I made this bread for a soup supper for my teachers at school. It's great for dipping into soups, but it definitely has a strong beer taste.

2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar
12 oz. bottle of lager or stout
2 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare loaf pan for baking. In large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and garlic powder. Whisk to combine well. Add cheese and whisk to combine. Slowly add beer to dry ingredients and stir lightly until combined. Knead dough lightly until it just comes together. Place into prepared loaf pan and pour melted butter over top. Place in oven to bake for 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

Recipe Source - http://goodthingscatered.blogspot.com/2008/09/easy-cheesy-beer-bread_16.html
I got this recipe off a blog a long time ago, and have seen it many places since, but I don't remember the original source. It's a great, easy crust.

1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degress F)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the rest of the ingredients in and mix. Dump onto a floured surface. Knead into a smooth dough (five minutes or so). Roll out and press down onto a greased pizza pan. Add some pizza sauce and your toppings. Bake at 450 degress F for around 12-15 minutes until the crust looks crispy and lightly browned.

Our Christmas break got off to a bit of a rough start. Corey woke up on Christmas Eve with a stomach bug. :( Needless to say, it wasn't a very enjoyable day and we had to miss Christmas Eve service at church, which is always one of my favorite services of the year. On the plus side, he woke up on Christmas day feeling better, so we still got to go visit my family and Eric's family. Now that we are back home, we are looking forward to a week of relaxing together. Eric has to go back to work this week, but Corey and I have one more week off school! Woo hoo! We plan to see a couple of movies, read some books, and just enjoy some time at home. Our menu this week is pretty simple. We're trying to avoid a trip to the grocery store, so we're relying on freezer items and pantry staples. For other menu ideas, visit orgjunkie.com. We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!
Sunday - Tuna Noodle Casserole, Corn, Orange and Apple Slices
Monday - Mexican Gumbo, Oranges (didn't get to it last week due to illness)
Tuesday - Cheese Manicotti, Salad, Garlic Muffins (from the freezer) (didn't get to it last week due to illness)
Wednesday - Chili (from the freezer), Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Thursday - Homemade pizza, Salad
Friday - Bruschetta 'n Cheese stuffed Chicken breasts (suggested by my sister-in-law, Tanya), Green Beans Almondine
Saturday - BBQ Pork (from the freezer) Baked Potatoes, Salad, Peaches
This recipe was pretty simple to make and looks very impressive. It is definitely a company-worthy dish. I took four large chicken breasts and split them half to make 8 thin breasts and avoided having to pound them thin. I also substituted Kraft Light Italian dressing for the one mentioned in the recipe because it was what I had on hand. I have an alternate, casserole-style version of this recipe listed at the end.

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1-1/4 cups Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Stuffing Mix for Chicken
8 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (2 lb.)
1/3 cup Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing

HEAT oven to 350°F. Mix tomatoes, 1/2 cup cheese and basil in medium bowl. Add stuffing mix; stir just until moistened.

PLACE 2 chicken breasts in large freezer-weight resealable plastic bag. Pound with meat mallet or side of heavy can until chicken is 1/4 inch thick. Remove from bag; place, top-sides down, on cutting board. Repeat with remaining chicken. Spread chicken with stuffing mixture. Starting at 1 narrow end, tightly roll up each breast. Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish. Drizzle with dressing.

BAKE 40 min. or until chicken is done (165°F). Sprinkle with remaining cheese; bake 5 min. or until melted.

Recipe Source - Kraft


If you don't want to go to the hassle of pounding, stuffing, and rolling chicken breasts, you can make it casserole style with this recipe from the Stovetop website:

Bruschetta Chicken Bake


1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg stuffing mix for chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chcken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 t dried basil leaves
1 c shredded mozarella cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes with their liquid in medium bowl. Add stuffing mix, 1/2 cup hot water, and the garlic; stir just until stuffing mix is moistened. Set aside.

2. Place chicken in 13x9 baking dish; sprinkle with basil and cheese. Top with the stuffing mixture.

3. Bake 30 min. or until chicken is cooked through.

Makes 6 servings.

These are very tasty. I used frozen green beans that you steam in the bag and they worked great.

1 1/4 lbs. Fresh green beans, trimmed
1 tsp. Butter
1/2 tsp. Shallot, minced
1 each Garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup Toasted sliced almonds
3 slices Bacon, cooked and chopped (optional)
Salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Blanch green beans in simmering, lightly salted water for 3 minutes or until slightly tender
yet firm. Remove green beans and immediately submerge in ice water to chill thoroughly.
This step halts the cooking process allowing vegetables to retain their crispness and color.
Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic, sauté until
translucent. Add blanched green beans, almonds and optional bacon. Sauté for 3 - 4 minutes while stirring. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Transfer to a warm serving platter or bowl for service.
Yield: 4 - 6 Servings

Well, I've been fighting a stupid cold all week, so this is going to be a short post. We're out of school for break, though, which is a great thing. I didn't get to a couple of recipes last week, so you'll see them repeated this week (I made one tonight). I do promise to get pictures added to the recipes this week.

As far as a family favorite holiday recipe goes, my son has really enjoyed making brownie lollipops. He even made some by himself for his girlfriend for Christmas.

Here's the menu for the week. We'll be traveling some, so friends will be staying at our house to take care of the dogs, and I have no idea what they will cook. ;) I'm going to enjoy having someone cook for me for a few days. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas! For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - Herbed Chicken in Pastry, Brussels Sprouts, Peaches
Monday - Beef Porcupine Balls, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Tuesday - Mexican Gumbo, Oranges
Wednesday - Cheese Mannicotti, Salad, Rolls
Thursday - Eat at my mom’s house
Friday - Eat at Eric’s mom’s house
Saturday - Eat at Eric’s mom’s house

Last week was a bit hectic for our family (which is not unusual), but on top of it all, I managed to catch a cold. I'm such a wimp about being sick. Anyway, this week shouldn't be too bad. Corey has a band concert on Tuesday, and Friday is our last of school before Christmas break. Woo hoo! They are predicting bad weather for this week. It's 60 degrees out right now, but supposedly the temperatures are supposed to drastically drop tonight, and we are under a winter weather advisory for sleet, freezing rain, and snow. They are forecasting this kind of weather all week, so we'll have to see what happens. I don't really want the weather to be bad enough that we would miss school, but there's always that part of you that can't help but root for the snow day. :)
I did a pretty good job with last week's menu (the only meal I didn't get to was the shrimp). The pork medallions were unbelievably good. They will definitely make it into the rotation. This week I have a couple of new recipes as well, so I will get photos up as soon as I make the meals. Here's this week's menu. For more menu ideas, see orgjunkie.com.
Sunday - Pot Roast, Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad
Monday - Bourbon chicken, Rice, Pea Pods
Tuesday - Eat out (band concert)
Wednesday - Herbed Chicken in Pastry, Brussels Sprouts, Peaches
Thursday - Pork Chops with Cranberry Balsamic Sauce, Rice, Broccoli
Friday - Beef Porcupine Balls, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Saturday - Eat at book club
I had some Crescent Creations in the fridge that I needed to use, so I gave this recipe a try. It was really tasty and the family loved it. I didn't have a whole package of ham, so I added about 6 slices of bacon (cooked and chopped). It's great heated up the next day.

1 can (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls (I use Crescent Creations so I don't have to deal with perforations)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) OSCAR MAYER Smoked Ham, chopped
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 cup KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

PREHEAT oven to 350oF. Unroll dough in 13x9-inch baking dish; press to cover bottom of dish, firmly pressing perforations and seams together to seal.
SPRINKLE ham over crust. Beat eggs, milk and pepper with wire whisk until blended; pour over ham. Sprinkle with cheeses.
BAKE 25 min. or until center is set.

Trim 80 calories and 8 grams of fat per serving by preparing with reduced-fat refrigerated crescent dinner rolls, fatfree milk, KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese and KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat Mozzarella Cheese.

Recipe Source - Kraft
These were a very tasty alternative to traditional porcupine meatballs made with regular rice. The Rice-a-Roni gives it a great flavor.

1 pkg. beef Rice-a-roni
1 lb. ground beef
1 egg, beaten
2 1/2 c. hot water

Mix together ground beef, Rice-a-roni and egg. Shape into small balls. Brown on all sides in skillet. Combine contents of beef seasoning packet with hot water. Pour over meat. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Thicken gravy if desired.

The picture doesn't do this recipe justice. It's very tasty. Even Corey ate it!

4 boneless pork chops, 1-inch thick
Lemon pepper seasoning
2 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 3/4 cups Swanson® Chicken Stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup dried cranberries OR dried cherries

Season the pork with the lemon pepper. Cook the pork in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 20 minutes or until it's well browned on both sides and cooked through. Remove the pork from the skillet and keep warm.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add the garlic and cook until it's tender. Stir the stock, vinegar and cranberries in the skillet and heat to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in the remaining butter. Serve the pork with the sauce.

Recipe Source - Campbells

This was a wonderful recipe that looks very impressive, but it's so easy to make!

1/2 of a 17.3 ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 egg
1 tbsp. water
Ground black pepper (optional)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves
2 tbsp. butter
1 container (4 ounces) garlic & herb spreadable cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it's easy to handle. Heat the oven to 400°F. Stir the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork. Season the chicken with the black pepper, if desired. Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it's well browned on both sides. Remove the chicken to a plate. Cover the plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry
sheet into a 14-inch square. Cut the pastry sheet into 4 (7-inch)
squares. Spread about 2 tablespoons cheese spread in the center of each pastry square. Top each with 1 tablespoon parsley and 1 chicken breast. Brush the edges of the pastry squares with the egg mixture. Fold the corners of the pastry squares to the center over the chicken and press the edges to seal. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Brush the pastries with the egg mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastries are golden.

Recipe source - Pepperidge Farm

We had a nice week this week! I managed to cook everything on the menu, I had my colleagues over to our house for our faculty Christmas party, and I had an amazing Family Reading Night (over 500 people came!) and got to wear my princess dress (Thanks, Mom!)! Be sure to check out the pictures. :)
This week I have to teach a computer class, the boy has scouts, play practice, and a play performance, and we have the hubby's employees coming over for their Christmas party. The boys will be running the Jingle Bell 5K on Saturday. Lots of fun stuff. :)
Here's the menu for the week. The Pork Medallions recipe is a new one, and it was great! For more menu ideas go to orgjunkie.com.
Sunday - Pork Medallions with Cider Sauce, Mashed potatoes, Spinach
Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday - Pasta Carbonara, Salad
Wednesday - Easy Chicken Stuffing Skillet, Green Beans, Peaches
Thursday - Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Salad
Friday - Eat at party
Saturday - Leftover sliders from the freezer, French Fries
There is actually no tea in this recipe. It is a great hot drink to make for a party or family gathering.

1 gallon water
1 ½ c sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
1 12 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 6 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate


Bring water, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves to a boil in a large pot. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves. To the water and sugar mixture add the orange juice and lemonade. Stir and cool. Pour into containers and refrigerate until ready to use. Will keep in refrigerator for 1 week. Heat before serving.

Servings: 15
This recipe was absolutely amazing!The cider sauce is so flavorful and it really makes the dish.


1-1/2 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut into 1" - thick medallions
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


Cut the pork tenderloin into 1" - thick medallions.

Heat a nonstick skillet sprayed with no stick spray over medium-high heat. Sear the pork for 5 minutes on each side or until brown.

Add apple cider, wine and apple cider vinegar. This will deglaze the pan and release any brown bits stuck at the bottom. Bring to a boil, cover and cook 5 minutes. Remove lid, reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes more. Turn pork occasionally.

Transfer the pork to a plate and season with pepper. Tent with foil to keep warm.This part is very important. Simmer the liquids until reduced to 1/2 cup. The sauce should be thick and syrupy and should coat the back of a spoon. This could take 10 to 20 minutes depending on your stove and the size of the pan you are using. Do not over-reduce or it will scorch.

Recipe adapted from - Noble Pig

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving vacation. We actually stayed at home for once! It was so nice to have some time at home together as a family. On Thanksgiving morning we got up early and ran the Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk in Springfield. Corey did a great job. I brought my yellow lab, Toby, with me. He had a great time running and walking with me and Eric. We had a great Thanksgiving dinner (check out our Thanksgiving movie) that afternoon, and watched Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving special. I did spend one day at school preparing for my Family Reading Night, which will be this Tuesday. Wait until you see my princess costume (the theme is The Tale of Despereaux)! I also finished reading the books for the Missouri Mark Twain Award (I am a reader/selector this year - too cool!) and sewed an apron. To top off our great weekend, it snowed today! I love snow! It was too warm for it to stick to the ground, but it sure was pretty coming down all day. It made me feel very festive. :-) I'm keeping it pretty simple with the menu this week, with a couple of last week's items kept in because I didn't end up making them. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.
Have a great week!
Sunday - Pork Chop Potato Casserole, Green Beans, Peaches
Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday - Eat soup (Chicken Enchilada) at book night
Wednesday - Chicken Alfredo, Broccoli, Salad
Thursday - Chili & PB Sandwiches, Applesauce
Friday - Homemade pizza, Salad
Saturday - Eat at Faculty Christmas Party
This is a very simple recipe that I got from my friend Becky. The boys always request it on Thanksgiving.


1 pkg frozen corn
1 pkg cream cheese (I use fat free)
1 stick butter or margarine

Put all ingredients in the crock pot on low for 4 hours. Stir occasionally.

My package from my partner in the Winter Sassy Apron Swap arrived on Friday afternoon! I got a cute holiday themed apron, a cookie magazine, and a Christmas tree cookie cutter. Thanks, Amy! I will put them to use during my holiday cookie baking with my son. :)
I finally finished my apron package for my partner in the Winter Sassy Apron Swap. The theme was cookies, so I chose a cute gingerbread man fabric for the arpon. I also sent her some supplies to make sugar cookies with her family. I hope she enjoys it!

This is my alternative to pumpkin pie, which I'm embarrassed to admit that I just really don't care for that much. I know it goes against Thanksgiving tradition to not have pumpkin pie, but once you try this dessert, you'll see why I like it so much! :)

1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 c. margarine
4 eggs
1 large (2 pie size) can pumpkin
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2/3 c. milk
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. granulated sugar
chopped nuts


Mix by hand 1 box yellow cake mix (reserve 1 cup for topping), 1/2 cup margarine and 1 egg, then pat in greased 9x13 inch pan.

In a large bowl, mix 1 large can pumpkin, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 3 eggs, 2/3 cup milk, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix thoroughly with electric mixer; pour over first layer.

Blend the 1 cup reserved cake mix, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup cold margarine; spread evenly over the pumpkin. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes, or until top is light brown. Serve with whipped topping. Keeps well in refrigerator for several days.

I had a great weekend this week. I went to the movies with my family on Friday, my boys both placed in the 5K race they ran Saturday morning, I sewed a new apron and bag for door prizes, and I got to host a Pampered Chef party at my house (see my 200th post for pics of these things). I also posted all of the recipes I used at the party, so be sure to scroll down in my posts and check them out. This week we only go to school on Monday and Tuesday, and then we are off for a few days! We are staying home this year for Thanksgiving so Corey and Eric can run in the Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving morning. My parents left today to visit my brother in New York. They are so excited to see him and to get to see the Macy's parade live. :) My menu may not be the most exciting this week. I plan to take it easy since I have some days off. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.
Sunday - Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup (needed something light after all of the party food!)
Monday - Tuna Noodle Casserole, Green Beans, Peaches
Tuesday - Chicken Alfredo, Salad
Wednesday - Chili, PB Sandwiches
Thursday - Turkey, Stuffing Roll, Hot Rolls, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Leftovers
I received my Holiday Hostess apron for the Flirty Apron Swap this week. When I opened the package, my son said, "Isn't that the one you were hoping you would get?" And guess, what? It was! Thanks, Kara! I love this fancy apron.
This is a wonderful, hot spiced drink for cold days.

2 ½ cups cranberry juice drink
1 ½ cups water
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup sugar (I use Splenda)
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
6 tea bags


Combine cranberry juice, water, orange juice, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil.
Remove from heat; add tea bags. Let steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and spices with spoon.
Serve hot in mugs.

Servings: 6 six ounce servings Recipe Source - Pampered Chef
These are simply sinful! They go great with soups.


1/2 lb grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 lb butter, softened
1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
3 teaspoons water


Cream cheese and butter. Add dry ingredients and water. Refrigerate for one hour. Roll into balls and flatten to 1 inch thick on baking sheet. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Great dip to use with cocktail bread, veggies, etc. I make it a bit healthier by using nonfat sour cream and nonfat Miracle Whip.

2 jars (6 ounces each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained a chopped
1 package (10 ounces) frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
1 garlic clove, pressed
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 F. Drain and coarsely chop artichoke hearts. Combine artichoke hearts, spinach, garlic, sour cream, mayonnaise, and Parmesan cheese in large bowl.

Spoon dip into a deep dish pie plate. Bake 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Spread on cocktail bread slices for fresh vegetables.

Servings: 10-15 appetizer servings

Recipe source: Pampered Chef
This is a very rich, very sweet, very chocolatly dessert!

1 (19.8 ounce) package brownie mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup water
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (1.5 ounce) bar chocolate candy

1. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and cool completely. Cut into 1 inch squares.
2. In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, water and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until smooth, then fold in 8 ounces whipped topping until no streaks remain.
3. In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish, place half of the brownies, half of the pudding mixture and half of the 12 ounce container of whipped topping. Repeat layers. Shave chocolate onto top layer for garnish.
Refrigerate 8 hours before serving.

Recipe Source - Allrecipes

Rich, chocolate fun on a stick. :)

1 pkg (18-21 oz) fudge brownie mix (plus ingredients to make brownies)
24 candy canes (I used lollipop sticks instead)
10 oz chocolate-flavored almond bark
Additional decorations such as red jimmies (optional)

1. Line Medium Sheet Pan (or 9-in. by 13-in. metal pan) with a 13-in. piece of Parchment Paper; lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions; pour batter into pan. Bake 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Remove from oven to cooling rack; cool 20 minutes or until still slightly warm.
2. Meanwhile, cut straight ends of candy canes off to form 4½-in. Place candy cane tops
into resealable plastic bag and crush using flat side of Meat Tenderizer; set aside.
3. Using Medium Scoop, scoop brownie into 24 rounded scoops, packing brownie into scoop using hands. (Entire brownie will be used.) Roll brownie scoops into smooth balls. Insert candy cane sticks into centers of balls, mounding brownie around each stick to secure. Pinch each brownie ball where candy cane and top of ball meet.
4. Place almond bark into Small Batter Bowl; microwave according to package directions until smooth. Spoon melted bark evenly over each brownie ball, turning to coat completely. Be sure to coat where candy cane stick meets brownie ball. Allow excess bark to drip off. Dip into reserved crushed candy canes or jimmies and stand upright on a piece of Parchment Paper. Repeat with remaining almond bark, lollipops and crushed candy. Let stand until set. Place into miniature cupcake liners.
Yield: 24 servings
Recipe Source - Pampered Chef
½ cup pecan halves, divided, plus 30 for garnish
½ pkg (7 oz) caramel candies, unwrapped (about 24 caramels)
2 tbsp half and half (I used skim milk)
½ cup milk chocolate or white chocolate morsels
30 mini pretzels

1. Line a cookie sheet with a 13-in. piece of Parchment Paper; place in freezer 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, finely grate ¼ cup of the pecans; set aside. Finely chop ¼ cup of the pecans using Food Chopper. Combine caramels and half and half in microwave safe bowl; microwave on HIGH 1-2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring after each 30-second interval. Stir in chopped pecans; cool 2 minutes.
2. Place chocolate morsels in small microwave safe dish, uncovered, on HIGH 45-60 seconds or until chocolate is melted and smooth, stirring after each 15-second interval.
3. Remove pan and Parchment Paper from freezer; sprinkle parchment evenly with grated pecans. Arrange pretzels about ½ in. apart over grated pecans. Using Small Scoop, place about 1/3 of a scoop of caramel mixture over each pretzel. Spoon a small amount of chocolate over caramel mixture. Garnish with remaining pecan halves. Place pan in refrigerator 6-8 minutes or until chocolate is firm.
Yield: 30 candies

Recipe Source - Pampered Chef
(I forgot to take a picture before we ate them. Picture spinach artichoke dip spread on a crescent roll crust.)
2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 envelope (.9 ounce) dry vegetable soup and dip mix
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 package (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Unroll one package of crescent dough across one end of Stoneware Bar Pan with longest sides of dough across width of pan. Repeat with remaining package of dough, filling pan. Using Baker's Roller, roll dough to seal perforations and press up sides to form crust. Bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown; remove from oven to Stackable Cooling Rack. Meanwhile, in Classic Batter Bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream and soup mix; mix well. Drain spinach in small Colander, squeezing out as much moisture as possible; add to batter bowl. Drain artichokes and water chestnuts in colander; chop with Food Chopper. Add artichokes, water chestnuts, feta cheese and garlic pressed with Garlic Press to batter bowl; mix well. Spread spinach mixture evenly over crust. Using Deluxe Cheese Grater, grate Parmesan cheese over filling. Bake 10-12 minutes or until heated through. Remove from oven; cut into squares with Utility Knife. Serve using Mini-Serving Spatula. Yield: 24 appetizers

Recipe source - Pampered Chef
Wow! I can't believe I have posted on this blog 200 times! That's a lot of recipes. :) I had a great weekend with my family. The boys ran a 5K and both placed in their age divisions.

I had a Pampered Chef party and got to have some of my friends over for food and fellowship (sorry the pics aren't great, but you'll get the idea).

And, I got to go to the movies with the fam to see Bolt (very cute). I also made a new apron and a new bag for door prizes for my party. I think they turned out pretty cute. The bag is reversible and has six pockets.

Well, time to post some new recipes I used at my party and the weekly menu posted. Enjoy!


2 cups water
24 fresh asparagus spears (about 1 pound), trimmed
1 package (8 ounces) fat free cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (17-1/4 ounces) frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
1/4 cup egg substitute

In a large nonstick skillet, bring water to a boil. Add asparagus; cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain asparagus and immediately place in ice water; drain and pat dry. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and salt until smooth; set aside. Unfold the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut each sheet in half widthwise. For each rectangle, spread cream cheese mixture lengthwise over half of the dough to within 1/2 in. of edges. Arrange two rows of three asparagus spears lengthwise in a single layer over cream cheese. Brush edges of dough with some of the egg substitute; fold dough over filling and press edges together to seal. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Cut widthwise into 1-1/4-in. pieces. Place 1 in. apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush with remaining egg substitute. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Yield: 28 servings.

Recipe source - Taste of Home

Well, I didn't quite get to all of my meals this week due to some evening activities going later that I had hoped, so you will see some repeats from last week's menu. Hopefully I will do better this week. I only have to do one computer workshop, and the boy only has scouts, both of which are on Monday. I finished my apron package for the Holiday Hostess Apron Swap. It think it turned out very pretty. My in-laws and my parents came to visit this weekend, so we went to Silver Dollar City to see the lights. Next weekend I will be hosting a Holiday Hostess Pampered Chef party, which I hope will be very fun. I love to have people over, share recipes, and eat food, so it should be a good time. :)

Here's the menu for the week. I have a few new ones, so be sure to check them out. I will add the photos as I cook them. For more menu ideas, go to orgjunkie.com.

Soup of the Week - Hamburger Soup
Breakfast Item - Autumn Spice Muffins
Dessert - Rice Krispie Treats

Sunday - Honey Roasted Pork Loin, Asparagus, Day Before Mashed Potatoes, Salad
Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday - Cheesy Chicken Vermicelli, Broccoli, Salad
Wednesday - Crock Pot Beef Tips, Rice, Pea Pods, Applesauce
Thursday - Grilled Honey Balsamic Chicken, Green Beans, Rolls, Peaches
Friday - Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad
Saturday - Eat at Wedding

I know everyone already has this recipe and knows it by heart, but I like to have all of my recipes together in one place, so I'm posting the original Rice Krispie Treats recipe on my blog. That way, if I need my son to make some for me, I can just tell him to go to the blog and follow the recipe. :)

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
- OR -
4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies®

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
2. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.
3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.
Note For best results, use fresh marshmallows.

1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème can be substituted for marshmallows.

Diet, reduced calorie or tub margarine is not recommended.

Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container. To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe source - Kelloggs website


2 lbs ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 (2 ounce) package onion soup mix (for 3 or 4 servings)
6 cups boiling water
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup celery, sliced
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup elbow macaroni


In a large saucepan, brown meat, drain excess fat. Add salt, pepper, italian seasoning, seasoned salt, and onion soup mix. Stir in boiling water, tomato sauce, and soy sauce. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add celery and carotts to simmering mixture and continue to cook for 30 minutes. Add macaroni and simmer for 30 minutes longer, adding more water if necessary and stirring occasionally.

Recipe source - Mommy Cooks

3 eggs
1 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 lb butter, melted
1 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. Bake in paper lined muffin tins for 20 to 25 minutes.
Place on racks to cool completely.

Recipe source - Mommy Cooks

Super easy and very tasty!


4 chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
4 Tbsp honey
1 tsp garlic salt with parsley flakes
1/2 tsp coarsely ground pepper


Heat grill over medium heat. Pound chicken breasts down to uniform thickness throughout (about 1-inch to 3/4-inch thickness). Place in large dish and top with oil, 1 Tbsp vinegar, and seasonings.

With tongs, move breasts around to coat evenly. Place chicken breast-side-down onto grill. Do not move meat as much as possible until finished cooking on one side (5-10 minutes depending on temperature of pan).

Meanwhile, in small saucepan over low heat, combine remaining vinegar and honey. Cook down, stirring occasionally, until well thickened. Flip breasts over and continue cooking until almost cooked through (about 5-7 mins additional).

Turn grill to medium high heat. Brush thickened honey mixture onto chicken and flip. Let honey mixture cook/crisp as you brush honey mixture on the other side of chicken pieces. Flip and brush one more layer of honey mixture on each side and remove from grill. Let meat rest, covered, on cutting board for 3-5 mins before cutting and serving.

Think of it as mac and cheese deluxe!

1 lb vermicelli or angel hair pasta (cook following directions)
3 C cubed cooked chicken
5 C (20 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I use reduced fat and only use an 8oz block that I shred myself)
Italian seasoning (use generously)
1 C milk

1. Grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
2. Layer pasta, chicken, seasonings and cheese several times.
3. Just before baking, pour milk over top.
4. Cover with foil, if space permits. (I sometimes press down to compact the ingredients into the
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serves 8

Recipe source - tammiesrecipes.com

I finished the apron I made for the Holiday Hostess Flirty Apron Swap and got all of the goodies gathered. My package will go in the mail tomorrow. I think this apron is fabulous (if I do say so myself), and I hope my partner enjoys it as much I as enjoyed making it.

I am finishing a very nice weekend. :) Friday night we went to Silver Dollar City where Corey ran the Run to the Lights 5K. He did a great job and had a lot of fun. The race starts at 10:00 p.m. after the park closes, so it's kind of neat to watch all of the runners in the park with all the Christmas lights. When the race is over, they have hot chocolate, wassail, cookies, and more. It's a very festive atmosphere. Saturday I went to my first Tea Room with my friend Debbie. We had to wait about an hour and half to get a seat, but the food and company were wonderful. I don't get to do "girl stuff" very often, so I really had a great time. Today we went to visit my parents so my mom could measure me for my princess dress she is making for me. The theme for my next Family Reading Night at school is The Tale of Despereaux, so I'm going to dress like Princess Pea. I'm all about the chance to get to wear a foo foo dress and a crown. :)
I have some good stuff planned for this week's menu, so be sure to check it out. On a side note, the Creamy Ranch Pork Chops from last week were awesome!
Sunday - Eat at moms
Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday - Feta and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Green Beans, Salad, Peaches
Wednesday - Crock Pot Beef Tips, Rice, Pea Pods, Applesauce
Thursday - Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu, Broccoli, Mandarin Oranges
Friday - Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad
Saturday - Honey Roasted Pork Loin, Asparagus, Day Before Mashed Potatoes, Salad
For more menu ideas, check out orgjunkie.com.


4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 chicken breasts, pounded out and cut into bite-sized pieces
salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28 ounce) can pasta-style chunky tomatoes
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup fresh basil, chopped


1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat with 2 T of extra-virgin olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to pot. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until just cooked through.
2. Remove from the pot and set aside. Add the other 2 T of extra virgin olive oil along with the chopped garlic, onions and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 3-4 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes and the stock, bring to a simmer and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add chicken back to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped basil and stir to combine.
4. Serve soup topped with toasted garlic bread or slices of fresh parmesan cheese.

4 Servings

Recipe from Rachael Ray

Pumpkin and cream cheese - need I say more?

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 (14 oz.) package Pillsbury® Pumpkin Quick Bread
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped pecans

1. HEAT oven to 350°F. Spray 12 muffin cups with no-stick cooking spray.
2. BEAT cream cheese in medium bowl with electric mixer until soft. Add egg, sugar
and lemon peel. Beat until smooth.
3. PLACE pumpkin bread mix into large bowl. Remove 3/4 cup dry mix and set aside in
small bowl to make topping. Add milk, oil and egg to remaining bread mix in large
bowl. Stir 50 strokes or until blended.
4. FILL each muffin cup with about 1/4 cup batter. Make indentation in batter with small
measuring spoon sprayed with no-stick cooking spray. Put 1 heaping tablespoon
cream cheese mixture in center of each muffin.
5. ADD melted butter to reserved dry mix. Stir with fork until crumbly. Add pecans.
Crumble about 1 tablespoon over each muffin.
6. BAKE 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove muffins from pan. Place on
baking rack to finish cooling.

Makes 12 muffins

recipe source - Pillsbury
These are very tasty mashed potatoes that are great to use when you just don't have time to make them fresh. It really helps me to be able to prepare them ahead of time and then have them ready to go on busy school nights.

9 potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in potatoes. Cook until tender but firm, about 15 minutes.
2. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and mash until smooth. Mix in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
3. To warm, preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a medium baking dish. Spread mixture into dish; bake about 30 minutes.
Serves 8
(recipe from Readers’ Digest Nov. 2007)
I received my apron package for the Hot Drinks for Hot Mamas swap on Friday. My favorite hot drink is hot chocolate, so my partner sent me a cute apron in my favorite color - pink - and she added a cute cutout of a mug and the word "chocolate". She also sent some hot chocolate packets, some Dove dark chocolate candies (which I LOVE), and a cute matching tissue holder. Thank you so much for the wonderful package, Zoe! Here are some pics of my gift.

Living in Branson, Missouri for over ten years has made me have the "Christmas itch" rather early each year. In Branson, the Christmas lights go up the day after Halloween and all of the shows start their holiday season. So, I got in the habit of putting up my decorations rather early. Even though we don't live in Branson anymore, I do still teach there and 30 miles isn't that far away, so I feel pretty justified in that fact that I decorated my house for Christmas today. Yep, you heard me right. It was 75 degrees and sunny and I put up my Christmas decorations - all of them - inside and out. :) Christmas makes me happy, so I figured I should just go for it. I even made turkey dinner tonight. I felt very festive!

Enough of my holiday ramblings. We have the usual busy Matzat schedule - scouts, computer trainings, Eric's meetings, Zumba class, the boys running a 5K Friday night, and rock climbing with scouts on Saturday. Here is my menu for the week. I tried to keep the recipes simple and fast due to the busy schedule. Be sure to check out the recipe for the Sausage and Stuffing Criss-Cross Pastry. It was amazing! For other menu ideas go to orgjunkie.com.

Sunday - Turkey, Sausage and Stuffing Criss-Cross Pastry, Green Beans
Monday - Out to eat
Tuesday - Cheeseburger Pasta, Salad, Peaches
Wednesday - Creamy Ranch Pork Chops and Rice, Broccoli with Cheese Sauce
Thursday - Bourbon Chicken, Rice, Pea Pods, Salad
Friday - Leftover Sliders (mini hamburgers on dinner rolls), Steak Fries, Applesauce
Saturday - Leftovers


4 lean boneless pork chops
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup skim milk
1 pkg. (1 ounce) ranch salad dressing mix
Ranch-Style Rice (an option side, not included in nutrition information)


Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until it's well browned on both sides.
Stir the soup, milk and 1/2 package salad dressing mix in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the pork is cooked through. Sprinkle with the paprika.
Serve with the Ranch-Style Rice.
Ranch-Style Rice: Add the remaining salad dressing mix to the water when making rice.

Serves 4

Recipe Source - Campbells


1 lb. ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Tomato Soup
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 of a 1-pound package uncooked medium shell-shaped pasta


Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it's well browned, stirring often to separate meat. Pour off any fat.
Stir the soups, water and pasta in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender, stirring often.

Makes 5 servings

Recipe Source - Campbells Kitchen
This is an amazing recipe! I'm not sure that I'll ever make traditional stuffing again!


1/2 pkg. (17.3 oz.) Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
2 eggs
1 tbsp. water
1/2 lb. bulk pork sausage (I use turkey sausage)
1 cup Pepperidge Farm® Herb Seasoned Stuffing (I use low sodium stuffing mix)
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup chopped mushroom (I leave these out)


THAW pastry sheet at room temperature 30 min. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix 1 egg and water.
MIX thoroughly sausage, stuffing, remaining egg, onion and mushrooms.
UNFOLD pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Cut slits 1" apart from outer edge up to fold mark on each side of pastry. Spoon sausage mixture down center of pastry. Starting at one end, fold pastry strips over sausage mixture, alternating sides, to cover sausage mixture. Place on baking sheet. Brush with egg mixture.
BAKE 35 min. or until golden. Slice and serve warm.
Makes 4 servings

Recipe Source - Campbells Kitchen