But please don't be scared by my picture. It looks like a bunch of slop, but it's oh so good! Plus this is a Crock pot meal. I love Crock pot meals, they're so easy!

Now this picture looks much better, right? Just serve over rice, top with cheese and there's your meal. You could also top with tomatoes, avacados, olives, green onions, cilantro, etc. So put this on your menu and give it a try. I promise it won't disappoint! Enjoy!

Chicken Azteca
from http://www.favfamilyrecipes.com/
Makes 10-12 Servings
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups frozen corn
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 cups Pace salsa, divided (we used the black bean and corn salsa)
Tabasco sauce (or any other hot sauce), to taste.. (**optional.. this isn't part of the original recipe but we added it for an added kick)
10 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, cubed
cooked rice (I made a Spanish rice of sorts by adding a little tomato sauce, cumin, onion, and garlic powder to the rice while cooking. I didn't spice it up a lot... I didn't want it to overpower the flavor of the chicken)
shredded cheddar cheese

Combine beans, corn, garlic, cumin and 1/2 of the salsa in slow cooker. Arrange chicken breasts over top. Pour remaining salsa (and optional hot sauce) over top of chicken. Cover. Cook on high 2-3 hours or on low 4-6 hours. Remove chicken and cut into bite size pieces. Return to crockpot. Stir in cream cheese. Cook on high until it melts. Spoon chicken and sauce over cooked rice. Top with cheese.


Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I love a good Chocolate Chip cookie, and I especially love Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (aka Blondies). So, I have been searching around trying different recipes to see which one I liked the best. I found this recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe, and it looked easy and really yummy. So I gave it a try....they were delicious!!

If you're looking for a simple, nothing fancy, chocolate chip cookie bar this is the recipe you should try.
Do I really need to say anything else??? This picture says it all...'eat me!' Alright, you've got the recipe, now go make some! Enjoy!!

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
From www.melskitchencafe.com

2 1/8 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 (3 1/2 ounces) cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position.
Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the brownies from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.

Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature.

Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.


Chicken Pockets

This is a great meal for those nights that you want something easy. It doesn't make too much of a mess, you know those recipes where you use 4 different pots/pans, after dinner you have a mountain of dishes to do, this one isn't like that. And it's really good.
My hubby liked them, but didn't love them...I thought they were really good. But be sure to eat them all, they weren't too great as left-overs.
When I first saw this recipe I was a little scared. I'm weird about cream cheese...I just didn't know how it would taste in here. And it asks for mushrooms, another thing I'm not to fond of,  but it was really good.. So, don't be afraid, just try it.

 I definitely have to have the gravy for the top. The first time I made this I made the home-made gravy, but now I just use the packaged gravy mix. There are a few different recipes out there, but this is usually the one that I make. Enjoy!!

Chicken Pockets

2 C. Chicken, cooked and cubed or shredded
2-3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. Milk or you can use 1/4 C. Butter
1 (4 oz.) can Mushrooms (I never use the whole can, but like I said, I'm not too crazy about mushrooms)
1 tsp. pepper
2 Cans Crescent Rolls
1/4 C. Butter, melted
1/2 C. Seasoned Breadcrumbs
1 pkg. Chicken Gravy Mix

Cream together your Cream cheese and milk/butter. Add the chicken, mushrooms, and pepper to the creamed mixture (I have even added chopped green onions and some seasonings- Ms. Dash, Season All, etc.).
Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Unroll your crescent dough. Seperate your dough to make rectangles (2 triangle crescent pieces). Pinch/press along the perforation to seal your dough.
Put one heaping teaspoon of mixture on to each section of crescent roll (you don't have to have exact measurements here). Then roll up each crescent roll. You can do this any way you want. You can roll up one side and make it like a pocket or like above, bring up each corner one at a time and press together.
Melt your butter and brush onto each pocket, then sprinkle a little bit of breadcrumbs on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
While they're baking make your gravy.
When done place a chicken pocket on each plate and spoon some gravy over top of each pocket.

Some other filling suggestions from http://www.kevinandamanda.com/:
Ranch Dressing
Bell Peppers
Ham & Swiss Cheese (Chicken Cordon Bleu Packets)


Apple Nut Coffee Cake

Mmmm...Coffee Cake. I don't know what I love about it, except that it is really yummy. My Mother-in-law was asked to teach at church, and she asked for some ideas for a treat to take for all the ladies. She finally decided on this cake. And I was glad she did, because she shared a piece with me. :) It is so moist and delicous, I gobbled the whole piece up without sharing with anyone else. So, I had some extra apples lying around, and decided to get the recipe and make a cake for me.

You should have everything you need for this cake in your pantry. And if you have some bruised apples that you don't want to eat, then this is the perfect way to use them.
This recipe came from a 1978 Better Homes and Garden Cookbook that my Mother-in-law has. This is such an easy recipe and it's sooo good. You'll definitely have to try this!

And there it is. I think I might just have to make this today...and I think you should too.

Apple-Nut Coffee Cake

2 C. All-purpose flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 C. Granulated Sugar
1/2 C. Shortening
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 C. Sour Cream
2 C. Finely chopped apple
1/2 C. Chopped Nuts
1/2 C. packed Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
2 tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 in. baking dish.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
Cream the sugar and shortening. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to creamed mixture. Fold in apple. Spread batter in prepared pan.
Combine nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon; stirn in butter. Sprinkle evenly over batter.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.


Chicken Stuffed Shells

Here is another pasta dish for you. This is yet another recipe that I have had saved on my computer for awhile waiting to try, but never got around to it. So a few weeks ago I finally made it! It was delicious. And the next day Shawnna came over to our house and I had left over shell stuffing, so I gave it to her and she made it that night for dinner (she also said it was really good). This is a must try recipe that won't disappoint.

I made 2 changes to this recipe. The original recipe asks for Ricotta cheese, I used Cottage Cheese. I hate cottage cheese, but in pasta recipes I like it better than Ricotta. I like the texture better, either one will work though. The second thing, I used fresh parsley instead of dried. Those are the only things I changed.

Just a heads up...The recipe makes more filling than you need. I may have been able to use a 9x13 baking dish, but I had already cooked the shells, so I just kept the left over filling. When/if you make this either cut down on the filling or cook more shells.
For this recipe you will also be making your own pasta sauce. It's a pink sauce...really good. But if you don't feel like making the sauce just use a jar spaghetti sauce or an alfredo sauce. There is also a Vodka Sauce that you can buy at the store that would be really good. I used to make a pasta using Vodka Sauce, it's a pink sauce, and it's really good.
Doesn't that look yummy??
Then get up and get cookin'! Enjoy!!

Chicken Stuffed Shells
From Chelsea at www.mmmcafe.blogspot.com

For the Shells:
12 jumbo uncooked pasta shells
1 heaping tsp. garlic cloves (minced)
1 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese (I used Cottage Cheese)
1/8 cup Italian breadcrumbs
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¾ teaspoons dried parsley
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. basil
1/8 cup heavy cream
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese

For the Sauce:
2 heaping tsp. minced garlic
4 oz tomato sauce
4 oz tomato paste
7 oz stewed or diced tomatoes
2 tsp. dried oregano
½ Tbs. dried basil
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. cornstarch
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup milk

Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Rinse with cold water, separate and set aside.

Combine garlic, chicken, ricotta cheese, bread crumbs, cream, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, parmesan, and half of the mozzarella.
For the sauce: put tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. Combine all ingredients in a separate bowl and add tomatoes to create a pink pasta sauce.(you may substitute this sauce with red or white sauce, if you prefer.)
Pour half of the pasta sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish. Stuff shells 1 by 1 with the chicken/cheese mixture and place in rows into the baking dish on top of the sauce. Top the shells with shredded mozzarella and pour the over half of the sauce over the top of shells. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

Serves 3.


Baked Ziti

I've tried several Baked Ziti recipes, but this is probably my favorite. It's really easy and delicious. This is a great freezer meal or if you need to take dinner to someone this is also a great meal.

I first found this recipe on Allrecipes. The original recipe asked for a ton of Spaghetti Sauce, I cut it down and it works great. When I simmer the sauce I sometimes will add a little seasoning (parsley, basil, etc.) and a bay leaf (to make it taste a little more home-made). One time that I made this I used half Ground Beef and Half Italian Sausage. It was good, but a little too sweet for my Hubby.
I love this recipe because it's really cheesy. You use Provolone sliced cheese (this is what makes it really cheesy), you use shredded mozzarella, and grated Parmesan. Yummy!!!
If you can't find Ziti pasta you can use penne or any other small tube pasta.
Alright....that's it. Enjoy!!

Baked Ziti

1 lb. dry Ziti pasta
1 Onion, chopped
1 lb. Lean ground beef
2 Jars of Spaghetti Sauce
6 oz. Provolone Cheese, slices
1 C. Sour Cream
6 oz. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tbsp. Grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil and add ziti pasta and cook until al dente. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat (I usually season the meat a little). Add the spaghetti sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13 baking dish. Layer as follows:
1/2 of the Ziti
Provolone Cheese
Sour Cream
1/2 Sauce Mixture
Remaining Ziti
Mozzarella Cheese
& remaining sauce mixture.
Top with grated Parmesan and bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Carron's "Killer" Cookies

You can never have enough cookie recipes, right?
I ripped this recipe out of a  Family Circle magazine about a year ago, but never got around to making the cookies. A few weeks ago I was looking through all of my recipes and came across it and decided to make it. I am so glad I finally made them because they were sooo yummy!

You can't go wrong with cookies that have Oatmeal, Rice Krispies, Coconut & chocolate. What a great combination.
The day I made these my Mother-in-law was at our house. I told her to take some home for her and 'Pa'. She only took one for her and one for him. Five minutes later there was a knock on our door...it was my Father-in-law wanting more cookies. He didn't know why she only brought 2 cookies, he wanted more, haha. They loved these cookies!
And if you want to be really naughty, turn these cookies into ice cream sandwiches. Oh my!!

Carron's "Killer" Cookies
by: Carron Findly
from Family Circle April 2009 magazine

1 1/2 C. All-purpose flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. salt
1 C. Vegetable Shortening (I only had the Butter flavored)
1 C. Granulated Sugar
1 C. Light-brown sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 C. Old-fashioned oats
2 C. Rice Krispies cereal
1 C. Sweetened Flake Coconut
1 Bag (6 oz.) Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper on 4 baking sheets and set aside.
In a small bowl, blend flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt with a whisk; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat shortening and both sugars on medium-high speed about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
On low speed, gradually add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in oats, Rice Krispies, coconut and chocolate chips.
Form balls with 2 tbsp. of dough and place 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cook on sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.


Sourdough Pancakes: Basque Recipe

I am so excited to share this recipe with all of you. These are probably one of my favorite pancake recipes. This recipe comes from my wonderful Mother-in-law, Kathy, who is Basque. I had never heard of the Basque people until I met Josh. This recipe has been passed down from generation to generation and is a recipe that you will want to try! So, get up and start mixing this up.

 I love when the family comes to visit because Kathy always makes Sourdough Pancakes. We made these over Easter weekend.

I'm sorry, but you can't tell me these don't look delicious. Most pancakes are really heavy, but these are light and fluffy...but that means I can eat more of these without getting full. I can't resist them though. 

Kathy always makes a huge breakfast whenever we have Sourdoughs...Eggs, hashbrowns, sausage links, and Chorizo (the basque kind). I think I know what we're having for breakfast tomorrow.

Amama's Sourdough Pancakes
from: Kathy Perron

The Night Before:
     Mix 2 cups of warm water with 2 1/2 tsp. of yeast. Add 2 tbsp. of sugar and 1/2 tsp. of salt. Add 2 Cups of flour. The mixture should be thick. Cover with waxed paper and let sit overnight.

The Next Morning:
     Add enough milk to make the mixture thin. Add 2 egg yolks (keeping the egg whites). Beat the 2 egg whites until stiff. Add to the mixture. Add 1 tsp of baking soda and mix well.
     Pour pancake batter onto a hot griddle. Cook until bubbles appear then flip. Cook until light brown. Serve with butter and syrup. Enjoy!!