Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


Orange Lime Dipping Sauce

10 oz. jar orange marmalade
3 tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

In a small saucepan over medium low heat, melt orange marmalade, stirring constantly. Remove from  heat and stir in mustard and lime juice. Serve alongside shrimp or chicken strips as a dipping sauce or use as a glaze on pork tenderloin or chicken.

Carrot Nut Cake

This is one of the first things I ever learned how to bake. I found the recipe in Teen Magazine in 1980. My dad loved it so much, I used to make it almost weekly. Now it’s my husband’s favorite and a sneaky way to get the kids to eat a vegetable!

1 1/4 cups sugar                                               
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs                                                            
1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
Optional: chopped pecans or walnuts, raisins

Preheat oven to 325°. Blend all ingredients in order. Pour into a prepared 9 inch square baking pan. Bake 45-50 minutes. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

This frosting is what I use on carrot cake and red velvet cake.

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla in medium bowl with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until smooth and spreadable. Frosts a 13x9 cake generously or a two layer 8-9 inch cake. Store frosted cake or any remaining frosting in refrigerator.

Basic Crepes

I've been making crepes since I was ten and my best friend, Emily Cantrell, introduced me to them at a sleep-over. I felt very sophisticated. Now, we fill them with sweet (chocolate, strawberries, carmelized apples and cream, etc..) and savory (chicken and mushrooms in bechamel, spinach,etc..).  They are a spectacular treat that is simple to make. 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons stick margarine or butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Beat with hand beater until smooth. Lightly butter 6- to 8-inch skillet. Heat over medium heat until bubbly. For each crepe, pour scant 1/4 cup batter into skillet. Immediately rotate skillet until thin film covers bottom. Cook until light brown. Run wide spatula around edge to loosen; turn and cook other side until light brown. Stack crepes, placing waxed paper between each; keep covered.

Spread desired filling over each warm crepe; roll up. (Be sure to fill crepes so the more attractive side is on the outside.)

Polynesian Meatball and Sausage Skewers

Wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
1 pound meatballs, frozen or homemade
1 pound skinless smoked sausage, cut into chunks
1 can pineapple chunks, drain but save the juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Any vegetables you like on your kabobs. For these I like bell pepper and onion. 
Crank up the grill or preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine brown sugar and cornstarch, stirring until sugar begins to melt. In a glass measuring cup, add enough water to bring pineapple juice to 1 cups. Add vinegar and soy sauce to glass measure. Slowly add liquid to sugar/cornstarch mixture in saucepan; stirring constantly. Continue stirring until sauce begins to thicken. A good sign of this is it will coat the spoon.
Skewer meatballs, sausage, pineapple and vegetables on wooden skewers. Brush with sauce. If grilling, place on grill and continue brushing with sauce while cooking and turning. If baking, place skewers on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until meatballs and sausage are heated through. Serve with remainder of sauce over a bed of rice.

Easy Eggs Benedict

I found this recipe in the cookbook, 9x13 The Pan that Can, by Better Homes and Gardens. My family is terribly fond of Eggs Benedict and the decadent but sometimes difficult Hollandaise sauce that accompanies it. For a large group like ours, this is just the ticket...I can make it ahead of time and the sauce won't curdle.

8 eggs
4 English muffins, split
8 slices Canadian bacon
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise (we use Miracle Whip for everything that calls for mayonnaise or salad dressing)
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard

Fill a large pot half-full with water and bring to a boil on the stove. Reduce heat to simmering. Break one of the eggs into a small bowl or ramekin. Holding the bowl close to the water, carefully slide the egg into the water. Repeat with remaining eggs, simmering, uncovered for 3 to 5 minutes or until whites are set and yolks begin to thicken but aren't hard. With a slotted spoon, remove eggs to a plate.
Place English muffins, cut side up, on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Prepare a 13x9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place toasted English muffins in pan and top each with a slice of Canadian bacon and one poached egg. Cover and chill for 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
When you're ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise and mustard. Spoon over eggs. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes or until heated through.
Serves 8

Hash Brown Casserole

This is one of those fun recipes that you can personalize and you can't really mess up. It is my brunch favorite. I use tater tots when I don't have hash browns and I use cream of onion soup in lieu of the traditional cream of mushroom (my husband is allergic to mushrooms). I also like to add cooked, crumbled breakfast sausage. This turns it  from a side dish into a main course. We like Jimmy Dean maple or sage flavored but you can add chorizo or Italian sausage. Also, add this recipe to your freezer-meals list!
1 -32oz pkg. hash browns or tater tots
1 -16 oz. sour cream
1 medium onion diced (½ cup)
1 bell pepper (you pick the color), diced
2 cans cream of chicken or mushroom soup (or onion or any combination thereof!)
1 pkg. shredded Cheddar (2 cups)
salt and pepper
Bread crumbs

You can just combine all ingredients as they are or. I prefer to first sautee the onion and bell pepper with a little minced garlic until they are soft and then combine everything. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray (you can thank me later...).
Top with bread crumbs.
Bake @ 325ยบ in greased pan for 45 min. - 1 hr.
Serves 8 as an entree or 12 as a side dish.

Bechamel Sauce

If you never learn how to make another sauce, learn this one. Besides being a fabulous stand-alone sauce; it is also the base for about a zillion other sauces! Add cheese and you've got homemade mac and cheese sauce, add wine, lemon juice or any other number of ingredients to make this your own.
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
1 cup milk

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.
Makes 1 cup.

Peanut Noodle Salad

This Polynesian influenced side dish can be served at cold or at room temperature and the flavors are even better the next day!

2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into half-moon shaped slices
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup chunky peanut butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ to 1 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon salt
1 (16 ounce) package angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
1 cup shredded fresh carrot
6 green onions, cut diagonally into 1 ½ inch pieces

Whisk together soy sauce and next 7 ingredients into a large bowl, adding cucumber, pasta, carrot and onions, tossing to coat. Cover and chill if desired.

Serves 8-12

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs are easy, yummy and great for potluck or crowds. This is a variation of a recipe I found on Food Network from Tyler Florence. If you can't find the ever-elusive lingonberries, try some cranberry sauce on the side. The tartness is a great complement to the tanginess of the meatball's sauce.

1 pound meatballs (frozen or homemade...I guess I should post my recipe, huh?)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup sour cream
Dill, fresh or dried will work, eyeball a small palm full
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare meatballs and cook according to recipe or package directions. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour until combined with butter. Whisk in chicken broth and stir until sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium low and stir in sour cream. Add meatballs to sauce. Stir in dill and simmer until sauce thickens and meatballs are warm through. Serve over a bed of rice or egg noodles with a dollop of lingonberries on the side. Serves 6 - 8 as an entree

Chicken Ranch Ring

As I perused the menu plans of my fellow bloggers I saw this ring thing on several menus. I decided I had to give it a try. I found a website (I'm not sure I could ever find it again and I forgot to bookmark it) that had about a zillion variations on the ring. This where I learned that it was originally a Pampered Chef recipe. However, I still managed to tweak mine and make a little different. It's pretty, yummy and best of all, easy...wait, no, best of all is my pickiest eater ate it! woohoo! If and when I can get anything into my 9 year olds mouth I know it's good.


2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls
3 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed
2 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese
6 sliced crispy cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1 Roma tomato, thinly sliced
1 egg white, lightly beaten

On a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray or oiled, arrange one can of crescent rolls in a circle with points facing outward and top corners overlapping slightly (it should resemble a sun). Arrange the second can of crescent rolls with the wide end against the wide end of the other crescent rolls with points pointing inward (I sure hope this makes sense!)
In a mixing bowl, combine chicken, 2 cups of cheese, bacon, Miracle Whip and ranch dressing. Arrange tomato slices around center of crescent roll ring. Spread chicken filling evenly on top of tomatoes around the center of the ring. Fold points of crescent rolls over top of filling and tucking under the bottom to form a top crust (some filling will show). Brush with egg white and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately. This will feed 5 or 6 as an entree, 10+ sliced thinly as an appetizer or snack.

Baked Potato Soup


4 cups chicken broth
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 green onions, minced
1 rib of celery, minced
1 small carrot, grated
4 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups milk
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup shredded cheese (I usually use a cheddar/jack blend)
6 strips crispy cooked bacon, crumbled
Sour cream and additional bacon, cheese and chives for garnish

In a large pot, over medium-high heat, bring broth, potatoes, onions, celery, carrot, vinegar and salt to a boil. Lower temperature and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in milk and flour. Stir in cheese and bacon. Simmer, uncovered for an additional 5-8 minutes or until thick and cheese is melted, stirring constantly.
Serves 6-8

Meatballs with Chile Peanut Sauce

I adapted this recipe from one I found on the " A Year of Slow Cooking" blog ( There are a million great recipes to suit my new love affair with my much so that I just bought it a friend...another crockpot! Anyway, these meatballs are super yummy and passed the test of the picky and un-picky in our family alike. We served it with saffron rice and peas but it would be great over any kind of noodle that will help hold the sauce. Enjoy!

40 meatballs (homemade or frozen)
3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1 cup canned coconut milk (shake well and include the cream)
1 tablespoon red chile paste (jarred, in on the Asian food aisle. We used garlic chile paste)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
cilantro for garnish

In 6 quart crockpot, put meatballs and all ingredients and stir to combine as best you can. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until peanut butter is melted and meatballs are heated through. Serve hot over noodles or rice or as an appetizer.
Serves 8.

Crock pot Sour Cream Salsa Chicken

I found this recipe on another MPM blog and it sounds and looks so good (and simple!) Monday (and sometimes Thursday) nights are our crockpot nights because of Irish dance. I'm serving the chicken tossed with fettucini noodles but you can put it on a flour tortilla and dress it up with your favorite taco toppings. Great carbs for hard working, hungry dancers!
P.S. I doubled this recipe to suit our large family so you may want to halve it so you won't be eating it forever.


6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 pkg. taco seasoning mix
2 cup salsa
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup sour cream

Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Add chicken breast and sprinkle with taco seasoning. Add salsa and cook on low for 6 hrs. when ready to serve remove chicken and mix cornstarch with a bit of cold water. Stir into the salsa sauce. Stir in sour cream and mix well. return chicken to crock pot and coat with sauce.
Serves 9 with leftovers!


This is my mother's recipe which, I think, originally came from the back of a lasagna noodle box. I've tweaked it over the years to the point that my dad told my mom that she should let me teach her the recipe (that went over really well)! I make several of these at a time and freeze them for those nights when I crave Italian food but don't have the time or energy to make it.


1 pound ground beef
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 28 ounce jar spaghetti sauce (I use Ragu or Prego chunky garden style)
1 can diced tomatoes (the garlic and onion variety will add an extra layer of flavor)
1 1/2 cups water
1 16 ounce container ricotta or cottage cheese
3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, cubed
2 eggs
1/4 cups chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 package uncooked lasagna noodles (you'll need about 9)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, brown ground meat and sausage, crumbling as it cooks, until no pink remains. Drain meat and return it to the pan. Add spaghetti sauce, canned tomatoes and water, simmer about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. In a large, deep baking dish (I use the disposable aluminum pans if I'm going to freeze the lassagna) pour about 1 1/2 cups of sauce to lightly cover the bottom. Layer 3 lasagne noodles over sauce and cover with 1 cup of sauce. Spread half of cottage cheese mixture over noodles and dot with half of cream cheese cubes. Repeat layers of lasagna noodles, sauce and cheese filling and cream cheese until you run out of ingredients or space in your pan. Top with any remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella, Parmesan and cheddar cheeses. Cover with foil and place on a baking sheet, (cause it's gonna drip!) and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes. I usually turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes to get the top bubbly and a little brown and pretty. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 10 - 12

PS: it tastes even better the next day!

Bacon, Cheese and Tomato Quiche

Yum, quiche! My kids call it squish but that is not reflective of it's consistency, I promise. Quiche is great for breakfast, brunch or for lunch with soup and a salad.
You can put pretty much any filling in it: spinach, artichokes, ham, sausage, prosciutto, goat cheese, mozzarella, the list goes on and on. It's a great clean out the fridge device. Another great adaptation of this recipe is to make baby quiches in a mini muffin pan...just be sure to spray well with non-stick cooking spray.



2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4-1/2 cup ice water

8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
1 cup shredded cheese, your choice (I like cheddar, fiesta blend or Swiss)
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup diced tomato (canned is fine or you can sub with salsa)
4 large eggs
2 cups whipping cream or half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In the bowl of a food processor, mix flour, butter and salt, until particles are size of small peas. Add cold water a little at a time and process until dough form a ball. Shape dough into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable.(I almost never have time to do this so it can be skipped without disastrous results.) This allows the butter to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky.
Heat oven to 425°F. With floured rolling pin, roll pastry to desired size. Put pastry in quiche or pie pan and pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim excess dough and flute if desired. Bake 8 - 10 minutes until pastry just begins to brown.
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Sprinkle bacon, cheese, onion and tomato in pie crust. In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly; beat in remaining filling ingredients. Pour over ingredients in pie crust.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 - 8

Catherine's Honey White Bread

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast(two 1/4 oz. envelopes)
2 1/4 cups of warm water
3 tablespoons of honey plus 2 teaspoons honey
4 tablespoons of melted butter
7 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons salt

Sprinkle yeast over 1/2 cup of warm water. Add 2 teaspoons of honey. Whisk until yeast dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a mixer with a paddle or dough-hook attachment. Add melted butter and remaining 1 3/4 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of honey. Whisk flour with salt; add 3 cups to the yeast. Mix on low speed until smooth Add remaining 4 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until dough comes away from sides and forms a ragged, slightly sticky ball. Butter a large bowl. You may also use non-stick cooking spray.
 Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball. Transfer to prepared bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Let dough stand in a warm place until it doubles in volume (it should not spring back when you pressed), about 1 hour. Grease two 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pans. Punch down dough; divide in half. Shape 1 half of the dough into an 8 1/2-inch-long rectangle (about 1/2 inch thick). Fold long sides of dough in to middle, overlapping slightly. Press seam to seal. Transfer dough, seam side down, to the pan. Repeat with remaining dough. Brush the top of each loaf with butter and dust with flour. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drape loaves with plastic wrap. Let stand until it ha risen about 1 inch above the tops of the pans, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake, rotating pans after 20 minutes, until tops are golden brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer to wire racks. Let cool slightly; turn out loaves. Let cool completely before slicing.

Pesto Ravioli with Peppers and Prosciutto

I recently came across a recipe similar to this but I just couldn't leave it alone. I made my own pesto but you can certainly buy prepared. I also added some diced prosciutto for an added layer of flavor and to assure my husband (whose least favorite food is anything involving pasta) that there was meat on his plate.


2 cups fresh basil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/3 - 1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, pulse basil, nuts, cheese and garlic until well combined. Drizzle in olive oil while blending until pesto reaches desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

2 pounds frozen cheese ravioli
1 recipe pesto
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 slices prosciutto
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Cook ravioli according to package directions, drain and set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat one tablespoon of olive oil. Saute prosciutto and bell peppers in oil. Once peppers begin to get a little soft, lower heat and add ravioli to skillet and toss with peppers and prosciutto. Remove from heat and add pesto sauce, tossing to coat ravioli. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 8.