Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Show: Paula's Home CookingEpisode: Southern Thanksgiving

I've made this once and plan on making it again today. The first time I had it was earlier this year at a winery of all places. It is an awesome alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie. (I like it better.) Great for if you have to bring a dessert some place.

Click here for the original link for the recipe on Food Network.



  • 1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Variations: For a Pineapple Gooey Cake: Instead of the pumpkin, add a drained 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple to the cream cheese filling. Proceed as directed above.

For a Banana Gooey Cake: Prepare cream cheese filling as directed, beating in 2 ripe bananas instead of the pumpkin. Proceed as directed above.

For a Peanut Butter Gooey Cake: Use a chocolate cake mix. Add 1 cup creamy peanut butter to the cream cheese filling instead of the pumpkin. Proceed as directed above.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Baked Spaghetti

This is one of my family's favorite meals! It is easy and yummy!

You can make your own sauce.
1 cup onion chopped
1cup green pepper chopped
1 Tbs butter/margarine
1 can tomatoes 28 oz. cute up
1 can mushroom-drained
1 can ripe olives-sliced
2 tsp oregano

I use a jar of sauce!!! Easier and faster!! Probably cheaper!

1 LB ground beef-browned and drained
12 oz spaghetti -cooked
2 cup cheddar cheese-8 oz
2 cans cream of mushroom soup-diluted (cream of chicken works well also)
1/4 cup H2O
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

In large skillet, simmer ground beef and sauce for 10 min. uncovered. Place 1/2 spaghetti in a greased 13 x 9 pan. Top with 1/2 sauce mix. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheddar cheese. Repeat layers. Mix soup and water until smooth. Pour over casserole and sprinkle with parm. cheese, bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

I love this recipe. It is great for when you are having company as well!!

Dutch Apple Pie

Okay, you all probably have your own recipe that you love for apple pie. We had over half a bushel of apples so I made 4 pies.
I used graham cracker crust.

7 peeled, cored and finely sliced apples (don't use granny smith)
1/2 cup sugar
several shakes of cinnamon

Mix the filling together and put in graham cracker crust

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
several shakes of cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter

Cut in butter into flour,sugar and cinnamon until mixture resembles course crumbs. Sprinkle over pie filling

Bake 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown. Cool a bit and then sprinkle with powder sugar.
Of course eat warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and carmel.
OHHHH so good!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Indian Rice and Lentils

I have tried various lentils and rice recipes the last couple of months as I am learning to prepare more and more meatless meals. This is the hands-down winner. Very filling and flavorful. My son ate 3 bowls and my daughter ate 2 (isn't that the best indicator?).

Indian Rice and Lentils (from

6 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. lentils
1/3 c. white rice
1/4 c. brown rice
2 tbsp. butter
1 med. onion, chopped
Salt to taste
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp. cardamom

Saute onion and garlic in butter. Add spices. Cook for 5 minutes, add broth and bring to a boil. Add lentils and brown rice and cook for 20 minutes. Add white rice and cook for 30-40 minutes more. Salt to taste.

If you are truly going vegetarian I'm sure vegetable broth would be great in this. I didn't have the turmeric or cardamom, and it still tasted great. I also didn't salt to taste because the boullion cubes I used for the broth had plenty of salt. Next time I'll have to double the recipe... we ate it all! By the way, this is a really economical main dish (how most of the world eats!).

Saturday, August 9, 2008


3 oz. cooked penne or small tube shaped noodles
Salt and pepper
3 c. steamed, chopped broccoli
2 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 c. chopped onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
3 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1 bay leaf
3/4 lb. chicken breast tenders (I boiled a couple boneless thighs and then shredded them)
Pinch nutmeg
2 tbsp. chopped parsley (I used some chopped swish chard from the garden)
1/2 c. cottage cheese (I didn't have any on hand)
3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
In large bowl put cooked pasta and broccoli. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a sauce pan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 3 minutes until softened. Stir in garlic and flour; cook for 1 minute. Stir in thyme and then slowly whisk in the broth and milk. Add bay leaf, bring to boil, reduce heat and cook gently for 10 minutes. (Here is where I added the swish chard and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes) Add chicken and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until chicken is barely cooked through. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper and nutmeg. Add to the bowl with the pasta and broccoli along with parsley and stir until mixed. Put casserole into oiled 11 1/2 x 8 inch baking dish. Dot with cottage cheese and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for about 20 minutes until heated through and the top is lightly browned.

I made this today for lunch. It had good flavor. Great way to stretch your chicken.

You might also like this chicken breast dinner or this chicken and stuffing dish.  I make them both about once every month or so.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Chicken & Stuffing Bake

This meal was made for us by a special lady after JD was born. It was really good so we asked her for the recipe.

1 - can cream of chicken or mushroom or celery soup (whichever you like best)
1/2 - cup water
1 - stalk celery, finely chopped or more if you like a lot of celery in stuffing
1 - medium onion, finely chopped
1 - 8oz package of cornbread stuffing (or any other kind of stuffing you like)
4 - skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 - tbsp margarine or butter, melted
1 - tbsp packed brown sugar
1 - tbsp spicy brown mustard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. In small skillet add margarine or butter to celery and onion - - -unless you like them more crunchy then. . . .

2. Mix lightly soup, water, celery, onion and stuffing (as prepared according to the box). Spoon into greased 10" pie plate. Place chicken on stuffing mixture.

3. Mix margarine, brown sugar and mustard. Spread over the chicken. (I usually make 1 and 1/2 of this to have more sauce)

4. Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is done.

Serve and enjoy!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Apricot Chicken

This recipe came from Jason's Grandma's kitchen. It is yuuuummy!

4-6 boneless chicken breasts
2 envelopes onion soup mix
*1 cup apricot or apricot/ pineapple jam
1 cup generic Italian salad dressing

* I have used blackberry jam before having had an extraordinary abundance of said jam that my husband's mom gave us. It turned out great also.

Mix ingredients together. Heat them for a couple minutes in the microwave. Pour over chicken breasts in 9x13 glass dish. Bake 1 hour in 350 degree oven. (for skinless 45 min.) Baste 2-3 times.

Serve with rice. Delish!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Crunchy Quinoa Salad

Hey, high school friends (and anyone else that reads this blog)! I'm finally back home from vacation, so I'll start by posting one of my favorite recipes! I received this recipe from a work friend and it has become a staple for our family this spring and summer. I keep it in the fridge and it makes for a good lunch or a side dish for dinner. I am trying to add more diverse whole grains into our diets, and quinoa is a good one because it also has a significant amount of protein (which is great for my 2 year-old vegetarian). To read more about the healthy benefits of quinoa go here.


1 cup uncooked quinoa (yields 2 cups cooked)
1 Tbsp sunflower oil (I have replaced this with other oils... canola, olive)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1 bunch scallions sliced (I usually leave this out if making just for my family)
1 cup raisins


Cook quinoa: First rinse the grains in a fine mesh strainer. Cook like rice on the stove top (1 part quinoa, 2 parts water), bringing water to a boil and then turning down to a simmer and covering. Should be cooked in approximately 15 minutes, but check. Or you can throw it all in a rice cooker, like I do!

Once quinoa is cooked you might want to let it cool a little. Mix all of the ingredients together and enjoy! (Sometimes the smell of the apple cider vinegar is a little over-powering, but oddly enough the taste has never been too strong for me... maybe it is my over-active olfactory system!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

7-Bone Crock Pot Roast

Easy Pot Roast Recipe

So I've been shopping the ads lately and only buying meat that is $2.00 / lb or less. I got a big old roast for $1.49 / lb. I had never made a roast before so I had to learn.
The recipe calls for wine but I forgot about it. Instead of water I put in a couple cups of chicken stock. I got everything ready the night before, put it in the fridge and then in the morning plugged in the crock pot. It turned out great!
The recipe said to add a salad and hot crusty bread. That would definitely have been good too.
  • 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 C red wine
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Carrot slices
  • Potato cubes
  • Garlic, minced (1-2 cloves or to taste)
  • 1 (4-5 lbs.) 7-bone roast
Place onion, carrot slices and potato cubes in bottom of crock pot. Place roast on top and season with salt and pepper. Add water and wine, sprinkle with soup.
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

It turned out great and I have made it a few times since the first time.  It is an easy pot roast recipe.

Roasted Pork Loin & Pork Fajitas the next night

Roasted Pork Loin

8 servings

This is another thing I had never cooked before but I bought the meat because it was $1.99/lb. It was really pretty easy and good too. I served it with a seasoned rice and broccoli.


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Crush garlic with rosemary, salt and pepper, making a paste. Pierce meat with a sharp knife in several places and press the garlic paste into the openings. Rub the meat with the remaining garlic mixture and olive oil.
  3. * Place pork loin into oven for 2 hours or until meat reaches 160 degrees, turning and basting with pan liquids. Remove roast to a platter. Heat the wine in the pan and stir to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom. Serve with pan juices.
* I didn't have wine on hand so I used chicken broth. 2 hours is probably WAY too long. Apparently pork gets dry in a hurry. The best way to cook this meat is to use a meat thermometer and if you're like me you've never used one. So here is what to do.

Push the meat thermometer into the thickest section of the meat you are cooking before you place the meat in the oven.

Make sure the thermometer is not touching bone, but is embedded deeply in the meat itself.

Put the meat in the oven at the recommended temperature.

Leave the meat thermometer in the meat throughout the cooking process.

Check the meat thermometer as soon as the recommended cooking time for the cut of meat you are preparing is almost finished. The reading on the thermometer - check the levels for the kind of meat you are cooking - will indicate when the meat is cooked throughout.

Pork Fajitas

The next night there was a lot of meat left over. So I sauteed green pepper and onion with some olive oil until it was tender, added some garlic and a tablespoon taco/fajita seasoning. Then I thinly sliced the meat and added it to the skillet long enough for it to heat up. For a yummy sauce I mixed plain yogurt (Sour cream would work too. I didn't have any.) and green salsa. We put it all together on our tortillas and boy was it good!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Corn & Chicken Tortilla Casserole

A friend gave us this meal after we came home with our daughter. They also gave us the recipe because she guaranteed that we'd want to make it again. I've made this meal for several people and it's always been a hit. You can't go wrong and it's SUPER easy...

*Serve this with spanish rice and Mexican Salad (recipe below).

Corn & Chicken Tortilla Casserole

1 pkg. taco seasoning
4 large chicken breasts, skinned & boned (or one whole rotisserie chicken**).
1 28 oz. can green enchilada sauce
1 10 oz. bag frozen corn
1 8 oz. tub sour cream
1 7 oz. can chopped green chiles
1 pkg. corn tortillas
1 pkg. shredded cheese, Mexican blend

- In large skillet cook chicken with taco seasonings and water (according to directions on packet). Tear chicken into bite-sized pieces as you cook (this gets the chicken moist and flavorful). Set aside.
**If using rotisserie chicken: Simply pull all the meat off the bone and remove the skin. Tear chicken into bite-sized pieces. Put into skillet with taco seasonings and water (according to directions on packet). Sautee until all the meat has absorbed the seasoning.

- Mix together enchilada sauce, frozen corn, sour cream, and chopped chiles in a bowl. Set aside.

- In a LARGE casserole dish or lasagna pan, assemble like a lasagna:
1.) sauce on bottom of casserole dish
2.) torn strips of corn torillas
3.) chicken
4.) tortillas
5.) Cheese
**Repeat! You should have about 3 layers, with cheese at the top.
**you can also use 2 small aluminum disposable pans. Freeze one for another time or give to a family.

Bake at 350º until bubbly (about 30-40 minutes).

Mexican Salad

I don't really measure anything, but you get the picture

Romaine lettuce, cut into big-bite sized pieces
tomatoes, cut up (as many as you like!)
red onion, cut into thin slices (as many as you like!)
1 can of black olives, drained
Shredded mexican blend cheese, enough to sprinkle
crushed up tortilla chips (as many as you like)
1 can of seasoned black beans
French dressing... yes... french dressing.

Toss it all up in a big salad bowl. It's hearty enough on it's own!

You might also like this chicken breast dinner or this chicken and stuffing dish.  I make them both about once every month or so.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Grandma's Green Bean Soup

My Grandma Jeffers has been making this soup for I don't know how long. She doesn't have an exact recipe for it so I just had her tell me what's in it. I've made it several times and I think I finally have it about the way she makes it. (More or less)


1 lb FRESH green beans (I actually always guesstimate the amount)
1-2 cloves chopped garlic
1 Tbs butter
1/2 lb (more or less) chopped bacon
1-2 onions chopped
milk (I really don't know how much I put in. Maybe 2-3 cups.)
tsp garlic salt or whatever salt

I usually use the kitchen scissors to chop up the bacon. Toss it in the pan with the onion on about medium. Saute until the onions are tender. (5-8 minutes) Cut off ends of green beans and chop into bite-sized pieces. Put in boiling water for about 4 minutes so that they are a bit tender. Peel and cut potatoes in half. Toss them in boiling water for about 5-8 minutes. Don't let them get mushy. Then pull them out and cut them into bite-sized cubes. Put garlic, butter, green beans and potatoes in the pan. Saute a few more minutes before adding the milk. Put in enough milk so that it is soupy. Sometimes I add a little chicken broth. Toss in the salt. Heat 5 or so more minutes and... voila! Grandma's green bean soup. I usually have it for dinner the first night and freeze the rest for later. Hope you like it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bacon, Spinach & Mushrooms with Pasta

I got this recipe from a magazine in which it boasted frugal recipes. This looks similar to the zucchini dish you just posted Angela.

Serves 6 (I usually cut the recipe in half)

1 lb Penne Pasta (you can really use any kind of pasta. I used bow tie this evening.)
1/2 lb bacon or about 10 slices
1 med onion chopped
1 pkg (8oz) mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 pkg (12oz) fresh baby spinach (I used swish chard from the garden tonight)
Grated Parmesan

(I bet grape tomatoes would be great in this too.)

1. Cook pasta as pkg directs.
2. Meanwhile, cook bacon so that it is crispy. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Remove all but 2 Tbsp fat from Skillet.
3. Add onion and mushrooms to skillet. Saute 5 min or until onion is tender/ golden. Add garlic and red pepper flakes for 30 seconds.
4. Add spinach; cover and cook, stirring occasionally until wilted (about 2 min)
5. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Add pasta to skillet with some of the reserved pasta water; toss. Add more water as necessary. Crumble bacon on top of the pasta and serve with Parmesan.

I have left out the mushroom before just because I didn't have any on hand but I think the bacon is what makes this dish. I really should try it with tomatoes but John is not a fan.

Summer Zucchini Pasta

Zucchini is in season, and if it is growing like a weed in your garden like it is in mine, you might need something to do with it. Here is a good recipe for it from one of my favorite cookbooks: The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper. Another great thing about this recipe is it can be cooked all in the same pot for easier cleanup.

5 quarts salted water
1 lb small zucchini (about 4-5 small) or 2 large
1 lb penne
4 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (opt.)
4 large garlic cloves coarse chopped
2 cups grape tomatoes halved, or 2 cups other tomatoes coarse chopped
1-1 1/2 cups feta cheese crumbled
1/3 cup basil leaves coarse chopped

1. Bring salted water to boil
2. Trim off ends of zucchini. Cut squash into sticks about the size of the pasta
3. Drop pasta into boiling water. In the last 3 minutes of boiling drop zucchini into pot. Boil, stirring often. Scoop out 1 cup of pasta water and reserve it. Immediately drain the pasta and zucchini into a colander.
4. Return pasta pot to the heat, turning it down to low. Film bottom of the pot with olive oil. Add red pepper flakes and garlic, and gently saute until garlic is fragrant 30 sec -1 min.
5. Remove pot from heat, and add drained pasta and zucchini, tomatoes, feta, basil and as much of the reserved pasta water as necessary to lightly coat pasta. Toss gently, and serve.

Great Herb Marinade

This marinade is great for grilling. It works for turkey burgers, chicken kabobs, vegetables or anything else you want to grill.

1/4 Cup vegetable oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Stir first 5 ingredients together in a bowl. Season with pepper to taste.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Texas Hash

There are a ton of "Texas Hash" recipes. Sandy Hendren gave me the idea. She makes it a lot. You can really be pretty creative with this and just tailor it to whatever you have or want to use. I make a large batch and then freeze some for another meal. Actually, to start I brown double the amount of ground beef called for and then pull out half and use it for spaghetti (Somewhere John cringes. He doesn't like spaghetti) and tacos for our next couple of meals.

1 lb. ground beef
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 lg. green pepper
1 lg. onion
1 sm. can mushrooms
1/2 c. raw rice (rinsed)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery
Brown onion and meat. Cut up (in strips) green pepper and add to meat. Also add chopped celery, tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes. Add rice, mushrooms, chili powder and chopped fine garlic. Place in casserole and bake 350 degrees 1 hour or until rice is done.

So that's how the recipe reads but I haven't used mushrooms or celery before although I'm sure it would be good. I make it even simpler. I cook the rice in a rice cooker and then mix all the ingredients together in the skillet. I don't even mess with the oven.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pancake Bananas

This is a really easy recipe and quite delicious, especially when hot off the griddle. They're good for breakfast, brunch, snacks, and even dessert.

Mix up a standard pancake batter (adding cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon, or ginger to taste are all good ideas though).
Slice your banana(s) on the bias (diagonally) so it has more surface area to cover with batter. Slices must be thick enough not to bend under the weight of the batter and thin enough to cook batter on griddle (1/4 inch is ideal).
Dip slices in batter and fry on hot griddle like you would regular pancakes. I found the whole process worked easier with chopsticks.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days (that's a guess, I think we had ours longer than that, but I made quite a lot of them).

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a staple at our house especially during the winter months. What I usually do is have a roast chicken the first night. Then boil the remainder the next night, let it cool, and tear off all the meat. Then I use the water that I boiled the chicken with in the soup. This is a bit of work but you really get a lot out of your chicken that way. If you want it to go faster I have also simply boiled chicken breasts or thighs and then cut them or tore them into strips.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

In a large saucepan, saute:
  • 1 chopped medium onion (about 1 cup) and
  • 2 minced garlic cloves (about 2 tsps) in
  • 2 tbsps vegetable oil
over low heat for 5 minutes until onion is softened.

  • one 4 ounce can green chiles -- chopped,
  • a 15-ounce can italian-style stewed tomatoes (chopped and with their own juice),
  • 4 cups chicken broth,
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper, (I've never made it with this just because I don't have any.)
  • 2 tsps worcestershire sauce,
  • 1 tsp chili powder,
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (I haven't used this either but now that I have some I should try it.)
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine 4 tbsp flour with 1/2 cup water and whisk into soup. Bring the soup back to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes. (I've used left over chicken from a whole baked chicken before)

Simmer for 5 minutes.

You can put a dallop of sour cream in each bowl. Sometimes we put sliced avocado and cilantro in our bowl of soup too.

Cut 4 store-bought corn tortillas into 1/4 inch strips. Lay them on a baking sheet with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until they are lightly toasted and crispy. Sprinkle lightly with salt if desired. Garnish strips across the top of the finished soup with fresh coriander. (Again I haven't used the coriander)

You might also like this chicken breast dinner or this chicken and stuffing dish.  I make them both about once every month or so.